A long over due knitting project

Picking up where I left off

Vicki Square's Knit Kimono Cover
I just picked this up to finish after letting it sit for quite a while. This project had to percolate while I decided what I would do with it. First I had a hard time getting the right gauge. I had no trouble getting the right number of stitch rows per inch, but the stitches per row were just too wide. I tried several needles to get this right and finally decided that I would go ahead with it by just reducing the number of stitches per row to make it come out right by the measurements. One problem solved. I still don't know what I could have done to correct this. Perhaps a different yarn.  

The next thing I had to resolve was what would I do when I got to the contrast color portion because now there was a different stitch count than was originally planned. I could no longer knit by the exact instructions. I could either create a whole new contrast pattern, delete the contrast part, or alter the contrast pattern that Vicki Square had designed. I had 24 inches of solid color stockinette stitch knitting before I had to make that decision. Only, I still did not know what I wanted to do when I got to that point. I let the project sit for a very long time. We can count this one in years instead of days, weeks or months. 

I picked it up again last week to have something to do while I watched the Winter Olympic games. I decided to keep to the original pattern, but had to reduce it by the number of stitches I omitted in the row. I divided the number by 2 and then recalculated how each row should start and end to keep the pattern centered.

My knitted version over the instructions
Here is the contrast work I have done after I finally decided how I would resolve the alterations I had made. Looking back, it would only have been slightly wider than the original plan and is not a close fitting garment. I could have just knitted exactly by the pattern. I think you can see my notes on the top right where I recalculated the start and end of each row. I also changed the suggested colors. I could not find navy when I started this so I used a dark plum color and an off-white.  

This contrast work is pretty easy because instead of having to carry threads behind the stitches for color changes in the row, the pattern is accomplished by slipping stitches to keep the colors. Had I known it was going to be this painless I might not have let it sit for so long. 

I have one more set of 24 rows to complete the contrast work on the back then on to the front pieces. That should go much faster because all of the alteration decisions have been made. 


Apartment life

Neighbors who smoke

Ah yes, apartment life. The apartment next to me has been empty for about a month. That is probably longer than any time in the recent past. Most of the time we don't even share schedules with the neighbor so we rarely see them. This time it was rented to a smoker. From the disgusting stench in the breezeway we share it must be a chain smoking dragon with a severe habit. I imagined it to be something like smoking one, having one burning in the ashtray and lighting another with the one currently in hand.  

Then my son said, "Hey, I know how our neighbor must be smoking."  so I took a look at his computer and this is the image he was viewing: 

He may be right, or maybe it is more like this:

cigarette smoking
Either way, it is completely nauseating. Sorry smokers, but your habit does not just hurt you, it hurts those around you too.


Fabric Types, Content

Fashion fabrics come in wools, cottons, linen, polyester, silks, nylon, rayon, and blends of almost any combination you can think up. Most are woven or knitted into fabric, but some, like felts and fleeces are neither woven or knitted. Fabric choice is based on planned use. Content and care requirements are important considerations. 

Natural fabrics are made from plant and animal fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, linen. Natural fabrics "breathe" allowing better air circulation around the body. Cotton is great to wick perspiration from the body. Wool helps hold body heat, even if it is wet. Linen is similar to cotton, a wonderful light weight fabric that keeps the body cooler. All of these fabrics are available in various weights for different uses or seasonal wear.

Synthetic fabrics are man-made such as polyester and nylon. Synthetic fabrics resist shrinking, staining and are easy to wash and wear because they dry quickly and resist wrinkles. Synthetic fabrics do not breathe like natural fabrics. They also do not shrink as much. 

Rayon is made from wood fibers that have been manipulated with chemicals. It is not fully synthetic or natural. Natural fabrics tend to accept dyes easily while synthetic fabrics resist dyes. 

Natural fabrics are comfortable to wear but may require special handling. Cotton is washable, but will shrink and wrinkle so it has to be ironed. Wool shrinks when washed in water so it has to be dry cleaned. Linen wrinkles while it is being worn, it is beautiful when fresh cleaned and pressed but will wrinkle quickly. 

Blended fabrics take on properties from both the natural fabric and the synthetic fabrics. Washable wools are a wool/polyester blend. Cottons and linens that resist wrinkles are a poly/cotton or poly/linen blend. Stretch jeans are made from denim fabric, which is cotton blended with spandex which is a stretchable synthetic.   

Silks, rayons and some polyesters have amazing drape and work well in scarves, blouses, skirts, dresses and anything you want to drape and flow.  

When making a fabric choice, check the care requirements and test the drape to match the planned use.  It may also be advisable to purchase needles and pins that are specifically suited to your fabric. Experiment, enjoy the process, try new techniques. 

Cloth Napkins

I have been busy at home and busy at work so I am not sewing too much. An awful cold has been marching its way around the office and now I guess it is my turn. So this will be brief.

Last week I needed new cloth napkins and ended up making them because none of the stores I went to were selling them. I did not spend a lot of time on them because I needed them right away and had lots of other things to do too. I was in such a hurry I only serged the edge. If I feel better today or tomorrow I will probably put a neater edge on them.  If you want to read about them, I did post them to instructables.  I don't post a lot there, but noticed there were a few more followers and thought it might be good to share at least something more recent than my last post.   

When I got home after shopping for napkins, I did a quick check online to see who sold them and realized I had saved quite a bit by making them myself.  When I feel better I may make several sets including special occasion napkins for birthdays, and holidays. 

You can see the instructables post here.