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My latest project has been trying to create a form to felt a size 2T coat for Alaina, but I knew I would have a hard time felting it to sizeThe coat is for next year so after talking with Emily Ann we figured she will be about a 2T by then. The pattern is by Nani called “Ella & The Legume”. It is so cute I saw it done in pastel colors at Knitch in Atlanta and just had to get the yarn and pattern to make her one.  (If you are going to get the pattern look also on line @ Deep South Fibers there is a correction to the pattern there.)

 

 

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The thought I would share with you the project because it was easy fun and very useful when felting or even knitting.

 

  

MAKING FORMS:

Making forms all came about because my daughter Tracy was mentioning that when I knitted her a sweater she has to much extra fabric under her arms. I thought about this problem and did not know how I could work without trying it on her or having a form. Trying it on her with her living Michigan and I in Georgia seemed a bit difficult. However, a dress form was not out of the question. I did not want to buy a form they cost so much so that left me to exploring making one. I found a great book called “Custom Knits” by Wendy Bernard. She suggests making a form for you with the help of a friend out of duck tape. This worked really great and was an easy and fast way to solve the problem.

 

Making a form for Alaina like this presented two problems. One she is not a size 2T yet and the second and biggest problem was I would never duck tape a little person. She would hate it and never sit still and I would be the Nana that traumatized her at a very early stage!!!!! So with that said I started to think about what could be done.

 

Several years ago I made Santa Clauses out of children’s clothing. They were really cute and I enjoyed making them. I thought maybe I could do that. The next problem would be that they would be all wet during the felting process. Whether during the drying or spot steaming process, they would become damp and limp. Then I thought I could water proof them.

 

Ideas:

1.        Paper Mache ……..not waterproof again. Nope!

2.      Plaster of Paris……not waterproof again!!! Nope.

3.      Water proof the above…..HHHHHmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

4.     Why brother with all the mess just waterproof the fabric of the outfit!!!!!!!!

5.      But how??????????

6.      Buy spray waterproof like the kind for boots and stuff………….too much money

7.       what makes cloth waterproof……………..Enamel Paint

 

So I did I spray painted the outfit with enamel paint and water proof she became. The following are pictures and explanations of the process I used to create Alaina 2T: 

 First step was going to a thrift shop to buy cheap 2T long sleeve top and pants.

 

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Then you need to make the form:

 I  closed the arms with fabric circles to give room for the wrists of the coat. I stuffed the top and the began to work on the bottom.

 

 

 

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I made the same type of circles for the legs and sewed them to the opening. This insured that the legs were round and not pulled together. Stuffing the legs came next but I wanted them to be weighted so they could stand if I wanted.

 

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I put the stone weights you use for flowers in vases in a plastic bag to keep them together and placed them in the legs. I then stuff the legs tight and began to attach the top to the bottom.

 

 

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Next step.

After I stuffed the top and bottom tightly I then attached the two together. I whipped stitched them all the way around.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I can either stand the form up or put it on a hanger in the neck of the top. Depending on now heavy the garment you are felting, will depend on which way you will want to put the form.

 

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Standing on it’s own!

 

Waterproofing!

 

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I put a paper tube from wrapping paper down the back like a spine. This helped me be able to handle the form when I was spraying the paint. I left it in while it stood to dry and will cut it down later so there is room for the hanger too. I painted the form green because that is the color I had on hand. It also made me think of Michigan State. Go Green Go White. But I think I would have rather  had the white. I would pick a color you like and go for it! make sure you get all the spots. Under the arms around the legs around the neck. You want it water proof so it doesn’t go limp or mold while drying.

 

I think it came out rather well. I am just about finish knitting the coat just a front ruffle. I will be felting it next week and will make sure to share the finished project and the coat drying on the form.

 

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Good Luck putting your form together. Let me know how it goes!

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I had a great time last Friday at Gale’s Art studio! Gale has a small independent dyeing studio in Stone Mountain GA. She teaches there in small class of four people or less.

 

    

 

My class was 10:30 am to 2:30pm with open studio after. I learned a whole lot and enjoyed myself very much. We did acid dying by first soaking the yarn, roving, and scarves in Citrus Acid. You can also use white vinegar as the acid too.

 

 

I really love the scarves we made. After soaking the silk scarves in citrus acid you bunch them into a glass bowl and heat on high in the microwave. Then take the bowl out and squirt your selection of dye on the scarf.
Then back into the microwave for 45 sections and there you have a beautiful scarf. Mine looked like flowers! It was great!

 

  

 

I enjoyed the learning and the day with Gale. If you are interested in join her for her dying classes or felting you can get complete information about her groups @ – gale’s art fiber- and look under “threads” topic ‘classes in Atlanta” on Ravelry or feel free to email her at galesart@mindspring.com or contact her by phone 404 457 4015

 

 

 

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I am having a great time knitting the digestive system. The pattern has a few flaws but they are easy to overcome. It is really interesting to see what comes next and how it is attached to the next. But the wildest was the small intestines. Who knew it was 7 yards long. That’s right 21 feet, or 252 inches long! That is a lot to knit six stitches. So, I remembered when I was little making long long long tubes with a simple loom. Off to Michaels I went and got one. I was able to chain the 21 feet in one day and not pull my hair out while doing it. Here are some update pictures. I am working on the Esophagus it is 12 inches long! Then on to the tongue. All I have left is tongue, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. (Maybe mine had gallbladder surgery and we don’t have one. No I’ll include it because it is the only thing that has some interesting color to it.)  The pattern can be found @: “Strange but Trewe”

 

 this is the beginning of the project. I have the Anus and Rectum finished.  

 

The pink with white lines is the Large intestine.

 (you can see the little loom I used at the end).

 

 As you move up the large intestine you get a little bigger and that is the colon. Now on to the Appendix. That is that little nob at the end of the colon. Then the 7 yards of small intestine, I just finished the stomach and started the Esophagus. I noticed that all this flows together so you could roll a marble straight on through. (This reminds me of the time Peter swallowed my mother’s Cruifix off her rosary. We went to the ER and they said it should flow on through. The whole time he had it working it’s way down, he would tell people that he had Jesus in his tommy. They would say don’t you mean your heart and he look them straight in the eye and say “Nope, they say he is just about here now” then point! )

 

The Pancreas, Gallbaldder, and Liver are all add ons to the process. This all interested me as I moved a long so I looked up several sites about the process. Here is a really good one “Your Digestive System and How it Works”. I found the whole thing really great fun! 

 

 

 

UPDATE!  Finished the project! I think it looks great and was great fun!

 

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It seems lately that I have become obsessed with lace and cables patterns. I am bored by stockinette stitch, going crazy with changing colors in intarsia, and not interested in felting things in this heat.  Knitting the intricate patterns and watching them unfolding has really been quite satisfying. I have been home a lot this week waiting for the Comcast repairman to really come. I have waited a total of 16 hours in three days. (never showed and my phone still doesn’t work) This is another long story you really don’t want to hear. Which brings be back to cables and lace. I have been working on projects while waiting. I also have been shopping (just a little) on the internet for yarn and patterns. I have spent some time looking at patterns in the books I have, and sorting my stash to see what I can use. Maybe, I should have to stay home more often. (right, not)

I first thought I would make everyone folk mittens for Christmas. But now that I am burnt out on changing colors after working on the trial baby carrier, I have decided to make shawls or scarves with lace or cables or both. These are the patterns I have been looking at to do and some of the books I have either just purchased or took out of my library to use.

First I really enjoyed making the lace sweater top from “Rowan Knitting and Crochet magazine Number 43”.   

 It really looks nice on:

              

The book is really nice and has 37 different patterns. I think that the Rowan pattern magazines are really well done!

The latest addition to my library is “Victorian Lace Today” by Jane Sowerby. There are several great lace patterns. I heard about the book when it was reviewed by Kelley on the Knit Picks podcast. She makes me want to buy every book she reviews. I think she is there best salesperson! 

  If you go to the link you can see several of the patterns inside the book.

 

 I think I will use several for the Christmas scarves. I got the book from Knit Picks and also order some lace yarn for a shawl pattern I just got. They have several very nice lace yarns in wonderful colors this year.

These are a few of the projects I think I will make as gifts.  

 

While visiting projects on Ravelry  I found two shawls I just loved. They both were from a designer that only sells on the internet. The patterns  are from Die-Wollust . They are from Germany but sell their patterns in several languages. I got the “Ornamental shawl” and the “Art Nouveau shawl” both are very beautiful. The patterns, however, are done in charts and i am a written directions kinda gal. I have been spending several hours putting them into written form. There are several debates about charts vs. written directions. I have preferred written lately. There is too much looking back and forth for me and I am always losing my place. This way the rows are numbered and color changes between the lines really helps me keep track. I know it takes a great deal of time to do it but I think it is worth it because the project goes quicker for me, I don’t lose interest in the project, it is much, much, much easier to carry around with me when I am on the go, and I can always use them again when I make the pattern in the future. This is what my written directions look like I do them in a word document. I have done them in excel in the past but like this format better:

Row #

Border

Instructions

Border

Done X

 

 

Cast on 145 from Crochet cable

 

 

 

 

Purl row and all Wrong side rows throughout the pattern

 

 

1

(K2tog, yo1,)2, k1

(k2tog, yo1,)5, k1, (yo1, skp1)2, K25, (k2tog, yo1,)2, k1, (k2tog, yo1,)3, k3, (yo1, skp1)5, k1, (yo1, skp1)2, k5,  (k2tog, yo1,)2, k1, (k2tog, yo1)3, k3. (yo1, skp1)3, k1, (yo1, skp1)2, k25, (k2tog, yo1)2, k1, (yo1,skp1)5

K1, (yo1, skp1)2

 

3

Repeat border throughout shawl

(yo1, skp1)4, k2tog, yo1, k2, (yo1, skp1)2, k24, (k2tog, yo1,)2, k1, (k2tog, yo1,)3, k2, (skp1,yo1)3, k2, (yo1, skp1)2, k5, (k2tog, yo1)2, k2, (yo1, skp1)3,k2, (yo1, skp1)3, k1, (yo1, kp1)2, k24, (k2tog, yo1)2, k2, yo1, skp1, k2tog, yo1)4

Repeat border throughout shawl

 

 

I format the page to fit 5.5 wide by 8.5 long so that when I print the page they can easily fit my Chart Keeper which is another handy dandy tool I got from Knit Picks. (after reading over this you would think I was an advertisement for Knit Picks, I am dropping them a line and see if they would like to sponsor my blog :O) LOL)

 

I have chosen a lace yarn called Shimmer Hand Dyed Lace Yarn It is 70% Baby Alpaca, 30 % Silk. The color is steel gray tweed, called Cumulus. It is really much nicer in person then the picture on the web. I am also going to make this shawl for my sister Yvonne. I am just waiting to see what color she wants. I hope she chooses soon before I get more into my Christmas knitting and time gets short.

 

The Cable book I have been looking at comes from my library again. It is called, “Inspired Cable Knits” by. Fiona Ellis.    There is a blue sweater that has been on my project list to make for a while. My dear friend Karen bought me some wonderful yarn from “Stonehedge Fiber Mill” in East Jordan, MI. The yarn is a chocolate gray and I thought this would be the perfect project to use the yarn. I have been saving it for something wonderful. I think it would look really great with jeans. So that project has just moved up on my list to do. I don’t think I will be able to start it until after all the Holiday knitting is done. It is better to work with this yarn when it is cooler out anyway.  

 

My next adventure project will be to do some dyeing. I have gotten some sock blanks and plain yarn to dye. This will be my first try in a very long time at dyeing. I did some back in the 80’s when I spun a lot but really have not done any dyeing since. I also want to knit up a sweater to felt and dye at the same time. I want to paint with the dye and see what happens. I will make sure I document the process to share. I need to make a trip to Old Time Pottery for supplies. Anything you use to dye with can not be used again for cooking. It is best to have equipment just for dyeing. But I will save all that for another post.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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I have been busily working on my latest knitting projects. I am making two “Cable and Lace wrap cardigans” from Baby Knits by Lois Daykin.  They are quick and lovely wrap around cardigans done in a DK weight. I decided to make these for my friend Karen’s two new granddaughters. Her son Mathew’s family had their second daughter this July. There other beautiful daughter is Laura who is the cutie wearing the blue and yellow stripe sweater in my earlier post. Plus their second son Adam and his family had their second child who is also a girl born in June. Adam and AnnMarie now have a boy and girl.  I wanted to make them both something and wanted them to be similar even though they live miles and miles apart.  The cardigan is warm yet lovely.

 

  

 

The second project I am working on is for me. It is a lace sweater from Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine Number 43. There are several projects in this book that I would like to make but the top called “Eerie” designed by Sarah Hatton is really very lovely. All I have left to do is sew the shoulders together, put in a four row garter stitch around the neckline and gather the front accent.   There is maybe an hour worth of work but I have been working on the wraps to mail off before the babies are to big to wear them. I really can’t wait to finish the top. It will be to hot in Georgia for at least three months to wear it but we are heading up north to Michigan for Labor Day and I am sure it will be cool enough to wear it then.

 

  

 

 

    

The third project I am working on is one of the most fun projects I have worked on in a long time. It is the digestive system that I have been promising all summer to finish for Tracy’s class room. She will be back to school by September and I want to have it all done and ready for her by then. In fact I would like it ready by Labor Day as she will be going to visit family too and I would like to have it done to give her by then.   I will post the progress on this project as I go along for you to see. If you would like to knit it along with me you can find the pattern at Strange but Trewe. He must be a whole lot of fun to knit with. There was a knit a long in 2005 onCraftster and they have the finished pattern posted there as well.

 

I must say I had the best time answering Paul’s questions driving home this weekend from Florida. He wanted to know what I was working on and it was so much fun to just say I just finished knitting an Anus and was starting the Rectum. I can’t wait until I am out some where and have strangers ask what I am working on. I get weird looks as it is with the normal stuff, it should be great fun to see their reactions with “Oh I am working on the large bowel right now and working my to the colon soon”. Besides the project is a great way to use up all the odd balls in my stash I had hanging around.  

 

 

I am still working on Tracy’s Anna Sweater by Debbie Bliss. That has been on hold for about four months now. It will be a beautiful sweater when I am done. The pattern is very repetitive and I had lost interest in it fast. I will return and finish next. I promised myself that I would not start anything new for anyone else until I finish this sweater.  And I still have not started the red shell for Debbie. The shell has been on my needles and frogged twice now. Just don’t like the pattern for the shell. I will keep on looking until I find the right one. I am looking for a round collar, short cap sleeve, shell for a large size gal. If you know one or have a suggestion please leave a commit and let me know.

 

I have organized my want to do projects. I have divided them by what I want to make for Alaina and what I want to make for everyone else. I figure I would make one for one. I put them in an excel file and rated them by what interested me to do. I have at least two years of projects ahead of me. I figure I would now start making size 2 and 4 T stuff for Alaina so she can wear them in the future. I also want to sew Emily Ann one more baby sling made out of fleece for the cooler days ahead in Chicago.

 

Well that has been my projects for the month of July. I will keep posting the progress on the digestive system and let you know the reactions I get.

 

 

 

 

 

Secert Garden Sweater for Faith

 

booties for Alaina Baby slipers Knitting Pattern designed by Caroline Dlugy-Hegwer

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I have been working diligently on the Baby Carrier. It is a very sturdy, beautiful carrier. I don’t think I would ever make another again because of how complicated the whole process was.  I found I don’t really like to change colors this much and working in all the ends.  But I enjoyed making it for Emily and Alaina. 

 

 

The pattern came from “Folk Style: Innovative Designs to Knit” by Mags Kandis. The Tribal Baby Carrier looks like a ancient American Indian designed carrier. It is a beautiful piece.

 

 

See I told you there was a lot of colors and ends!!!!!

 

 

  

 

but the pattern of the base is really wonderful!

 

   

 

It was really grand the way they pleated the ends. You use four double points and fold them back to meet then knitted the three or two stitchs together to pleat. It made a really sturdy end with folds that draped well.

 

   

 

Adding straps and round to close was simple enough.

 

 

 

Lining the project turned out to be easier then I thought after reading the directions.

 

 

 

  

I am not sure if it will hold safely a larger child so I also made a cloth sling of the same material to put the child in and the carrier over it like a lovely blanket in the cold. I think it would be fine for a small child but I was worried that as the child gets bigger and the carrier older that it would stretch out. I found the pattern for a fabric sling at: Karma Baby

 

 

 

But if you want all different types from ring to padded you can look at this site for more information: baby carriers.

 

   

The one hint I can give when doing the color work is to not work straight from the color chart! The colors are very hard to see and count then knit. I took the time (about four to five hours but saved much much much more time when I knitted it) and wrote out the chart on a excel file and read from that then referred back to color chart as needed. I got the idea from listening to Kelley Prickens Podcast from KnitPicks #12 on charts vs written instructions and I really thought that was helpful!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I bet you thought I fell off the ledge of the earth! No I have just been really busy with home, however, I am never to busy to knit. Or maybe this time I should say crochet too! I have been working on several projects. I finished Paul’s traveling socks, started a red Secret Garden sweater for Alaina, and worked on the Tribal Baby Carrier for Emily Ann. All are coming along fine.

 

  

 Paul’s socks from: “2 at a Time Socks”    by Melissa Morgan-Oaks

 

 

Tribal Baby Carrier from: “Folk Style: Innovative Designs to Knit” by Mag Kandis

 

  I am working on the sleeve how so I am a lot farther along than this picture.     Secrect Garden Sweater from: “The Children’s Collection” by A Starmore and J. Starmore.

 

I have found out however, I am not to fond of intarsia knitting. All the changing of colors and weaving in ends drives me crazy. I have also found out I work much better writing out the entire chart instructions, then slowly reading the color chart. I always seem to lose my place and it is hard to tell the color needed, plus you have to count it every time.  I was listening to Kelley’s podcast from “KnitPicks”  

Episode 33# on how to read patterns and she suggested trying this method. She writes each row of pattern for lace or color chart on one index card. Then she keeps them in a small zip lock bag so that you can keep them in order easily. I tried this for the Journey Shawl that I just finished and it work beautifully.

 

 

 

 

Japan’s Journey Shawl:  Voyager Lace Stole Pattern from elann.com this is a free pattern.

 

 So I adapted the concept to the color chart for the baby carrier. The chart is very long and cards would be too much so, I tried it with small sheets to fit the chart holder I have. It took some time to get it all down but I think it was well worth the effort. I am not sure how long or if I would have finished the carrier if I had just used the small color chart given. Make sure you print it with the gridlines and change every other line’s background color to help keep your place. I have been moving right along with this method. Kelley’s podcasts have many helpful hints and she reviews some great books. But this comes with a warning if you start to listen. You will be buying knitting, spinning, and crochet books all the time. She makes each book sound wonderful and so special you can’t live without it. I must say however, she is usually right about the book.

 

Well, in the middle of all the things I wanted to get done for others projects, Emily Ann seems to be having some difficulties and will deliver early. This makes the baby carrier, and a few other projects on the top of my list to get done now! Except I have been reallllllllly wanting to try my hand at one or two of the patterns I bought home from Japan. I decided to try one pattern that looked like a day project and see if I could follow along with visual clues. I choose the crochet hat from the book with all the crochet projects and began. I really like the results and have been wearing it all the time. In fact I am currently writing this at the airport on my way to visit Pete and Emily Ann. I am wearing the hat on the journey as we speak. I hope you enjoy the pictures and try a straw hat or two. The yarn was bought in Japan but it is very similar to raffia and I am thinking you could use that or a similar feeling yarn.

 

         To connect the two balls together there is a small plastic tube that you put together than use your blow dryer to warm and melt together to hold. It works really great!   

 

    I need to shape the bowl of the hat and rim. I went it lightly with warm  water and molded it on a metal bowl. I used a plastic tube to shape the rim and then put a plastic thread through the end stitiches to keep the shape. I think it turned out rathe well.

  

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