A coat for Mindy

Light denim jacket

I bought a jacket pattern and have made a number of jackets from that pattern.  It’s three pattern pieces and it goes together really fast and is very comfortable.

I had some denim in my stash, some stretch, some red pinstriped, and I combined the two into a single garment that turned out really nice.  It’s going to my sister for her to wear at work.  I was really pleased with the jacket but this iteration really needed pockets.  Patching pockets to the outside would have ruined the appearance of the front so I made curved slits bound in red goat leather.  The pockets are stretch denim patched onto the inside and sewn down using navy thread to make then as invisible as I can make them.

Red goat hide bound pocket.

The back and sleeves are solid blue stretch denim which makes the jacket very comfortable while still looking classy/casual.  The red leather to match the pinstripes on the front makes a nice accent and the curved opening makes the pockets easy to use.  I’m altering the pattern one more time for a more fitted sleeve and a fold over shawl collar.  I’ve got some black stretch denim I’ll use for that iteration.

I had gotten one pocket put on and was taking a break to eat lunch when my 35 year old Viking 6750 suddenly started running and billowing smoke.  <wince>  I unplugged it and set it out on the deck to finish smoking where I didn’t have to breathe it.  I figure if it was smoking I wasn’t going to be repairing it anytime soon.

Knitting

My mother was an awesome knitter. She could also crochet like nobody’s business. There wasn’t a baby born that she knew of that wasn’t blessed with something from her hands. Growing up we all wore sweaters she knitted.  I still wear a pair of wool socks she knitted.  I’m pretty sure they weren’t knitted for me but they shrunk to where I’m the one they fit!  <grin>  I can live with that!

Patrons Stretch Sock yarn on size 1 needles.

I was searching for something . . . I can’t even remember what, and I ran across an online knitting magazine. Therein I found discussion regarding magic cast on for socks. The technique was so cool I just HAD to try it. So here is Judy’s magic cast on!

I’m halfway through the heel turn and I’m using a modified Cat’s Sweet Tomato Heel Turn.  Instead of dividing the stitches into thirds (two for the heel, one for the front) for three sets of increases I’m greatly increasing the number of heel stitches for the first and third set of short rows while decreasing (not proportionally) the center set.  This should allow the heel turn to better fit my ankle and heel.

Pattern?  Yeah, not using a pattern.  I never have.  I do the math to figure out how many stitches/rows for the needle/yarn combo and run with it.  The last knit project I made was a denim/navy heather double yarn short jacket worked on big needles.  It had pockets, a collar and a big brass zipper up the front.  I wore that jacket for a long time, passing it on when I was done wearing it.  That was a lot of years ago.

I watched another video about a technique called “magic loop” which allows socks to be knitted on a single long circular needle.  I’m not so enamored with that.  I really like using two short circular needles to knit small round stuff.

My mom’s entire stash of needles has only one size 1 16″ circular needle and it’s got a rough join where the cable fastens to the tips which makes sliding the work from one tip to the other a bit of a chore.  I could live with it but a set of newer needles would be better.  I’ve got plenty of double-ended needles but I prefer cable needles.

I tried to find new needles locally but no joy.  I bought bamboo needles at Michael’s but I knit pretty tight and the yarn doesn’t slide on the bamboo needles easily enough to suit me AND the join between the needle and the cable is not seamless.  The join uses a metal collar to connect the parts and it doesn’t look very sturdy AND looks like it would snag fine yarn.  Maybe they might work great for someone who doesn’t knit tightly, but they aren’t going to work well for me.

Terry stopped in at the local knit shop but they don’t carry aluminum circular needles.  I ordered two 16″ size 1 circular needles from a vendor on Amazon but the join where the cable meets the aluminum tip is two full sizes bigger than the needle.  Tell me where the logic is in that?  There is no way I could get my work off the tip and onto the cable.  I can’t even use them until I make a draw die and fine down that lump!  Plus the cable’s so stiff I would have to fight it constantly while I’m working.  I’m going to have to heat the cable up and cool it straight, and even then that’s not a perfect solution.

I was at Fabric Depot yesterday and they had the same needles I got on Amazon with the same two-sizes-larger lumps where the two materials join.  Been there, got those.  They also had the bamboo needles I got at the local craft store with the you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me yarn snagging pin-punched metal collar join.  <wince>  Next trip to town those are going back.  There’s nothing I can do to fix them and make them usable.

Fabric Depot also had a needle I’ve never seen before . . . squared off tips on cables, a square circular needle!  I know that sounds kind of strange, but the needles really are square and the cable is real soft and flexible.  I bought two short (16″) and 1 long (42″?) and I’ve got my sock transferred to the new 16″ needles.  The tip length fits in my hand perfectly, they don’t have that stupid bend in the aluminum right before the tip meets the cable, the cable is soft and doesn’t interfere with my knitting and I am mostly in love.  They do have one draw-back.

The butt of the tip, where the tip joins the cable, has a rounded end into which the cable merges.  This causes a small but abrupt “hip” which stops the loops of yarn from sliding smoothly back onto the tip.  With that in the way I can’t just shove the loops back onto the needle, I have to stop and coax them from the cable onto the tip.  Despite this work-slowing design flaw, the needles are an improvement over the other needles I purchased.

When I’m done with this pair of socks I’ll rework the butt join to see if I can solve this problem, either reshaping the hip to a more gradual 45° slant or developing a collar to sit against the hip to ease the transition.  It would be perfect if the manufacturer would change the design to fix this as it’s a drawback to an otherwise perfect knitting needle.  I’m having so much fun knitting socks I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to knit more than one pair and I refuse to fight every transfer of stitches from cable to needle.

One more nice thing about this needle . . . the size and length are stamped right into the tip.  I don’t have to dig out my needle gauge to make sure I’ve grabbed the right size.  Sweet!  Now, if they were just as perfect everywhere else . . .

A new project

Nostrils and tail yet to do, but looking good!

I started a new project last night.  I haven’t been able to appliqué for a couple years so I’m really excited about this.

I’ve wanted to try some new stuff.  A friend supplied the material and will get the resulting coat.  I’ve made tests of the coat pattern (A Little Something), made the necessary adjustments and I’m ready to go!

This is a three color coat.  The left side of the jacket is purple batik.  The right is green batik and the accent is ink navy.  The sleeve bottom and coat bottom will be bordered in Oriental Dance blocks.

This bit of the project is all hand appliqué.  The horse head pattern is on a piece of paper on the back.  I sew the three layers together (paper, background and foreground) using a sewing machine and staying on the pattern lines.  From the front I carefully cut the foreground material away and, as I unpick the stitching, I turn the edge under on the stitching line and appliqué the foreground down to the background being careful not to catching the paper in the stitching.  This technique gives me accurate and flat appliqué.  It always looks like the appliqué was just ironed flat.  So far, so good!  I think it’s looking awesome!

I’m not sure how it’s going to be quilted.  I may give Karen the background and batting and have her pin the coat pieces to it and quilt them.  So far I’ve got the pattern pieces cut extra big so there’s room around the outside to stitch it down to the backing before it’s mounted on the quilting machine.  That might work.  You can tell I’m still pondering this part.

 

Ribbons at the fair

LouAnn has been entering her quilting and canning in our local fair for years.   I’m fortunate that she drags my quilts along for the ride.

This year I have three quilts entered in the fair.  LouAnn called yesterday to tell me they had all received blue ribbons.  While that’s nice, it was even more exciting to hear her grape quilt had been considered for the grand poo-bah prize.  That’s pretty awesome!

Note:  LouAnn called to tell me Sunset on the Farm got People’s Choice at the fair.  How nice!

Ribbons galore

Vendor's Choice and a first place in the "Other" category

Wreath of Life hanging in Karen's booth

The quilt show is over and two of my quilts did really well.

The Sunset quilt got People’s Choice the second day and second in the pieced category.

The Ichthy Bog Coat got a Vendor’s Choice ribbon and a first in the “Other” category.

Even better, LouAnn’s grape quilt got People’s Choice the very first day!  That rocks!  And Karen‘s been asked to teach the Square Dance (block used as the border on the bog coat) at two different location!  That really rocks!

LouAnn’s Wreath of Life quilt hung in Karen’s booth and many asked for the pattern.  We all agree the quilt would have been pretty without the pieced background, but the large Dance block in pastels behind the appliqué really added to the depth and richness of the quilt.

Almost home

Sunset at the farm
Nested stars
Confetti Stars aka “The Wood Quilt”

 

My three quilts are almost home.  They hung at the Pe Ell Quilt Show over the July 4th weekend but they still have two more stops to make before I get to sleep under them.

In two weeks they hang again at the RDQG Quilt Show, then a month later they hang at the SWW Fair.

Confetti Stars got best comfort sized quilt at the Pe Ell show.  That’s nice!