Sunday, January 25, 2009

Zip it

I finally did something with my embroidery projects. I like to make things that have a function - cute artsy stuff are pretty to look at, but the first question that pops into my head is - What does it do?
The only thing I could think of for my stitched pieces of linen was to turn them into zippered pouches. Really, that's it, I have no idea what else to do with them.

So I sewed two little pouches. The first one is about 12 cm x 13 cm, with a Rocket pattern from Sublime Stitching Craft Pad. The second one is 9 cm x 12 cm, pattern based on the one in Doodle Stitching.
Installing a zipper would have been way easier if I had a zipper foot on my sewing machine. Or if I had the ability to sew a perfectly straight line.

Of course, now that I sewed the pouches, they don't do anything. They just sit on my table waiting for me to put something in them. Maybe spare change for the Tree one?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Double Knitting is slooooow

Lost is coming back on January 21st, so to celebrate that fact (yes, I love my tv show :-) I decided to knit at least one of the Dharma stations from Irina's awesome Orientation scarf. It's double knitting, something I've never done before, but I figured it can't be that hard, and besides, it's Lost. I'm so excited about that show that I should probably have my head examined.

Anyway - double knitting. I
t is hard. And it's slow. Really slow. Sloooooooooooooooooowww. It took me forever to figure out how to do it. I frogged at least three times. And when it seemed to be going fine, I realized I've cast on the wrong number of stitches. Now, when it comes to knitting, I'm willing to make some compromises, but frogging the same thing more than 3 times - no, sir. So I left it like it was, and made peace with the fact that my image will be slightly off center. I really thought I got the jist of it, and it went fine until I reached the chart. After couple of rows it turned out that I was doing it completely wrong. Imagine my happiness when faced with the possibility of frogging. Again, I left it like it is. Why should my potholder be perfect? I'm not.

I think I'm doing it right now. See on the picture, where there is a sort of break in the black outline of the Dharma logo? I call that the mistake line. Everything under it is where I used the wrong techniq
ue - always working the same colors together, and mixing up the k,p order. That is wrong,. Wrong, wrong, wrong, no matter how logical it seemed at the time. Wrong.

You're supposed to knit in the same order always - first knit, then purl. K,P,K,P and so on. Think of stitches in pairs - a double knit stitch is not complete until you've knit one and purled another.
When your chart tells you to change colors - you knit with the color that's next in the chart - it's okay if you're knitting with black yarn into a white stitch. That's what you're supposed to do. Then just purl the following stitch with the white yarn and you're golden.

When purling - always hold BOTH yarns in front, also when knitting - BOTH yarns are in the back.
Oh, and super important - make sure your yarns don't get so tangled up that you have to use scissors to separate them. See the black tails coming out of the front of my potholder? I have no idea how I'm going to weave those in. All because of a bad tangle.

Here are a few tutorials for double knitting:

Stitch Diva

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gray Day Vest

My latest and greatest in knitting - The Green Day Vest. Except mine is gray. This was a great pattern, once I figured out all the math needed to make it in my size, with different yarn and needles than suggested. This is the worst part about knitting, the constant need for mathematical calculation. I suck at math. I suck so bad, that I always cast on at least twice. First time's always too wide. I never seem to get it right. The calculations for this vest took almost an entire
afternoon. I kid you not, that's how awful I am with all things mathematical.

Apparently I also suck at reading charts - I messed up the beginning of the front cables by repeating all three cable symbols in the pattern. You're only supposed to alternate between the first two. Other than that, everything went just peachy.
I did the the front knit panel/strip/the thing between the two cables in 4 stitches, but 2 would have been a better choice - it would have looked better as a continuation of the mini cable in the hem rib.

I changed the ribbing on the back (all part of my brilliant calculation), because I had to adjust the pattern to the reduced number of stitches. My rib is K4, P2.

The armpits are a little tight, but they don't cut off my circulation completely, so it's all good.

The side cable - done in only 6 stitches, again, because of the different CO number.

The details for this project:
Pattern: Green Day Vest
Yarn: Unitas Marija (wool/acrylic blend), 5 skeins
Needles: 5 mm circular (done in the round)
Time it took: about 10 days

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Forgot to take a decent picture

I recently bought Doodle Stitching from Amazon. It's a nice embroidery book, which explains the basic stitches and offers some projects that you can do yourself. The projects in it are really easy and cute.

The only problem I have with the book is that the patterns themselves are printed in pale pastel colors. You're supposed to copy and enlarge them, but no photocopier (the black and white one)
can copy those super pale lines. I ended up freehand copying most of the pattern and this only showed me that my drawing skills were left somewhere in the 4th grade of primary school. 'Tis a sad realization, I tell you.

The book shows you how to embroider and sew a couple of cute woodland plushies - an owl and a raccoon. They were made as part of Christ
mas presents for my friends, and I forgot to take a good picture of the damn owl before giving it away. I ended up using my cellphone. Yup, this is the best my Nokia can do.

See the difference between the phone camera and a digital one?

I've also been knitting. Said knitting is currently drying on the balcony. This might prove to be a huge mistake, because the temperatures here tend to drop below zero lately. Freezing can't be good for the yarn. But I really didn't feel like blocking it flat - that takes space and effort. I'm lazy.

I'll post pictures of the finished Green Day Vest (that is actually gray) once it's done drying. The post will probably include some whining about it not fitting right due to bad blocking.