Archive for October, 2007

Gocco Inspiration
October 31st, 2007 | Link

I have a B6 Gocco printer and I laid in a healthy cache of supplies when it appeared that the manufacturer would no longer support the product. But I rarely use it, mainly because I’m intimidated by the act of drawing something that is worthy of using the precious supplies (not to mention printing multiples thereof).

But Christmas is coming, and maybe I’m thinking about it early enough this year to print some cards.

In the meantime, I’ve turned to Etsy for some Gocco inspiration. The following are a few of the items that impressed me in my search. I am not the artist – click on the images to go to the artist’s Etsy shop.

This is the Butterfly Garden 2 print from TreeTop Studio. I love the simple graphics and the blue-gray color:

Butterfly Garden 2 print from TreeTop Studio shop on Etsy

This is the Three Trees Make a Forest card from one girl two dogs:

Three Trees Make a Forest card set  from one girl two dogs on Etsy

Magic Jelly does a great job of tight registration in her Fox and Flowers print – mine never turn out this well:

Three Trees Make a Forest card set  from one girl two dogs on Etsy

The Red Branches and Bird print from Sugarloop really pops:

Red Branches and Bird print from Sugarloop on Etsy

And more:

Sew U Skirt #4
October 27th, 2007 | Link

Skirt close-up

I have this pattern down to a science now. Bought this gray linen Monday after work; washed and dried it and cut out the pattern and finished the edges and back seam Monday evening; put in the zipper and the darts Tuesday at lunch; and finished the side seams, the facing (I didn’t line this one) and the hem Tuesday evening. The hem is always the spot that gives me trouble, mainly because I’m never sure what the right length should be. I added an inch to the base pattern for this one, but most of that was folded under for the hem.

This is almost addictive, now that the skirts are turning out the way I want them. However, I think I’m ready to move on to the shirt pattern.

Henry Scarf II: Making Progress
October 26th, 2007 | Link

Stitch detail of scarf progress so far

I’m now about a third of the way through the Henry scarf. In addition to my initial cast-on fiasco I’ve had to back out one other row, where I discovered about five stitches from the end of the row that I’d messed up the pattern. But that was a while ago, and I’ve gotten into a rhythm now. It takes about 15 minutes to complete each row. I’ve been doing a couple of rows each day at lunch and a couple more after work, and sometimes if Edmond and I are watching TV or a movie I’ll knit during that. At this rate I’ll be able to finish it in time for Christmas.

Third Sew U Skirt Attempt – I Think I’ve Got It
October 21st, 2007 | Link

Here is my third skirt from Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe. This is the dark gray herringbone wool I bought at Britex a couple of weeks ago, lined with some black bridal satin I bought from Discount Fabrics.

Me doing a bored-looking high-fashion pose on the sidewalk

And a close up shot of my pale knees:

Close up shot of skirt from waist to top of boots

This is about as perfect a fit as I was hoping for. Unfortunately, I messed up the hem – I forgot I was sewing with black thread; and I should have shortened the length so I only had to fold under a half-inch instead of an inch and a half, but I got nervous after having remeasured and pinned the hem about six times and wanted to leave myself some room to lengthen it if I screwed it up, and when I started to pull it out it left a line where the stitches had been, so I gave up. I’m sure I’m the only one who will care.

I like everything about this skirt except the hem: the length, the line, the drape, the fabric, the way the lining prevents the wool from sticking to my tights. This is a skirt I can actually see myself wearing – yay!

Henry Scarf I: Henry Will Be the Death of Me
October 16th, 2007 | Link

I started work on the Henry scarf pattern from the Fall 2007 issue of Knitty, which somehow ended up at the top of my knitting queue. My yarn choice is Elann Peruvian Baby Cashmere, which is an alpaca/merino/cashmere fingering-weight yarn. It’s been a while since I knitted with such fine yarn and the needles (2.75mm and 3.25mm) seem tiny compared to what I’m used to.

But last night I got the cast on done (227 stitches, which are almost doubled in the first row thanks to a yarn-over for every stitch), and I got the first three rows done on the smaller needles, which involves a bunch of slipping and yarn-overs… and I realized after about 440 stitches on the third row that I misread the pattern and had slipped stitches throughout the entire row instead of only slipping the first few stitches and then purling to the end. And after trying to back out a few stitches it seemed like it would be easier to rip everything out and start over. So there was more than two hours of work, gone. So frustrating!

The yarn is very soft but I’ve been having problems with it splitting, which I think is mostly due to the small needles and trying to pick up the yarn-over stitches to knit them. I’m hoping that once I get into the herringbone pattern that won’t happen any more.

If I Were a Cottage Industry…
October 15th, 2007 | Link

A while back I took a Gocco printing class at the San Francisco Center for the Book and I made some artist trading cards (ATCs) for this web site using a photo I took of the Golden Gate Bridge and reduced to line art. Then I stuck the cards in a box and forgot about them, because for a long time this web site was half abandoned, and anyway I don’t often meet up with people to whom I could give the cards.

Then I was thinking of ways to package the stitch markers and came up with this:

Stitch marker set attached to Bathtub Dreamer ATC

If there weren’t already 182 pages of stitch markers on Etsy I’d think about starting up something. The two Etsy shops I looked at both seemed to be doing a brisk business in markers, though, so maybe there’s something to that.

Stitch Markers
October 14th, 2007 | Link

I’m still not sure whether I like my stitch markers to dangle, but darn it, they are a lot of fun to make. I used the Crafty Daisies instructions and whipped up the following over a couple of hours.

Stitch marker sets 1 and 2
More random stitch markers

I foresee all the knitters in my family getting stitch markers for Christmas.

Lessons learned:

  • It’s difficult to find cheap, plain toggle clasps online: most are either real silver or gold and therefore pricey, and most have more embellishment than I wanted for sliding onto a knitting needle with my yarn. I found that the Better Beads brand (available at Michael’s stores, six clasps for $1.50) were the plainest. (The beads in the first photograph were also from Michael’s and come from Blue Moon Beads.)
  • For head pins, it’s worth the extra money to use real silver head pins. I bought a bag with 50 silver-plated head pins from Michael’s and used those to make the markers with the black swirly beads, and got so frustrated trying to bend them into place that I almost gave up on the whole project. Today I was in the Castro (buying knitting needles at Imagiknit, my favorite knitting store) and picked up silver head pins from The Bead Store, and although they were 45 cents each (as opposed to five cents each), they bend more easily and the plating doesn’t flake all over everything. (The beads in the second picture are all from The Bead Store.)
  • Miniature tools are a mistake, especially when it comes to wire cutters. I bought a set at Michael’s that had 4″ jeweler’s pliers (with the rounded nose), wire cutters, and needle nose pliers. I couldn’t get enough torque on the wire cutters to cut unless I held them a certain way, and I couldn’t hold them properly while dealing with the stitch markers (they may also have simply been dull – they were cheap). My experience improved greatly when I replaced them with real, normal sized wire cutters.
  • You want to roll the loop of wire closed around the toggle clasp, not crimp it. Rolling rounds the loop, allowing the clasp to move inside it. Crimping tends to constrict the clasp and then the beads stand straight out.

Second Sew U Skirt Attempt – Oh My…
October 6th, 2007 | Link

I used the fabric left over from my first skirt attempt and altered the pattern to lower the waistband an inch so the skirt sits slightly further down. I didn’t lower the darts (just made them an inch shorter also), but I did lower the starting point of the back zipper rather than trying to shorten it. This all worked quite well – the skirt sits much more comfortably now.

However, I had slightly less than half a yard of fabric to work with… um… actually, several inches less than half a yard of fabric. Even with the minimum possible hem I could manage, the finished skirt is only 12 inches long. If I put up a photo, I’d have to put this whole site behind a 21+ sign in. Okay, I’m exaggerating – but not much. I have socks that are longer than this skirt!

I finished it anyway – practice is all good. I also re-hemmed the first skirt so it hits about mid-knee. Now that I’ve altered the pattern to fit the way I want it to, I plan to make two or three skirts in different fabrics and lengths. Then I’ll move on to the shirt.

First Sew U Skirt Attempt
October 4th, 2007 | Link

I finished my first attempt at the skirt pattern from Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe:

Stiff pose in unflattering light

I adjusted the outside curve from the waist to the hip so that the waist uses the medium pattern size, and the hip (down to the bottom hem) uses the small pattern size. This fixed the problem I had with the medium pattern where the back darts didn’t take in enough fabric, so I couldn’t get a clean line in the back. The remaining fit problem, which I will tackle in my next attempt, is that the waist feels too high for me. I’d like it to be at least an inch lower.

This fabric is heavy 100% cotton – almost denim or canvas weight. It has a brushed texture to it that lends a casual feel. Because the fabric is so heavy, I didn’t line it, and I didn’t bother with interfacing in the waist facing. I think the fabric is a little heavy for the length of the skirt – I might end up shortening it just above my knees. This is the default length of the pattern, with 3/4″ turned under for the hem.

The fabric and zipper came to $7.47, including tax. (Discount Fabrics rocks, if you have time and patience to dig around.) However, I bought one and a half yards of the fabric and used less than one, so I could probably make a second skirt from the remainder. It took about two hours to make, not including the time I spent sewing the two muslins to check the pattern adjustments.

My overall satisfaction with this pattern is high. I’m going to play with the waistline a bit more, and then I think I’ll be ready to try a dressier fabric.

Stitch and Bitch and Shimmer
October 3rd, 2007 | Link

Somehow I got the idea that it would be fun to start up a stitch and bitch group for my condo association, which has around 800 people. The Events Committee loved the idea, so I’m on starting November first. I think it will be fun, actually: we get to use the association’s club house, so I don’t have to go very far, and I’ll get to meet more of my neighbors. And I’ll have to find something to knit other than the fuzzy scarf I’ve been working on for the last year and a half.

My first project is going to be the Shimmer shrug from the Winter 2003 issue of Knitty. I ordered yarn from ElannPegasus, a cotton and rayon blend (in black, of course) – and wow, was it ever a good price at $2.48/ball. The order came to less than $25 ($17.36 for 7 balls of yarn, $6.10 for shipping). They’re a Canadian company. I wish I’d known about them when I lived there.

UPDATE: Less than 24 hours later, the yarn is already in the mail. Speedy! I only wish that Elann would send an email on shipping, rather than forcing me to sign into their web site to look at the order status – but I can live with that.



My name is Shannon Hale. This blog is on indefinite hiatus, but it contains archives of the last 10 years of posts about bookbinding, knitting, sewing. and other random things in my life.


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