Free: July 2011 Archives
I have seen the light and it is knitting for kids. I may have said it before but I will say it again, I Love Knitting for Kids! Why, you ask, because it is fast, fun and almost instant gratification. The time it takes to knit a project for a kid is about ¼ of the time (if that) to knit for myself. Plus, I love her so much and couple that with my love of knitting makes it twice as fun as knitting for me. The fit issues are greatly reduced (except for the unplanned growth spurt: see pictures for evidence of a very much unplanned growth spurt). I choose the Jonah Hoodie from Lion Brand because of its comfy, cozy characteristics. It looked like it would be agreeable for a toddler to wear: warm and very functional. It is all of the above. My daughter was very excited to try it on and wear it around the house. While I doubt she will be wearing this one come fall (again see pictures) but I will be making another in the next size up for the fall. I love that there are only 2 buttons but I don't agree with the placement. They are 1 row apart and butted up to the hood. Next time I will start them 4 in. down from the cast off edge and the next one 2 in. down since I will use big buttons (these are from my stash) again so she can button them herself. I will also cast on more stitches (just a few) for the sleeves so the opening for her hand is bigger. I also changed the Hoodie placement. The instructions call for the seamed edge to be the top of the hoodie but I placed the seam at the back of the hoodie because the cast on edge curved a bit and gave it more of a front-of-the hoodie look.
I also loved the yarn, Lion Brand Homespun in Parfait. It gives a Boucle like look and is SUPER SOFT to the touch and to wear. It was a bit of a challenge to work with because of the fuzzy factor but worth it since it was one hang-up every 5th or so row (not really that big of a deal but a change to one used to cotton and linen these last few weeks of summer knitting).
This is a great project to work on while cooped up with the summer heat and humidity, wishing for fall to coming all ready. It really put me in the fall mood but is not so daunting that I regret time spent. It is just the right amount to get you over the summer hump.
So now that I am an official crocheter, I figured I should get some Granny Squares under my belt to seal the deal. For those who don't know, Granny Squares are to crocheters as dishcloths are to knitters. Granny Squares are small crocheted squares that feature different designs in each that you can sew up into different projects. Some of the most popular are blankets, scarves, and shawls. Collecting and finding new Granny Square patterns is just as fun as working them up. I set out to find some that I, as a beginner, could handle and I came up with 2 good patterns. The first is a beautiful granny square which is shown in 3 colors but can be worked up in just one or two, as I did. The second is an interesting take on the Granny Square style but reshaped for Christmas to make a Granny Tree. I worked my tree up based on the instructions that called for a treble stitch. Next time I will go with the double and use a smaller hook as with the hook called for by the ball band and the treble stitch I think the finished project is too floppy to make a good ornament but would be perfect with the DC.
I have to say I loved making these. I learned some new things, obtained some much needed practice and new ways to use the skills I already had. Completing something so cute, colorful and beautiful in a short amount of time is very satisfying. Unlike the Amigurumi animals I had made previously, there was no assembly, no stuffing. Once I was done crocheting, I was done! I did learn that: yes, my tension is still too tight. How do I know this, you ask, well... the thought occurred to me shortly after my crochet hook snapped in my hand. "Self", I thought, "you may need to relax a little with this crochet business". Stay tuned to see how this revelation works out. Until then, I will keep practicing and definitely keep cranking out Granny Squares.
My Green and Purple Granny Square was knit up in Berroco Weekend (75% Acrylic, 25% Cotton) in Tomatillo and Orchid. This was a great yarn to crochet with: no splits and it was neither too slick nor fluffy. My Granny Tree was knit with Tahki Tara Tweed (80% Wool/ 20% Nylon) in Brick. This was also a fantastic yarn to crochet with. It was fluffier than the Weekend but it was also had more stretch.
Following on the heels of my previous article on how to sew Pintucks with the Janome Pintuck Foot is how to then add this amazing detail to your store bought patterns. Say you have a dress or a shirt that you want to add pintucks too but you aren't sure how to add the details without altering the pattern. The solution is to sew the pintucks on before you cut your pattern piece. This can be tricky but if you plan ahead your finished piece will look amazing.
I start out by first deciding which pattern pieces will feature pintucks and mark them in some fashion. Then, I layout my fabric and pattern pieces as instructed in the pattern. The pieces that will have pintucks, I trace with tailors chalk around the outside giving a wide berth (sometimes about 1 in. around), be more generous on the width of the piece since that will be affected more by the pintucks than the length. This will give you a good idea of where to place your tucks and how long to sew them. Also be sure if you are working with pieces cut on a fold to mark the center line. You can cut out the unaffected pieces now or after you add the pintucks to the fabric. Do not cut out the pieces that will feature pintucks. Sew your pintucks before you cut out these pattern pieces using your traced outline as a guide. Sew your pintucks from the top of the traced outline to the bottom. Once you have added your pintucks, then cut out those pattern pieces. I like to go over the top and bottom of the pintucks with a basting stitch to keep them secure until the garment is all stitched up. I added 7 pintucks to the HotPatterns Cupid Cami in Sherbet Pips Squares Vanilla/Pink with matching bias tape. I modified the pattern to eliminate the ties and made 12in. long straps. The light pattern really helps the pintucks to stand out and compliment the camisole shape. Pintucks would also look great on the bodice of a shirt dress, widthwise on a fabric belt, or as a hem detail on some twill shorts.
Pintucks are a delightfully simple detail that really bring together a garment or provide that finishing detail that helps a garment to shine. Pintucks are small pleats in the fabric that provide texture and delicate detail to fabrics. When hand sewn pintucks are tedious but worth it, as you must fold the fabric and stitch very close to the fold for an extended length. However, pintucks with the Janome Pintuck Feet are a breeze.
I learned lot when learning about and practicing with the pintuck feet. Not only did I learn how to sew pintucks but I also learned to sew with twin needles (this was my first application with twin needles) and how to thread 2 spools on my machine (check your manual for instruction specific to your machine). It was pretty neat to learn so many new things about my machine and really opened my eyes. I practiced a lot to develop my pintuck sewing technique. The packaging suggests placing a thin cord under your fabric to promote the pintuck but the Janome Video demonstrated that you don't need to use the cord. From my practice I learned that it helps to hold the fabric taught and not to give it much slack. I thought that if I just loosely guided the fabric then the tucks would develop on their own and this is true to a point. But if you give too much slack the tucks get sloppy. You want to treat it similar to sewing a seam. You want to hold your fabric tight and guide it straight just like with a seam you want to keep straight and together. Don't give the fabric too much head and let it have its way. You might think that it needs slack to puff up a bit between the needles but you will like the results much better if you give it less lack and keep it reined in. It is also important to line up your twin needles with the foot grooves with the needle coming down on either side of the groove so the fabric will be encouraged to puff up into the groove. Use the bigger grooved foot for medium to light weight fabric and then narrowed grooved foot for very light weight fabric, like sheers and silks. I used the bigger grooved foot for my quilting cotton and the tucks are just right.
Back of pintucks
Check back on Friday for my posting on how to integrate pintucks in to patterns. It will really spice up your summer wardrobe!