Wednesday, January 31, 2007

HNC first item made

Having developed ideas for eight textile at the end of last term we were asked to develop one of these textiles into a finished piece. I decided to make something using one of the fabric and knitting ideas.

Due to time pressures (and any other excuse I can think of) I went for the easiest option which was to make a scarf, so the next thing to do was buy some fabric and yarn. I went to John Lewis in West Quay to look for fabric and yarn. Unfortunately they didn't have the type of fabric I originally want ed to get but I decided to buy the fabric shown in the photo opposite. I don't know what it is called but it changes colour depending on the angle of the light and is a creased textured fabric. I also bought some yarn which seemed to go quite well with the fabric

When I got home I decided the fabric wouldn't drape the way I wanted the scarf to drape so went to the sewing shop in Alton to see what they had. There I found a devoured type fabric (as seen in the 2nd photo), so went next door to the wool shop and bought some more wool to go with this fabric. (Well you have to add to yarn stash don't you!)

I used the fabric to make the ends of the scarf and knitted the centre section lengthways in garter stitch stripes. I then had to work out a way to join the fabric and knitting as neatly as possible. I used a running stitch along the top of the fabric which I could knit into. I also picked up along the edge of the scarf to cover the selvedge and knitted the two sections together with a 3-needle cast off.

The last two photos are of the finished scarf. I still have the brown tone fabric and yarns which I still want to use but will try one of the other techniques I used in the samples for another, possibly more unusual scarf.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Keeping track of tension

Before Christmas, like many of you I expect, I had to tidy up to make way for visitors, eating at the dining room table etc. As part of this tidy up I decided to try and put some order into my tension swatches and sample ideas pile of knitting.

Last year my sister gave me a very nice spiral bound sketch book so I decide to use this to keep information about gauges for different yarns, samples of the yarns with their label and samples of some stitch pattern ideas.

As I work out all my own knitting designs I do knit tension swatches. I am also a machine knitter so I've found over the years it is easier to make tension swatches on similar lines to machine knitting even when hand knitting. I don't like knitting a piece and then having to mark out an area 10cm square and trying to count the rows and stitches. It can be quite difficult in stocking stitch let alone a textures stitch or textured yarn. Instead I prefer to use marker rows and marker stitches, and decide how many rows and stitches I am going to measure over to calculate the gauge.

If I am knitting DK, Aran or Chunky yarn I tend to knit 30 rows between marker rows and 20 stitches between marker stitches. In the section below the first two contrast marker rows I also work a number of eyelets to note the size of knitting needle I am using. The stitch markers can be knitted in either on row 15 or rows 10 and 20. Once the swatch is knitted it is quite easy to measure between the inside edges of the two sets of marker rows and the inside edges of the two marker stitches.

To find the stitch gauge divide 20 by the measurement you read from the ruler (in cm) to give you the number of stitches to 1cm, and to find the row gauge divide 30 by the measurement you read from the ruler to give the number of rows to 1cm. If you want to check your tension again that given in a pattern then multiply the rows to 1cm by 10 to get the number of rows to 10cm and the same for the stitches.

As well as an example tension swatch I have included a couple of pages from my sketchbook showing yarn labels, yarn, stitch samples and notes.

Having started the sketchbook I will have to try and ensure I keep adding to it over the next year. It should provide a useful reference for the future