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random thoughts from my life & the universe

Procrastination paid off!

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’ve kinda procrastinated a lot of number of posts (and also procrastinated the standard year-end rollup….so who knows if that one will happen this time around :P) I’m hoping to settle into a better writing routine in 2013…but I’m not really one for New Years Resolutions so let’s just leave it at that 😉

Now then…those of you who know me know that I have a thing about finishing my projects…I’m not terribly keen on weaving in ends, and I usually try to go with seamless designs (or I convert designs to be as seamless as possible).  I knit all my socks toe-up so there’s no grafting to be done at the end…and I’ve been known to leave wee tails on my socks that never get woven in.  Needless to say, putting the finishing touches on sweaters can sometimes drag on and on and on…

Wound up moving them :)

This lovely sweater coat, for example, has had all of its knitting (and blocking and alterations) done since early March of 2011.  It was a test knit for the designer, and all the knitting was actually completed within a month and a half – but I never managed to bring myself to add the closures to it…so it’s been hibernating in its mostly finished state since then.

Every now and again when I’d find myself in a knitting shop, I’d have a look at the buttons and toggles, looking for the perfect closures – but I never did find anything to my liking.  I was also somewhat at a loss as to how to securely attach the toggles to the coat as I wanted them to be attached to leather cords, but a clean method of securing the cords to the knitted fabric was eluding me.  Luckily for me, all that procrastination paid off because I finally stumbled across the perfect afterthought closures while doing some other shopping at Spunky Eclectic (more info and direct link to the exact closures at the end).  It’s officially finished, just in tieme for Wool Season here in the desert!

new knitting

Pattern: Andokides
Yarn: Malabrigo Twist
Needles: US9 – 5.5mm

I should mention I’m not completely new to Fair Isle knitting, though I could probably stand for a bit more practice to get my gauge to not change between colorwork sections and plain knitting sections.  My floats are fairly loose, but apparently not loose enough – so while my colorwork knitting doesn’t pucker, it definitely has some draw-in compared to the non-colorwork sections.  That said…steeking was something completely new to me…and it was definitely an adventure!

snip snip

Who wouldn’t find cutting into one’s knitting with a pair of sharp scissors a bit exhilarating?  It was perhaps even more exciting than it needed to be for me as superfine merino is not an ideal yarn to be steeking without properly reinforced steeks – and by properly reinforced, in this case, I mean machine stitching down the stitches on either side of the cut.  I don’t get along terribly well with my sewing machine, so I only did a crochet reinforced steek which still allowed some play in the yarn.  As I had suspected, I had to employ some swift knotwork to prevent undue fraying especially of my colorwork sections – this could have all been avoided if I didn’t have such heebie-jeebies about feeding my knitting to my temperamental Singer sewing machine (which all said, is quite a nice machine – I suspect I just never learned how to use it properly).

Finally finished!

Other than the adventure with the steeking, this coat knits up quickly and the pattern is well written.  As written, the coat has no shaping, and had it not been a test knit, I would have added waist shaping, and likely would have made the bottom of the coat a larger size (I tend to make my sweaters and cardigans all with a slightly A-shape to them).  My yarn tended to stretch a lot once it got wet, so my sleeves wound up growing quite a bit – I actually picked up stitches just above the colorwork cuffs , cut the yarn, unraveled back to an appropriate length, then grafted the sleeves back together again.  With that experience behind me, I highly recommend washing your swatch like you’re supposed to to get a better estimate on sleeve and finished garment length…this would imply that I did not wash my swatch, and you would be entirely correct.  I rarely swatch, and when I do, I almost never wash the swatch to get final gauge…I’m impatient that way.

That brings us back to the closures – as I was planning on installing toggles on this coat, I didn’t include any button holes on the button bands.  Luckily for me, those closures I found at Spunky Eclectic really are of the afterthought variety – they require no modification at all to the fabric so long as the posts can be poked through and secured…I even wound up re-setting the placement of mine a couple times since I wasn’t happy the first time I installed them on the coat.  In case you want specifics, mine are the smaller size Floating Buttonholes in Chocolate Brown.  I like them so much I’m thinking about picking up another one or two for my Bog Jacket.

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