Wednesday 27 July 2011

I know that this doesn't look like much. It's another top down beginning which looks like lots of other photos of beginnings. But this one is very exciting because it's the first experimental prototype for the plus-size pattern book. Aren't beginnings wonderful? I see such potential in this little bit of knitting. I'm doing the smallest size and I'm going to put all of the bust experiments into it and see what happens. I do have to knit a little bit more before that all comes into effect but it's there waiting. Non-knitters never see that.

Friday 22 July 2011

A-Line Cardigans

When Deb wrote "Morgan's Cardigan" for our Teens & Tweens book, we had no idea how popular that cardigan was going to be! Morgan (Deb's daughter) was more than pleased with her cropped sleeve version and I loved wearing the largest size to shows. However, at every show I wore it I kept on hearing "oh, love that cardigan but I'd need it in a larger size".
"Morgan's Cardigan" (largest size)
and the "A-Line" Cardigan (small).
So, after me repeating this to Deb several times, she re-wrote the cardigan in adult sizes - and it's lovely! It's called the A-Line Cardigan #624 and here it is on the left. It's in worsted weight yarn so a fairly quick knit and very versatile.
I can tell you, from personal wear, that this is a terrific cardigan and I wear it a lot! You can wear it with jeans, with nice pants or a skirt for a dressier look and it looks great over a dress as well.
I'm just starting a second one for me in a lime green merino from Abuelita Yarns (I like this yarn so much we're going to be carrying it ourselves).
The three-quarter length sleeves, as shown, work perfectly for me but you can have it as a cap sleeve or a long sleeve - whichever you prefer! The lengths are written as petite, average or tall but, again, you can knit whichever length suits.
It's on Patternfish for download.
But that is not the end! Deb got quite a number of emails asking about re-sizing the cardigan to Plus sizes.
Here is our friend Jennifer, in her cardigan
 that Deb knit for her.
After doing some research and talking to a number of interested knitters in the plus size range, she's re-written the cardigan to Plus sizes from 1X to 5X. The A-Line PLUS Cardigan #625 has the same sleeve and length options along with additional fitting options for the fuller figure.
You can download the pattern from Patternfish here.
I believe there's a KAL (Knit-A-Long) being organised for the A-Line PLUS but I'll let Deb fill you in on that.
Deb's been doing (as you know if you've been keeping up with the blog) a lot of research on plus sizing and has been getting a lot of input from Julie. It's been really interesting to hear her work through the fitting options and design challenges. Look out for the results next year in book form!

Thursday 21 July 2011

I finished my deep V-neck prototype pullover. Hmmm. Some of it works and some of it doesn't.
I like the deep V very much. I cast on at the edge of the rolled neckband and then used my short row system over a 4 row repeat which I liked knitting but I think it needs some work. I shaped the bottom by working increases at the sides to widen the hip area which works on me but my model is toooo skinny to fill it out.
I have done a sample to see if the short rows work any better without working the neckband first.
I worked the V-neck shaping and then picked up stitches and worked the neckband.
Nope, still not satisfied. It's a little too messy. Back to the drawing board but first a couple of days off due to the heat. Hope you're staying cool.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Road Trip

Sigh. Well, Deb & I are back from holiday facing a mountain of orders and various things to look after. Happily our office is cool because - baby, it's hot out there! Hope everyone has a cool place to knit in!

Before my holiday at the cottage was quite over I had planned a road trip to see two stores. Mom & Dad decided they'd love a day out so now there were three. First stop was The Match Factory in New Liskeard, north of the cottage. I consulted Al's GPS and it said something around 6 hours and 40 minutes ... I knew that couldn't be right so I then checked with Mapquest and they said a much more reasonable (but still seemed long) 5 hours and 30 minutes or so. So, to be on the safe side, off we went at 7:00 am. It was a sunny and warm day (but not too awfully hot) so perfect for a drive. I love driving in the North as the scenery is fabulous and there's so much to look at. On the way, on Hwy 64 I think, we had to slow down to a near stop to allow a baby bear to decide which way on the highway it was going to go ... a little dithering as it looked at us and then it scampered off across in front of us and disappeared into the bush. I was keeping a leery eye out for Mama Bear as she'd not be quite as cute as baby but that was fun to see.

We arrived at New Liskeard about 11:30 so a mere 4 hours and 30 minutes - and that was with the various slow downs and stops for construction! Bea's directions were helpful (ie the little set of shops behind the PizzaPizza) and we found her, mom Mary and her cute little shop.
The Match Factory
Bea Demarce
17 Wellington St North
New Liskeard, ON
Yarn * DMC * Alterations
The Match Factory is inspired by an old family story about an individual leaving the North ready to set the world on fire but always being drawn back, “Looking for more matches.”
Bea is a busy and accomplished seamstress who decided to endulge her love of yarn and knitting by including a little yarn shop in her work environment. Way to go Bea! If you're in the area, travelling through or cottaging (great location for a holiday and tons of resorts, camps and other places to stay) stop by and say "hi" to Bea. And Bea will be having felting classes this fall using our Northern Lights yarn and felting patterns!

After a lovely visit and lunch, back in the car and off to Sudbury to visit Paulina at Sweet Yarns. The drive back down to Sudbury didn't have the excitement of seeing a bear but we were treated to a view of a Heron flying quite low over the van. We see them along our waterfront but they're usually walking along. Those birds are really, really big! 

We had an excellent visit with Paulina, and her husband Simone, and of course Mom and I just enjoyed looking at the great selection of yarns and bags and other knitting goodies. Paulina wanted her picture taken in front of our yarns : ) and she now has all the colours in Cotton Tweed and Northern Lights. A great shop to visit if you're touring Northern Ontario or holidaying nearby Sudbury, as Paulina has a fabulous selection of yarns in a warm and comfortable set-up - just the place to settle in for a good look around and maybe do some knitting! She does lots of classes so check her Facebook listing for updates.
Sweet Yarns
2354 Long Lake Road
Sudbury, ON
Simone recommended a great Italian restaurant nearby called "Ripe" and it was terrific. After dinner it was time to get on the road and home to sit for a bit on the deck. Life is good.
PS  On our last day of holiday, Al & I were sitting down at the waterfront and a little family ducks - Momma duck and seven babies - came right up to us, practically on our toes. Momma kept on looking into the bush area behind us, up on her tippy toes, then hustled the babies off back into the lake and away. Just a few minutes later a beautiful sleek little animal came scampering down and starting jumping around on the rocks and in and out of the water about 20 ft away from us. We later went and looked it up and think it was a young mink. It was a great way to end the holiday!

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Mom's newest

I'm up at camp and Mom showed me her newest projects. Her neighbours, Nan & Dave, are expecting new twin grandbabies and asked Mom to knit them each a sweater, so here they are and excuse my feet!
Mom used the new book "Need A Baby Cardigan?" (which we'll start shipping next week) and the "Need A Hat?" book for the hats.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

Technically I am on holidays this week but I have done a little knitting. Although it is stinking hot here! I'm knitting sleeves on a wool sweater, somehow this seems wrong. It's difficult to get excited about finishing.
I am also teaching beginners once a week at a local resort. I have one hour. What can a knitter do in one hour? I have them knitting I-Cord bracelets.
This can be finished in one hour. Big yarn with big needles. My knitter today was very pleased with herself. Her first knitting project, finished! I started her on fingerless mitts to take home with her. It was a bit confusing, as you might guess, to change from sliding the stitches along the needle for I-cord to regular back and forth garter stitch knitting but she got it. It took about an hour and a half altogether.

Do you have a great, quick beginner project?

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Where to Measure

The measurement we base all of our knitting patterns on is the measurement of the fullest part of your bust. Wrap a tape measure around your bust at it's largest point (it doesn't have anything to do with your bra size). On our sweater, ease is usually added onto this measurement for the Finished Chest Measurement of your sweater. Some sweaters are worked with negative ease so that the sweater around the chest is smaller than the person's actual body measurement.

For a better fit for your neck and shoulders the Upper Chest measurement (wrap a tape measure around your chest at the armpit level) is a better measurement to use, then add in some ease here too. That gives you a better Front/Back measurement which doesn't include your cup size on Front. But that would mean that you, the knitter, would have to accommodate your own bust and know how to do it. It does explain why sometimes negative ease sweaters look great because they fit in the neck and shoulders.

The question is: Can we use the bust measurement we are used to using in a better way?

How can we get the neck and shoulders to fit better while accommodating many bust sizes? What if you took the actual bust measurement we usually use and working Top Down, work the neck to underarm based on that number without any ease added on at all. Then added the amount of ease, say 3-4" worth, on the Front only.

My own measurements:  39" bust actual measurement
39" bust + 3" of ease = 42" Finished
Traditional method of width of Front/Back being equal:
Back 21" wide
Front 21" wide

New Method of Front/Back distribution:  39" bust + 3" of ease = 42" Finished
Back 19.5"  (half of 39")
Front  22.5"  (extra ease added between the underarm to largest part of bust)
The extra ease on the front can be decreased below the bust to give you a nicely shaped bodice.

This gives me a much slimmer Back and enough room on the Front so that the buttons on a cardigan won't gape. What do you think?

Saturday 2 July 2011

Happy Your Country celebration weekend. I spent the morning at the Farmer's Market, this afternoon finishing a book and tonight I'm going to knit outside if it cools down. Aaah, holiday weekends, aren't they great?
And what would a holiday be without some knitting. I'm below the waist of my experiment pullover. It's moving along nicely.

At each side seam, which isn't there because it's worked in the round but you know what I mean, I've decreased twice and increased twice. At the safety pin I decreased 2 sts, 2" below that I decreased 2 more sts. I knit straight for 2" to my waist, at my waist I increased 2 sts and then increased 2 sts again an inch later on the last round. That makes my sweater come in about 1 1/2" at the waist. Even this little bit will make a difference to the fit.

I'm working an inch between increases because I get wider quicker below my waist. I'll also keep increasing until the hip is a couple of inches wider than the top of my sweater. You guessed it, because that's what my figure is. No point in fighting the way it is.
On that note, have a great weekend,