Thursday, December 26, 2013

Knitting with Knitware

Knitware is an awesome program that calculates a pattern for a variety of garments, using your gauge rather than having to match the pattern gauge. It is a pattern generator & can make pretty much any type sweater that you want. I use it a lot. I bought mine from Janet T. She did a great job of designing a simple product that is easy to use & has the ability to save & alter patterns in the program. I like to knit sweaters using her program, but there are a couple of things that are easier done a little differently than what she describes. Sometimes I use the program to knit a top down sweater with drop sleeve. I like to rehang the front & back of the sweater on the machine between markers after joining the front & back & finishing the neckline, & knit my sleeves directly onto the sweater. In Janet's patterns she suggests that you knit the ribbing for the sleeve seperatly after taking the top down sleeve off the machine on waste yarn. I find that it works better & is less bulky when you knit the ribbing directly onto the sleeves by transferring stitches for ribbing & then using the 'loop through loop' bind of that is demonstrated here in Diana Sullivan's Utube video. Once you get the bind off learned you will find that this bind off works for a lot of garments. The thing to remember is to knit the last row at a very loose tension in order to have a loose finished rib.
This is another raglan for the women's shelter, size 2. I was requested to make some smaller sizes. I have a lot of fun making these & rarely I see someone wearing one out & about.
This is the bin I am working on right now. I have managed to make a pretty good dent in it. I didn't buy any yarn this year other than yarn for my store. I still have quite a lot of yarn in bins in the garage & am working on them one at a time. Rather than go find a specific yarn for a specific sweater I have just been making sweaters with the yarn available in that bin. I have small bits of yarn left over so am making some little mittens out of it. Then I am going to knit up squares that are left from that & make a toddler blanket from it.
This has been a rough year for me. I have lost 3 pets, my cat that I ran over, my small female Australian cattle dog Jasmine to breast cancer & just this month my 7 year old male border collie Buster to cardiomyopathy. I am comforted by the knowledge that I did my best for them, lots of love & a warm bed along with good food.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Toddler Quilt, 1 Down & 1 To Go

I finished one of the toddler quilts. I am working on the second one. I hope to have it finished in time to mail for Christmas.  I can see a couple of places that I wish I had rearranged the color blocks in this one & the binding is a little wavy, but all in all I am happy with it.
This is the back of it. I have some extra fabric in this print & am going to make a pair of PJ's & a pillow case to go with it.  I used the 'stitch in the ditch' method of quilting it.

I am in awe of the quilters that make all the intricate quilts out of little bitty pieces. My g'mother  made the most beautiful quilts & they lasted for years. Most of the sewing was done by hand. I did all mine by machine including the binding. The quilt is made with a low loft batting as I didn't want it to be too warm. They live in Southern California. Most of the time it is warm there. These quilts are meant for the kids to use them while watching TV or playing video games. (Yes, they are 2 & 3 & they already have video games.)

This is another sweater for the shelter. It a size 2 made from a Red Heart baby  yarn. Nice & warm for the rainy & cooler weather we have here. This was knitted on my SR 860 mid gauge machine. It has a grafted neckband & raglan sleeves. I think the raglan sleeves fit little bodies so much better than the drop shoulder or even the set in shoulder.

Our weather for this Christmas is much colder than usual, something that most of the country is experiencing this year. We have snow on the ground, & that is also unusual. I am hoping that we do not lose power. We had some really bad storms in 2007 & lost power for 10 days. We bought a kerosene heater then so at least we will be able to heat part of the house if it does go.  


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hats Hats & More Hats

I have been busy making hats whenever I get the chance. Everyone loves my hats. They tell me that they are the warmest hats ever. I knit them on my Kniffy Knitter Looms. I really do enjoy making them while I watch TV. I don't know why but if I just sit & watch without some project in my hands I always feel like I am wasting time. These hats are simple enough that I can keep up with the show without having to count rows or stitches.
I have been fairly busy in my store along with everything else going on. I was having trouble seeing & thought I needed glasses, so off to the Optometrist I went. It turned out to be bad news. I have Dry Macular Degeneration. It causes the vision to become more & more blurry, but not actually blind. On top of that I am diabetic so that is an another assault on my vision. My Mother lost her vision at 24. AMD is genetic. I will go back to the DR in a year to check & see how fast it is progressing. I can still see to read or write & of course knit & sew. I just couldn't read street signs etc. I am trying to stay positive & hope for the best.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Friendship House Sweaters

I started a new box of sweaters for the Friendship House. I have lots of  partial skeins of yarn so these are going to be scrappies. The women's shelter here in town has been very busy lately. I don't know why but violence towards women seems to escalate as the holidays get closer.
This is a size 18 months pullover. The director at the Friendship House believes that pullovers are a better choice as they keep chests & tummies warm.
I sent the little dress & hat to my g'daughter & mom sent me a picture. It's a bit big but she loves it. Erika says she is a princess now. There are so many people into quilting that the fabric stores are carrying all kinds of cute cotton prints. I bought this at 'Sew Baby.' I also bought some cute prints from the 'Missouri Quilt Company.' She has tons of cute fabric. I also bought my 'charm' packs from her for the quilts that I am making for Erika & her brother.
I am thinking about buying a new sewing machine. My machine is 12 years old. The new machines can do so much now. I recently bought the Brother PQ 1500s. It is a straight stitching machine made to sew over thick fabric. I haven't used it yet, but I am planning on quilting my toddler quilts on it, using the 'stitch in the ditch' method.
My store sales are still improving & I am going to have a good Fall & winter if it keeps up. I can't tell you all how much I appreciate my customers & blog followers. I enjoy blogging & having my store. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was afraid that my life was ending too soon, but the support I get from all of you, & of course my family has given me a reason to live & be happy. Thx to all of you!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Well....It's Not Knitting....

I am busy with my store but did get a couple of things finished. I have all my fabric for my toddler quilts. Should have them finished by Christmas. Also, managed to fill up my box for the Friendship House & took it up there. They're always grateful for the children's sweaters I make them.
I have been doing a little bit of sewing. I made this for my g'daughter. They live in California so it's usually warm there.
This little sundress buttons at the shoulder . It can be used by her  as a sundress, then when she is older they are cute for a top. In cooler weather I always put leggings & a long sleeved tee under it.  I made more than a few of these for my daughter when she was an infant & toddler. I debated on whether or not the put an embroidery design on it but decided I like the look as is. I am going to add this sundress to my store as a set, with the dress, hat & panties soaker & see how it does.
Here is the hat that I made to go with it. She doesn't need it but it is sooo cute that I went ahead & bought the pattern & made it up. It's a prairie hat. She is 2 now & may not be into hats, but I made my DIL promise to take a picture for my blog. 
I am busy making small appliance covers for Christmas presents, which I am quilting. I hope no one drops dead when they get a toaster cover from me that is sewn rather than knitted. I have sorted all my sewing paraphernalia & straightened out my sewing basket, & am ready to do some serious sewing with the toddler quilts.   
On another note, I am busy working on another littler tutorial depicting another method of increasing using short row & ravel cord. I have it pretty much worked out but need to take pictures etc.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cooler Weather is on the Way

Cooler weather is just over the horizon. Time to get busy on my longies & footies for this winter. Things have slowed down with the shorties & pullons. I'm hoping that I will do as well this winter season as I did this summer.
Here are a pair of my footies. I am busy making samples to photograph.
These sell pretty well over the fall & winter. Just a pair of longies with a sock on the end. :)
When my kids were born I made a quilt for each of them. My oldest son asked me if I would make a quilt for his two little ones & I decided that would be a good project & fun for me & them. My quilts are not the fanciest, but they are warm & cute. Just plain little squares about 36" x 42". (Although I like to do it, sewing is not my favorite thing.) I decided that I would make them each a quilt along with a matching pillowcase & pajama's.  (Just a note, my oldest son had his quilt until he was 12. He even took it to camp with him.)
I have ordered all the fabric etc. I don't have any special quilting equipment other than a walking foot for my machine. If I had the room I can think of a bunch of things that I would like to buy, but just no where to put them. My craft & knitting room is busting out as it is.
I haven't had the time to work on my scrappies this summer. I did get a few made but not as much as I would wish. I am going to try to squeeze some more in here & there. My scrappies box is only about 1/3 full. I like to take a full box over there. The need is sooo great. This is a small town but we get lots of women from the bigger cities coming to stay at the shelter, hiding out from their abusive spouses.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Short Row Increases Over Multiple Stitches with Cast On Rag & Ravel Cord

What I would like to do today is talk about increases while short rowing over multiple stitches, using cast on rags & ravel cord. We will be making a panty soaker that is knit in one piece, from the waistband at the back, down through the crotch,  to the waistband at the front. The ribbed leg bands will be like a grafted neck band as it will be knitted directly onto the cover after it is finished. After knitting the ribbed leg bands all that is left to do is sew it up.

For now, we are going to concentrate on the curved area that is short rowed over the thigh. This is what we are making in a Newborn size.
Okay, I have the back finished to the end of the crotch & am going to start to work on the front crotch that will cover the thigh in the front & knit up to the waist band. First I am going to knit the part of the crotch that is in the beginning center of the front. That is 16 rows on 11 stitches. Our total number of stitches are 59 stitches across the body of the cover so we have to increase 48 total stitches, 24 stitches each side over 6 rows. 12 rows total.(I like to use an odd number of stitches so that the ribbing at the waist looks nice.)We want a curved edge so that we don't want to increase 1 stitch at a time. We will increase multiple stitches across these rows, using our cast on rags & ravel cord. 
After we have knit the 16 rows for the beginning of the crotch in the front we are going to increase 4 stitches on the right hand side. To do this, we hang our cast on rag on the 4 stitches next to the end of the 11 stitches that we have for the crotch. Carriage is on the right. When doing multiple increases always increase on the side that the carriage is on. Hang your cast on rag on the 4 stitches that you are going to increase.
Then, take your ravel cord & knit by hand through these 4 stitches.

 Hang a claw weight on the cast on rag. We want these 4 stitches to be closed so that they won't unravel when we take off the cast on rag, so we will e-wrap the 4 stitches with our main yarn. Always e-wrap in the direction that the carriage is going. Since we are working on the right side for now, we will e-wrap going to the left, counter clock wise. It helps it pull the needles that are being e-wrapped to hold position. Have the carriage set to knit all needles.
 Then knit across the machine.Check your stitches to make sure it knitted up correctly. When we get to the left side we need to e-wrap the same number of stitches, 4 on that side. First the cast on rag is hung on the 4 stitches, then knitted though with ravel cord by hand.
Since we want the stitches to be closed, pull them to hold position & e-wrap the 4 stitches over the ravel cord clockwise & hang a weight. 
Carriage on the left. Knit across. Carriage on the right. Again we increase 4 of stitches, first hang cast on rag, then ravel cord, knit through by hand, pull needles to hold & e-wrap counterclockwise & knit to the left. Same thing on the left side. Hang cast on rag on 4 stitches, knit through with ravel cord by hand, pull to hold & e-wrap clockwise & knit to the right. Continue in this fashion for the remaining rows, depending on your pattern. You can sometimes increase stitches without the ravel cord & cast on rag but you will not get an edge that is as nice as it is if you use the cast on rag & ravel cord method. You need to have some weight on the stitches for them to look nice. It makes all the difference.
Now that we have our short row increases finished we will knit to the waistband, do our ribbing, & cast off with the loop through loop bind off. After that we will have the diaper cover off the machine & will remove our cast on rags by pulling out the ravel cord, & have a nice finished edge.
 Determine the number of stitches that we will use for our leg ribbing & hang the finished edge on the machine without stretching too much, purl side facing you. Because of our e-wrap cast on we have a nice edge to hang on the machine. Knit the ribbing the same way you would for a grafted neckband.
And here is our finished diaper cover!! This cover will fit a Newborn to about 6 months. I sell these for $18.00 a pair.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sweater for Afghanastan

Here is my finished A4A sweater. It should fit a young girl from about 10-12 years old. I am really glad that I decided to add some color to the front.
You can't add much to the sweaters because their religion dictates what they can wear & what they can't. I have a lot of wool scraps that I am saving for a striped scrappy for A4A. I didn't have quite enough for one this time, but by next year I should have plenty. I also like to use some greens because that is the color of Islam. Now if I can get a couple of pairs of mittens finished up I will be satisfied with my contribution.
I am still working on my short row tutorial. I should have it done before long. :-) 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not Much to Say

Not much going on with me right now, other than filling orders. I do have some plans though. I am going to do a tutorial on 'Short Row Increases' with multiple stitches.  I have to work out the math for it, first. I am not much of a math whiz but this is just simple arithmetic so it shouldn't be too much trouble. I will show the process while I do it.
A4A has set July 31 for the due date so if anyone is knitting for them keep that in mind. I have knitted 3 pair of socks along with the sweater that I am making. All I need to do with it is knit the other sleeve & sew it up. I am hoping to get some mittens made too.
Why does it always seem like I am going 90 miles an hour?? I have so many things going on that I wonder if I am really enjoying myself as much as I could be. It seems to be that I have forgotten how to have fun. Everything I do is a different version of some type of work. I love my store & when it slows down I am worried that it won't pick up again. Then, when I am getting tons of orders I work myself to the bone just to keep up with it, & worry that I will get behind. Right now I am spending about 4 hours a day on the machine for my covers., plus another couple of hours making up. I don't have time to volunteer anymore & miss it. My DH suggested PMS, but I guess the look on my face stopped that conversation from continuing. LOL  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Charity Sweater for A4A

I have been working on my child's sweater for A4A. I decided that the Caramel was too boring for a little girl & thought that adding some color would be a good idea. I am using the Burnt Orange for the front, then the back & sleeves are to be Caramel. I can knit one of these up pretty quick, but had a couple of orders come in so had to finish those up before I can get to the sweater.
I know that the sweater looks really long in the picture, but I make all my charity sweaters hip length to keep tummy's warm. The neckband is short rowed & grafted onto the body of the sweater. As busy as I have been with my store this may be the only charity sweater that I get finished for the program. I do want to get some mittens knitted & felted before I ship this off.
Now....for the aggravating part. I sewed one shoulder together on the machine, then did the neckband. After that, I sewed the other shoulder. When I took the sweater off the machine I realized that I had dropped a stitch on the shoulder. I did repair it but that is the kind of thing that sends me up the walls. I walk around the house muttering to myself for days after I do something like that. Probably no one but me will ever know, but things like that can ruin my whole day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer is Here(almost)

The sun is out & the weather is turning warmer. I'm looking forward to summer. Here in the Pacific Northwest it doesn't usually get up in the 80's or above. The last couple of summers it has been much warmer than normal. It looks like this one is going to be hotter too.
I have picked this color for my Afghans for Afghans sweater. This campaign they are asking for 100% wool sweaters, hats, mittens, or vests for girls ages 7-16. They prefer that you don't use a light colored yarn as they get dirty so fast. In a country with no hot water or washing machines dark colors are much better. I am making a size 10 drop shoulder with grafted sleeves & neckband.
My store has been very busy this year, with covers. Still not quite what it was before the recession, but getting there. My tee shirts are still not selling though. I didn't sell my heat press as I am hoping that sales would improve eventually. I have 300 infant & toddler tee shirts that I bought while they were selling out & then sales flat lined almost over night. Fortunately I have small grandkids that can wear some of them.   

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Hand Tooled Wood Products for Machine Knitters

Tom has some beautiful Machine Knitting tables on his blog. (Knitting Machine Table Woodworks)Sometimes I am stunned by the wonderful product that our MK'ers come up with. They are gorgeous & practical too. There is a style for every knitter!! I have contacted the man that is making them to find out if he might be interested in making some tool boxes also.
 Several years ago I bought this toolbox from the father of a MKer. I wanted to get another one but was unable to for one reason or another. The only complaint that I have is that the CO combs that set in the slots in the back of the box are separated by dowels rather than a piece that goes all the way down to the bottom of the box, & as a result, the combs tip over & the teeth on the combs get tangled up together & bend. I have sent this picture to the builder of the tables & asked him if he would be interested in producing toolboxes for us, & he seemed to be. I am waiting to hear back. Isn't is wonderful to be apart of such a great community?? of Machine Knitters & their spouses??

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Our World is Sooo Much Smaller Now!!

Our world is sooo much smaller now. With the advent of the internet we can touch so many lives that we we're unable too, just a short generation ago.
I have been selling my wool covers for 10 years now. I get orders from all around the globe. Several years ago I had an order for wool longies  to ship to Australia. The seasons there are the reverse of ours. Since then, around this time every year, I start getting orders from there. It started out with just the one order & has blossomed to 8-10 each year. The Mom's are using them as pajamas, in the bigger sizes, rather than wool covers, to keep the kids warm at night.
I don't know how many of you crochet. It is also something that I enjoy doing. I am making coasters. Just a small project while I watch TV in the evenings, but useful when I can get the family to use them. LOL I will post some pictures when I get a few made.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Knitting for Friendship House

My shop is sooo busy that I can't find the time to do much else. I did get to do some charity knitting. I am making a slip stitch sweater in the yarn Vellon. It is a soft fuzzy yarn made by Millor. Millor  yarns have been discontinued, but you can still get some of them from Knitcraft. Since they are closing them out they are selling inexpensively. An 8-9 oz cone is going for $4.50. I decided to make a slip stitch because I haven't made any in that style for quite a while. It is pattern
#333 in the Brother Stitch World catalog. I have finished the front & back so far.
It's kinda hard to see the pattern, but it is a zig-zag that goes horizontality across the sweater. I am making it on my Brother 965i. It will be a cut & sew neck with grafted neckband & long sleeves. It is another pullover.
I don't have much Vellon in my stash. Maybe 10-15 cones. I used it a lot for baby sweaters & buntings. I always felt that babies would enjoy the soft fuzzy feel of it. ;-)
I have heard that Mike Becker at 'Distinctive Knits' is selling a new yarn spray. I haven't been over there to try it yet, but that is good news. I use yarn spray lots with my wool covers to make machine knitting the worsted weight wool easier & to  run through the machine better, along with wax & humidifier. When Lori-Lyn spray was discontinued I hogged up(??) all the cans I could find. I was sure that someone would come out with another version of it, but was worried about how long it would take.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Baby Doll Clothes for Real Babies!!

When I was selling baby clothes in my store I often made the sample to fit my baby doll that I used for my model. Most of the pictures have been deleted because I quit making them & concentrated on my wool diaper covers. They were a lot of fun to make & I did make some for friends & relatives, & also sold a few.  Here is a picture of a set. I would embroider the customers choice of baby design on the front of the pullover. 

The set was designed using the Knitware Programs. The pants are ribbed leggings, the sweater a raglan pullover & the hat was knit straight up with no decreases. I knitted eyelets in the hat to thread the knitted I-cord through & tightened it up to form a top not on the hat. With a cute baby embroidery design on the front of the sweater this was such a cute set. It was knitted from Bramwell DK I think but don't remember for sure. (I still have my baby doll, named Cindy Sue, by my little g'son) 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Things I Buy for my Store

Sometimes I like to show you the things that I buy for use in my business. Last year I joined 'Knit it Now'. I enjoyed being a member & I did learn some things. I consider myself a fairly good MK now, but there are still many things I can learn. I always keep my antenna up for new ideas or projects.  & I am always on the lookout for things that can help me produce.  This is a cord knitter that I bought from 'Knit it Now'. (I won't say anything about the $$$.)

I use I cord for the ties in my diaper covers & I thought this would be a good addition to the tools that I use. I have always disliked knitting I cord on the machine. It was the one thing that I hated to do. This cord knitter is all metal & I understand it was made in the '40's. I tried to knit a worsted weight I cord with all 6 needles in, but that wouldn't work well. (Sue advises against worsted weight yarns.) Soooo, I took out 2 needles & tried again with 4 needles in. That worked beautifully. I use a little yarn spray with the machine & it doesn't have a problem with knitting the heavier yarns & makes great ties for my covers. I actually went back & bought another one for a lighter weight yarn & a 6 needles I cord, because changing needles with this machine is a hassle. I thought it better to just have a different machine for each weight of yarn. 

If you decide to buy one of these, keep in mind that it requires 'Tender Loving Care'!! Never force the machine, keep it lubed & it will give you wonderful service. I have had mine for over a year now & it works like new. But, I have seen several on Ebay that are just the remnants of a working machine that has obviously been mistreated.  I have had several of the plastic versions & this one is so much better.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Knit Picks & Spilly Jane

I don't know how many of you get the "Knit Picks" catalog or follow 'Spilly Jane's' blog. I do both. Knit Picks yarn is mostly for hand knitters & spinners, but of course you may use their yarns on the bulky or mid-gauge machine. They have sport weight yarns that can be used on the standard gauge sometimes. You can find 'Spilly Jane's' blog in my favorites.

When I was looking through my Knit Picks catalog I was pleasantly surprised to see a couple of pages devoted to Spilly Jane's mittens. She knits the most beautiful mittens that she designs herself. She is a bit quirky & I love reading her blog as she thinks things that I never do & I find them very enlightening. Here is a picture of some of her mittens. So beautiful!!

Have a look at her blog. I think you will like it. 

Hope Valentines Day was all that you hoped for!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Working On Orders

I am busy working on orders. I have been doing very well after a slow start this season. I am amazed at all the babies out there!!! So Many & so cute!! Here are some current photos of my recent order for a baby girl. 

I just have sooo much fun making these that it is a crime that I get paid for them. LOL 

I have 5 more orders to go. I am catching up after my internet being down for so long. I had to go to the library with my laptop & write down all the info rather than print it. It was such a mess. Sometimes I drove over there & didn't even go in, but just sat in the parking lot & hooked up to their Wi-Fi. But I am back online now & having a great time. 

Sometimes I buy yarn for my covers on Ebay if I see a good buy. I haven't bought any yarn for my stash this year, just wool for my covers. While scoping around Ebay I found this little pin cushion for $10. It was so cute that I had to buy it. I did need a new one. My last one came from Walmart, the kind that looks like the little tomato.  

Hopefully I will get all my orders out in a timely fashion, & be back on top of everything again. I was so stressed while being unable to get online that it has taken a toll on me. Being off line for almost a month can do that to you, esp. if you are stressing over your online business., not to mention all the blogs I follow. &, I don't want to be nasty but the computers at the library seem to have lots of germs. LOL I had one cold after anther the whole time I was using their computers.