Knit Meter

Monday, May 29, 2017

A Sigh of Relief AND a Finished Item

Way back in 2011 I bought some yarn because what it was made from was interesting. The fiber content was sugar cane. I hadn’t come across that before and thought it would be interesting to try. It is very slippery and loosely plied doesn’t come anywhere near – there are plys but they are not plied.

I cast on within a week of purchase as I needed an easy pattern to work on while I waited for a friend at a Doctor’s appointment. But I didn’t really like it and it became a no-more project. Not deterred by this I bought another skein of the yarn (different colour) in a sale at the end of 2011 because I had found a pattern that used two different colours. The pattern was hairpin lace crochet which I had never tried nor seen in real life.

Oh my gosh, it was awful. The technique is not hard but I had to remind myself how to do it everytime I picked up the project so I couldn’t pick it up and work on it for a few minutes at a time because I needed that time to look up how to work it. (I did eventually put a link to a tutorial on my project page so that I wasn’t searching for one every time.) If I had worked more consistently/frequently then I wouldn’t have had to look up the method everytime but it was rather boring but fiddly. Also when I took the first piece off the frame it twisted so badly that I had to undo it all. The tutorial suggested a lifetime which I used after that and it was helpful.

I wanted to finish the two never-ending shawls this year. So as hubby was away for a week I set that time aside to finish the hairpin lace. He left, I got out the project bag and I felt dread. I had five completed strips that were joined but I still had to make one more and join it. I couldn't start straight away as I had to go out which turned out to be a good thing. While I was out I had an epiphany – frog the darn thing. So I did. It wasn’t quick or easy because there were lifelines and safety pins but it’s done and I am amazed at the relief I feel no longer having to think about this old project now set to become a Clapotis.

I was going to write about the baby cardigan I finished but after all this negativity I think it deserves its own post.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Another Bag

The last bag I made was a spur of the moment use up the fabric kind of thing. I have been mulling about this bag for a while.

My mother-in-law made quilts and she made table mats; some were quilts and some were appliqué. When we were going through her house after she died I came across a table mat top that she had made but not turned into a mat. It matched a set and a valance that she had in the kitchen which my sister-in-law had chosen to keep. I do not know if she had made five and chosen her favourite four to make into mats or if she was going to make a number of them to give as presents but changed her mind. Whatever the reason, it was something that she had decided to not work on any more but had kept. I decided to keep it although it was very unlikely that I would turn it into a table mat.

It was in the back of my mind that it would make a good project bag. But what size and style as I did not want to lose the integrity of the patchwork. I decided on a zippered bag, the short length of the piece being the width of the bag and bought a zipper when I had a 60% coupon. I, also, wanted to make it slightly bigger as I thought I might box the corners. As the top had some blue in it I chose some blue fabric to add to the top.

I made a number of mistakes in the making of the bag. None of which are obvious to anyone except me and all were remedied or became a “design feature”. (LOL seriously.) The first mistake involved cutting the zipper and might have necessitated another trip to JoAnns. I was on the telephone when I cut the end of the zipper because I thought I could carry on while talking – no. I forgot to open the zipper before cutting so ended up with the pull on the cut off piece. Luckily I had already cut the bottom end off so I was able to put the tab back on. The other silly mistake I made was cutting the lining. I kept the top in one piece but cut the lining in two pieces each half the size of the top. I’d forgotten that the lining would have a seam at the bottom and I didn’t add extra length on to each piece to allow for this. When I was sewing the side seams the top was bigger than the lining and I had to make a pleat at the bottom. This actually turned out well because now the bottom of the bag is slightly boxed and I didn’t box the corners further. Thus you can see all of the patchwork that my mother-in-law made. There was another major mistake I made involving the zipper and extra fabric which I won’t go into but it was a good learning lesson if I want to include the design feature in another bag.

Despite the mistakes I am really pleased with it and it is a good memory of my mother-in-law which I don’t think I would have had as a table mat and definitely not if I had kept it sitting in my fabric stash.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sewing, Knitting and Ravelry

A couple of finished items – one sewn, one knitted.

Way back in November last year, I posted pictures of the quilt I made for my grandson. This meant I had to make a quilt for my granddaughter and I had to finish it quickly because she told me that I could not give him his until she had one. Even so, I still took about 5 months to come up with a completed project.

I had seen a quilt kit in Missouri Star Quilt Co. catalogue and as I had a charm pack and jelly roll (yes the last of the poor quality ones) I decided to make my own. I also decided to follow the procedures in Quilt as you Go Made Modern. There were advantages and disadvantages of this. The way Jera Brandvig works her quilt as you go, is to sew pieces onto batting squares then sew the squares together to make a quilt top and then add backing. The disadvantage of this method is all the fluff that goes into your machine from the batting and you still have to add some quilting on the whole quilt when you add the backing. I have seen a YouTube video by an Australian quilter who shows how to quilt as you go complete squares and how to join them. One day I will do that. (As an aside, I did clean my machine and change the needle when the quilt was finished.)
The pattern is a modified log cabin (off to google search to see if there is a correct name) and the advantage of Jera Brandvig’s method was that I felt each square had some stability and the quilting was easy but I did not like the thickness of each seam.

I needed fabric to tie all the squares together and purchased the green and the lilac, which are glittery butterflies, for the sashing and borders. Of course I changed my mind once I started sewing the squares and decided to have the lilac on just two sides of each square; my original plan was for each square to be bordered with the lilac. Changing my mind turned out to be a good thing because by the time I got to the binding, I didn’t have any fabric. I could not remember what my original plan was or if I even had had a plan. I did not want to use the backing fabric as it would have been too much of a contrast although I have plenty of it. (The quilt is more than one width’s of fabric.) I did not have enough of either the green or lilac fabric for the binding but by joining them together, alternating colour, I had enough and, I am sure you can agree, it works very well.

Both quilts were duly given to the children and appreciated.

I had a very small amount of the lilac fabric left and just over a very small amount of the green. So I made a bag.

By small amount you can see that I had to join the green and that there was just enough lilac to make the drawstrings. The pink lining you can just see was given to me.

The knitted item that I finished is the hat that I started as part of a KAL and I didn’t think I would finish in time. But I did and I am really pleased with that.

The yarn is Red Heart Soft – not the best yarn for colourwork but I wanted to use something where it didn’t matter what happened to the hat. I already had the Off White in stash and I purchased the Teal when it was on sale. I am mostly pleased with it. There was no row gauge given in the pattern and my hat was already to length when I had finished the snowflake. As it is a slouchy pattern it doesn’t matter that mine is a bit longer but I could have started the colour straight after the rib. As this is a pattern worked in the round, I do not like the way the pattern looks at the round join. Nobody else has mentioned this and I think it would have been less obvious if I had used a wool yarn. It does not show when the hat is worn.

And Ravelry. I mention Ravelry quite a bit in my blog because that is how I find most of the patterns I make. Either by searcing on Ravelry or because it has been mentioned by a friend or in a thread. Recently I listened to a podcast where the creators of Ravelry were interviewed. It’s actually quite a long interview. This is not a podcast I listen to so I do not know if this is standard for her and I do not know if they have given other interviews of such length. I thought some of my readers might find it interesting.

(I have to confess though, the speech is interspersed with multitudes of “you know”s which drove me crazy.)

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Knitting Patterns - Again

Following a recent post I want to make it clear that I do not mind paying for knitting (etc) patterns. The point of my post was two-fold:- one: when you buy patterns online you do not know the quality of the item and there is no recourse if it is low quality and two: to compare two different knitting patterns that were vastly different in quality but not in price.

Two things have happened recently. Somebody posted in a group on Ravelry to ask if $6.00 for a pattern for a hat was too much and someone linked on FB to a post written in 2014 by a hat designer about what goes into producing a pattern. I find it interesting that these posts came up within a short time of my post and that they were at opposite ends of the charging debate.

Really what it comes down to, as with any retail business, is what the market will stand. If the designer thinks their pattern should sell for $6.00 and knitters pay that price, then that is the market price for a hat pattern. But if the designer sells only 20 copies at $6.00 but another pattern priced at $5.00 sells 100s of copies, is $5.00 the market price? A difficult question to answer as there are so many contributing factors. Was one pattern featured on a prominent blog/podcast/Ravelry group? Was one pattern by a famous/established designer? In other words we have no idea if price was the only differentiating factor in the number of patterns sold.

From the designer’s blog post it was clear that there were many factors that went into pattern publishing that would be the same amount of time/money regardless of the item. But one thing she wrote in the 2014 post and another thing she wrote recently made me lose some of my sympathy towards her justification of how much she charges. In her post she mentions using open source software. I know programmers willingly make this available but it seems disingenuous to use this in an argument/rant for why patterns cost what they do. Looking at her recent blog posts, she has written that she only updates when she has access to free WiFi. I don’t know if by that she means she buys coffee and uses WiFi or uses WiFi without making any purchase. My thoughts were the latter as she specifically wrote free WiFi. Anyway this particular person has no trouble using what others provide for free while explaining why she charges what she does for patterns and that still isn’t enough.