Monday, February 28, 2011

My knitting basket

At Christmas time we get lots of goodie baskets at work from paitents and their families.  I had my eye on this one basket... I wanted it for my knitting!  Since no one else wanted it I took it home and stuck my knitting in there.

Unfortunately one day one of my needles fell through the side.  So I lined it.  One of my other passions is reading so I took a book fabric I had in my stash. 

Knitting basket with lining
 It's got 4 pockets and it is now escape proof!

Want to see what is in there now?

Reindeer socks from Drops
 It's the Reindeer socks I was drooling over the other day.

A winter's vest

Yarn: Mark's & Katten's Sarek.  100% wool. 
50 g = 50 meters.  Used 8 skeins for a total of 400 meters.
12 stitches x 17 rows = 4 x 4 inches (10 cm)
I've used color nr. 1924.

Needles: 6 mm.

Size:  Womans medium.
Measurments:  width over hips 105 cm.  Length from shoulder to hip 57 cm. 

Right side of front:
Cast on 44 stitches.  I used long tail cast on.
Knit stitches for 4 rows making bottom edge.
Knit stitches on right side, purl stitches on wrong side (stockinette stitch) for 15 cm, ending on a wrong side row.

On right side: knit 2, ssk, knit the rest of the stitches on the row.  Repeat every right side row until 32 cm, approximately 16 times.

On right side: knit 2, ssk, knit the rest of the stitches on the row every other right side row.  Repeat until 20 stitches left on needle. 

Continue stockinette stitch until 57 cm (or desired length of vest).  Cast off.
Front, left side:
As right side, mirror image.

Cast on 73 stitches.  Knit 4 rows to make bottom edge.
Stockinette stitch until 53 cm. 
On right side of vest: knit 25 stitches, cast off 23 stitches, put remaining stitches on a yarn or keep on needle while shaping shoulder.
On next right side row: cast off 3 stitches towards the neck.
On next right side row:  cast off 2 stitches towards the neck.
Knit until 56 cm.
Cast off.
Repeat on other side, mirrored.

Sew shoulder seams and 25 cm of side seams measuring from the bottom edge. 

Pick up stitches along neck lining starting from the bottom edge of one front piece going along the neckline and continuing down the other front piece to the bottom edge again.  Cast off using jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind off.  Use the same method to edge the arm. (Do not use this method for shoulder cast off, it is too stretchy and the shoulder will bulge)

Now fit the front to your measurments, slide the front pieces so they fit your body overlapping one over the other.  Sew seams on sides and bottom, making a small pocket in front of the vest, perfect for your iPod.

Good luck! 

Do you want to make another size?
This is how I did the math to fit me, I'll walk you through it so you can make it a perfect fit  for yourself:

The front looks like this, roughly:

Look at the pictures of the vest above, you can tell by the pictures how much the front overlaps.  How far do you want your vest to overlap?  How big do you want your pocket?  Measure how wide you want the bottom of your vest from the side seam to the end of the overlap.  Take this measurement and do the following math:

4 inches = 12 stitches (OR how many stitches per 4 inches your yarn and your knitting makes)  this makes 3 stitches per inch.  (12 divided by 4 = 3)  This time we're lucky to have an even number, if it does not turn up even (could be 5,736 stitches per inch) do the math with at least 3 decimals to make sure the measurement will work right!

Let's say you want your front piece to be 15 inches: 3 stitches per inch x 15 inches= 45 stitches.  So cast on 45 stitches + 2 (the extra two stitches are  edge stitches and will be used when sewing it together)

Knit according to the pattern straight up for as long as you want the overlap (and/or pocket) to be high, start decreasing stitches according to the pattern.

Where the pattern says "or the desired length of the vest"  make sure the vest is the right length for your body.  If you are extremely short you might want to decrease faster than the pattern says, while you are knitting place the front to your body and see if it looks/feels right.  Shape shoulders according to pattern.


Measure how wide you want the vest to be at the bottom, the back is only one piece so measure from side seam to side seam.  I measured my hips at my widest all the way around and divided by 2.  Do the same math as above but this time use the new measurement.

The back is basically a big square until you get to the neck.  Knit straight up until you have 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) left until the back is as long as the front.  Shape shoulders according to pattern.

If I was to make this vest over again, I would make it a little bit longer.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pin wheel quilt

The pin wheel quilt is finished.  It finishes at 160 x 160 cm (63 x 63 inches). 

Pin wheel quilt

Pin wheel quilt

Pin wheel quilt

Clams and pebbles quilting

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Almost done....

Pin wheel quilt
I've been sewing up a storm on the pin wheel quilt all day.  There is  almost 2 km of thread in the quilting alone on this thing!  Now I'm sitting in front of the TV hand sewing the binding, almost done, almost done..  I'll show it to you as soon as it's done.

I also got a package in the mail (I really love getting packages in the mail!), it was a book I ordered.  And what a wonderful book!

Kaffe Fassett's Quilt Romance

 I've been drooling over it all day, it even got to go with me to the bathroom!  His colors are not my colors, but I love the way he uses them.

Speaking of sewing binding... do you know what this is?
Alaska native thimble
It's a thimble made of seal skin.  I bought it at a store in Anchorage, Alaska last summer.  It's just a tad too big for my finger, but it works great.  It can be worn for hours on end unlike metal and plastic thimbles. 

Well, back to the binding!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lint mittens are finished

I finally finished the lint mittens.  I still don't like them, probably because my beloved yarn turned out so ugly... but they are now fuzzy and very warm..  and will make someone a very happy mitten owner.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spinning the brown

Last night I finished spinning the brown swedish fine lambs wool for mittens to match my hat.  It's so very soft I'm afraid the finished mittens won't last for lots and lots of wear.  I've tried to put lots of twist into them to make them more durable, and doing so I managed to over-ply them. 

I'm hoping they'll be ok once they get knit.

I'm also working on a vest.  I had some Marks & Kattens Sarek that has been begging for the needles. 

Friday night I was sitting in the couch longing for a soft cuddly vest and listening to the yarn calling for me...  The design is my own, so I will get it out on the blog as soon as I can. 

Winter with a vengance!

Today has been a beautiful winter's day, but very very cold!  I keep telling myself it's almost spring, but will someone tell the weather gods??

This this is a picture of a window at my in-laws house.  Nature makes wonderful artwork.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lost in space

I had lots of plans for today.  I was going to (finally) finish the pin wheel quilt.  But I can't seem to get off the computer.... I've spent most of the time completely lost in Ravelry's pattern database, dreaming away in a mass of mitten, vest, hat and sweater patterns. 

There are so many beautiful things to make!

This might be my next project...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Whoops! We just bought a new house!

I'm not sure what happened... but it seems we just got ourselves a new house.  Very strange, and very exciting!  It's the right size for the two of us with lots of space for all of our projects. I'll have a sewing room next to the living room and sweet hubby will have one wood shop and one metal shop, not to speak of the garage.

Like I said, exciting!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Immersed in Alpaca

This weekend is spent mostly at work, but I'm trying to get as much time as possible in my sewing room.  At the moment I'm working on the Storm-at-sea quilt piecing the diamond blocks, chain sewing up a storm. (ha, ha!)

A couple weeks ago my mother and I went to see a woman who owns alpacas, she wanted to get rid of some wool and I really wanted to help her.  The wool is raw, so I've been washing it the last couple days and am now pick through it to clean and sort it. 

Alpaca wool

I probably should have done this before washing, but it is so very dusty and I did'nt want all that dust in the house.  The wool is just wonderfully soft and the Alpaka herself is the cutest thing!

Cinammon the Alpaca

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lint mittens...

Sometimes I get so disappointed!

Last night I started a new pair of mittens (I know, another pair..).  I got out a yarn I spun 15 years ago that I really love and have been saving for something special.

The yarn is 50% swedish fine wool and 50% rabbit angora.  I had grown the rabbits myself, cut them, dyed the wool, carded, spun on a spindle and plied it. It's not award winning spinning, but I LOVED the result, so very soft and sweet colors.

So I was all excited about finally making something with it.  Maybe a birthday present for my sweet sister.  What happens?  The knitting is fine, but that beautiful ball of yarn turns into some weird lint color that looks like I raided the dryer...

Yes, I am disappointed.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My current enders and leaders project.

Have you heard of enders and leaders?  It's a wonderful way to get "boring" piecing done without thinking about it, saves thread and your machine.  I learned about it from Bonnie Hunter at her website "Quiltville", here's a link to her leaders and enders page

When you are finished sewing a seam, or a chain of seams, instead of pulling the thread out and cutting it, put some fabric under the foot and sew a seam, then cut.  This results in you always having fabric under your foot.

This prevents the thread to get pulled down and tangled, and saves thread. 

At the moment I'm making 12 cm crazy quilt blocks as leaders and enders, not because it's boring but to use up some scraps.

Next to my sewing machine I've got a bin that catches all scraps big enough to sew on.

At the end of a chain of sewing, I pick up two pieces of scrap fabric and sew them together.

Then adding more pieces as enders and leaders, usually I've got 3 or 4 blocks going at a time.

Honestly I only finger press the seams as I'm working on them and ironing them as they are finished, I guess I've got a lazy streak..

These blocks have a life of their own, this one is not a traditional crazy quilt block, apparently it wanted to look like this.  :-)

When it's bigger than 12 x 12 cm, I cut it to size, this shows a different block.

These blocks come together quicker than you think, and it's like magic.  They almost sew themselves while you are working on your other sewing...

I haven't decided how to put together this quilt yet, I'll have to get back to you about that...

Monday, February 7, 2011

A day of horror

Bad day at work.
Now I can't help wondering how my colleagues working the late shift are doing..

So, how does a girl console herself?

With chocolate of course!
And whiskey!
And don't forget the best....
....alpaca wool! much better.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Playing on the design wall... ("tutorial" for beginners)

This is not so much a tutorial as me talking to myself... but you might enjoy it anyway.

I love playing around on the design wall, turning the blocks this way and that way, they look so very different every time I try something new.  I just made a whole bunch of square in a square blocks and spent some time playing with them.

The most obvious way to place them is just next to each other:

..and they look just fine, right?  Then I turned them on point, just to see what happens:

Hey, I like that.  Nice and symmetrical.  But maybe a little boring, so I pulled them apart and pretended my green design wall is another fabric:

I like that too.  But just to complicate things, I took out some blocks I had already made:

Now that adds some life, but maybe it looses some of the simplicity...  See what I mean, there's a lot of possibilities.  Make your own pattern, don't just follow others!

Speaking of following others... want to know what all these square in a square blocks are for?  A very traditional block:  It's going to be a Storm at Sea quilt.  Se the block in the middle?

Square in square tutorial for beginner quilters

I've spent most of the day in the sewing room, and I figured I might as well make a tutorial out of what was going through the machine.  I'm making a very simple block, a square in a square.

Cut both fabrics in 3 1/2 inch squares.
Cut the darker fabric (or the "outside" fabric) in half diagonally.

Then place one of the darker triangles on top of the lighter square, right sides together.

(Isn't the intarsia on my treadle beautiful...)
Now line up the edges and sew a seam 1/4 inch from the edge.  It saves a lot of time to chain sew all the blocks at the same time, just keep feeding them under the foot one after another.

Cut the blocks apart and press them open, first set the seam by ironing them just like they are sewn.

Then press the seam open, keeping the seam allowance towards the darker fabric.

Now sew and press the opposing triangle.

...and the other two triangles.

Now it's time to trim your blocks down to size.  I use Wendy Mathsons rulers for her Storm at Sea quilts.  If you want to do it with regular rulers, trim them down to 4  3/4 inches making sure the square is centered (use the diagonal lines on your ruler).

Good Luck! 


Blue midget mittens in red wool

This morning I finished the red and black mittens.  Since the red wool has hue changes they turned out different, but that's ok.  They fit my hands just perfect, so I'm happy.  Strangely both thumbs are bright red, they look like I've hit them both with a hammer  :-)

The pattern is from Solveig Larssons book Vantboken - Solveigs vantar.  I strongly reccoment this wonderful book.

After finishing the mittens, I spent the rest of the day in my spitting new sewing room.  Here are some pictures..

In other words, a good day!