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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Daelyn Pullover Sweater Progress

Hi guys! I'm learning to knit, slowly but surely. Last winter I knitted a few hats, and this year I decided to knit my first sweater. Luckily my sister and mom are great knitters, so I asked them for advice about this pattern before getting started. My sister offered to knit one, too, so she could help me out if anything was difficult for me. Amazing! 

I chose this Daelyn Pullover by Isabell Kraemer. I love the loose-fitting shape of it, the fact that the front and back are done in different stitches, and that the back pattern wraps around to the front. I also love the big ribbing at the hem and cuffs.

Here's the front of mine so far:

You can see the different pattern on the sides, as the back gradually reaches around to the front.

And here is the back:

I had a rough start with it, as there are German short rows used to extend the back, right under the neckline. I had never knit German short rows before, and the instructions were very sparse. Many of the tutorials I found online seemed to use short rows to make curves, like shaping a bust or the heel of a sock. I just couldn't picture it based on all the curved samples I was seeing. 

Stefanie helped me to get the concept, and once I understood what the point was, it was super easy! I wish the pattern had included a longer explanation, a close-up photo of the short rows, and a graphic showing what was going on. I ended up finding this video to be helpful to me. 

In case you're new to short rows, too, let me explain it in my beginner's language. For this sweater, you are not using short rows to make a curved shape. The curve is very gradual and is 2D - the curve goes down to add length; the sweater still lies flat on your back. 

You just want to lengthen the back of the neckline so that the front will end up being lower than the back. If they were both the same height, the neckline would be very high in front. So you go partway across the back, turn, and go back the way you came, turn - several times. You are adding length to the back, and you knit or purl a couple stitches farther each row (creeping toward the front) so that the increase is gradual and you'll be able to keep knitting in the round when you're done adding short rows. Hopefully that helps if you are a newer knitter working with this pattern!

Since I finished the short rows, I've been sailing along, knitting a few rows whenever I have a chance. I hope I won't mess up my sleeves when I get to them. Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Scatter-Dyeing French Terry Fabric

When I started planning this fall's capsule wardrobe, I kept thinking about sweatshirts and fleece pants! Those were definitely missing from my closet last fall and winter. I want them to be cute enough that I can wear them out of the house to run errands or for casual socializing. But I still want them to be super-comfortable and not too fitted. So far I've made a blue Linden sweatshirt, using the pattern from Grainline Studio. I love it! It didn't take long to make and turned out perfectly. I definitely want to make some more, but with patterns or something so they're not too similar. 

So I bought some white cotton french terry to dye. I decided to try just scattering the dry dye powder onto the fabric and see what happened.

First I washed and dried the fabric (using no fabric softener as it can interfere with dyeing). Then I soaked the fabric for 20 minutes in water and soda ash (mix 1 cup of soda ash per 1 gallon of water). Next I laid out the fabric on the grass, right side up, and gathered my chosen dye colors: red, yellow, and turquoise. With my helper, I sprinkled on small amounts of each color. 

I decided to add green as well:

Here is my cute helper:

I let it sit for a few minutes, while I thought about how to keep all the dye from smearing and transferring from one side to the other. When dyeing with procion dye, you should keep the fabric wet for 24 hours before rinsing. I knew I wanted to put the fabric in a garbage bag to keep it wet, and I realized I could use the bags in between the layers, too. I put them on top of half the fabric and folded it over. Then I laid a bag on top and rolled up the fabric.  

As I rolled, I added another bag. Then I put the roll inside one more bag, tied it up, and set it inside for 24 hours (keeping the wet fabric warm will help the dye work). 

The next day, I rinsed the fabric in cold water for a long time, until the water ran clear. Finally I could see how it looked! I machine washed it in warm water with Synthrapol detergent, which helps remove extra dye so the white parts stay white. Then I dried it on hot to help set the dye even more. 

I love how it turned out! This is the right side:

And here is the wrong side (the terry side with the loops). I like this side a lot, too!

Now I'm trying to decide how to use it. I might make another Linden sweatshirt. I'm also interested in the Mesa knit shift dress from Seamwork. Hopefully I'll whip something up this weekend. 

Do you think you'll try scatter-dyeing? I bought my dyes, soda ash, and Synthrapol from Dharma Trading Co. They have 130 colors of procion dye available, so you should be able to find the colors you need. 

Here's another photo of the right side of mine, just for inspiration. Give it a try!