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February 2014

Posts from January 2014

Bohus Repair in 6 Steps

Not a good way to start the morning:

I must have been a bit rough when I was putting on my beloved Grey Mist Bohus. I heard a bad ripping sound and it looked like this.

It was knit top down and I had broken the yarn on the hem bind off. Some stitches had started to unravel.

Not. Good.

To add to the complexity, I had modified the sweater awhile back to fit me better and the sides are steeked. This means I couldn't just rip back the whole bind off and do it again.

I will also say that at 9 sts to the inch that didn't seem necessary to fix 2 inches of hem, so I concocted a different plan.

This morning I made the repairs. It was easy enough that I took the time to have fun with the Halftone app and did a little photo essay.

Step One: Capture all the stitches.

Bohus yarn is 50% merino, 50% angora so the stitches aren't really going anywhere, but I needed them all on needles so I could have something to work with. I put the last bound off stitch on a marker and picked up everything not worrying if they had unravelled more than others. I just needed to get everything on the needles.

Step Two: Fix All the Stitches

Now I took the time to arrange all the live stitches, knit up any that had dropped and to make sure I got them all. This is not so easy with tiny fuzzy yarn, so I made sure I was thorough.

Step Three: Unravel the Bind Off a Bit More

I didn't have a lot of yarn on one end of the broken bit so I unpicked the bind off about 10 more stitches so I had something to work with. Since I was "going backwards" this meant undoing the stitches manually with a tapestry needle and catching the live ones before I pulled out the yarn--no sense in having to wrangle more live stitches.

Then I transferred each stitch back to the left hand needle, checked again that I didn't miss anything and was now back at my orange marker.

Step Four: Attach New Yarn

I decided to use the Magic Knot to attach my new yarn to bind off. It figured at this gauge it wouldn't show. It was also secure. Spit splicing would also have worked.

Step Five: Bind Off

The original bind off was a regular one, but since this must be where I put pressure on the sweater when I put it in, I decided to use Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off for these stitches just to be on the safe side.

When that was done I had two ends. The end of my new bind off and the end where I picked out the old one.

Since both ends were already secure (picking out the old one was challenging so I figured it was staying put), I just prettied it up and wove in the ends.

Step Six: Admire

No one will notice unless they inspect the hem up close.

If anyone does that, I'll know they're a knitter.


Custom Fit: My first custom sweater

Pssst, have you heard about Custom Fit?  

I just finished my first custom sweater and it's pretty fantastic.

While I haven't said anything about actually knitting this sweater, it's mostly because from a knitting perspective that makes this remotely interesting.  But now that it's done,  I thought I should give a quick review of custom fit by Amy Herzog because this sweater is a perfect fit!

Custom Fit is the brainchild of Amy Herzog.  She's built a website with a "method" whereby you get a sweater pattern that fits both your measurements and your swatch.
She has a number of plain recipes and some of her designs now have custom fit recipes where you input certain things like sleeve length and neckline and ease to generate the pattern for you.  Then you get the pattern embellishments like cables to add in as needed.
The two things you have to do to start a custom fit is a) get someone to measure you in a lot of places (we had a measuring party at Rhinebeck) and b) swatch a big piece for each sweater.
You join the website (free) and add your measurements and your swatch (your measurements are stored and you add a swatch for each project).  Then you let the site take you through the process of generating a pattern built for your body and your gauge.  There are lots of instructional videos to explain things and the interface is simple to use.
The nice part is that it will make a pattern in any gauge.  Even if one of Amy's designs is in dk and you want fingering, her elves do all the work.  Sure I could do the math, but I'm happier to have it done for me!  
With all that, you input some things on the site and it generates a pattern for you.  It's $10 for the pattern and an additional $2.50 for the recipe if it's from one of her designs.  That might seem like a lot, but you're getting a pattern written specifically for your measurements for $10.  And if you want the specs to add her pattern beauty to your custom fit, it's $2.50.  A made-to-measure pattern in your gauge with her design flare for less than a 3-D movie.
Based on what I read in the Ravelry forums, and in talking to my knitpals who are over the moon happy with custom fit (I link to their testimonials below), I decided to start with something simple to see how the whole process works.  And I like knitting stockinette sweaters.  
I swatched my Miss Babs Yowza Whatta Skein! worsted and asked for a simple vee neck.  The pattern gave me the sleeve length I wanted, with the hem hitting me exactly where I like it and shoulders that fit.  It was also knit to the gauge of the swatch I made.  It's perfect.  
I will confess I don't have a complicated figure compared to many women (there was only 2 waist decreases and 1 increase) but I hate swatching to someone else's gauge so I LOVE that feature.
My pals Keri and Kim however have more complicated shapes and both of them are converts to this system.  They're making beautiful sweaters that fit them perfectly.  
There's a Ravelry forum:
And here's Keri's testimonial: (she is rather busty and has never had a sweater that fit well until now).  
And Kim is a freakin' knitting machine!  She's cranking out a wardrobe of beautiful sweaters.
Pretty nifty eh?  Check it out.  I'm already plotting my next one.


Two Weeks and Back Again

One of the great things about my job is my employer's committment to developing a family-friendly workplace.  They've moved away from the term work-life balance because its difficult to define and somewhat personal, but it's still something they value.  Not everyone is personnally good at finding that balance, but my university has a lot of structures in place which tell me they acknowledge that I have a life outside of work and I should have time to spend doing other things that I love, with whomever I define as my family.

Shutting down for two weeks around the Christmas holiday is one manifestation of that commitment.  Two full weeks off, with pay... and it was fantastic.  A bit of Christmas stuff and a whole lot of lazy time.  I knit, I spun, I watched a lot of Damages on Netflix, saw some movies at home and in the theatre, slept late, cooked, even cleaned and I hung out with my family who also took advantage of the time off and relaxed. We spent more days in our pyjamas than in clothes.  It was perfect.

It's a privilege to have such leisurely time, and I also think it's important to just hang out sometimes since our usual life pattern is to be on the go--work, school, activities, homework, housework, obligations etc. I was happy not to get through my super ambitious Winter Break To Do List in favour of just letting the days take me where I wanted them to go. I was almost ready to go back to work this morning now that I'm rested and feeling good.

Except for the getting up part.  Early mornings are early.  And it's cold out.  The whole family successfully got back into the groove of everyday life.  But we're still kinda wishing for a snow-day.

2013: Crafty Round Up

I love Ravelry.  Not only does it keep me organized but it gives me data.  I love data. 

For example: I have a lot of yarn.  56,268 meters worth.  That doesn't include yarn being used in WIPs because Ravelry knows that it's spoken for (at least for the moment, I have a few WIPs that need reconsideration).

Do I have less yarn than last year? Not sure.  I think the spreadsheet with that information is on my work computer so I'll have to check when I'm back next week. (By the way, two weeks off at Christmas is far the best benefit of my job).

I do strive for stash equilibrium whereby I knit as much as I purchase or spin and therefore don't make more stash.  I'm pretty sure I'm close to last year's number and not near the over 60km I've had in the past, so that's something.

As for what I did accomplish knitting/weaving/spinning was a fine year.

Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 6.02.07 PM

5 sweaters

3 scarves/shawls

3 hats (one that never made it to Ravelry)

6 cowls

1 pair armwarmers

1 pair of knee socks

1 amazing blanket

I even managed to spin some yarn (but not very much!)

I don't generally set crafty goals because I want to use that time freely and work on what strikes me as fun, motivating, challenging, easy or whatever it is that I need from my fibre pursuits.  Everyone in the family needs socks so I will try to work on some plain ones so no one's feet are cold and I could really use a new hat, but otherwise, I'll keep working on things that please me at the time.  It's a luxury to have the time and resources to have something like that in my life and I'm not going to mess with it.

I bet some of you have knitting goals.  I always like to hear them if you want to share.