Friday, September 20, 2013

Sky dress

I'm circumventing the issue of the smartphone being my only internet access during this period of quasi-temporary lack of full internet privileges by going through the drafts I've saved here that have photos and amazingly enough, finishing them. You see, I don't know if I can upload photos here from this phone yet.
It's a lot harder than it sounds, so please forgive any irregularities and just think of this as that charmingly quirky time when I was forced to basically phone it in, but not with the negative connotations that phrase has... It feels a bit like blogging by telegraph. (If the smartphone breaks, you'll know because those little puffs on the horizon? Those are my smoke signals.)
So, the blue tie-dye shirt pictured above? I found that on the sidewalk while out walking the kid. Naturally, I washed it and cut it up to make a dress for her.
Then of course I hand embellished it with crocheted edging. I used the smallest crochet thread generally available (30?) but then I happened to be at the closing clearance sale of my old beloved LYS Windsor Button in downtown Boston (the many references I have made on this blog to it I would reference with a link if I were actually able) and discovered some crochet thread so tiny, Victorians would consider it satisfactory. I didn't use it on her dress, but next time... next time.
In these photos V. is kindly modeling the dress for me so that I can check its progress. I have some cute pictures of her in it while we were out walking since she does really wear the dress. I'll post them post-smartphone and link them back to this page, etc.
Closer view. I am rather pleased with how it turned out. I even used interfacing in the button placket! (Feel free to reel from shock.) However, I am looking forward to the day when I can afford not only a sewing machine that does freearm zigzagging, but buttonholes.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

she has gone down!

would you believe I'm typing this ever so slowly with my smart phone?

years ago when I started this blog this idea would be inconceivable. Not just because of technological innovation but because my then partner-boyfriend-whatnot was quite a Luddite. He might not have kicked up too much of a stink because he fancied himself to not be a controlling type of person, but I certainly would have known his opinion.

I remember the day I got my first cellphone. A more clandestine meeting could not have been arranged than going into that cellphone store. I went far beyond my usual haunts to open the box and activate the phone. I knew I couldn't possibly run into him there because he had a very predictable routine.

When I got home later I just ever so casually mentioned the phone and that was that. That was a bit surprising since this was the same guy who had once insisted that we didn't really need a land line at home. Or perhaps it was because of that incident; he'd been the one in the end who was most inconvenienced by the lack of a phone and called to get one put in.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Not for the faint of heart

Do you recall way back when I said I wanted to make a pair of argyle socks? That was over a year ago, and I did start to make them using some red and black Jawoll sock yarn. I know that's not entirely authentic; nylon didn't come about until the '30's, but I had the yarn and it made sense to use it because the person I'm making them for doesn't care that much about the authenticity. He just wants some bitchin' socks to go with his kilt, and really, who doesn't?
They look so benign...
They bad boys are from Weldon's 4D #17 c.1928 - Men's Socks & Stockings, which I got at my favorite place to shop for patterns, Iva Rose Vintage Reproductions. This is one of the earliest examples of an argylish style to be found. These are worked in the round, using only two colors (brown and fawn), which is what adds the "-ish" to the argyle. True argyles are worked flat, and notoriously in more than two colors.

Not too bad, right?
About ten hours of knitting got me this far. This is not a charted pattern, so by the time I got to the first cross-over in a diamond, I got cocky and thought I knew the pattern. And I suppose it doesn't really matter if it's the precise pattern, except the back of the sock has shaping, and I didn't (and still don't) like how that was turning out.

A nightmare, I tell you!
So... I didn't like it. You can probably guess from reading here over the years what comes next.

That's right. I took a trip to the pond. Just now. (After all, these should be done in time for some Christmas.)
It doesn't know what's coming, poor thing.

Surprisingly easy!

Even a bit fun!

Hmm... did that suddenly get a bit short?

I guess there really is no turning back now...
Riiiiiipppp... there?

I guess not.


A pause to reflect.

In context, except you can't see the look on my face.
Now, I happen to know it pays to not just rip all crazy-like down to whatever row. (Don't ask me how I know, I don't want any flashbacks.) It needs to be a chosen row. If it is not, then from that way lies madness. Madness, I tell you! Not that this is particularly sane. But it has its points.

I ripped it down to the first row of red yarn in the pattern.

Then I carefully picked up the stitches with one of the smallest needles I have, likely a 0 or 00 or something like that. Let's put it this way: I have never used these needles for anything but something like this. The benefit of using such itty bitty little death stabbers is that it puts less tension on the yarn loops so that stitches aren't dropped.

Sanity restored.
The actual needles used on this project are the Old US Steel Needle Size 12, a.k.a. modern US #1 (2.25 mm). It varies by brand a bit (I'm looking at you, German dpn makers!), but I happen to use some bamboo needles that are exactly that size.

That is a US #1 I'm pointing with!
So now, that wasn't so bad, right? Not that I'm going to work on them right now or anything. I think maybe I'll actually go do anything but knit, because my other WIP is this:

Cthulhu? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Maybe.
I only have finishing left on V.'s "Cross Country" pullover. Whose bright idea were these projects, anyway?

Oh, right. Me on both counts.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Savage ends!

I'm making progress on the "Cross Country" sweater for V., although I'm starting to think I need more needles. That's always the refrain, isn't it? I need more. More yarn, more magazines, more books, more needles. But I do. The collar is supposed to be done using a circular US #2, something which I (lap knitter) would be very surprised to possess. I do have some circulars, but they are #0's, I think, because the thought of trying lace on multiple dpns made me want to cry.

I think I'll block it somewhat while it's in this flattened state
I have the arms on the body and the shoulders joined, as you see above. I tried it on the kid and it all seems fine. V. is a lean 4 yr. old, and any of you familiar with slip stitch patterns (such as this one) know that there is a LOT of give in the fabric.

What she is going to wear with it, I don't know. I've really only begun her winter wardrobe for this year. I have some stuff I've found at thrift stores and such that I'm rather proud of, but nothing that is basic like a pair of jeans:
This $2 thriftstore sweater is hand made in Ireland! With SHEEP!
The inside of "Cross Country" is giving me pause:

Not actually savaged, just not woven in. :(
I need to find my crochet hooks and address it at some point. That point is NOT today. I may, in fact, finish the Funky Sweater first. But this sweater will be cute in the end. I've laid it out so that you can imagine it better:
Imagine all those ends gone. I know I'm trying to.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Funky Sweater

In a previous post I mentioned that I was making myself a sweater for a change. I've thought about this sweater for some time, especially how it's not something I would wear to anything like work. (Unless I was a circus clown, I suppose.)
I had to stop when I ran out of red
I have a habit of picking up crafting books (heck, any kind of book, the more weird and obscure the better) at thrift stores, and that is where I found this pattern. It is from "Knitting" by the Editors of the Ladies' Home Journal (1977). I couldn't even get a photo of this book by Googling the name or ISBN. So I took my own photograph:
Now the world knows what it is missing
And then I snapped a couple bad shots of the joys to be found inside. 1977 was an interesting year for knitwear, because they didn't seem to realize how horrible Orlon acrylics were yet, especially as swimwear.
I have worse patterns for bathing suits. Trust me.
There was also no moderation as far as patterns were concerned, or color choices. They could have learned a lot from Buddha about the Middle Way, but I think they may have been too far into cocaine and disco by then.
Is a Tom Petty video coming to mind here?
Ugly, plus duck. Everything is better with a duck.
I have no words for this one.
There is just a hint of lingering 1920's nostalgia, which is one of the saving graces of this period. (Thank you, The Great Gatsby!) 

Getting ready to go punting on the Thames
But I have not completely lost my mind. I am heavily modifying the charmingly subdued sweater you see below:
I have no excuse to offer.
Instead of using ten colors, I'm using seven, because that was what I happened to have. This required a bit of thinking on my part, which may or may not work out. (At least I did a lot of the thinking before I cast on. Seems to always work out a little better that way.) The other modification is making it a hybrid of Paisley from Kim Hargreaves A Season's Tale; the body will be longer. There will be no cowl, just a deeper scoop neck.