Category Archives: Stuff I made

Episode 22 – Art for Fiber’s Sake

Somehow this episode became all about art inspired knitting or the other way around.

I talked about my current sweater projects and knitting a new skirt for myself. I also share about my first attempt at freeform crochet.

We’re available on both iTunes and Podcast Alley. Just check for “Cloudy with a chance of Fiber.”

Episode 22

My first attempt at freeform crochet

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Filed under Art, Challenge, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Knitting, Podcast, Stash, Stuff I made, Sweater, Techniques

Recuperation and waiting projects

I’ve been pretty sick for the past two weeks. Actually the last three or four days or so I’ve been on the mend.  Earlier this week I came down with a bad bout of bronchitis. Which had me laid up in bed resting, taking antibiotics and drinking lots of “Breathe Easy” tea. I honestly think I can’t stomach the stuff anymore, and the smell of it makes me gag.

Yoke Sweater in Araucania Nature Wool

Yoke Sweater in Araucania Nature Wool

The Tweedy Aran cardigan was abandoned… and the project I remained anonymous to was a top down yoke cardigan out of Araucania Nature Wool (languishing in my stash) from Wendy Bernard’s wonderful book Custom Knits.  I really adore this book. Aside from the sweater I just finished I’ve already cued three patterns from it.  The instructions are very easy to follow and I like the fact that she give you permission and even instructions on how to adapt the patterns to your desires and needs. This is the kind of Knitting Designer I adore.

I was probably monogamous to this pattern during my illness because it was easy to knit, requiring very little mental strain. Eric joked that a week of sickbed time and I end up with a sweater.

I meant to post my latest raglan earlier but never got around to it. Here it is:

I made the yarn at Yarnia. It’s actually a blend of bamboo and wool.  I really did enjoy knitting this sweater. The think about stranded yarns is that you have to be very carful with your tension while your knitting. Adding a strand of sticky wool boucle to this yarn blend actually gave it more of a grip. Also, I have enough of the stuff left over to make a nice scarf or cowl for someone.

Yarnia Raglan Sweater - Wool & Bamboo

Yarnia Raglan Sweater - Wool & Bamboo

Close up of stockinette

Close up of stockinette

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Filed under Garment Design, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Patterns, Stockinette, Stuff I made, Sweater, Wool, Yarn

Raglan Sweater Episode 3: Working up the body & armpit gussets

I’m sorry I’m extremely tardy in posting this. I’ve been incredibly distracted by among other things Norah Gaughn’s Tweedy Aran Cardigan. I swore I would do my best to avoid knitting sweaters that I would have to seam, but looks like I broke my oath :).

In the sweater I knit for Eric I didn’t do any waist shaping or decreasing. The body of the sweater was knit up as a straight tube. He likes his sweater hems to ride just below his hip, so I would make him try on the tube periodically to see how I was doing. Once I got about two inches from his armpits I started to knit the armpit or underarm gussets.

Now one might ask why even knit these gussets? Doesn’t it just create a strange little pouch near the armpit. Apparently the gussets are a feature designed for fishermen who wore their ganseys or guernseys (sweaters) while they were out at sea. All the work on a boat requires you to swing your arms around; therefore it makes a lot of sense that these folks would want their sweaters to have a bit of ‘give’ in that area.

Remember how I added those two purl stitches at each end of my sweater tube? I start building my armpit gusset on each side at these purl stitches.

Gussets:

Row 1: at the purl stitch knit front and back (kfb) twice so you have three stitches total in the gusset. Knit to the next purl stitch on the left side of your sweater and repeat the steps to create three stitches for the left gusset. Knit until the end of the round.

Row 2: and every even row purl the first and the last stitch in the gusset while you knit the rest. For example,row 2 you would p1, k1, p1. In row 4 you would p1, k3, p1 with five stitches total. As you can see after each odd row the gusset increases with 2 stitches. Knit to the purl stitch on the left side and repeat the steps for the gusset. Knit until the end of the round.

Row 3: At the gusset kfb1, k1 kfb1 (5 stitches). Knit to the left gusset and repeat. Knit to the end of the round.

Repeat rows 2 & 3. Until you have enough stitches on your gusset. For bulky weight yarn like the Cascade 109 I used in Eric’s raglan, I stopped at 11 stitches. For a worsted weight yarn I might stop at 15. For a DK weight yarn I’d stop at 17 stitches on each gusset.

Remember, you will repeat the gusset steps when you create your sleeve. In the next episode, I will review how to start and ‘execute’ the sleeves. Better yet, I’ll show you how to knit the sleeves two at a time using the “Magic Loop” method.

Armpit Gusset

Previous Raglan Sweater Episodes:

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Filed under Garment Design, Knit, Knitting, Stockinette, Stuff I made, Sweater

Swatch Day and Blueberry Socks

I know I said I was going to write about swatching as part of my process in the whole “Raglan Sweater Series” of posts. I lied.

I know a lot of knitters don’t like hearing the “Sermon on the Swatch.”  Maybe it’s just part of the lesson. Knitting a whole sweater that doesn’t look or fit right. I’ll be honest. I have had this happen to me… more than once. As a result, I now swatch.

That’s all I’ll say on this subject for now.

I did have time today to swatch a few yarns I’ve been wanting to try… some yarns for spring: a cotton/hemp blend, Silky wool, and a mystery yarn from Yarnia that I purchased at last years Knit & Crochet Show (Fall). It’s a mystery because I lost the tag.

I’m a little worried that the Coto Canapone (cotton/hemp) is a bit heavy and stiff, but I think it will soften up after washing and blocking.  I’ve heard some really great things about using hemp and I’ve swatched some pure hemp before. It was a bit too harsh for my liking, and I realized that it would take many washings before I could get it to the softness I wanted. Though perhaps I should think of this as a trade off for the fact that hemp takes a lot longer to wear thin than cotton.  Apparently hemp had quite a history as a much used textile until recent times.  Perhaps with the economy being as it is… more people will turn to having durable clothing items rather than disposable ones they replace or trash every year.

I’m quite charmed by the Yarnia yarn.  Unfortunately the photo of the swatch I took doesn’t reflect the different greens\ and purple shades in this gorgeous yarn. Some people have noted that they find the loosely spun plies difficult and splitty to work with, but I’ve always felt that if you take proper care, even splitty yarn can make nice fabric as long as your knitting on the ‘snug’ side.

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

From top to bottom, Coto Canapone, Silky Wool, & Yarnia 'mystery yarn.'

I was also able to finish my pair of Heritage Paint socks for the shop model for my “Toe up Socks” class coming up.  I have to say, this yarn is pretty fantastic. I think it’s pretty durable and still fairly soft with no itch. Plus it’s pretty inexpensive and the yardage is huge… 437 yards a skein. I found that the solid colors of this yarn are quite a bargain at around $12-13 dollars a skein. That’s a good price for yarn for handknit socks that should last quite some time.

My Blueberry socks in Heritage Paints

My "Blueberry" socks in Heritage Paints

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Filed under Fibers, Hemp yarn, Knit, Knitters, Knitting, Lace, Portland, Portland Knitters, Socks, Stockinette, Stuff I made, Teaching, Techniques, Yarn

Meet my sentimental frog

Slouchy bit of frog

Slouchy bit of frog

I’ve been having issues with my camera fuzzing up. User error obviously. I actually was able to whip up “Frog” in about an evening. I took some time the next day during lunch to construct him, and I added the scarf later. He’s got sort of a soulful and sentimental air about him. As he sits on my desk next to my key board his eyes direct themselves toward the ceiling as if to ask “why?” If I was eight years old, he’d be my best friend and quite a listener.

I used Glaciar del Cielo for the body and parts.  I really enjoy using this yarn as it doesn’t feel as harsh or rough as other cotton yarns. Strange but I prefer to make my creatures out of cotton vs. acryllic or even wool yarns because of the way they feel to the touch. The scarf was knit from some unidentifiable scrap of acrylic blend yarn, probably Encore.

I tried to make this toy fairly kid-friendly: no wire construction, no buttons or beads. Just stuffing and embroidered features.

I’m actually drafting a pattern of this little guy right now, and I”ll probably make it available for free on Ravelry.com.

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Filed under Amigurumi, Cotton, Crochet, Stuff I made, Synthetic fiber, Yarn

Dye Party Extravaganza

Dont drink the Kool-aid. Use it for dyeing

Don't drink the Kool-aid. Use it for dyeing

I had a yarn/fabric dying party yesterday with some friends.

I have more pics of the finished yarns I need to share but here are some of the original batch of Kool-aid dyed yarns we finished yesterday afternoon. The Dye party was a huge success. We used my old kitchen microwave to set the dyes in the yarn and fabric. All items were wrapped in microwaveable plastic bags and zapped for about two minutes and then two minutes again to set the dye.

The Kool-aid dyes worked suprisingly well especially with the superwash wools. We also did a batch of acid dye yans/fabrics. I did dye some dupioni silk which turned out quite well. I discovered that my Eco wool didn’t take dyes very well. probably because there was excess lanolin there even after a thorough washing with synthropol.

I will post pictures of those as soon as I get the time 🙂

Rinsing set dyed yarns & fabric in a bucket

Rinsing set dyed yarns & fabric in a bucket

More yarn photos:

Cascade Eco Wool in Acid Dye Colors

Cascade Eco Wool in Acid Dye Colors

My Sock Yarn in Blues and Brown

My Sock Yarn in Blues and Brown

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The Side Impact Sweater and an Autumn Scarf

I finished this in almost record time… less than a month. I aways do this with projects and fibers I love. I have decided that I am absolutely in love with Art Fibers Rush, and I’m planning to do one more sweater in it. Probably another pullover. I’m really happy with the drape of the fabric and even it’s warmth despite the fact that this sweater has a lot of lace openwork in it in the arms and sides.

Side Impact Sweater - Click the link to view the source of the pattern

Side Impact Sweater - Click the link to view the source of the pattern

I was also able to finish a scarf just in time for my brother’s birthday.  It’s knit from Andy II Merino purchased at the Close Knit knitting store on Alberta here in in Portland. I really love this yarn, it’s spendy, but it’s worth it for a nice present for someone special.

Special Autumn Scarf

Special Autumn Scarf

While I was at the store I was also able to pick up two skeins of Imperial Stock yarn… in a great heathered blue. Love this yarn. I also love that it’s locally based, and the colors are really beautiful. For the amount of yarn you get 200 yards of worsted 2-ply at little over 11 dollars a skein is quite a deal for locally grown and milled yarn.

Imperial Stock Yarn

Imperial Stock Yarn

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Escaping the Heat

The View - Cove at Cape Disappointment

The View - Cove at Cape Disappointment

As I write this, the day after our beach trip, storm clouds are forming above us.  So my pleas for relief have been heard. There’s something completely unnatural about living in a hot climate. But I suppose someone who grew up in the Arizona desert might beg to differ. The overly moisturized environment of the Pacific Northwest might seem a bit soggy to them.

How does one escape 104 degree weather? We do what any normal Portlander does… flee to the coast. This time we made our way up to Astoria and the Long Beach area up to Cape Disappointment. Ahhhh… it was a cool 65 degrees, and you could see the mist rolling over the tree tops.

Sandy Pug Butt

Sandy Pug Butt

The dogs (Otto, Kirby and Pono – Pono is Kirby’s brother) had a glorious time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Otto most ecstatic and content. The cove by the lighthouse was pretty secluded and there was a steep trek down. Consequently, it’s not visited by too many people. So we felt pretty good about just letting the dogs run about. It’s quite problematic having chihuahuas on the beach with other dogs, because they’re so tiny and uppity. We worry about them getting into a deadly tussle with a much larger dog.

I was still feeling out of sorts from the heat from the last few days. The night before our beach trip, I got absolutely no sleep. I awoke feeling hungover, without having experienced the booze fun the night before, so I didn’t get much knitting done on the beach. On the way there, I did work on my Lace Ribbon Scarf (ala Knitty.com) with the very delicious Tantra silk from Art Fibers. If I was sharp enough, I would have taken a picture of the scarf on the driftwood. Art Fibers just does an absolutely amazing job with their coloring and variegation in their dye jobs. It’s worth, not being able to predict the colors exactly from their website photos. Each time I get a color I’m more than pleasantly surprised. As I look over the beach photos, the colors from this scarf seem very reminiscent of the colors I experienced on the coast that day. What a lovely coincidence.

Lace Ribbon Scarf in Art Fibers Tantra

Lace Ribbon Scarf in Art Fibers Tantra

As I lay on the beach trying to rehydrate my body and being, I did work on another Amigurumi creature, a mischievous monkey. Simple crochet in a spiral seemed to be soothing to work on.  I’ll post the photos up on this item later.

Our friend, Emily experimented with some stop-action animation with her camera.  She, Chad and Ryan worked together to shoot a short, short feature starring various beach paraphernalia and dead creatures (crab shells and Jelly fish).  It was quite interesting to watch all of them get involved in the creative process, each of them contributing ideas and direction. You can see the results here: Mysterious Beach.

Collecting materials for the movie set

Collecting materials for the movie set

Chihuahua brothers enjoy the beach

Chihuahua brothers enjoy the beach

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Filed under Amigurumi, Colors, Craft, Creativity, Crochet, Knit, Knitting, Lace, Project, Stuff I made, Yarn

Special Sweater

Saranac Body

Saranac Body

Two sleeves on a long circular needle using the Magic Loop method.

Two sleeves on a long circular needle using the "Magic Loop" method.

——————–

So my husband… has been so wonderful working on our kitchen. I’ve discovered that he’s been quite a whiz at the DIY. The other day, my anxiety went up when he was working on the electrical, not because I don’t have faith in him, but because even when you take precautions… WORKING ON THAT STUFF CAN BE DEADLY. I stood by watching and wary with the cell phone handy just in case.

So I’m making him a special sweater just because he’s been so terrific. It’s the least I could do. He’s not big into cable or aran sweaters, so I had to pick a fairly simple and comfortable pattern.

I’m doing an altered version of the Saranac from Knitty.com in Knit PIcks Comfy yarn. No open collar because he’s just not that kind of guy. I’ll probaby join the sleeves at the yoke using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s instructions in Knitting Around.

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Chocolates and a nifty scarf

I finished a pretty nice scarf (made with Rowan Lurex Shimmer and Elizabeth Austen’s Yang). I like how the ribbon with the glittery thread knitted up into a sort of scaly pattern with some nice drape. I originally made it for my mother, but I don’t think she’ll like the shades of color.

But I did finish making chocolates over at my friend Pete’s house. This was an all day affair, but well worth it. And you get to try all the ‘mistakes.’ Several of us get together every year before Mother’s day to make several kinds of hand made chocolates. It took a little longer today because there were less folks helping out than last year. Oh well, more for us. Sorry the picture’s a little blurry. This year we made the following:

Dark chocolates:

  • Half pipes with almonds with almond filling and orange chocolate ganache
  • Espresso ganache
  • Lemon cremes
  • Huckleberry cordials
  • Smoked almonds with coconut fllling
  • Dipped caramels with a touch of grey sea salt
  • Cointreau truffles

Milk chocolate

  • Macadamia nut
  • Blueberry cordials
  • Coconut creme ( I think I didn’t make these ones so I’m not sure)

Boxes of Mother's Day Chocolates

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