Sewing Machine “Quest”

The past few weeks I have been on a “quest” to find a new sewing machine.  It truly feels like a quest.   My first sewing machine, I brought was about 15 or more years ago.   I didn’t put much thought into buying it.   I was in Target and saw they had Singer sewing machines and made the purchase.   Both my mother and grandmother had Singer sewing machines so that was how I based my decision.    It was a very basic mechanical sewing machines.  I did two types of buttonholes and had 5 stitches to choose to use.   I probably with taxes paid around $90.  It was good learning sewing machine no bells or whistles.    Fast forward today- I can’t make a decision.  I’m probably overthinking it -correction I am overthinking this.   I’ve read so many reviews on various sewing machines that I’m having trouble trying to decide.    I know that will at least be electronic.    My reasonable self keeps saying don’t over buy features that I will probably not use.  Here’s the list in no particular order:

  • Singer Stylist: 100 stitches with 9 presser feet.   It priced well and great reviews. It was very nice.  I questioned if I would use all 100 stitches.  Free motion sewing capable.
  • Singer Confidence: 30 stitches with 5 presser feet.   It felt solid to use in testing it.
  • Brother CS7130: 130 stitches with 8 presser feet.   The best priced and I was surprised that I liked it.
  • Brother XS2100: 100 stitches with 11 presser feet.  It was very similar feel as the other CS7130.   Alpha-numeric lettering feature.
  • Brother XR9550PRW: 110 stitches with 8 presser feet (I think, I didn’t write it down).  This is limited edition.   It had a user friendly feel as well. Alpha lettering feature.
  • Singer Sew Mate:  30 stitches and 3 presser feet.   Although this one was very basic it was a very easier to use machine.   No bells or whistles as the others but it was more advance than my first sewing machine.   The shop called it an entry level but I could see it lasting for a few years.  It felt more like my first Singer.  But I forgot to ask if a free motion presser foot could be used with this machine.

I want a better sewing than the first one I brought without breaking the bank.  I was surprised that I liked the Brother sewing machines.  One of the features that I wanted as free motioning sewing which the Stylist and two of the Brother sewing machines can do.   Until I saw it, the alpha numeric lettering had not been important to me.   I could learn how to do free motion monogramming the Stylist can do this.  I think what is holding me back is that I’ve never used a Brother sewing machine.   Plus I had good success with a Singer sewing machine.  Everything that I have read the Brother sewing machines are rated very well.   I plan on in a couple of years to add embroidery sewing machine.   In part of my quest to find a sewing machine, I noticed that many people had at least two or three machines.   I should do this as well, at one very basic and then an embroidery machine.   I may just buy the Sew Mate and make it my basic and then add something like the Stylist later.   I haven’t brought it yet I hope to make my mind up by the end of this week.


Yarn Stash

Last year, I wanted to reduce my yarn stash. I had four medium to small baskets full of yarn.  This for me was too much, I normally don’t like to have a lot of items in the house not being used.   I feel that everything should have a purpose.  My goal was not to buy any new yarn but use what I had on hand. This proved harder than expected. I was able to knit two baby presents. The nimbus cardigan and textured wrap. Lastly two pairs of socks. I found that I small amounts of yarn left over from previous projects. Many are not enough to make a complete project. So I’ve come up with some ideas.

Lifelines- I use lifelines in many of my projects. I try to minimize as many mistakes as possible.   I feel if you are going to take the time to create something it should your best without mistakes.   It makes it easier to rip out a mistake without having to start the process over again.   Although, I feel that my knitting has improved over the years.  Well, I haven’t reached that perfection yet, therefore, I use lifelines.  Here is my lifeline stash.  img_0306

I have various weights and colors of yarn. This is one way that I found to use up my stash in a resourceful way.

However, I still have two dilemmas of full and partial skeins of yarn.  I got a great suggestion from one of my co-workers.  She suggested I go to the Scrap Exchange. It a creative center in the community.  They will accept donations of items including crafting supplies. Many artist and teachers use the Scrap Exchange to obtain supplies. They even have classes.  I feel better about getting rid of my partial skeins of yarn.  However, I have second dilemma-what to do with my full skeins of yarn.  I have to admit I enjoy buying yarn.   At times, I may a have an idea of making a particular item or I just see some yarn and I just want it.   I feel that I may need to rethink my project planning process.   Anyway, I have some full skeins that I have not used.  The main reason why I haven’t used them is that in knitting a swatch, I found out that I didn’t like working with yarn.  I tried different needles but I still am hitting a wall.   Normally, if I like the yarn I will find something to make with the yarn.  I’ve been thinking now that I may want to donate these skeins of yarn.  I’ve thought of selling them on Ravelry as well so I have to make a decision.

How about you, do you have a large stash of yarn you are comfortable with keeping.   And what do you do with partial skeins of yarn?  I would love to know.

Knitting for Your Body Type-Part 2

I’m continuing with my goal of improving my sweater knitting. I finished Amy Herzog’s book Knit to Flatter. I was able to get some good pointers. I’ve taken my measurements, found how to make adjustments such as short rows for the bust either vertical or horizontal. Since I’m bottom-heavy ways to add additional stitches to the pattern. Now I’ve started another book by Amy Herzog-Knit Wear Love. This book although it is not considered a companion to her first book really does build on the previous information. You learn about you style such modern romantic etc. She provides 8 “meta-patterns”. The geek in me likes the idea of a meta since it provides a concept for something. You take your personal measurements obtained from the first book and apply to the sweaters. You create your neck-line, sleeve length and where you need to make adjustments to the schematics present. You also can knit the sweaters in three different weight sport,dk or aran. I really like the options. There is section on how to add stitch patterns like cables or slipped stitches. Although, I haven’t finished the book yet. The other geeky thing I like is applying math to create a something. This is something that I was doing to certain p,aces in my knitting but now I feel that I have the tools and correct thought process to apply it better. This may be one that I add to my personal library. I was able to check out both books in the library. I know that I will check out her third book-You Can Knit Foolproof Instructions for Sweating Making.

Currently on my needles is a wrap the pattern is by Patons-Textured Wrap. I’ve had stop for a while since I injured my hand, I had a run in with a door at work. I hope to get back to it soon. In the meantime between reading, I’ve been doing some hand sewing. I’ve put off doing some minor mending projects since I only need on hand it seemed like a good time to catchup. I’ve had time to do some planning-I’ve been looking at seed catalogs to plan for the garden in the spring and summer. I’ve had a chance to think about crafting plans for 2019. The big one is a new sewing machine. Here’s a picture of the wrap. I’m using Plymouth Select yarn. The first skeins were fine but the fourth skein had knots and strand had been broken in two places and rejoined. I wouldn’t have seen while winding it but I found them in the middle of my knitting. I can hide them but it was not what I expected. I’ve included the “joins”

Knitting for Your Body Type-Part 1

I was going to start a new project-a sweater for myself. I went out on Ravelry to look at patterns. As I searching for a sweater. I started to notice something, I would like a sweater.  But after reviewing the project page, I would notice the  sweater wouldn’t look flattering when worn. So I began to wonder if the sweater wasn’t right for that person’s body type. I have some sweaters that I love to wear after knitting and some that I just don’t care for even though I followed the pattern. I remembered a show “What Not to Wear”.  You may remember it-Clinton Kelly and Stacey London were the host.  The show came on Friday night.  I started thinking about body types. I started searching to see if there was any information about knitting or crocheting for your body type. I was able to find a book at the my local library-I love my library. “Knit to Flatter” by Amy Herzog was a book I found. I followed the steps on how to determine your body. You’re instructed to take a picture of yourself front and side view. This will help you see areas to emphasize and deemphasize. Also, you should be able to tell what is widest area i.e top, bottom or proportional etc. I wasn’t surprised to find out that I was bottom-heavy. Next you take your measurements. This is a critical part knowing your actual measurements will help in making your modifications. A good point from the book was it may be best to use your upper bust measurements in determining what size sweater to make when instead of your bust measurements. I haven’t read the entire book as I skipped the sections for top-heavy and proportional since they didn’t apply to me and went straight to the bottom-heavy section.

Below-I copied a page from the book on what measurements.  You may need a friend to help.     Also you should take your bicep and wrist measurements.

Copied from the book Knit to flatter

Baby Gift Finished

I finally finished my baby gift. The cardigan has the gulls and garter pattern as part of the design. I found the stitch pattern on the Lion Brand stitch pattern library. There was something about the pattern caught my attention. I knitted a swatch and was looking for a project that would be perfect. The Cloudborn variegated yarn Strawberry Fields was in my stash for a couple of years and everything just clicked. Although, I’ve created other patterns before this may be the first project I post on either Ravelry or LoveKnitting.

I’m working on cleaning up the pattern and I want to re-knit it in a smaller size. The gulls and garter stitch was so easy to knit. The repeat is so easy that you can remember it and watch a movie while knitting.

My FO (finished object)

I hope everyone is enjoying November. If you are getting together with friends and family for the holidays, please enjoy the time spent together

I completed the Nimbus cardigan last week and even worn it a coup,e of times. I want to knit this pattern again but the next time I plan to make it longer at least below my hips. I may add a lining to it as well. I just added a photo.

I started the baby gift. It will be a cardigan as well but I’m using some slip stitches for the body since my yarn is variegated. I hope to have some pictures soon.

Yarn and yarn dilemmas

I have to admit I enjoy buying yarn. When I first started knitting and crocheting, I brought yarn even if I didn’t have a project in mind. I just enjoyed shopping for yarn-the color and the feel of the yarn between my fingers. Hey-I even like the smell. My stash starting growing just four baskets. So by any means, this is not an extremely large stash but none the less, I wanted to get better control of my projects. I’ve been thinking of the color schemes. I normally wear grey and burgundy in the fall and winter. I wear blue and red in the spring and summer. I’ve trying to add these colors into my knitting and crocheting projects. A lot of the yarn in my stash is not in my color scheme. This is one reason why I’m busting my stash. My second reason, I am thinking about the yarn fibers as well especially when acrylic is added to fiber. At times, I’ve noticed less give when working with the yarn. I am trying to get rid of some of these yarns. I have been creating some gifts for others. I’m not making any judgements for those who use acrylic or fibers mixed with acrylic. I trying to learn more about mircofibers released during the washing process. In addition I’m on the fence about superwash yarn. Superwash yarn can be made either by using an acid bath or having a polymer added. Lastly, I trying to purchase yarns that are either spun locally or at least purchased at a local yarn shop.

I want to be more conscious about my purchases from how the yarn is processed and trying to support local businesses. I want to restart my stash if yarns that I feel more comfortable creating projects.

Drum roll please-I completed by Nimbus cardigan. Pictures will follow soon.

Trusting Your Instincts

Hello friends-I’m still working my Nimbus cardigan. I have to finish it this week. I really have to get started on the baby gift. Especially since the baby was born two weeks early. Thankfully, both mother and baby are fine and my friend is enjoying her new daughter.

But let me get back to my topic-trusting your instincts. When I first got back into crafting, I would follow patterns exactly and if there was an error I wouldn’t be able to proceed. I remember a pattern that I was trying to knit and there was a error with the yarn over increases but no decreases. I wasn’t able to finish the pattern, although based on the reviews of the pattern others were able to complete it. It boiled down to the other knitters trusted their instincts based on other patterns and skills they developing. Now when I encounter a problem with a pattern instructions, I can now determine how to fix the problem. At times I will modify a patterns. This comes down will developing your skills and confidence in trusting your instincts. I feel this is a continuum as we try different techniques. In thinking about that pattern, I may revisit it next year.

Either you are a knitting or crocheting, trusting your instincts can help to improve your creativity in allowing your personality to show through in your project.

Wednesday Wrap Up

Hello friends-I am almost complete with my Nimbus cardigan.  I’ve seamed the front sides and back of cardigan so far so good.  I really worked on getting the gauge correct especially since I didn’t use the same yarn as the designer.   Gauge is is either something you put up with or clearly dislike.   I feel that one way to improve your knitting is try things that you aren’t comfortable with doing.   I have a knitting and crocheting bucket list and gauge was at the top of both.

I’m a planner so I already thinking about projects for next year.  Below are  some my items for 2019:

  • Strand and steeking
  • bias knitting
  • double knitting
  • creating a wardrobe
  • brioche
  • gloves

What are some items on your knitting bucket list?  Please leave a response.

Here’s a update of the cardigan.  Although, the gauge is correct for the body of the cardigan.  I will make adjustments are the arms.  I have trouble with fit especially my upper arms-I have muscular arms.  I increased the armholes for the body and now I have to adjust the pattern for the sleeves.  I will have to add additional stitches so I have to do some math based on the armhole openings.  I count every 3rd stitch along the bind of edge.  I’ve calculated that I need to cast on 66 stitches for sleeves.   I’ve done this in the past for other sweaters.  This is something that I’ve come up with for sleeve adjustments.  There are probably other ways to make adjustments on sweaters so please comment if you have another way.  I’m always interested in trying a different technique.


Friday Night Update-WIP

Hello thanks for stopping by again.   I realize that I’m a seasonal knitter.  Warn snuggly knits for the fall and winter and cool flowing knits for the sspring and summer.   I got a few WIPs on needles.   My primary project is the Nimbus cardigan by Berroco Designs. It was has been easy to knit, there is a 4 inch border of garter stitch and the body is stockinette. This is my first time that I will seam a sweater just six pieces-back, left and right front, sleeves and a collar.  I’ve knitted other sweaters and cardigans before but always in a Ragland or top down.   The yarn I’m using Cascade Ecological Yarn in silver colorway.  I’ve used this yarn for another project so I enjoy working with it.  I should have enough left over of another small project.   I brought the yarn before I choose the project.  I can’t help it.  I go to store and the yarn just starts calling my name.  but I don’t think I’m the only one that has this happen to them.   I’ve noticed that I am gravitating  to grey/silver.

I have a baby gift that I need to complete before the baby arrives.  I trying to work through my stash.  I’m thinking of using Cloudborn Highland Superwash Sock Twist Handpaints in the strawberry fields colorway.   I realized that some of the yarn in my stash is not my color choice.  Either the colors though pretty are not necessarily my color choice.  This is bright a cheery color that all babies need.  Although, the sweater will be a Ragland.  I can’t decide if I want to use some lace detail or let the striping be the star.

So what are WIP, please share and come stop by again.