Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Influx of New Fabric

... or short attention span knitting. I started to swatch the cashmere, holding six strands together, but the color play must not have matched what I had in my mind's eye. It was abandoned for this...

My quilt friend is no longer quilting, she has a completely new hobby and asked if I'd help her liquidate her stash. Must be a rhetorical question! I brought home two 21 gallon totes and have gone through all of it, grouping and sorting and deciding what to keep and what to pass along.

These fabrics aren't prewashed so I sorted 'the laundry' by color. The blue/green load turned the color catcher sheets gray. The red/orange/yellow load turned them bright pink. It's a little more work, but I'm always grateful I prewash.

Lots of great neutral background fabrics, and bright yellows and oranges, colors I don't usually buy. Thanks Su!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reclaimed Cashmere

I wasn't satisfied with reclaiming enough cashmere to ply and knit a Virginia cowl. Nooo... I had to go and decide I wanted worsted weight cashmere for a vest. I've been frogging, skeining, plying and washing cashmere for three weeks. I must surely like this process. :)

Here are the sweaters. I started with the first three; dark blue, hunter green and dark teal, all fine gauge.

At first I thought I'd hold five strands together and work with a DK weight. But when I swatched I thought it was a little too dark. The first color in the sample above is five strands of dark blue, the second color is three strands of dark blue and two strands of teal. I decided to go to the new Goodwill superstore in the next county and look for something lighter to add to the mix.

You can pretty much never go into a thrift store with a particular color or item in mind. But I was gifted the periwinkle blue and sage green cashmere the day I went looking; walked in and found them inside of ten minutes.


Here are skeins of the periwinkle and teal in 2 ply before and after washing. You can see how much they relaxed. Some knitters frog and knit as they go but I like to take the time to skein, ply and wash the yarn. It helps the kinks relax and I get a more accurate stitch gauge.

I'm thinking of making this Tuxedo vest. I haven't swatched yet, but I now have enough yarn to hold six strands together for a worsted weight. I need 700 yards.

What I have is 300 yards of 2 ply in five colors, more than enough. I can see the color play in my mind, but this is new to me so I'm going on instinct. I decided to draft a color sample.

Now that's cool. Time to knit a new swatch. This whole thing may not turn out the way I hope, but I'm learning a lot, and... nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Manzanita Blossoms

Knitted Tee Shirt Rug

Last fall I made a tee shirt rug for a Christmas gift. Now I can show the pictures! I cut the strips 1 1/2” and got approx 32 yards from one tee shirt, size large. I cut across at the arms and included the sleeves. I followed this tutorial to make my 'tarn' - tee shirt yarn, though I used my rotary cutter and ruler to cut the strips. It was stretchy and soft, worked up fast and was MUCH nicer to knit than my cotton rag rug.

Garter stitch - knit every row
Needle size: 15
Strip width: 1 1/2”
44 stitches equals approx 24 inches, the width of the rug
18 stitches to a yard of tarn

Many of the tee shirts were in our rag bag, some I bought for 25 cents at a rummage sale. I found the well used tee shirts were softer and knit up nicer.


I  made the tarn one tee shirt at a time, joining the new color as the old one ran out, and I didn't roll it into a ball because it was a lot easier to work with laying loose. As I knit I would occasionally untwist the tarn yet to be knitted. That helped it lay better when it was knitted.


Each strip of color is approximately one large tee shirt. I decided to keep the width of the colors about the same so when I made tarn from an extra large I ended the color and used it again later. Wow, we had a lot of greens and purples in our rag bag!

It was a little tiring on my hands, so I knit two row a day from mid October to mid December. Yay, finished with time to spare! It's thick and stable and fun. If I was going to do it again I would probably cut the strips 1". I have no idea how washable this is.

Happy Valentine's Day!

I made a 2-1/2" patchwork heart block. The pieces each measure 1/2".

Here is the thumbnail draft. 


Next I laid out 1-1/2" fabric squares on gridded fusible interfacing. It's so much bigger than the finished block because I sew half inch seams and trim to 1/4". For full instructions visit this post.

I didn't take a picture of the next step, but using a craft knife and a ruler I cut a window in the card. The picture above shows the block from the inside. After it's in position I used double-sided tape to hold it in place.


Then I covered the block with plain paper for a finished look.