Sunday, August 25, 2013

When Doilies Attack

As I mentioned last week Bad Cat Designs has a mini project for our summer knitting pleasure this year, rumor has it that Andrea was getting too hot working on the "Off to College" Blanket*she was working on for her daughter (BadKitten) and distracted herself with some little bits of cotton crochet thread and small knitting needles!  Of course the over-achiever in me had to take things one step further and turn the single doily chart into multiple projects!

Presenting : Harvest Doily a Study in Sizing.

All together I have 5 doilies. Two in sewing threads, one in tatting thread, one in worsted weight cotton dish cloth yarn and one in the crochet cotton that was actually suggested in the pattern!

Let's take them one by one.

Last week I showed you the jumbled mess that was the green sewing thread. It is 2.5 inches across and was knit on size 00000 needles (which is 1mm for those of you who use metric.)  The thread is actually designed for machine embroidery and kinked like the dickens coming off the spool. I probably have about 5000 yards of it left on the spool and truth be told I suspect all 5000 yards are liable to stay there!  I nearly threw that one out the window several times while knitting, the only thing that kept me going was that someone told me they didn't think I could do it.........a long time ago I read a book that stated :
"Do you know all those old folk tales where the Count tries to get rid of his only daughter's unsuitable suitor by giving him three impossible tasks?"
 "Don't ever try to do that with Miles. Just...don't."
 Simon and Ekaterin, A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold

Sometimes I am just as pig headed as Miles and can't let go of a challenge.  Of course, in the stories his results are usually better than that first attempt, so I had to try again!

Version 2 was knit with thread that was sold in the Hand Quilting rack. This time the materials used to make the thread lent themselves a little better to becoming a doily, nothing like good old fashioned cotton!  This time I went with a slightly bigger needle and crept up to a 000 or 1.5mm for the metric speaking people in the world.  My double points still found the thread super slippery so I gave in and magic looped the entire doily, which unfortunately led to some very obvious loop points, but it is recognizable as a doily. Off the pins it shrank a bit and ended at 5 inches across.

Version 3 saw me using size 40 tatting thread.  Man oh man was this stuff nice to work with!  All shiny and purple so I know that the young lady in my life who feels that everything purple is hers and everything else can be dyed or painted, is going to sneak it off my desk if I so much as blink!  Again I went with the 000 needles.  Needle size obviously played a large part in the sizing as it is only a half inch larger than Version 2, but significantly heavier.

Version 4 was knit the way Andrea intended!  Size 1 (2.25mm) needles and some Joanne's Sensations Crochet Cotton in a fabulous blue! At 7.5 inches across you would have thought I was through with my experiments in doily making, but I had one more I wanted to try.

Version 5 is a monster of a doily.  Coming it at 16 inches across and knit on size 7 (4.5mm) needles in a heavy worsted weight cotton she is the prettiest dish rag on the block.

For those of you who read The Yarn Harlot's blog, or are familiar with her at all, you will know that every time she posts about a pattern it flies off the shelves, along with the accompanying yarn, the projects on Ravelry explode and knitters around the world follow her trend.  Having broken into the worsted weight cotton I might have fallen into the same trap and spent some idle hours knitting away to be prepared for when the Zombies Come.

But what about The First Brother's Christmas sweater, you might ask?


Uh Oh, looks like I have nothing on my needles, I had better go find some more projects!

What do you have on your needles?


*Andrea was working on a comforting blanket, while I sent Bad Kitten off to college with the most horrifying thing I could imagine!  I included some mirrored sunglasses in the Sending You Off to College Package so she could Blink!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What I can't do???

Every now and then, I will charge off to do "something"* and someone will feel the need to tell me "But, you can't do that!"  The emphasis is sometimes on You with the suggestion that for whatever reason it is something that is beyond my capabilities, or that I can't do because, well, shhhh don't tell anyone, but...I'm a girl, or because the general consensus is that whatever I have decided to go charging off and do isn't possible.

Sometimes those naysayers are right and I can't do what I set out to, or how I planned on doing it didn't work out, or I just need some help to get it done. (The real repair on the water line in the basement for one.)

Sometimes though, sometimes I amaze people when I actually do what they said couldn't be done!

Do you remember this thread in my collection of yarns I showed the other week?

It is a machine embroidery thread, nylon/acrylic mix, very shiny and VERY, VERY thin.

I might have mentioned that I liked the idea of making a teeny, tiny little doily out of something like that.

The naysayers told me it couldn't be done.  That knitting with sewing thread was an impossible task and I would go crazy.....funny I didn't know that you could go crazier than I already am!.....but I had to try.
The naysayers were almost right!  Trying to knit with that VERY, VERY thin thread on size 00000 needles was very nearly an impossible task and you can tell by the wonkiness of that doily I haven't quite mastered the technique, but I have proved it is possible.

But next time I think that sewing thread will be cotton, much more appropriate for a doily and the needles will be a touch bigger, say a 000 rather than 5 zeros. (For those of you on metric the 000 is 1.5mm and the 00000 is 1.0mm)

Hard to tell on the needles (and yes there is a reason I am using a circular needle, I kept dropping an entire needles worth of stitches using my double points for this!) but here is attempt two and knitting with sewing thread!

I may not be able to feel that thread over my fingers, but so long as I keep a close eye on what my fingers are doing.....I should finish this one tonight and maybe share with you next week!

The pattern is Harvest Doily, by one of my favorite designers, Andrea or BadCat Designs.  Part of the discussion that was held before starting this project was about things to do with doilies.  Andrea has been spending a lot of time deconstructing antique doily patterns and turning them into the basis for some of her shawl patterns, which is one use, and another friend plans on making one to sew onto the back of a jean jacket for her niece.  You can hang them on Christmas Trees and in windows as sun-catchers, put them under things like candle sticks, although I think I am aiming for something small enough to be framed and hung on the wall as art!  My blocking skills might need some improvement before doing that, but with a 30 round pattern I am sure I can give myself lots of practice!

As an added bonus, the distraction is keeping me from the boring parts of TFB's Christmas Sweater!  A little sewing and some buttons and it will be done, but there is no rush, Christmas is still months away!


Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Reluctant Countdown is on

July and August are always busy months for me at work, it seems no matter how smoothly things seem to be running heading into summer as soon as it hits....well there is a reason that fans run in the summer time, it is so that "stuff" can hit them!

Kids might be off school, but my workload heated up in a hurry and we haven't done much of anything on their list of "things to do over the summer".  To make matters worse (for them at least) in just nine days we start the rounds of picking up schedules, paying user fees, getting new student id cards and pictures done.  Certainly a wake up call that summer vacation is nearing it's end.

I had all these big plans for the amount of yard work and knitting I would get done sitting on the patio this summer that didn't quite make it off the drawing board. I didn't have any big inside the house projects planned, just some little ones, the big project was supposed to be the back deck and maybe a new sliding door, but then I went and used that money for something else, which means I had no excuse other than a lack of time for working on the garden and enjoying some me time on the patio! 

Not much in the way of knitting to talk about this week either.  I started the sleeve on the Red Gaston, then frogged it because the patterning at the top pulled it in too tight, so technically I have nearly knit two entire sleeves and only have less than one to show for it!  Kind of like the invisible knitting that the Yarn Harlot had on her blog not so long ago. (Scroll down to July 19th.)

But, I did get a package in the mail!  I wanted to try a new yarn from KnitPicks, just to see what it was like so I ordered a small selection of colors.

What do you think?

TDQ thought that all of those colors looked "old fashioned" and even referred to one as "muddy", so when she begged and pleaded to be taken to a craft store to get more beads as she has developed a beading habit, I picked up some "new fangled" and "bright" colors as well.

I wonder what I can do with all these?