Zippers 102, Part B

I got down to sewing and really took my time. Sewing together the fronts is MAGIC and I'm still smacking myself for missing that part.

Once I got both sides done with the first stitches at the edges of the zipper tape, I paused the sewing and undid the bind off on the collar. The zipper was definitely a bit too long and was causing the waviness. I knit a few more rows, bound off and then did the final sewing, carefully turning over the long bit at the top.

Not going to lie, that took a couple of tries to get right. No photos of the frustrating parts!

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Then, I sewed an overcast stitch along the middle of the zipper tape to keep it neat and stable. I definitely peeked through the sewn up knit facings to make sure it was sitting right and that I didn't sew through the pink yarn I used to keep the cardigan closed.

Correction: after I sewed through the pink yarn that I used to keep the cardi closed, I started paying more attention to that detail...

Once the sewing was complete, I removed the pink yarn, tucked in the threads and admired my handiwork.

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100% improvement.

I'm so happy I took the time to fix this. Now this sweater is in high rotation in my wardrobe and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

No zipper showing:

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Happy Knitter!

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Zippers 102

Step One: rip out zipper you were never happy with on the otherwise splendid Juuli cardigan

Step Two: follow your own damn Zippers 101 blog post.

Step Three: try not to cringe at "time saving decisions" made the first time around. Yes the zipper is too long.

Step Four: drink coffee and consider options. Going to sew down zipper and then add more collar, then sew rest. I would like more of my neck covered anyway.

Step Five: get going with the sewing....

To be continued

 


Naming It

Burn out

Exhaustion

Phoning it in

Disengaged

Just not right

Tired of being tired

Good, but not great

I'm off. I'm not sure why I feel off kilter but I am, and have been for some time. It's a lot to do with work and some things at home and it's like a ton of feathers, weighting me down and throwing me off.

Nothing is really wrong. I have secure, good paying employment. My kids are great people who need me less in some ways but need me a lot for some of their challenges. I have a good relationship with my partner who listens and is supportive. I'm healthy except for being stressed and tired (which I know can lead to I'll-health, another reason to name it).

I mostly feel like I'm stretched a little much and I'm not sure what needs to change so that I'm spending less time mindlessly scrolling Twitter or playing Two Dots and more time knitting, running, blog-writing and figuring out what kind of work will re-energize me.

I suppose this is the "mid-life crisis." It doesn't feel very crisis-y, more like a slow burn.

I wanted to publicly name it, or at least try to name what I'm experiencing so I can move past the "what's wrong with me?" And the "why am I so tired and unsettled?" Towards some thinking of what's next.

Stay tuned.

 


Tight. But Not Terrible.

The ribbon is on the skirt waist.

The skirt doesn't fit.

It's not really a surprise, I've put on a bit of weight in the last year. I have no idea how much because I don't own a scale. I do notice some of my "skinny" pieces are pretty tight right now and there's stuff I'm not wearing because they're not comfortable. A scale will merely put a number on what I already know.

Whatever.

I'm going to be more careful with my portion size, really cut back on alcohol (seriously, I've been doing a lot of social nights out for drinks in the last year for a bunch of reasons--some fun, some as a balm for rough times at work) and just be more mindful of what I consume. 

As for the skirt, well I suspect I was really relying on the stretchiness of  the fabric to make it fit and it makes more sense to add another repeat (or two) and get this right. 

The nice thing about the pattern is that it was easy enough to rip back the button holes and keep going (Confession, I ripped back, picked up the live stitches and then went and spun up some fibre because I need to take this whole unfinishing a finished project in chunks to keep the frustration down). 

Following some clever folks on Ravelry, I also plan to use snaps instead of buttonholes to keep it all nice looking. I do wish I had made it shorter, but there's no fixing that. I was even musing about turning it into a jumper by picking up stitches at the waist and working up (similar to what I did with my Ella coat) but that might be a tad too crazy. Or just too warm a dress even for a Canadian winter.

Now I'm looking at knit dresses.

Amherst:


Bressay

The City in Winter 

Now I'm getting crazy ideas about doing a Custom Fit sweater that I could graft to Carnaby to make a dress. That's what I love about knitting--even when it goes wrong, I have the fun of thinking about how to make my work better. 


Sunday Sewing

My big plan to do Sunday Spinning keeps getting waylaid. This week's reason is my overflowing mending pile. A tiny tear in my down hoodie that explains the feathers, some tears in Xander's favourite hoodie, a hole in one of those thin-as-tissue Gap merino cardigans (seriously, the quality of these pieces is really going downhill) and my Carnaby Skirt that was never-quite-right.

Knitted skirts are a challenge. The knitted fabric wants to stretch and if you want your skirt to stay on, the amount of that stretch has to border somewhere between a bit tight and just enough. Mine was at, "gonna fall off if I take a deep breathe" so I decided, last spring to sew in a grosgrain ribbon around the waist.

Well, I finally got started this weekend. 

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This tutorial came in handy, because sewing is not something I've done a lot of. I'm almost done, but have been doing it in small doses because my ironing board is the only clean surface I have (because I had to vacuum the cobwebs off the ironing board and lug it upstairs) and I can't sit while I work.

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Looking at the skirt now, I realize it'll require more sewing to get it right. I find the buttons tug a bit and looking Ravelry, the ones that look the best are either on those where the pattern repeats align perfectly with their body or those who don't achieve that alignment, do some stabilizing sewing to fake it. My current idea is to sew ribbon down both edges of the skirt and add some  snaps to hold things in place better than the buttons.

If I really decide to get crafty, I will remove the buttons and sew them over the button holes and let the snaps do all the work. 

But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. 

Sewing on the ribbon already seems to be doing the trick and will keep the itchy wool off my waist. Now let's hope the skirt still fits.


Knitters, you'll understand this one

It was cold today in Toronto. It felt really cold because it's been unseasonably warm lately and suddenly the temperature dropped to like -15C. I wasn't ready.

On a day like today, I did what all good knitters do and loaded up on the knitwear. My Gretel beret, Nordic mittens, a seed stitch cowl and my Grey Mist Bohus; one of the nicest, most complicated things I've ever made (and also hacked to make smaller).

image from acunningplan.typepad.com

What non-knitters notice today? Compliment the most? Talked about as an example of my fine work?

The seed stitch cowl.

image from farm6.static.flickr.com

A project I made with a bunch of leftovers on a whim. The thing I made without a pattern or much thought. Sure it's a nice big squishy neck piece and it keeps out the cold. It's even sorta soft.

But it's not knit with angora/merino at 8 freakin stitches to the inch.

There isn't colour work where you have shades of white, bone, fawn, silver and pewter so subtle you have to knit it in full sun to be sure you're getting it right!

And, truth be told, that cowl isn't as warm as my Bohus.

 

Really, non-knitting people? Really?!

 

I just needed to get that out. To feel appreciated by my knitting-folk. I knew you'd understand.

Perhaps the cowl is the pinnacle of knitting when you're surrounded by piles of white acrylic scarves at the mall and when you look at them, they don't look all the difficult to make. It's familiar compared to a sweater that one can't even comprehend someone sitting down and knitting.

Yeah, thinking that will keep me warm...


Checking Back, Moving Forward

2015 was one of the first years I have ever felt relieved to end. It wasn't the worst year of my life, if I was to think of my life in chunks of 365 days, but there was an undercurrent of bleh-ness to it, a feeling that I've been anxious to let go of and move on.

Some of moving on comes with a change in me. I want to look at things differently, let go of some of the anger and bad feelings I've been carrying around, and frankly, just say Fuck It, and mostly do what I want. I want to be the person I want and not let those feelings and their accompanying bad-mouthing gremlins get me down.

Having the last days of December off of work and hanging out with my family and friends gives me a chance to slow down, relax and envision how I want to approach 2016. I certainly can't determine how the year will turn out, but I can decide what my outlook is going to be and what things I want to accomplish (because I'm the boss of me).

Since it's the thing to do, a few more resolutions:

♥I want to write here a bit more. I say that every year, so this time I'm going to attempt to plan a bit better and think of things to write about. Some will be knitting and ephemera but I'm also hoping to take what I often say on Twitter and turn it into something more than 140 characters. 

I did resolve to run 500km in 2015 and made by goal with a few kilometres to spare. 

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♥I've already set a goal of 600km for 2016. Running is good for my body and my mind so I plan to stick with it. I want to have a few less of those small bars and keep things more routine. I'd like to run a half marathon this year too. Let's see if my body thinks that's a good idea this Spring.

♥I subscribed to Ply Magazine after taking a class with Jacey Boggs Faulkner at Rhinebeck (see I need to blog more and tell you the cool stuff I do!) and have been trying to spin on Sundays to keep up my skills and learn some new ones. I also have a large stash of fibre that is so beautiful and I want to enjoy it. So Spinning Sundays will continue.

♥In 2015, I knit some stuff, but was surprised how many times I didn't knit because I was too tired/angry/drained/done. I would say there were almost no days in my past where I didn't spend at least 5 minutes knitting or on something fibre-related. In 2015, I sometimes went a few days with no knitting and it really bothered me because it's one of the things I do for ME and which I really love.

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That's 2015's finished projects. I'm casting on a bunch of things now so I have a knit for every mood. This year I plan to prioritize the little break that knitting gives me and make sure it's part of my day, even if for only five minutes.

I don't want to quantify how much or what I will knit, but instead, make sure that I'm knitting things that make me happy whether it be the process, the yarn, the product, or the time spent.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you have plans for 2016 that make you happy! 


I have a raw fleece. Now what?

A work friend gave me an interesting gift a few months back.  A raw fleece.  She has a friend who raises Dorsets and was around when Billy the lamb was being sheared.  She collected the fleece and thought I would like it.  That she thought of me totally made my day.  I've never had a fleece before.  

Now I've got this fleece at home and I have no idea what to do with it. I googled and, well, my stuff looks like a very dirty bag of stuffing, not a flat coat removed from a sheep.  So much for those skirting instructions.

So I crack open a beer and take the fleece outside.  It's got a lot of VM (vegetable matter) on it and it's pretty dirty.  I get to work and start separating the really bad stuff from the rest.  

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I intend to send it to a processor for washing and carding into something I can spin or if it's not suitable for that, then wool batting for a pillow or a quilt (I don't quilt, but I can learn, or give it to someone who does).  With that in mind, how clean does it have to be?  It doesn't appear to have been skirted or if it was, this was a happy dirty lamb.

I worked on it for a bit and here's what I have:

What I started with:

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What I plan to keep for processing:

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What I plan to compost:

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There's lots more to pick through.  Am I doing this right?  Being too picky?  Not picky enough? Wasting my time?

Let me know.  I'm planning to drop it at the Royal Winter Fair next weekend and am happy to talk with the processors, but also don't want to seem totally clueless.


All About Kates

I took a spinning class with Jacey Boggs Faulkner at Rhinebeck.  My first class since learning to spin.  It was a nice way to kick myself back into spinning and during the class I realized I wanted a better Lazy Kate, as mine are both fine, but not all that great.

My preference is for an angled Kate, something compact as space is limited and I would like to take it with me if I go on spinning adventures. Pretty is also important--nice tools make for nice experiences.

Here's what's made the short list.  I would love recommendations, comments on my choices, suggestions etc.  

TravelKate

Love the look of this one and that all the pieces go into the case.  It's also beautiful and the most expensive.  I like that it holds 4 bobbins (not that I've ever made 4-ply, but I might want to some day).

Kate 45 

Simple design, nice looking and would do the trick.  Downsides are the weight (it would cost a mint in shipping) and it's not portable.

Kate 45 - Portable Lazy Kate - Maple

Ogledesign Kate

Smaller than the TravelKate, similar design but not as pretty.  I read one review that notes it bounces a bit due to the fold-back design.  Price point is good.  Like how everything folds away for storage.

Lazy Kate - Cherry

I'm also looking at the Anything But Lazy Kate but think it's too big and fiddly.  There are too many options and pieces.  I like compact and simple.  If you love this one, and I'm mistaken, let me know.

 

Anything But Lazy Kate by Nancy's Knit Knacks 

If I could find a Will Taylor Clever Kate--I would buy it.  Not as flat as the others, but it comes highly recommended.  I'm told he retired.

Clever Kate, pegs stored in base

Any other Kates I'm missing?  I'm also considering making one myself, but it definitely won't be as pretty as any of these.