Current projects: Etsy order for a Doc McStuffins sweater (size 4T) just finished, see below
About to start: 6-9 month sweaters for twins a friend is expecting!
I have been out of the blogging world for quite a while, and realized photographing the end of my current project was a great way to dive back in.
I just finished an Etsy order for a size 4T sweater that looks like the one Doc McStuffins wears. She is an adorable cartoon character that takes care of her stuffed animals, which of course come to life when no one else is around. I made one last year for a halloween costume- see the moms' blog post about how the whole costume came out.
This one is for another little girl, a little older (turning 4). The hardest part of this sweater is calculating how many rows each stripe should be before switching colors, as I would like it to come out with the same number of stripes as the tv character has. Sweater patterns are not quite broken down by # of rows, some sections are, and other parts will say "knit for 7.5 inches." Knowing your gauge (how many rows and stitches per inch) can be helpful for figuring this out. A bit of info on how to figure out gauge is in my post on Beginning your first project. I had to rip out the main body (armpits down) after a few stripes when I realized they were too thick, but the great thing about clothes for younger kids/babies is they are smaller, so go a lot quicker!
This post is about what to do with all the "tails" you get from starting or stopping a project, changing colors, or simply changing skeins of yarn on a solid sweater. I'm sure I have talkad about this before, but the stripes show very clearly what is going on.
Here is the sweater, knitting complete. I have already sewn in the seams on the body, bottom ribbing, and top collar. I cut the yarn at the beginning and end of every stripe, leaving at least 6 inches of yarn as a "tail"- you can see them all hanging out the ends of the sleeves. I use a process called "weaving in" the ends- there are no knots involved, it is useful for closing holes, and if done properly, will stay in place for quite some time.
Here you can see the sleeve, and the loose stitches or gaps where one color ends and the next begins. I also have issues with where the stitches were picked up at the base of the sleeve to work around- there tend to be holes on either side- see the bottom of the picture. This happens on sweater, mittens, gloves, etc, and are very unsightly if you let them go. Much of this can be taken care of by weaving in the ends. The first thing to do is turn the piece inside out. You will also need a large tapestry needle or yarn needle. I prefer the metallis ones to pure plastic, and while blunt-end is good, too dull of a tip makes the work more difficult.
So here is the inside of the sleeve- notice all the tails of yarn, as well as the holes where the sleeve meets the body. Let's tackle the latter first. Thread your needle with the yarn with which you started the sleeve, which should be right at the base where the body meets the sleeve.
Weaving ends in means sewing the yarn end through the stitches. The trick here is you don't want to see them on the outside ("right side") of the work. the best way to do this is to catch only part of each strand of yarn for a few rows. It is best to go up and down through rows, rather than side to side. This way is easier to "pierce" the yarn, only picking up a few strands, and will hold up from unraveling through normal wear on the garment. In the picture on the right, I have worked the yarn over to the edge of the hole, and have threaded the needle through several rows, splitting the yarn in each row- this way you will not see it on the outside. Then I will come back down int he next column, up, etc. See the captions under pictures.
The method used to seal up the stripes is the same as what I use when I reach the end of one skein and am about to start another in a single color sweater. The only difference with stripes is I try to weave the ends through rows of the corresponding color, so it shows as little as possible on the right side. First, start by "completing the stitch." Leave yourself about 6 incles of yarn on each end when you trim the ends, and you can see the hole you are closing. This is much easier than closing the hole in the underarm. I start by going totally under the stitch where the other end is, which is where the yarn would go if you had continued. Once this is snug, I start weaving the end up and down as shown above, sticking to the appropriate color side. When you have done this 3-4 times, clip the yarn close to the work so the end is hardly visible. Then do the same on the other side. See pictures below for the process.
Last is all the cuffs. Cuffs/collars on sweaters tend to be what is called "ribbing," with a knit (K) 1, purl (p) 1 repetition, or k2 p2. once you are finished, you ofen have an uneven gap where the last stitch is bound off, and no clear columns to thread your needle through as on the body of the piece. Here are some step by step pictures of how I do it.
That's all for now- pictures of what I've been working on all summer next time! Even I am on sensory overload from the amount of pictures in this post.
As always, may your own adventures in crafting bring you joy and satisfaction.
Update: I have been working on new methods of weaving in ends, including the duplicate stitch method- look for a blog post soon!