Category Archives: knitting

Treeline Cardigan – Finished

I finally finished knitting the Treeline Cardigan for Peep. Now I am on to working on some commission christmas gifts, and then my plan is to knit another Treeline to test my notes, and get the official pattern typed and ready for pattern testing by others. I’ll list the extra Treeline Cardigan for sale in the etsy shop.

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I downloaded this great app from the Google play store called Time Meter that allows me to track progress/time on multiple projects at a time, and calculate a wage based on an hourly rate. I’ve been using it to keep track of how long my different projects take me to knit. I’m surprised by how fast of a knitter I actually am. Also, I thought I knit a lot more than I actually do. There is an extension you can download that syncs the time meter app with your Google calendar, so anytime you use the time meter app, it makes a note of it on your calendar too.

The other thing I’ve been busy with is learning about pattern writing and how to properly price my crafts. Based on everything I’ve seen, we (collectively)aren’t charging enough, and under charging can give buyers a false sense of. ..ummm…lack of quality.

So – we under charge, telling ourselves we need to be competitively priced, but when it seems too cheap, potential buyers might pass thinking is cheap because it’s cheaply or poorly made.

So, expect to see my prices go up, even though I don’t really have anything for sale yet. The prices in my head just went up lol.

Here are some of the links I’ve been perusing.

Fair Pricing for Handmade Items
Craftsy has a class I want to take called
How to Say It: Pattern Writing for Knitters
And What the Craft has a great FANTASTIC article on Pricing Your Handmade Goods. Really, if you sell your stuff, it’s a must read.

Finally, I’ve been bitten by the Traveler’s Notebook bug, big time. My mom gave me two of them, one a passport size, and one a personal size. They sat on my shelf for a while because they are neat looking but I don’t like to “use up” gifts from my mom too fast, and I didn’t really know what to do with them. Then I stayed playing with them a little, making my grocery lists in one insert, then my “I wannie” list in another insert, then I started doodling some embroidery ideas in another insert, and suddenly I was hooked. Now I’ve got some really great ideas in the works for some inserts of my own design. I can’t wait to show you what I come up with!

I’d you want to learn more about Travellers Notebooks, here are some great links.

Organize Your Soul
Inserts, Inserts, Inserts
Traveler’s Notebook Forum

Finishing Cashmere Sweater Repair

In my previous post, I explained how to pick up stitches and knit a patch to cover a hole in a machine knit cashmere sweater.

Now that you have picked up your skitches for the flap and knit it, you need to join the other three sides. The easiest way to do this is to pick up the corresponding stitches on the other side of the hole, in alignment with the stitches at the bottom of the hole.

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You will pick up the right leg of each stitch, exactly the same way you picked up the previous stitches, and kitchener stitch them together. Make sure you have a very long tail, because you are going to go all the way around the patch.

If you don’t know how to kitchener stitch, there are plenty of great photo tutorials online, like this one at Knitty.com

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When you get to the end of your kitchener stitches, use one needle to pick up 3 of every 4 stitches on the edge of the patch, and on the actual sweater directly underneath where the patch will end up. Both knitting needles need to have the same number of stitches on them. You want to pick up the “purl bumps” that are the bars between the knit stitches.

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Using your ball point darning needle and the same piece of thread, ladder stitch/seam these two edges together. Pull firmly on the thread, but not so tight that you bunch up the fabric.

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When you get to the end, duplicate stitch your way across the bottom,  and ladder stitch your way up the right side. Duplicate stitch your way across the top for 3 or 4 stitches, weave in your end and snip it.

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The last thing I like to do is press the patch a little with a dp washcloth and brush it lightly with a clean toothbrush to give the patch a little but of a fuzzy halo toatch the fuzziness of the original garment.

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A patch is always going to look like a patch. It is not an invisible fix, but well done, it can extend the life of your well-loved garment.

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Cashmere Sweater Repair

I have a small side business repairing sweaters for local people.

Today I am going to walk you through my method for repairing a hole in the elbow of a machine knit cashmere sweater.

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First you need a knitting needle that is the appropriate size to make a patch that looks similar to the original knitted fabric. Most cashmere sweaters are knit on a US size 1 or 0 needle. Here I am using Hiya Hiya needles in 2.0mm size. I could have used a smaller needle if I had them. I prefer these steel needles for delicate repair work because the yarn slides nice and smoothly across the needle.

You will also need a thread to produce the color patch that suits your interest best. Regia makes a woolen/nylon thread in a wide range of colors. Usually I can find a color similar enough for the project I’m working on.

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So the first step is to determine the true size of the repair needed. It’s easy to underestimate the actual damage. Don’t be tempted to make a repair too small or it won’t last very long. 

Most holes are actually twice as big as they look if you take into account the area outside of the hole where the thread or yarn has worn thin. This will soon unravel if you attach your repair to this area. So go beyond that to where the yarn is strong, healthy and the original thickness.

Starting at the bottom of the hole, in the healthy fabric, pick up the right leg of each knitted stitch to accommodate a wide enough patch, plus 2 more stitches (I’ll explain why the plus 2 in a moment.) In this case I have picked up 24 stitches.  This actual patch needs to be 22 stitches, plus 2.

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Now, counting up from the row you picked up, count how many rows you need so you don’t lose track of how big of a patch to make. This particular sweater needs 26 rows to get to the healthy fabric on the other side of the hole.

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Next, you just knit and purl your way through the rows until you have a little flap of fabric attached at the end you started on.

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In my next post I’ll show you how to attach the repair flap on the other 3 sides making a nearly invisible repair.

Light bulb moment

I was laying in bed listening to the rain on the yurt roof, trying to decide if it was regular reason or freezing rain last night around 0130. I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I got to thinking.

I love this little blog and want to take our relationship to the next level. I’ve been reading up on ways to increase readership through guest blogging, ways to monetize the blog without ugly, tacky ads.

You see, I’ve been a working woman since I was old enough to be a trusted babysitter and I’ve been earning my own income. Since deciding to be a stay at home mom and farm wife, I’ve taken on the hardest, most amazing job of my life. The only problem is that it currently pays zilch. I don’t need or want, really, too get rich. I’m happy living a simple life. But I want to own sheep, and sheep cost money, hay costs money, fencing costs money, a better rabbitry costs money and a bigger barn also costs money. As do spinning wheels, books, linen fabric and extra curricular activities for my girls.

Which brings me back to my brainstorming. I don’t have a lot of free time or space to make things to sell. Our farm and homestead are still young so we consume everything we currently grow and raise (which isn’t a bad thing, it just means we don’t have extra to barter with yet).

So it seems I’ve got a couple options.
1) Keep preparing. I’ve got time to keep preparing for the day when I do have space to make items to sell (goddess/altar dolls, hand sewn/felted/fur clothes)
2) look into some type of freelance writing gig, maybe some guest blogging on things I know about.
3) finally start writing up all those knitting patterns I have written down in my knitting journal and offer them for sale either through ravelry.com our some sort of national publication.
4) offer my services consulting on knitting projects and helping trouble shoot other’s knitting problems for a fee.
5) offer knitting workshops and classes

Here’s the funny thing.  When I came to item 3 in my midnight musings, my phone lit up the room. It was like the cosmos just wanted to get my attention so that I understood it really was an a-ha moment.

I’m the type of woman who is willing to listen to the universe. I believe in magic,  I have a tribe of sisters I love unconditionally, I have survived everything that’s ever been thrown at me or put in my way. Finding a way to make some money seems like such a small problem.

So maybe the way to take my blog to the next level is to just keep blogging, and start offering some of those knitting patterns I have for sale. I’m already writing and designing the patterns for my own family, perhaps the time has come to share them with the world.

What would you like to see on this blog space? How-tos? Tutorials? Knitting help? Homesteading trouble shooting?

Leave a comment below, or join my happy blog followers. Send me an email and I will personally respond to any questions you have.

Brrrritos

The freeze is imminent and the 5 day outlook looks like we’ve hit deep fall, and that’s where we’re going to stay. I’m okay with that, my knitting needles ate clicking away. I have managed to get 1.5 sleeves done on Peep’s new sweater and half a birthday crown done for Pip in the last two days.

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Yesterday Pip worked on her latest needlepoint project for about an hour while I snuggled Peep.

In the afternoon I remembered we needed to get the grapes picked before it got too cold. I bundled both girls up, even though the sun was shining there was a fairly chilly autumnal breeze to contend with. I managed to collect about 13 gallons of concord grapes.

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We’ll be turning them into grape jelly, raisins, grape juice and a small batch of wine over the next few days.

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I was going to cover our spinach and lettuce bed with some ground cloth yesterday to extend the season for another week or two, but then night before last or resident porcupine decided that napping in the asparagus patch want enough and mowed through about 2/3 of the lettuce bed. I guess I’ll just plant some fresh stuff inside when I start the windowsill herbs that didn’t survive transplant, cooler temperatures,  or the summer heat: basil, lemon grass, cilantro, lettuce, spinach.

After grape picking, of which 100% of Pip’s help was dedicated to eating as many grapes as possible, we came inside to warm up before Zach got home to take Pip to a birthday party.

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We only got about 20 minutes inside which was more than enough time, then we walked down the driveway to meet him. Pip is turning 4 so this fall she is very, very excited about the falling leaves. She was jumping, dancing, spinning, and kicking up a storm. She even stopped to make some leaf angels.

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The excitement was quite contagious, Fern was running back and forth and Peep even forgot her discomfort long enough to have a few giggles

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New knitting projects

I never JUST bind off. My good friend taught me (mostly for socks and sleeves, but I’ve adapted it to knitting in general) that whenever you bind off a project, you immediately cast on for the next thing.

It keeps the knitting momentum going, which is vital when it comes to socks and sleeves. You can end up with just one sock, a sleeve that’s a completely different size than the first, or a myriad of other problems. I usually try to completely finish an item before I cast on for my next project, which means weaving in ends.

I wanted to show you the 2 projects I’m currently working on right now.

The first project is a fingering weight, fair isle cardigan for Pip. The pattern is called Where the Wild Sheep Roam by Ann Myhre, and has been on my knitting bucket list for ages. The English version of the pattern only goes up to a size three in toddler. Given that Pip is weeks away from turning four, and is wearing a size five, I knew it was now or never to get this sweater done for her. Sizing it up hasn’t been that hard, basically I just went up a needle size.

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I always knit a sleeve as my swatch. It takes about the same amount of time as a gauge swatch, plus I get to start on my project. If the gauge doesn’t work out, no big deal, just re-start the sleeve.

I’m a fairly loose knitter anyhow, so by going up a needle size I’ve circumvented the biggest complaint about the pattern, which is that it is very tight. By adding 3 inches of length to the sleeves (I know, she’s a tall girl) I’ve managed to make it long enough and loose enough that she will probably wear it for at least a year (praying for no more growth spurts of 3″ in 12 months).

I’m not progressing very fast on this sweater for two reasons. First, Peep is almost 5 months old, so she needs a lot of in-arms time with me right now as she can’t sit up on her own yet, and when she’s in my lap she is grabby. Second, the main (background) color of this sweater is black. I usually only have knitting time in the early mornings with an oil lamp, or in the evenings by the warm glow of the tv. Both low light conditions make it difficult to see what the heck I’m doing with all the stitches.

Okay, on to my second project, another sweater, this one is for Peep. I just cast on this project yesterday during Pip’s swim lesson. It’s easy, straight forward, and is in a much heavier weight yarn. This pattern is a heavily modified pattern of my own design. Expect to see the pattern in the near future.

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The yarns I’m knitting it in are a handspun Romney, and Cascade Souk.

Bonnets

I just finished the second bonnet of my own design. The first I made for Peep in size 6-12 months.

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The second I made for Pip in size 3-5 years.

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You can find the links to my project pages on ravelry.com, which I made public, up above.

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