Proudly Presenting the Basketweave Henley

I am definitely behind with posting my projects, yikes. I finished this lovely little Henley many weeks ago! It is great to wear for many reasons: it is fine wool, so not too warm. It is well fitted, so it’s ok to wear under jackets. It is figure- hugging and simply makes me feel a bit sophisticated🙂.image

Not sure it needed the neckband to be thinner at the centre front, but hey, that’s what I did.image

A final shot to celebrate the waist shaping and the set in top down sleeve (tutorial a few posts ago).image

And a photo of my new work space. image

Happy Easter!

Time flies. Excuse me for stating the obvious.

It’s been too hot to photograph me in the cream coloured Henley that has been the subject of this blog a few weeks ago. But all of a sudden the mornings are cold and I have started wearing the gorgeous creation! But when I return home after work it is too dark to take a photo…

So, I have started knitting a gorgeous cardigan from some ancient yarns donated by my darling friend Sue… Needless to say that what you see on my lap is the second version – I entirely ripped the darn thing last weekend and re-knitted it in a week… so it’s a bottom up cardi with set in sleeves (which are knitted top down) and a cute wrap collar which I am trying to work out in the fading light, on my verandah, enjoying the screeching of the cockatoos and the croaking of the froggies… image

and I think this glass of white wine is probably my best friend, holding my hand in this endeavour… imagebut do look at this photo (courtesy of daughter Jo) and you can literally SEE my impatience: I have knitted the grown on button band AND sewn on the buttons, you can spot a set of double pointed needles of a nearly finished sleeve and possibly you can see a random circular needles which holds the stitches of the second sleeve cap… Well… If not… Let me tell you, Holmes, that I am also well and truely past the half way mark of the collar by now…image

This marks a nice  Easter weekend. We were going to go away but simply missed the boat by being too late with the planning. So we enjoyed a nice few days in Sydney. Some good communal chilling out, preparing for (one lucky family member’s) the Europe trip, hanging the kitchen curtains, chatting, playing board Games, having Sue and Michael for dinner, visiting the Ruined Castle In Katoomba, staging an epic Easter egg hunt for 4 teenagers, checking out the Sydney Biennale at the Carriageworks… It sounds like we did a lot. Phew. Happy Days… Happy Easter!

All this is just as well. “Aladdin” is going into fitting stage now and I have a very chaotic (and gratifying) 2 weeks ahead locking in shapes and sizes. It is very exiting, but no doubt tiring… So it’s very nice to have had the chance to relax before going into the final and mad throws of the production!

 

Top down sleeve head tutorial

I think I have cracked it! Neat and well- fitting sleeve heads are an ongoing fascination for me and I have researched and studied them extensively! this is a method I swear by and it is a pleasure to share this with you. Do try it at home!image

The pattern I used for this Henley constructs the garment bottom up, that is the body and the sleeves. Well, I hate bottom up sleeves for more than one reason. Firstly, I find sewing fitted sleeve caps into the body tedious. Secondly, it is a pain to adjust the sleeve length.

I looked at the pattern and it said that 14 sts is the final amount to be cast off at the sleeve head (remember: 14).

So I picked up with a slightly smaller needle the sleeve head stitches around the armhole. I started picking up stitches at the bottom of the armhole in the section AFTER the armhole shaping. The armhole was shaped binding off on the body 1 x 4 sts, 1 x 3 sts, 2 x 2 sts, 2 x 1 st. So I started picking up on the straight section and I picked up 1 st every 2 rows.

Why? Because when I knit the sleeve head with short rows, I add ONE stitch every two rows on each side on the sleeve head!

When I got to the top of the sleeve head (after picking up 20 sts), I put a maker in the work, picked up 14 sts 2 sts for each 3 rows. After my 14 sts I put another marker in the work and picked up 20 sts (one st n every 2 nd row) and I cut the yarn.

Why 2 sts to every 3 rows? Because that is where the ‘fabric’ is flat, stitches are joined to rows, just like on a button band…image

I then moved the sts. I slipped 20 sts so my needles were ready to start knitting the sleeve head, the first 14 sts.image

With a second dp needle (correct for my gauge), I knitted the first 14 sts, put a short piece of wool for the short rows to mark the turn, turned the work, knitted back 14 sts AND an extra stitch from the holding needle AND I put a marker thread as I turned the work.image

Then I knitted the right side again, this time picking up an extra st from the holding needle, which I knitted together with the loop from the marker thread. Before turning the work, I re-positioned the marker thread.image

I knitted all stitches back and when I came to the end, I picked up a stitch from the holding needle, positioned the loop from the marker thread to the left of it, pulled them together, re- positioned the marker thread, turned the work and so on… Until all 20 sts on both sides were used up.

Then I added the bound off stitches and incorporated them into the short rows, so I added on the sleeve head what I had bound off for the armhole.

Voila! This sleeve head is definitely fitting neatly into the armhole! Yay!

PS: In row 3, I re- introduced the basket weave pattern…

 

 

 

Proudly Presenting TD #2

Well, TD refers to “top down” and TD #2 indicates that it’s the second cardigan version of a pattern I originally designed last year (and knitted up), and that there are more versions of this to come. BECAUSE I LOVE IT and it fits so well…image

This second version of the pattern is simply a little shorter and the front lace has got an extra vertical row of a small pattern. It’s probably not that noticeable to the uninitiated eye… Or is it? Here is a shot of TD#1 in comparison.image

I think this is going to be my standard pattern for ‘a little knitted cardigan’ – it is so very light (380 gr) and comfortable, both relaxed and smart… and by now I have the pattern fairly well internalized, so it’s not hard to make another one.

I used Barbara Walker’s method of top down sweater knitting as outlined in her book Knitting from the Top. I refined her method by knitting short rows on the top sleeve to create a perfectly fitting sleeve cap.image

So, both cardigans are knitted in the round and then I steeked the centre front and added the button band. TD#2 is knitted on slightly smaller needles to keep the shape better!

For all edges I used a rib that features purl stitches and the lace knit that occurs in the lace pattern.image

And with this accomplishment under my belt, I sought out something small and quick for my next project. I have always intended to whip up this lovely little Henley.image

When I knitted up a sample for the waffle knit, the pattern was very unimpressive and I had saved something more bold on Pinterest which seemed to work really well!image

And look at the reverse side, it’s very pretty, too!image

Have I mentioned that I have started a 6 month contract on the costume’s for Disney’s Aladdin? The designs are amazing and I am thrilled to be on Australia’s A team of costume manufacturing to realize them. The hours are long, the production scope is epic, the organization/ coordination of a all the making, beading, hand painting and other embellishment is EPIC, but it’s so much fun!🙂.

 

Easy peasy lunch business

I have noticed that unless I don’t eat TRULY well, neither body nor mind get through the day. I found this idea on Pinterest and have to say it saves my sanity.image

These are fairly easy to throw these together. Any veg or pasta leftovers, tinned legumes, cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, grated carrot, sliced onion, frozen Edamame beans, egg, poached chicken, tomato, cucumber, olives, tofu, feta… At lunch time, just drizzle some squeezed lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. YUM.

Store in fridge. Grab one at 7am on your way to work as well as a cup of tea and super grain muffin and enjoy breakfast in the car!

Mixed Bag of Feelings

The last week at work has been weird and wonderful. I finally cut and made that coat and the process was an extraordinary emotional journey in more than one way.

So here are a few snapshots of the work in progress and the final product.image image

Finishing a work like this fills me with relief as well as a sense of loss. Relief, because I stare at areas of imperfection and time does not permit to alter or re-work those areas. Sense of loss, because over the course of making an item I become so familiar with it’s core and insides- it’s like developing a very intimate relationship with an item that ceases to be a mere ‘object’. So it’s like Impatiently waiting to see the back of it and not wanting to let it go…

Another weird sensation during the process of making the coat was that so very many things I just did without knowing why or questioning whether this was the best method. This sense of ‘autopilot’ after a 18 year hiatus surprised me. Yet other aspects of making this coat had vanished from my memory and I had to consult various books or other resources (many of them giving contradicting advice) or simply use common sense.

What stressed me out considerably was the fact that I had no idea  which stage of the work process would induce the above mentioned States of  autopilot or lack of memory!

And finally, I was surprised that doing something I did in a different time and place with an entirely different group of people took me back… I thought of so many people I had worked with, it took some time to remember so many of the names, and I wonder what they are all doing now… I also remembered why I was pleased to get out of this line of work – despite all the glamour and glory, it is a stressful job which is not really that well paid. One is either drowning in work or there is none… And there is just no job security, one is as good as one’s last job and reputation. So in many ways, one’s personality and relationships are just as important as one’s skill set…image