Knitting: September 2012 Archives
When designing your own knit project you may go around and around trying to decide which stitch pattern is the correct one. I have had this battle many times. Either I have a distinct vision in my head of what I want my stitch pattern to look like (herringbone, small cable or twisted stitch) or I know how I want the garment to hang but no vision of the texture. In either case I turn to my collection of Stitchtionaries, a dictionary of stitch patterns that show a swatch of the completed pattern with instructions on how to complete the pattern. In these books you can learn a lot of each pattern just based on the small amount of info given and it can help you determine the best stitch pattern for your project.
Most stitchtionaries will only provide you with a picture of the swatch and pattern instructions. On the surface this may seem unhelpful when trying to determine the drape of the fabric created from the pattern or how durable or delicate it is. But this is not always the case. If you look closely you can determine the drape by noticing how the fabric changes from the bound off edges to the middle. If the fabric nips in at the middle then it is a dense fabric that pulls its stitches tight making it hang heavy. If the swatch appears to be the same width from bound off edge to bound off edge than you can guess that it is a lighter fabric that can be easily adjust to hug a shape or hang nicely. The lightest fabrics will be airy laces or eyelet patterns followed by simple textured stitches- like stockinette, twisted stockinette and seed stitch- finishing with some dense stitches like linen, double knit and transverse herringbone.
Be sure you consider not only the drape or density of the fabric a stitch pattern will make but also how well it will play into the overall design of your project. If you are creating a sweater that features many details like ruffles, an interesting neckline or dramatic sleeves, chose a stitch pattern that is simple. This will keep the focus on your main elements. If your overall design is simple like a blanket, dishcloth or sock, go bold or dramatic to spice it up or make it interesting. You can also consider combining stitch patterns to emphasize elements you want noticed. For example you can create a sweater with a simple body shape featuring a bold stitch pattern (like a lace emblem or thick cable pattern) coupled with a simple pattern on the sleeves to keep all the focus on the body. Or you could create a lap blanket with a basic garter or moss stitch center and an attention-grabbing chevron or picot border.
When selecting your stitch pattern make sure you consider the main elements of your design- drape and density, focus and overall look. And finally don't forget to swatch, swatch, swatch!!!!
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If you are a traveler than you know that more often than not when packing you plan for everything (socks, toothpaste, curling iron, face wash, etc) except dirty laundry. I like to think of myself as a pretty smart packer; I don't pack a lot of extras and try to cover all the essentials but I always forget about where to stow my dirty laundry on worn. I usually end up using a plastic bag from a local store but that is:
2) Not great for moisture and odors (hello, husband socks)
3) Often get mixed up with my purchases.
So I made a Dirty Laundry Travel bag that is perfect for any kind of travel. My double drawstring design makes closing a cinch and easy to hang from any hook or knob. The drawstrings are knit fabric so you can pull them tight for a snug closure and don't require sewing. When made from cotton it is breathable and lightweight but you can add a vinyl coated lining if you are using this for young children's clothing. The size is easily adjusted to suit your needs. I made mine 14 '' high by 15'' wide (Finished size) which should hold about a weekend's worth of dirty clothing. The Dirty Laundry Bag also works well for laundering delicates as well as storing toiletries in your luggage.
To make your own you will need
Scrapes of quilting cotton for appliqués
1 yd of 3'' wide Jersey Knit fabric (cut with the stretch)
Download Dirty Laundry Travel Appliqués here
Cut 2 16'' squares. Serge or zig zag across the top of each square and down 2'' on each side. Fold over 1.5'' of each top toward the WS and press. Stitch close to the top to make draw string casing.
Trace Dirty Laundry Appliqués onto Heat n Bond and cut out. Apply Heat n Bond to WS of your quilting scraps and cut out. Remove paper backing and arrange your appliqués onto the RS of one of your Dirty Laundry body pieces. Iron in place. Zig Zag stitch around each appliqué or use a straight stitch and add some additional stitching lines for details (see my underwear).
Place body pieces RS together and stitch using ½'' seam down one side starting right below the drawstring casing, pivoting at the bottom corner, across the bottom, pivoting at second corner and back up the third side. Finishing just below the drawstring casing, back stitch at both ends. Trim your corners and turn bag RS out.
Cut your jersey knit in half lengthwise, gaining two 18'' pieces. Pull each piece tight to cause the long sides to curl. Use a bodkin or safety pin to thread each drawstring through a casing. Double or triple knot each drawstring at both ends.
You can add embroidery to make one for each family member or loved one. I recommend making several in different sizes for longer and shorter trips, kids and even pets (great for keeping collars and leashes in one place when visiting the in-laws). I am packing mine into my hospital bag for baby#2 in a few weeks and plan to use it for future family visits.
You can also change the appliques and make a really great knitting/crochet project back-Christmas Gift Idea!!!!