Monday 7 November 2022

Jim Sweater

I've sewn and made a bunch of stuff since the last blog post about the Jutland pants, but it appears this blog is brought to you by the letter "J", so here's my Jim sweater*

* my dad's name is Jim, he's just had his 80th birthday, and no, I wasn't a good enough daughter to make him a sweater.

This is the first full size garment I've knitted and I now understand the tedium of "sleeve island".

The pattern is the Jim Sweater by Paula M. I'd previously knitted both her Thea top and her Basic Shirt t-shirt, as well as crocheting the Lucca hat. And I'd found all of those patterns well written and easy to follow.

This one, not so.

The instructions for the yoke, with increases at the shoulder and the 2x2 rib pattern were not clear at all and assumed some knitting knowledge of working in a pattern that I didn't have. I emailed Susanne (the pattern writer) and she tried to help but the language barrier and her knowing what to do meant we didn't get far. Eventually the Ravelry forum crowd talked me through it.

I rewrote the yoke instructions to be 4 rounds of increases which actually told me what to do at each row. Happy to forward that word file to anyone who owns the pattern and has found this blog post by  typing "Jim sweater yoke increases wtf" into a search engine.

Perversely, after giving little hand holding on the yoke section, the next section seemed to overexplain; telling me, twice, not to do something I would never have thought to do anyway, and that wasn't in the instructions. That made me worry that I was missing something all along that I was now meant to stop doing. Ravelry again came to my rescue with an explanation.

Finally I had the body done and could start on the sleeves...

and yep, that took forever!

I finished it just before we went on holiday in September and took it with me, but it hadn't been blocked and was feeling sloppy and the sleeves were weirdly twisting. Curiously, the sleeves seemed to both be rotating anti-clockwise so I guess it's something to do with knitting in the round. 

Now that I've finally blocked it, it's behaving perfectly.

I used Cascade Ultra Pima Cotton in grey and navy, using most of 5 skeins of the grey and about 1&1/2 of the navy. Size M with 4.0 needles to get gauge.

It's not a superwarm sweater being cotton., But on this day when it suddenly got into the mid twenties after so many cold days it was getting hot!

Thursday 15 September 2022

Just more Jutlands

Those camouflage cargo pants I made for P with the stretch drill from Drapers Fabrics and the Thread Theory Jutland pattern went down a treat!

He was very happy for me to suggest an immediate repeat using the other colourway of the fabric.

It's the same size 30 pattern with elastic added to the waistband from the under the front belt loops.

Only this time we raised the cargo pockets up the leg by 2" - they do seem quite knee high even on the pattern model. Although this kid can pretty much touch his knees without bending (monkey arms!) that seemed awkwardly low even for him.

The other change was just to add 1" length at the hem. Not because the others are short on him, but just because it would be nice to have trousers fit for more than a month or two before they come ankle grazers.

The zipper was from my stash via Jimmy's Buttons and a navy button of the right size was easily found. They're not a quick sew with all the pockets and finishing, but they're super satisfying and look so great when finished.

With two new pairs of long pants that fit, I lopped the legs of these, older camo pants to turn them into shorts for summer. But he was still short on shorts. Ha!

Why not use this pattern that was fitting so well and just make some shorts with it?!

I decided shorts should be a bit roomier than the pants, so I split the front pattern piece vertically and added 1" width. Then, at the waist line, near the front pocket I took that width up in a 1/2" pleat.

I eyeballed the length and folded the pattern tissue up to where the knee patch reinforcing is usually placed and cut there. But I didn't get it very square and my inner front leg and inner back leg were not the same length. Once the shorts were constructed I just squared off the hem and so I'm not sure exactly where the length ended up, but it's perfect.

The fabric is a light to midweight stretch cotton drill from the stash and I was given free rein to do whatever I liked, so I chose a light, mustard yellow for the topstitching.

Both of us are really delighted with how well these shorts turned out.

Pattern: Thread Theory Jutland pants (View B)
Fabrics: Drapers Fabrics stretch drill camouflage and stashed cotton drill 9supercheap?)
Size: 30
Alterations: Added waistband elastic, raised cargo pockets and added length. Shorted and added front pleats width for shorts.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Slip Stitch Party

When I'd finished the Scout Shawl and then the Elvan Shawl, I was casting around (ha!) for what to do next and a cycling/knitting friend suggested she was going to knit the Slip Stich Party shawl during the Tour de France.

I saw the pattern and was excited to start it straight away, so I knitted along to the Criterium du Dauphine in June instead! I gifted it to my mum at the end of June and just managed to visit this week to get some photos.

I used the Knitting for Olive fingering merino that I had so much leftover from the Scout Shawl. All I needed to purchase was one other colour to use with the Marzipan for the main part of the shawl, and chose Olive. I bought two balls and used maybe one and a third.

The technique was much easier than the colourwork of the Scout Shawl, although it took a bit of swatching and concentration to be sure I'd have even tension across the different stitch patterns.

The other question was which colour to use as the dominant colour...
This photo was sent to my mum for her input, and is dated May 1st, so maybe it was Giro d'Italia knit after all.

I was loving the Oliver and Marzipan, and once the other colours came into play I started to wonder if it was too much? They are: Camel, Oatmeal, Dark Cognac and Dark Moose

I've since discovered that photographing pretty much any knitting on my living room rug makes it look great and is an immediate confidence booster.

Finished and blocked on 9th June (Just a few days before the end of the Dauphine Libere race) and delivered that weekend. My mum wore it straight out to lunch the next day and it looked great but no time for photos.

But this week spring had sprung and it was lovely to visit and insist on some pictures in the garden.

Pattern: SSP (Slip Stitch Party) Shawl by Isabel Kraemer
Yarn: Knitting for Oliver merino
Needle size: 

Monday 29 August 2022

Teepee trigonometry

Being the adorable, dirty grots that they are, it seems that, to a guinea pig, a woollen tent is a one season, fast fashion item. Regardless of how long it takes me to make them, or at least make them to the right size....

Last years pyramid tents were being sat on top of as much as inside of. I little bit of my old maths brain fired up and suggested a cone would be a more structurally sound shape... then the rest of my maths brain was stumped as to how to make that come about....

Eventually I worked it out, only to discover that the wee piggies had gone and grown! I'd based the new cone tents on a circle base that my daughter nominated as the right size.

Want to see some funny photos of guinea pigs struggling with too small tents?

"It's got my name on it, I'm prepared to have a look inside...

Am I meant o be able to fit in here?...

Should I try going in backwards?...

Sideways?... Seriously humans, this isn't working!"

What about you Albus, do you want to try your new tent?

"I'm prepared to consider it....

...yeah, nah, f*&% that, I'm outta here"

Luckily I'd kept my maths scribblings and so here I'm going to write out my tutorial for a woolly cone tent of any size

Start with the circular base. I'd recommend measuring (!) your pocket pet rather than just eyeballing them when they're hunched up. Make sure they have a bit of extra turning room then nominate your base circle's diameter

For our 1 year old, adult boar guinea pigs (approx 1kg) we nominated a diameter of 230mm

To make the pattern piece for the base, you can use a compass to draw a circle of the correct diameter, or find a plate or something close enough and draw around that. Be sure to measure your final exact diameter.
Then add 10mm (let's stick to mm as it's more engineer-y) all around as seam allowance. Now you have your base pattern piece. 
For the sake of all the maths that follows we will ignore the seam allowance. Stick to your original diameter measurement. Here, Diameter d=230mm

Now we need to work out how tall we want the teepee to be. This is kind of arbitrary, but bear in mind that if you make it too low you'll lose a lot of space due to the steeply sloped sides.

I nominated a height of 220mm 
Height h = 220mm

Next we want to calculate the length of the sloping sides of the teepee.
All we need for that is the height (h) and radius (r).
Radius is simply half the diameter, so here r= 115mm

Do you remember Pythagoras? We've got a right angled triangle here, so we can easily calculate the length of the sloping side

In my case:     Slant length  = /sqrt 220² + 115²
                                                /sqrt 48,400 + 13,225
                                                /sqrt 61,625
                                             = 248mm

Now we need to try and make this pattern shape for the upper part of the cone. We know it's going to be roughly this shape...

We've worked out the slant length (s), now we need to work out the circumference of our base in order to know the length of that outer curved edge

Going back to our original base circle with r = 115mm
the circumference (c) = 2 Pi r      

(please note that NONE of the normal keyboard shortcuts to get a Pi symbol appear to work within blogger. That's an hour of my life I won't get back!)

back to the maths: c= 2 x 3.14 x 115
                              c= 722.5

The full circle of our base, and the more open curved edge of our top part will have the same length (c) of 722.5mm

Now we just need the angle at that apex point in the illustration above

angle (a) = 360r/s

a= 360x115 / 248

a= 167deg

So now we need to draw that shape on our pattern paper. Start with a straight, horizontal line of length=s

Use a protractor to find your internal angle then draw another line of length =s at that angle

Now, you need a big compass, or a piece of string, or just a good eye for a sweeping curve to draw the outer arc. The radius of this upper pattern piece is the slant length (s). 

As I didn't have a compass big enough, I found it easiest to measure a number of points that were s distance from the centre angle then freehand draw my joining curve.

To finalise the pattern piece you can take a semicircular bite out of the top (it would get far too thick there if it all overlapped) then add the 10mm seam allowance all around
There you have it, a pattern piece for the base and the top section of whatever dimension cone tent you choose to make.

To construct the tent I used leftover bits of wool coating for the outer, a thick interfacing, and then wool sweater fabric for the inner lining - all scraps from garment sewing

Cut 1 base and 1 upper in each of the inner, outer and interfacing.

The porthole door is cut to size (no seam allowance needed, then the outer and inner fabrics placed right sides together with the interfacing in between and the porthole edge was finished with bias binding. This is also the time to do any embroidery or monogramming over the door.

I didn't photograph all the construction, but that's easy to imagine. Everything can be sewn inside out (almost like one of those diablo spinning top toys in shape) and then turned right side out through an opening left in the base of the lining/cone attachment.

I also cut two extra bases out of wool sweater fabric, and then a few layers of wool quilt batting and made these little quilted sandwich pads that can be removed for washing (and shaking out poop). they make me laugh cause they look exactly like old fashioned stove top hotplates!

So those pictures are all the too small tents (I've unpicked the names and will list them on eBay for someone else's littler pets). Here are the boys checking out their new bigger tents...

Little did they know that the very next day they'd be coming to work with me, and those tents would become their post-neutering recovery beds!

Wrong tents, but they're too stoned to notice!

That was back in April. They're well recovered and have stopped trying to kill each other. They have, of course, managed to trash their tents. At least I've recorded all the details here so next winter I can quickly and easy make new ones to whatever dimensions the boys require.

Monday 22 August 2022

New camo cargos

I was going to share my Melbourne Frocktails outfit on the blog next, but I really didn't get good photos, and completely forgot to photograph the jacket at all. I'll have to iron the skirt, do my hair and start again. Don't hold your breath :)

Meanwhile, I made a new pair of cargo pants for the ever growing teenager.

I'd just measured him for another project that was a fit-fail, so I figured I'd launch straight in with this pattern. the Jutland Pants by Thread Theory. I'd made view A for Flipper back here, but for the kid is was to be the full view B cargo style

The smallest size, size 30, was for a 30" waist and 37" hip. He measured at a 28.5" waist at narrowest point, about 31" at the low waist undie level, and a 36" hip. I just made the straight size 30.

His all-time favourite pants have been the Oliver + S Field trip Cargo pants (shall we count the pairs?), and so he wanted the elastic waist of those, but also the zipper fly and button closure of these Jutland pants. Easy peasy, cause that saves me fitting the waist, I can just throw some elastic in. I used the Field Trip technique of running the elastic from under the front pocket belt loops and around the back, leaving a small flat section at centre front.

Going through those old blog posts had me discovering his first pair of mum-made cargo pants was April 2013 - we're only 6 months away from a ten year anniversary!

The fabric for these ones was a great find at Drapers fabric online store. Last year's printed camo drill from Spotlight has faded in the wash and is so thin, it's really very ordinary. This couldn't be more different. It's a cotton elastane so a bit of stretch, nice mid weight, not a real denim, but hefty enough for pants. It has quite a soft, almost brushed feel and none of the stinky printed smell of the previous fabric. I bought both this green and a blue colourway and have used about 1.5m for these pants.

I'll get stuck in and cut the blue pair shortly. I might add a bit of leg length just so they don't get outgrown in an instant, and he's requested the cargo pockets get moved up the leg by about 2' as they're a bit knee-low.

Nine and a half years of cargo pants and about all that's changed is adding zipper flies and making pockets large enough to hold a mobile phone.

I still have to empty all the pockets of LEGO pieces before they go in the wash....

Saturday 16 July 2022

Elvan Shawl

Did I already say I'm not really a shawl person? I might not wear them but I so much enjoyed knitting the Scout Shawl that I couldn't help but plan another shawl. Sticking with Florence Spurling as a designer I decided to try her Elvan Shawl pattern

This one took a bit more planning due to the number of colours needed and my wool stash not yet (ha!) being up to the task. Once everything was assembled I couldn't wait to start.

The yarn is a beautiful wool/mohair blend from Wagtail yarns. This 60% mohair 40% merino 5 ply was exactly the weight required for the pattern and there were options to purchase 25G miniskeins, 50g, 100g or 300g cones. I needed small amounts of 9 different colours as well as 300g of a main colour so the ability to get the same yarn across different sizes was a real boon and a huge cost saving.

It also happens to be the most exquisite yarn. This is how I wear this shawl in reality. Right up close to me!

The knitting was a lot of fun. My little bobbles got neater as I went and certainly "popped" nicely with blocking. What blocking couldn't do was stop the ends curling. The finished shawl reminds me a lot of an octopus: curly, sucker covered limbs. Only it feels more like cuddling a baby cashmere goat than a cephalopod.

My progress photos show me starting in late March

Knitting through April

And finishing and blocking in early May

The heated concrete slab of our renovated house is perfect for blocking and drying knitting!

I wasn't sure about all the colour combinations and when I got to the yellow and blue centre motif I did feel it was too bright for me. But, that was just about the time that Russia invaded Ukraine and to reject the yellow and blue was unthinkable.

My notes scribbled on the pattern shows I used 3.5mm needles to get gauge in stead of 3.75mm.
The colours I used are as follows: 
Main colour: coffee
CC1: Navy
CC2: Mushroom pink
CC3: Copper
CC4: Saffron
CC5: Sage
CC6: Olive
CC7: Mushroom
CC8: Slate grey
CC9: Brown