While on the topic of remnants

Since being home in retirement, I see, touch, and feel my yarn collection much more than when I was working.  In fact, I might even say I avoided looking at my yarn as it seemed to yearn for my attention.  Yearning yarn of yesterday has become quite the playmate for today.  Corny, but true.  Sorting, organizing, thinking, wondering  . . . this is what we knitters fill our minds with.  I am finding these scrap remnants a fun challenge in how to incorporate them into patterns I love.   Here are some recent attempts in three different ways:

Little bits of scraps for an otherwise solid sweater ~ In this collection, you can see that most of the sweater is solid but there is a little color detail somewhere in the sweater.  This is a perfect moment to look at your remnant stash to see what colors you can utilize.  In the bear sweater which is in bulky weight, I wanted bulky scraps of a Kodiac.  In the fair isle collared jacket, I wanted worsted fair isle colors for the collar, and for the pink pullover, I wanted sport weight scraps.  In all 3 cases, I was able to easily succeed causing me only to purchase the MC of the sweaters.

Longer yardage scraps ~ Larger scraps for whole blocks of color can make up the entire sweater.  Coordinating a few colors and knitting large sections of a sweater then sewing it together makes for a great way to utilize stash as seen here.

Large areas of multi-color can use up stash as in these 3 examples.  The first is using many fingering weight scraps, the middle project used sport weight scraps, and the last utilized many worsted weight scraps.

As I forge onward, I have these on the horizon:

By spilling out all my Rowan Scottish Tweed I have decided to put together just the brown and orchid for this gorgeous oversized lace sweater.

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Fair Isle Coat from Remnant Stash

This past year, I have made a conscious effort to utilize the growing stash that is forming.  I don’t mean the stash of yarn waiting to be worked on with particular projects in mind, I am meaning the remnants or leftovers of yarn from already completed projects.  I call the first the stash and the latter, the remnant stash.   To help me think how I could utilize these scraps, I have organized them into bins according to their weight.

I do not necessarily remember the weight of all the yarn I’ve used therefore I rely heavily on the yarn bands that is full of information about that yarn.  I never throw those bands out!  When I come across a pattern whereby I think I can use some scraps of a particular weight, I pour those balls of yarn out onto my work table and play.  It is in this way that this fair isle coat came to be.

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A Gift for My Hand Knits

As space is the constant, I continue to ‘play’ with different configurations on how best to store my hand-knits and how best to organize the stash.  Consequently, the look in the yarn room keeps changing as I now use one room and its closet for both.  Questions I ask myself:  How can I store my obsession without looking like a hoarder?  How can I see my full stash when it is time for creating?  How can I treat my hand-knits to the best care for longevity?  Light in the room?  And, so forth.

In drilling down for answers, I’ve been reading.  Topics such as:  How do you store hand-knits?  Is there a special way to fold sweaters?  What shelving and/or containers are best for breathability of natural fibers?  I am asking these questions because my hand knits are my wardrobe.  I am noticing that when I pull out a sweater I haven’t worn in a while, I am seeing fold marks.  Do people steam out those fold marks?  Is that healthy for the fibers?  Is there a way to prevent what seems like permanent folds in a garment?  You see, I can go on and on with questions like this.

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Dart Detail, Perhaps?

Project as seen on Ravelry, also detailed [HERE]

It is typical to find me in my closet of hand knits when I am looking for something to wear.  This past week was no different.  I pulled out my lovely tri-color tunic I finished about six months, ago.  I thought it would be the perfect layer for the weather and proceeded.  With a casual, happy feeling I put on this garment, looked into a mirror, and thought, “hey, what happened?”  I felt like I was swimming in it.  Did you ever notice that when something doesn’t fit the way you want, it becomes highly distracting?   I was uncomfortable to the point that I changed out of it knowing I needed to do some adjusting.

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Honeycomb Slip Stitch

Last year, The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo brought in designer, Heather Lodinsky, to teach a skill on one of her designs.  The pattern was her two-tone slip stitch cable pullover and the skill was using slip stitches in cable work.  In my experience in knitting, I had not encountered slip stitches to be used for the design of a garment, only to be done along the edges of knitted pieces.  So, I was quick to take on the pullover with the Guild and it led me to do a self-investigation of slip stitches, in general.

ON SLIP STITCH STUDY

One way to choose a pattern is to have specific learning intentions in mind.  With this ‘study’, I purposely looked for patterns that used slipped stitches and and used those slipped stitches in  the design process.  This kind of focus not only informs, but also helps to narrow the field of potentials.  My curiosity is now satisfied and this is what I’ve found:

  • Slip stitches can be used as a variation to the basic cable technique.  More [HERE] about this project.

  • Slip stitches can be used to create an overall linen or tweed look in the fabric .  There is more [HERE] on this.

  • Slip stitches can create a unique broken-line look in striping.   More [HERE].

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Vest [Best] Dress[ed]

For a project that pretty much flew off the needles, it is interesting that I have so much to say about it.   I have lots to say not due to any pattern issue or yarn dissatisfaction, but rather the changes I made in how I constructed it.  From long tail cast on to sewing on the seam binding along the back neck, I feel these changes led to its success and will lead to the garment’s longevity.

I will begin with the pattern.  Found in an unlikely source for me, the vogue knitting online store,   I’ve always thought these a collection of older issue VK patterns so figured I had already seen all of them.  I virtually stumbled across this and was surprised it was not familiar to me.   I also found a bunch more I really liked and have queued so I now know that these collections of [free] or otherwise select patterns on various knitting websites may offer new possibilities and are not necessarily from publications.  I love everything about this garment:  its deep hem rib that shapes the piece, the deep v neckline, its concept, the pockets, its versatility, oh, I could go on.  There is nothing I do not like except its construction.  I even used the yarn  of the pattern and chose a very similar color palate substituting only the antique for grape and keeping the candy apple red color.

On the yarn.  The yarn utilized in the pattern is a bulky Lion Brand fiber called Homespun of acrylic/polyester.  I love the boucle look of this yarn and knew if I was going to knit this, this would be the only yarn I would consider.  The fiber looks almost like rickrack and gives the surface of the knitted fabric a soft, curly look.   Fabulous, however I was soon to find out that it was difficult to work with.

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