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Showing posts with label tricks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tricks. Show all posts

Monday, March 14, 2011

Aquaphobia Socks

This FO felt like it was a long time coming, but it was well worth the wait.

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The Details:
Pattern: Aquaphobia Socks by Crystal Smith
Needles: US1(2.5mm) 36" Addi Turbo circulars (dislike!)
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns' Tough Love Sock (80% wool/20% nylon) in Lakeshore Drive
Gauge: 10sts/inch in the slip stitch pattern
Cast on: February 4, 2011
Bound off: March 14, 2011
Total # of stitches: 30,728 (or thereabouts)

I absolutely love this pattern, although it was a bit slow-going with all of those slipped stitches. It fit like a dream without any modifications, which was particularly nice! My favourite part is that the pattern didn't need following, at all - it's straightforward enough that you can simply read your knitting. Win.

The only complaint I had with the pattern was some rather vague toe instructions. Although, it eventually became clear that I'm just a picky knitter (and sock-wearer). I tried and frogged three toes before settling on this one, and it was definitely worth it. This is a moderately anatomically correct toe, created simply by tracing the outline of my toes on some knitter's graph paper. (Good instructions here.) I didn't go as correct as I could have - a first try let me know that I didn't want such a close fit. So the effect is rather subtle, but so much more comfortable for me than a traditional toe.

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During my research on the subject of toes, I also discovered a really handy trick to make the edges of the graft much prettier. Once you're done your knitting, but before you start grafting, pass the end stitches on both ends of each needle over the stitches beside them, toward the centre of the graft. You'll end up with four less stitches to graft, but the result will be so much neater. (Rox on Ravelry describes this more accurately here and here.)

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I knitted these on one of my few pairs of Addi Turbos, and was reminded that I don't really care for these needles. On the occasion that a stitch would slip off the needles, the tips were too blunt to recapture it! So I'd have to use the tip of a stitch holder or a tapestry needle. How silly. I'm anxiously awaiting the delivery of some sock-sized KnitPicks Harmonies.

That small irritation aside, I had so much fun knitting these. My feet are very happy tonight.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pendrell Blouse: Full Bust Adjustment

I started working on the tissue fit for the Pendrell Blouse this weekend, and I had a blast! I'm using Fit For Real People as my guide, and so far I can't sing this book's praises enough. Their methods just make so much sense! Well, with a few exceptions, which I'll elaborate on below. Anyway, here's what I got up to.

First, I traced my pattern pieces. Though the tracing seemed to take FOREVER, I'm so glad I didn't butcher my original pattern! Especially since I've never used this fit method before. I traced a size 10, based on both my high bust and waist measurements (36 and 30, respectively). Then, I pinned it together and tried it on:

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As indicated with the red line, and as expected, I need a full bust adjustment. (My full bust measurement is 38). Following the FFRP method, I unpinned the princess seam at the bust and spread the pieces until they lay flat. Then, I measured the distance between the two pieces.

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In a startling moment of mathematical consistency, the distance was one inch - meaning two inches over the full garment. In other words, I'm increasing the bust to 38" - my measurement exactly. Go figure!

I did the slash and spread method as directed by FFRP. (If you don't have access to this book, the method is explained really well here.)

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After that was done, I pinned it together and tried it on again.

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Success!

(Please ignore the fact that I pinned it together backwards the second time! It shouldn't matter, but it did make photographing harder!)

I hit a small stumbling block during this process. I noticed that the FFRP method of full bust adjustment actually adds ease to the waist and hips as well. I was concerned about that, because at first fitting I thought the waist was fine and the hips perhaps a bit wide. However, once all was said and done, I think that both are fine - especially considering there's no zipper in this top.

In truth, I actually spent a fair amount of time making adjustments to the waist and hip before finally ending up back where I started. If you have a keen eye, you'll notice the final photo features a nipped in side seam. (Confusingly, it also looks looser than the previous photo - that's because in the first photo the back piece is pinned in place, and in the second photo it isn't.) Regardless, in the end I took it out and it looked and felt much better, so I'm going to make up the muslin unaltered and see how it goes.

I'm definitely going to lower the neckline as well, and I'm already wishing I had a french curve. I've been using a tape dispenser in the meantime, which works about as well as you might think ;)

Next up: muslin!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Silk Charmeuse: Prepping

So far, I've learned that the first challenge to working with silk charmeuse is deciding how to care for it.

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I think it's important to get real with yourself before you invest in projects like this. Many people will tell you that silk is dry-clean only, but for me - that's never going to happen. I don't dry clean, as a general rule. I find it to be too expensive, too much effort, and I worry about the effect the chemicals have on my health and the environment. Also, I highly doubt there has ever been a girl more likely than me to spill water on herself, or to have her boyfriend unknowingly toss a silk blouse in the washing machine!

When I buy silk charmeuse or chiffon in ready-to-wear, I generally hand wash, hang-dry and steam the garments. I wasn't sure if there would be some sort of consequence in going this route when preparing the fabric. I was warned ahead of time that I might notice a difference in colour, sheen, drape and hand. But on the bright side, it would pre-shrink the fabric and eliminate any future worries about water-spotting. I decided to do a swatch and see.

First, I cut a 6" x 6" swatch:
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Then, I washed it in tepid water with Soak:
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Finally, I hung it to dry and then steamed it like crazy under a silk organza press cloth:

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The result? The piece shrunk about 1/4" lengthwise and 1/8" widthwise, and any changes to the colour/drape/sheen/hand were barely noticeable to me. If anything, it's slightly darker and slightly sturdier, which I actually prefer.

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(I had the piece oriented the wrong way in the photo above, so you'll have to trust me on the lengthwise/widthwise thing!)

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The moral of this story? Don't always believe "dry clean only." After all, silk and wool were around for quite some time before the invention of dry-cleaning. (But definitely always do a swatch test first, to be sure.)