The Adventure Continues.....



Entries in knitting (3)


My Craft Space and Vlogging!

 Current Projects (right):  Ernie Sweater for a college friend, Scrubbies for a client in Hawaii, and roses for a store in Cashiers, NC

I realized it has been a while since I have posted, and then in checking the site I confirmed that it has been almost a year!  Egad!  I am easing back into blog posts with a quick tour of my crafting space as I work on some more lengthier projects and posts. Remember, if there is a specific technique you would like to know more about, contact me, post a reply here, etc!


For two years now I have been living in a new apartment that has long, slender bedrooms, and I have turned one into a craft room.  Everything just fits with some careful organization (which can look slopppy at times, but I know where everything is....... for the most part).  Here is a tour in pictures.


First, an overall look of the room.  you can see that I have maximized wall space, every inch of where the wall hits the floor has a cabinet, table, desk, etc.  



I have lovely Ikea cubbies to organize my yarn stash and library of pattern books.  It also has a few drawers where I keep fabric.  There is no good spot for my iron and ironing board, so it generally hangs out over here. overhead, I store odds and ends, but especially packing and shipping supplies for my Etsy store 

I have moved yarn for current projects behind my sewing machine, so it is a bit crowded over there

Just down from the stash is my sewing corner, with maching and thread. This is a great sewing table from Wal Mart, though you can probably find it other places as well.  It collapses down to half it's size, you can store the sewing maching inside of it if you need to camouflage it and use it as a table, I though that could be a space saver, but honestly I use it so much it's not worth closing it up.



In this picture: self-healing mat, ruler, and rotary cutter for fabric, swift and ball winder for yarn, and multiple lights set up for pictures

 The other side of the room:  great table, I believe I got it at JoAnns online, for cutting fabric.  This started as a fabric table, but it is multipurpose for me:  I use it for winding yarn, cutting fabric, laying out new projects, and photographing finished items for Etsy and other marketing material. 



 Adjacent to the cutting table is my work desk, where I am currently writing this blog post, and where most of the technological side of the crafting happens.  Etsy posts, photography cleanup, blogging, and soon vlogging (see below).  Also, when Etsy orders come in, a lot of time is spent printing receipts, communicating with customers, etc.


I posted recently about the bow ties I now make, and a friend said, "Let me know when you make a YouTube video explainaing that!"  That lit a spark within me that perhaps I should jump into the fray that is tutorial video blogging.  I have started a YouTube channel,  just got a tripod for my phone, and have posted exactly one video, essentially a vlogging version of the tour you just read through.  Again, if you have things you would like me to post about, either in video or print, please send me a message, respont to this post, or post on my Facebook page!  


Thanks all, and may your adventures in crafting bring you joy, happiness, and satisfaction.


Changing colors and sewing in loose ends (tails)

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.

Doc McStuffins, image courtesy of

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.

1. First row- split each stitch with the needle.

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.2. Now down the "column" next to the first, right actoss the hole.

3. Back up- with each column, pull the yarn snug to close the gap, but not tight. That will bunch up the knit stitches on the right side of the work.

4. Back down. 3-4 times increases the durability of your finish.

5. Up again: when sealing up under-arm holes, more may be needed. I do a few columns after I am done with the hole for good measure.




























6. Now both sides are done! on to the stripes.












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.


1. The open hole- notice where each yarn tail comes out2. "Completing the stitch": going completely under the loop where the other tail comes out.3. Pull the tail snug, but not overly tight.4. Note here the tail has been sewn down, and is now coming back up, staying on the white stitches.5. One more time down to secure.6. When done weaving, cut tail close to work. here you can see the weaving from the strip as well as the armhole.7. Next the purple side- here the stitch has been closed, and the needle catches a column of stitches through the middle of each strand.

8. In the same fashion as the white side, reverse direction and sew through some columns 2-3 more times.9. The stripe is finished, and closed up snugly.Here is the entire inside of the sleeve with all the color changes woven in.This is the sweater right side out- you are looking at the sleeve and side of the body, where all the color changing takes place. You may be able to see where it happens, but the transitions are relatively smooth, and there are no gaping holes.






































































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.

1. End of the sleeve cuff- notice the gap. I start by turning the piece inside out.2. First, I "close the stitch" by sewing right side to wrong side through the first stitch of the row.3. Next, I sew back to near where I started to secure the gap.4. Now I use the same process of sewing up and down through a column of stitches, using the "in-between" space where you can find horizontal stitches to easily sew through that will not be as visible on the right side5. Here is the cuff on the right side when done- hard to see where the work happened.

The finished sweater!


















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!


My first try at steeking

Current projects:

Finished: the purple sweater for a 12 month old, see picture of it being blocked.

Finished: commissioned fingerless gloves, contact me if you want a pair in your favorite color!

Finished: tea cozy from Jane Austen Knits summer issue, see below as it was my first attempt at steeking!

On the sticks: knitted toddler dress from a Sublime pattern.






I have started my Christmas projects, and am being quite ambitious as I am also receiving several requests for winterwear such as the fingerless gloves above as the weather gets colder. Keep checking in to see how it's all going, and if I finish in time! I have one panel of the toddler dress done, though not a current picture of it.


I decided to tackle steeking for the first time with a tea cozy pattern from Jane Austen Knits (summer 2012), a great magazine for those who are both yarn and literature geeks! Steeking is a technique that has always scared me: knitting in the round and cutting your knitting for arm/neck/cardigan/etc openings instead of binding off. It is a technique that has been used for a long time, especially by those who do complicated fair isle knitting (where multiple colors and therefore strands of yarn are used) and don't want to have to take care of a million loose ends of yarn when they are done. I had the same questions as most: won't the whole thing just unravel? Why would I do all that work if it can fall apart?


I followed the advice in the article listed in Jane Austen Knits, and it worked out well for me. I'm providing a link to the detailed instructions here, and showing what it was like for me below. You may need to subscribe to knitting daily to see the article, but it is free and the article is very helpful.


note extra stitches on edge-they look like stripesFirst the pattern, and steeking guidelines, call for about 6-10another view of the extra stitches stitches between ends of the pattern, as a buffer for where you are eventually going to cut. By alternating colors, you are interweaving the yarn and creating a stronger barrier.





For extra reinforcement, especially when you are using fiber other than wool (which tends to grab itself anyway), you can crochet the columns of stitches in the middle to each other. In this case I was crocheting a strand of the white and navy stitches to each other. I was nervous about the process, and using cotton yarn, so through this would be a good idea.










Then the nerve-wracking part: cutting up the middle! Careful not to cut the crochet part, here I go, snip, snip snip!





I had a lot of loose pieces of yarn when I was done, but the main piece has remained in tact. The next step was to trim the loose ends, and tack down the steeking to the wrong side with more white yarn.


After blocking the piece (fairly essential when working with more than one color as it will even out the stitches), I am proud of my finished product! The photo below is of my cozy on a much smaller teapot than it is destined for, but the only teapot in my home!

Check out the article on steeking, it has great drawings of different ways to try it out!


Back to my cabled toddler dress, if you brave steeking too may you find happiness and satisfaction!