Saturday, December 20, 2008

American Girl patterns - knit testers needed

The past week was super busy for me; thus no postings. Besides the fact that my youngest daughter was turning 5 and I was heaving 2 birthday parties planned for her, I had also decided to participate in a cookie swap on the same day as one of the birthday parties. I made some Czech cookies my grandma used to make - coffee bean cookies. It took me close to 3 hours to make 8 dozens of them! I am really not the cooking/baking type of girl who enjoys the process because things usually don't go right and I get frustrated easily. It would be much more fun for me if I was making it with somebody than just standing in a kitchen by myself or heaving my kids argue over who is going to do what. It would be nice to do it with my grandma or mom or my sister, but those days are gone since they do not reside in the same country with me over the holidays. Anyways, cookies are done - I made 3 more other kinds as well (just needed to do it for the tradition's sake!) - I did have a better luck with no major mishaps.

NEW - American Girls (or 18" doll) patterns

Also I was knitting, of course. That was more fun for me. I had made three outfits for American Girl dolls for my kids. I enjoyed these quick projects very much. I thought they turned out well - if I say so myself, so I decided to write the patterns for them. Now I am offering the patterns for free to a a few of you knitters to test the pattern. So if you'd like to make one of the sweaters, and have 3 - 4 hours to devote to this project in the next week or so, please contact me. I will e-mail you the pattern for you to knit from. What I ask in return is to give me a feedback on the pattern and that you do it in timely fashion, lets say within a week of me sending you the pattern. In your message, please let me know which of the patterns you'd like to make as well.

All the sweaters are worked from neck down in one piece with no need for seaming. The hats are also worked in a round. You'll need between 135 to 160 yds of medium weight (worsted) yarn - great way to use your leftover scrap yarn! Further, you'll need US 6 (4.00mm) needles - circular and/or double pointed needles, F/5 - 3.75mm hook and 5 buttons (for Rubine & Candy), tapestry needle, 4 stitch markers, and stitch holders (or some scrap yarn).
Cotton Candy


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Project update and some pictures...

I worked on this jacket in spring 2008. I almost finished it before the summer, but was unable to sew the buttons on yet and a cable that goes around the outer part of the collar. But I think I like it better without it. I modified the collar, since I did not like the big collar on me as it was pictured in the original pattern. Second, I did not fully how the construction of the collar as described in the patter, so I knitted a collar support to mimic the shape of the collar and then sewn it from the back of the collar to body (see pictures below).

Project info
: Cape Collar Jacket
:#16 Cape Collar Jacket by Vladimir Teriokhin from Vogue Knitting (Winter 2007/2008)
Size: S
US 8 / 5.0 mm
Bernat Soy Natural Blends
14 skeins = 1876.0 yards (1715.4m)

Unfortunately, I did not make the best yarn choice for this cardigan: the soy yarn has become rather heavy and stretched the cardigan to a great length. It still looks OK, though I might shorten it at waist one of these days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Still in the crochet groove

In my previous post I talked about the book Double Stitch. I was very inspired by the designs and wanted to make the shrug on the cover as well, but I was unable to locate the feathers anywhere. I looked in Micheals and AC Moore and even on line but with no luck; they onlykind have was the kiddy kinds that would not look very good on a grown woman. When I read through the pattern, I realized that without the feathers, it looks rather plain, so I decided to design one of my own - more suddle, and for me probably more wearable version. I found a great yarn: Paton's new yarn Silk Bamboo. You can see a sneak peak in the pictures. I am still working on it (had it on a back burner for couple of months now), but hopefully finish it by Christmas, and hopefully have a pattern by then too. I am still not sure what I am going to do for the neck opening - still in the works.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Give me some crochet, please ...

Before I left for the Czech Republic, I had bought a new book - DoubleStitch by Erika and Monika Simmons. I loved most of the designs in it: the designs are very hip and fresh, and give me a new look at crochet. Most of the designs have very simple constructions and are easy to make. Even though I like many of the designs, unfortunately, most of them are not very wearable for me - I'm not that young of a chick anymore; and most of the designs are targeted towards to a younger, more daring wearer. Regardless, I fell in love with the Gypsy Duster and I wanted to make it so bad, but I had to wait until I was done with all my knitting projects for publication. I took the book and allocated yarn with me to the Czech Republic, hoping that I will have some extra time to work on it. After the knitting marathon, I had to give myself at least a week off; and then, in the middle of the summer, I started to crochet. It was coming along rather quick; and it was nice to work for a mere pleasure for a change. And since there was no rush (not like one needs a coat in the middle of a summer!), I have finished it when I got back to the States.

When crocheting, I was worried a little about the size because it looked rather small for me at first; but then when it was finished, because of the yarn weight and nature of the stitch, the coat stretched to fit perfectly. I have omitted the ties since it was hard to get in and out of the coat while just throwing it on to go the bus stop and back; but the eyelets are there if I ever wanted to use the ties. I must say it like it both ways - with the ties or without.

Project info:
Gypsy Duster

Needle and yarn
: 6.0 mm (J)
: Lily Sugar'n Cream Confectionary
1 skeins = 710.0 yards (649.2m) of each color. Colors: 1 skein of White & 1 skein of Natural.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dreamer 136

So since I have not blogged in a few months, I wanted to update what I was working on during the quiet time. It was not quiet time in the knitting & crochet department though. I have worked a lot and thanks to the fact that some of the yarns have arrived later than they should have, I was forced to take some of my projects my vacation.

This booklet Dreamer 136 is a booklet of Mission Falls yarns and it introduces their new yarn line 136 Merino Superwash. This yarn is very, very soft, especially after washing and blocking. It is a 4 ply 100% Merino Wool spun finer from the same fiber as their 1824 Wool and in the same 40 colors. Each 50 gram ball comprises 136 yards of yarn. Recommended gauge is 24 stitches / 32 rows.

The books started to form in March/April 2008 and when I found out that Stefanie Japel was working on it as a coordinator and co-creator, I was very excited to work with her. The third designer contributing to this booklet was Gallina Carroll.

First I've knitted Sophie - the one button cardigan. The cardigan is worked in Stockinette Stitch with wide stripes worked in slip stitch pattern using 3 colors to add depth and dimension.

Secondly, I worked on the Margo Hat and Scarf Set. The stitch used in this set is called Bramble Stitch and it looks complicated than it is. The stripes are worked 2 rows in each color and the Bramble stitch gives it a raised look.

The last design I contributed was the Celeste sweater coat. It was initially designed as a short sleeve coat, but it was changed to long sleeves because it was a fall design. Here is the original proposal sketch:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where is my copy?

Interweave Knits, Winter 2008 is on news stands today, and I have not gotten my copy yet! I even saw it in Safeway yesterday already, but I have not gotten it in my mail. Interweave usually ships one copy and leaflet of the designer's pattern on or before the issue date, so I don't know what happened, but it seems that I just have to be patient and wait. In this issue, I have a design of mine published: Washington Square Vest. I made this vest while on vacation in the Czech Republic in the middle of the summer. This was a second project I was working on while there. First one was the Celeste
sweater coat. I was quite busy and anxious a bit being on a tight schedule to meet the deadlines and still trying to do fun things with my kids. So I was knitting in all places - including some odd places like by the swimming pool - people were looking at me funny; people in the Czech Republic are not used to knitting outside their homes. At least I have never seen anyone. Then when done, my husband had to take the vest back to the USA to mail it, since the postage was quite ridiculously expensive for sending a package overseas. Anyways, it brings memories... and it's nice to see it all done and published.

The vest was made in Tilli Tomas Elsie. It was very soft yarn and pleasure to work with. It nicely worked for the dainty lace detail around the neckline. This was my first time to work with Tilli Tomas yarn; I had always wanted to, but it's priced a bit out of my price-range. But after working with it, I would consider buying it.

The Washington Square Vest was my second project I made for Interweave Knits. My very first project was the Little Blue Sweater you could see in the Fall 2008 issue of IK. As you can tell I have not blogged in a really long time, so there's no mention of this one here. So let me tell you a bit about this little sweater.

The sweater is worked in Classic Elite Yarns Duchess. When I first knitted it up, it produced rather stiff fabric, but after washing and blocking, the yarn became very, very soft and pliable. This project is a quick knit worked on US 10½ / 6.5 mm needles. So if you need some last Christmas gifts, you may try to work this sweater.

When I designed the sweater, the rib on the lower part was to sit at waist as pictured in my pictures. The model in the magazine must have been a little taller than I anticipated; or my mannequine is of very short statue. I will keep that in mind next time I am designing. But when you are making it, measure it against your own body for the lenghts, so it fits the way you intended. Though keep in mind the row gauge as measured from your blocked swatch, so you don't have any surprises after you wash and block your finished sweater. Actually on Knitting Daily blog, Sandi Wiseheart talked about blocking great deal in past couple days, so if you want to learn more, check the blog out.