Sunday, May 31, 2015

Getting The Right Look

Sometimes it takes a picture to make you see it correctly.  You see, I thought that this was a better look for me.  I even entertained the thought of wearing my current sweater in the knitting, Inlet, open like this.  

But, after buttoning it up and taking this picture, I am really thinking this is the better look for me.

I credit this all to Amy Herzog's Knit to Flatter book, blog and Craftsy class.

As always, I am open to your opinion in the comments.  Enjoy your cool Sunday, Central IL.  It appears that it is still sweater weather and there is time to knit some Summer knits, because it ain't here yet!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Schematic or Not To Schematic

I'm motoring along on my Inlet Custom Fit Cardigan  I was knitting merrily along on one of the fronts, Thursday night according to the instructions.  While I was merrily knitting along on it, I thought that it was odd that the instructions did not have me increase for the bust after decreasing for the waist as they did on the back.  But, being the blind follower that I usually am, I continued on doing as the Custom Fit pattern said.

When I got home, I looked at the schematic and was a bit perplexed by it.  Since it showed the waist going in and then increases for the bust, I was thinking more and more that I was right and the elves at Custom Fit had it wrong.

After first looking in the Custom Fit Ravelry Group and on project pages and finding no notes or comments as to there being a problem, I decided it was just my pattern that was wrong.  So, I emailed Custom Fit.  The very next day, I had an answer ( pretty darn customer service the weekend of TNNA)  which was that the schematic was not indicative of what my sweater was going to look like, and basically, it was a canned drawing.  Huh?  Ok, I understand, and if I had been of sound mind on Thursday night late in the evening, I would have paid attention to the measurements that were given for my Custom Fit sweater, measured my piece and said ah ha, pay no attention to the schematic.

But, (you knew there was going to be one), why bother putting a schematic in then?  I have always looked to the schematic to tell me what the sweater shaping looks like and what the measurements are at certain spots.  I tell new sweater knitters that are trying to figure out whether they need to make changes on non-Custom Fit sweaters, that they should look to the schematic and the measurements that are referenced there and then make changes if needed.

Now, to Custom Fit's credit, the measurements that they provided below the schematic are smack dab on, which tells me what the schematic does not.  And it all made a lot more sense on Friday night then it did on Thursday, but still that (lets call it) drawing is a bit deceiving.  Knowing what I know now and what my readers will benefit from to is look to the measurements they will not lie.

While we are on the subject of Amy Herzog, I just want to say I think she is a genius and I am infatuated with her patterns and books right now, and I am a fan girl.  When I run across a podcaster that interviews her, I tune in, because she has been able to do what all of us knitters wish we could do, make a buck out of hobby and turn it into a business.

If you are interested, give a listen to these podcasts to hear the story, I think you will enjoy listening.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Website

Another opinion on dressing to flatter.  Things that make you go hmmmmm-

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's Raining, It's Pouring, This Woman is Knitting

Every time I turned around today, it was doing this.  The Tall Guy and I were both off today to recover from the moving this past weekend, and we kind of would have like a sunnier day today.  But the upside, is that I got to spend the day knitting.  Considering what Texas is going through, I find myself being ok with some rain.

I seem to be working a bit on my Shetland Shawl right now.  It is at the no brainer stage right now, just decreasing the center square for right now with a couple of rows of eyelets pairing up on the outside edge.  I am really liking Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift for this.  It is pretty soft for a shetland wool, and I can see using it for a Faroese Shawl as well.

The sun came out a bit today long enough for me to get a picture of my Custom Fit Cardigan, Inlet by Amy Herzog.  Your eyes do not deceive, the top half of the back is a bit lighter despite the fact that I did alternate skeins every two rows.  I am leaving it for now, as I motor on with the fronts and sleeves.  IF, I have enough left over of what I have, I will go back and rip this back and use the darker of the colors.  I'm a bit concerned that I may not have enough to complete, but for now, I am blindly knitting on.

It is back to work tomorrow after having five days off.  On the good side, there is only three work days left to this week and then the weekend will be here.  I can handle that!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Did You Miss Me?

It has been one of those weeks!  On several avenues, it has been a week of sadness and reflection.  Last Sunday, it was  the 9th anniversary of my mother's passing. My mother always said I would miss her when she was gone, and she was quite right.  She would so love seeing her great granddaughter and what has become of her grandsons that she loved and doted on dearly.  On Monday, a friend's mother passed away very unexpectedly.  Tuesday,  I spent an evening helping some friends do some sorting… it was a bit emotional for all of us.  On Wednesday, I stayed home from work, calling in sick,  because it had been an intense week and my body just needed to be home to rejuvenate.  Thursday, I was back at work trying to fit about three days into one.  Friday, we took off for Iowa to help Baby Boy A and family move into their new house.

We had a hoot of a time with this little cutie.  And while there, we learned that not only is she going to be a big sister, but a big cousin as well.

 NOT Baby Boy B, but my daughter-in-law's sister is also expecting and on November 10th…the birth of the Marine Corps and well, you know me.  Any baby that is close to me that is expected to be born on my birthday are special babies and will require something hand knit.  In a few short weeks, we should be hearing what both babies' sex are, which means the baby knitting will commence.

This weekend, when there was down time, I am knitting on my Shetland Shawl.  It was a pretty no brainer for me and finally, I have started the decreases.  I am hoping that it is done in time for Knit Camp which is less than seven weeks away!

And I have made a vow to myself that in the next seven weeks that I will lose at least seven pounds.  That should be quite doable don't you think?  So, today, I am making a healthy grocery list for grocery shopping tomorrow.  I don't cook, (the Tall Guy does all the cooking), but it may be time for me to ramp up my lunch making repertoire.

We've had some weird weather today, rain, sun, wind and now tornado watch.  Oy.  Whatever you are doing this Memorial Day Weekend, I hope you are enjoying it as we have!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday Monday

Typically, I dislike Mondays.  You know it is the start of a long work week, but these beauties greeted me this morning as I headed out to work.

Then, at lunch I decided to actually take a lunch hour.  I headed out to the back of our building where no one eats past 12:30, I took my knitting and my phone.  With no one around me, I didn't have to use my headphones, I could listen to Unbroken and knit while soaking up the sun.

It was tough going back in, but we are so busy at work right now, that before I knew it was time to head home.

I enjoyed my time so much today, I may do it again this week.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Measurements - Baring It All

On our way to knitting some really great sweaters to wear, we need to take the dreaded measurements.    My suggestion to you is to bring in your best friend and measure each other.  Sure, you can measure yourself, but some of these measurements are a bit tricky without a helping hand.

Make yourself a spreadsheet and date the top of it.  I periodically (every few years) like to pull mine back out and re-measure just to see if my fitbit/weight watchers/my fitness pal/my whatever the weight control thingy of the month is working.

Over the years, I've taken several classes and in each one I've been measured. There must be something about finding just the right fit class (we'll review those down the road), that has me searching for the body that I want to have, rather than the one I have.  The fit classes I have taken since the year I went to TKGA in Michigan are from Barry Klein, Judy Chan (the one that helped me the most all those years ago), Amy Herzog's Craftsy Class and I have both of her books.

Measurements are super important!   My suggestion is to do as I did last year and wear something close to the body when you are getting measured to make sure that you are really getting accurate measurements.  WARNING!  I VERY MUCH DISLIKE THIS PICTURE, BUT IT TELLS ME WHAT I MUST DO IF I WANT TO CHANGE!

So, now that we have that over with, grab a new tape measure, I say new because if you have been using the same one since forever, those little tapes do stretch and as long as we are starting out on this adventure, we might just as well, have a new tape measure to start with.

Make an excel spreadsheet to keep tabs on your measurements or cut and paste the list below into a nice little worksheet that you can keep nearby when starting on your sweater adventure.  Grab your friend and let the measuring begin.

Bust - years ago I just measured the fullest part of the bust, but I am hearing from other camps that under the arm measurement may be good for getting a good fit on the shoulders
Hip - Fullest part of your hips.  I, also, take the measurement right around the tank hits above (aka my belly)
Back Length, I take two measurements, the one that goes from that bone in the base of your neck to your waist, but also the bone to wear I want my sweater to be finished at
Neck Width - measuring across the back of the neck
Shoulder Width  - measuring across the back from one shoulder bone to the other (for me since I am so narrow shoulder, this measurement is very important
Waist to Underarm - Stick a straight knitting needle under your arm and measure to the knitting needle
Underarm to the sleeve length you like and to 3/4 sleeve and to elbow sleeve and to short sleeve length
(use the knitting needle again as a measuring point)
Armhole Depth - using the straight knitting needle again to measure from, measure to the top of the shoulder or if easier, measure from the back to the front and then choose 1/2 the measurement as your armhole depth.  Again, this is a useful measurement for me to make sure that my sleeves aren't too tight in the armpit.
Upper Arm Circumference - Next to my hip measurement, this is the one thing I dislike most about my measurements.  What can I say, I inherited these pelican arms.  Thats my story and I am sticking  with it.
Wrist Circumference - Besides my fingers, this is the smallest part of my body, oh why, could I not have the body to go with my wrist and fingers?!  :)

Ready, set, measure!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday Website

Chic Knits

For Spring/Summer Sweaters, nobody designs a better one the Bonne Marie!  I am and have been a fan for several years.  I have the left top one on the needles as we speak.  I actually cast it on before she posted these beautiful sweaters.  I want to knit them all!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Friday, May 08, 2015

Let's Be Honest

I need some quick Spring/Summer knit ideas.  I need some sweaters that I can wear to work.  And did I mention they have to be quick?!

In just a little over two months, Linda and I will be heading to knit camp.  And so, when it is not so hot and humid in the house or when I am somewhere with air condition, I'll be knitting on my Camp Show and Tell.  

The Faroese Shawl is almost done.  I finished off the top earlier this morning.  And now, I just need to put the provisional cast on onto a needle and do EZ's sewn bind off.  But, it is just too darn warm in the house to fiddle with it today, so it has been put back in the bag for a cooler day, sometime next week.

Then, there is a new grand baby coming the first part of October and as soon as I hear what the sex is, you know I'll be knitting like a fiendish grandma.  He or she will need a stocking for sure and the parents have requested I put Miss M's long name on her stocking instead of the shortened version.  I never have been one for altering after the fact, I'd much prefer to start anew.  And of course, the new baby is going to need at least one or two baby blankets.

And before you know it, it will be time for this year's edition of PJKNITS Summer of Shawls.  Summer of Shawls is where I am knitting on shawls, you know for me.  Shawls and shawlettes are perfect all Summer long, they are not just for Fall and Winter.  I'm always cold, and in the air condition of where ever I am, it is nice to have a not so scratchy shawl to throw on.  But, thats later.

Oy, so now you know why I need some ideas for some quick and easy sweaters for Summer.  I'm toying around with several and really trying hard to use stash yarn, but my lys keeps calling my name with a couple of new yarns they have in.

Have you been thinking about what sweater you want to knit first?  Is it for you?  Or would you rather start with a simple baby or toddler sweater?  Tomorrow, I'll share some of my faves with you and then we'll start talking yarn.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Today's Cuteness

Yes, the shirt is too big, but I had to support a local fundraiser for Miss M!  My friend and assistant at work is a major fundraiser locally for St. Jude (she has a vested interest as her nephew is and has been a patient).  It is such a cause that is dear to our hearts when we have such a healthy granddaughter, that whenever I can I try to support.

Thats all I got for this Thursday.  Oh and yes, I took tomorrow off as a me day. I won't mind if it rains all day long, I'm going to hook myself up with my newest delivery (50 Shades of Grey), some coffee and my knitting.  There will be some cleaning as well to get ready for Sunday here for celebrating Mom's Day too, but I think I'll ease into that.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Wednesday Website

Stephen West Interview on Woolful  - A delightful interview with Stephen West.  And when you get done listening to this episode, go back and listen to some more of Woolful.  I am learning so much about people in the knitting, yarn, wool, farming business.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Sweaters - What Do You Like?

Before jumping right into sweater knitting, you will want to do some pre-pre-prep work (you know before the pattern, the yarn and the dreaded swatch).  I would encourage you first find something you want to wear for a few seasons. Sure, you can knit the latest fashion sweater too and I certainly love the latest, but one that will test the time of fashion is always good.  After all, you are going to put a bit of work into it, you want to be able to wear it longer than just this year.

First of all, you may want to go into your closet and see if there is a sweater or jacket or piece of clothing that you love wearing all the time.  For me, I have loved this Laura Ashley sweater forever.  I wish I had bought it in every color when I had the chance.  I get more compliments on it every time I wear it, even though, it is starting to get some little nubs on it.

Several years ago, I found a good substitute for it in a sweater pattern  -  Walpole
The plan then was to change the sleeves only.

I am making a confession here that it is still in the project bag, and I really need to get it out and knit some more on it, because it has potential for the late Summer early Fall transition time that I always seem to have lacking in my wardrobe.

Some other items that I have in my Spring/Summer wardrobe for work wear are Mizrahi's sweaters.  They are simple sweaters with both v-necks and crew neck bands and they fit the bill with a summer tank under them.  And they fit well, or at least I feel that they do.

In the last few years, I've knit a couple of sweaters that were on the order of my ready-to-wear sweaters above.  Both are Knitting Pure and Simple patterns.

For me, Knitting Pure and Simple patterns are perfect for first sweater knitters, but I'll post about other favorites in upcoming posts.

The purpose of today's post on sweaters is for you to think about what you like wearing, what makes you feel good when you wear it?  What is it about it that makes you like wearing it?  Is it the sleeve length, the body length, does it hit where it should, do you just love the color, is it something you want to wear?

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Drop Dead Gorgeous, Day 2

If you were in Central Illinois yesterday, or here at Chez Halverson, you know it was a good day.  The sky and weather was drop dead gorgeous.  And the Cardinals won!  This morning was just as pretty.

 I could not do my normal Saturday morning knitting routine as the yarn mobile is acting up and needs a service call which it is getting on Monday, so I had to stay home.  It did not stop me from having a bang up day all by myself.  Between laundry and cleaning out windows, I watched the game in the afternoon and knit.  And I worked a bit on the first of my knitting sweaters post.

I am finally at the end of the lace section of my Faroese Shawl and from here on to the end, it is lots of garter and keeping up with the decreases.  I love this style of shawl so much, I am already searching the stash to knit another one out of something a bit more soft.  

I also finished a repeat and started another repeat on my Hitofude out Sea Pearl.  Since I am such a loose knitter, my swatch indicated to me that I should use a size  1  needle.  I had a revelation yesterday while reading the pattern that I am knitting a sleeve, across the back and then the other sleeve.  More than likely, I am going to have to add a couple of repeats past what the pattern suggests to accomodate my pelican arms since when I gauge swatch I very rarely never pay any attention to row gauge.  

Hitofude, while having a pretty simple chart to follow is going to take me awhile.  I chose this dark charcoally color and you almost have to have a direct light over it when you were on it to make sure you or at least I can see what I am doing.  I am going to make this my night project when I am under good light.  I'd like to have it done for Knit Camp which is just a couple of months and a week away.

The Tall Guy finally got the chairs out on the front porch, so there  will be knitting out there today.

 We have got quite the rabbit pop in our front yard these days.

This morning verrrrry early we woke up and the Tall Guy saw about six rabbits all running around in front of the house in the street for about 10 minutes.  It was a bit dark, but the street light gave us a pretty good view of them.  What we could not see is what was going on with this tuft of grass.

 It moved a bit so we deduced that there was a rabbit there too.  Pretty soon, the rabbit took off down the street and all of "it's" little friends ran after it.

 The Tall Guy went out to check the tuft out and sure enough, there is a hole with the tuft of grass mixed with rabbit fur over it. A half an hour later, the rabbit was back gnawing on grass not to far away. 

The weather forecast for next week is mostly cloudy with some rain here and there, but for the most part, temperatures in Central Illinois are going to be in the 70's - 80.  I think we can safely say that the cold weather is gone.  This morning, however, would have been a nice morning for a sweater, so I do believe I'll start thinking about one to knit, how about you?

Friday, May 01, 2015

Friday Filosphy! (Yes, I know that is not how you spell it)

"Learn to sell.  In business you're always selling - to your prospects, investors and employees.  To be the best salesperson put yourself in the shoes of the person to whom you're selling.  Don't sell your product.  Solve their problems." - Mark Cuban

Do you want to knit a sweater?  I was listening to one of the many podcasts  that I listen to on my way to work and the guest and the podcaster had a response to someone who said they could never knit a sweater.  The response was  yes, you can knit a sweater, if you already knit, you can knit a sweater, there are no new skills in knitting a sweater.  You knit, you purl.

I've always thought the natural progression for a yarn shop is that after you teach a new knitter the basics that you need to get them knitting sweaters.  They start small with a hat or a scarf or a dish rag, but after that, it is time to get them started knitting on sweaters.  From a yarn shop prospective, it means bigger sales, from a teacher prospective, it means additional income on the class side.

When I first learned how to machine quilt, we started with a simple small wall hanging or potholder where we learned the techniques, but once we practiced those,  it wasn't long and we were onto larger wall hangings, baby quilts and eventually bed size quilts.  It was a great marketing.  The larger the quilt the more dollars the store brought in fabric sales, return customers and classes which in turned benefited both the shop and the instructor.

My point?  A yarn shop is in business to sell yarn.  Classes are basically free money, other than the cost of lights,  water and to pay the teacher.   The purpose of a class is to put some money into the teacher's pockets, but ultimately, it is to get the students to buy yarn and put some cash in the shop.  To do that, I believe you have to get people knitting sweaters!

  Since I started my blog in June 2003 ,  I have used it pretty much as a diary of my knitting, my life, my journeys.   I've always wanted it to grow a bit and hope that more readers would stumble upon it and see value in it.  I guess I have realized overtime, if you want it to grow, you have to do more, make it worth reading.  I want the blog to still continue to be a diary of my knitting life, but I also want it to be a bit educational and a resource  for knitters, new and seasoned.  I want other readers to pass the web address on and maybe say you learned something by reading it.

On another podcast that I tuned into, the conversation was about this knitting thing we do and the comment was, if you eat, breathe, sleep and live something, then perhaps that is what you should be doing with your life.  Now, I am not going to quit my day job (cause it is the venue I use to supplement my addiction - knitting and we were not so smart as young adults to think that we actually needed to save for retirement), but, lately, I've been keeping my eye on other bloggers and websites, seeing how they started out by blogging and eventually working it into a small businesses.  I have often thought, wouldn't it be nice to start a little business to perhaps supplement my future retirement (think 3-5 years) fund.

Through the efforts of one of my friends, I realized how tough it is to make in in the yarn business, but what if I just looked at it of a way of educating knitters to knit sweaters?   Just sharing what I have learned from the classes I've taken, the  books, websites and other pieces of information I have picked up along the way?  Kind of a prep for me for maybe a future endeavor, teaching my craft.

 Since I was just a very small child, all I ever wanted to do is teach. From the days of my first blackboard, to using my wall in my bedroom as a pretend blackboard, I've wanted to teach.  That is not the path that I took, rather, I decided to marry the love of my life and go a different direction, that is so far from teaching that I still cannot believe it!  But, teaching is what I always wanted to do.

But, what if I used my blog (sometimes) as my forum for teaching.  What if we knit some sweaters together right here virtually?  You know like a KAL, one to pump up our knitting skills and knit some sweaters together.  I'll start simple and we'll work towards getting you to knit  sweaters with more skill sets.   We'll take our time, learn some techniques, I'll share with you bits and pieces from the many classes I've taken, the hints I have picked up, the mistakes I've learned from.  I'll give you options along the way, top down, bottom up, EZ, in pieces, side to side, oh the possibilities.  All along the way, we'll be honing our sweater making skills and creating some fantastic sweaters to wear Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall !

The intent  along the way, I hope, is to pick up some new friends and readers, but I also hope to learn  myself from the research that I surely must do to help you knit some super cool sweaters.

What do you think?  Shall we do this thing together?