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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Episode 2: Destash and Design to Fit

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Another week has passed and we've managed to stay on schedule with our second episode of the podcast. Next week will most likely be off track as I will be out of the office through Wednesday.

Episode 2 of the Knit One, Crochet Too podcast includes the following:
1) Weekend Wrap-Up where Joyce tells us about her major stash re-organization, and Helene discusses her week-in-knitting projects. Joyce also gets tips on salvaging a project that came out too small.
2) Do a little homework to learn how to transcribe information from garments you already own and love, onto a basic knitted t-shirt pattern.

While Joyce discussed her systematic way of purging her stash, she mentioned the McClellan's Frankenmuth Woolen Mill where she had great luck in having fleeces washed and carded. She got back beautiful balls of roving, ready to be spun.

We would both be interested to hear some of your de-stashing tips or anecdotes. Please feel free to share via comments below!

Ok, so back to the now called "Linus Capelet and Hat" set. I, not so originally, called it Linus because of the yarn it's made of (sometimes you put all your inspiration in the design and there ain't much left for the naming process, know what I mean?). Yes, I took it apart, down to the large cable band, and it really wanted to stay a capelet (minus the buttonband idea), or mini poncho, whatever you want to call it. Capelet sounds a bit like some medieval garment, and not exactly something fashionable...but it's probably just me.It fits about elbow length and is very warm. The hat is cute, too. This will be part of our next fall/winter season and the pattern will be available in late April. Linus is already in our line and is available now. Below is the video for the stretchy bind off shown in ribbing. You can use the same method if binding off knitwise or purlwise.

The next project I managed to complete over the weekend is the Snow Flower Set worked in Petite Boucle. The yarn has too much texture to show any fancy pattern stitch and has lots of personality so it doesn't need much else. As I was unsure of its fiber content (shame on me!), I looked it up and here it is: 58% nylon/21% kid mohair/21% merino wool. The project is one size fits all adults. This will also be ready in April, and will only be available as a kit in all 12 colors of Petite Boucle . I knew I already had just the right buttons for this, and turns out I even had exactly 2 - sometimes the stars align just right.
You can wear the cowl buttoned or not, depending on how much warmth you need. The button on the beret is decorative only.

Joyce asked for suggestions on altering a vest she made a few years ago. She's worn it a few times, even though it is a bit too small. I suggested adding a double breasted band in the center, and going around the bottom if she also wanted more length. She thought working it in corrugated ribbing (alternating k2 in blue and p2 in multi) could be another option.
The Daisy Vest, worked in Ambrosia was designed that way because the fronts were original too small (bad me didn't bother with a gauge swatch), and I added the wider bands at the center to add to the size. The double row of buttons turned out to be a nice unplanned design element.
The "Made-to-Fit Tee Worksheet" is part of a "Basic Lesson Series" I decided to start. This first lesson has you try your hand at designing a basic t-shirt shaped top. I've uploaded a pdf worksheet you can download.
Work a gauge swatch first using your stitch of choice (no, no, don't do as I do, do as I say!), then follow the directions carefully and fill in all your dimensions and stitch count first, before transfering that information on the pattern. Keep in mind that if you use a real t-shirt (made of thin knit fabric) as the garment to measure, and plan on using the pattern you create to knit yourself a tee shirt, you need to allow a bit more ease as your handknit fabric will be thicker than that of the t-shirt. Click on image below to begin downloading the worksheet file.
The Fiber Gypsy site has a great chart for Garment Ease Allowances that is worth bookmarking. I also highly recommend the book Designing Knitwear, by Deborah Newton. Although written in 1998, the information included on designing and fit, is still relevant—a must-have reference book.
By the way, we are now listed on iTunes. Doing a search for Knit One Crochet Too should bring us up. If not, drop down the "Advanced" menu in the iTunes software, and select the "Subscribe to Podcast" option. In the input box, copy and paste: "". That worked for me. Please leave comments on iTunes as this will help in moving the podcast out of obscurity :-)

This wraps up the notes portion of Episode 2. If you get stuck figuring out the t-shirt worksheet, post your questions here. Next podcast may be a continuation of this workshop. Have a great week in knitting!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Episode 1: Taking the plunge!

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We've finally taken the plunge and started a podcast and this accompanying blog. This has been percolating for a while, but as always, time flies by, and there are too many things to do, and not enough time.

Episode 1 of the Knit One, Crochet Too podcast includes the following:
1) our Monday morning weekend wrap up where we discuss our weekend endeavors, and I report on my ongoing designs and knitting projects
2) a mini lesson on color selections, with suggestions where to look for ideas for inspiring colors
3) a short reading of a knitting related essay

Here is what the failed (so far) capelet design worked in Linus yarn looks like - before frogging.
This is a close-up view (above) of the end where the 1" band turned into a 4" band...and still not big enough to go around the shoulders and arms, unless I place a buttonhole at the very top, and the capelet is worn open in the center. Not the look I was looking for.
This shows you the entire thing...mostly finished...with all the small braided cables...ready to be ripped back...all the way down to the large cable band (which I actually ended up doing). Next photos will be of the finished garment, done like my original idea (the one that actually fits), but in the round, with no opening or buttons. Plus, there will be a matching hat. Yes, I do like to torture myself. :-)

The book of designs for the roller derby crowd is called "Knockdown Knits: 30 Projects from the Roller Derby Track" by Joan of Dark a.k.a. Toni Carr. As I mentioned, you can go to and look inside the book to see some of the featured projects. Some cute things, some interesting things, some things a little bit weird...but what do I know, right? I am the one who went dancing in the snow bank with the referee.
Oh, and did I mention that each sample in the book is modeled by a member of the Naptown Roller Girls? And if you are interested in our local roller derby team, Maine Roller Derby, you can read about them here.

In the 2nd section of the podcast, I give you tips on color selection. I know some knitters feel less than confident when trying to select colors for a multi-color project. I give easy tips for developing a reference list of matching color groups.
Here is the image (above) of the Pantone color guide I use to communicate my color choices to the dye houses. From left to right, above the color chips, you can see Ty-Dy Wool, 2 upcoming colors of Wrapunzel, and the Lucia Tee, a free t-shirt pattern that uses Ty-Dy cotton.
Here's a photo of the whole Lucia Tee. Isn't it cute? The pattern is written from finished size 34" to 50".

I did a lot of fiddling with the podcast sound file, trying to make it sound as professional as I can. But of course, as this is our very first program, I know things can only get better. So, please forgive any popping, smacking, talking over each other, mismatch sound level, and anything else that may need working on. I do invite you to post comments of specific peeves that we will try to address. Of course, we know we won't be everyone's cup of tea...and that's ok.

We just hope to bring you some insider information from the business end of yarn, and a bit more.