Friday, March 17, 2017

Bigger Sheep Coat

Naked Sheep
I just realized I never posted my blog about how to make the larger size fleece sheep with a knit coat. I wish I'd written up the pattern while it was fresh in my head. I'm going extract the information out of my database and publish what I wrote down last year just in case anybody wants to try this for Easter. I will come back and update this if I make another one before Easter. I don't know anybody who wants toys this year so I don't have any plans to make kid stuff.

I used a worsted weight yarn and US size 6 needles. Probably DPNs. It's garter stitch knit flat and seamed it up. There are little flaps that tuck in the front around the legs like a collar. I only have one in-progress photo in my database.

This pattern seems extremely overcomplicated but all the increases and decreases make it curve around the neck and cover the front of the body. The long flaps are just tucked into the middle when you put it on. It's very easy to dress and undress the sheep with this design for a sheep coat but it covers the belly and looks more real than the tiny sheep with just a cup-shaped coat.



Body of Coat:
Cast on 38
k6, ssk, k3, ssk, k3, kfb, k4, kfb, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k6 -- 36 stitches
knit across all stitches
k5, ssk, k3, ssk, k3, kfb, k4, kfb, k3, k2tog, k3, k2tog, k5 -- 34 stitches
Bind off 7 k2, k2tog, k3, kfb, k4, kfb, k3, ssk, k3, ssk, k5 -- 27 stitches
Bind off 7, k3, ssk, 4 from end k2tog -- 18 stitches

I want 18 stitches remaining between leg tops. 26 around middle.
Need three garter ridges above legs. Knit until there are that many

Cast on 3 each side.

Knit until there are 5 garter ridges between front and back legs, then bind off 3 each side again.
Knit 3 more garter ridges.
Cast on 7 each end. k1, k2 tog all the way across leaving the end 7 plain knit
Knit ends straight, k1, SSK middle.
bind off 6 knit to end, bind off 6, run thread through remaining stitches and pull up tight and secure after knitting the tail.

Flatten out and add the tail. Pick up right above center decrease.

Tail:
Pick up three stitches on the butt. k1, p1, k1
Turn, seed stitch back, kfb, kfb, k1
k1, p1, k1, p1, k1
Seed stitch back
Seed stitch back again
Seed stitch again
Keep going until tail is as long as the back
Run thread through stitches and weave in the end

Pull up the center stitches and use that tail to sew up the middle of the belly. The front flaps stay free to make it easier to dress and undress the sheep.





Like Easter Sheep, but BIGGER

I wanted to draw my lab for my blog banner so I downloaded a 10 day free trial of Affinity Designer. I like it a lot. It's very useful. It's only $50 to buy, but I felt it was better to buy $50 worth of yarn because I can probably get that back selling what I knit. Don't think I'm going to get $50 for this blog.

But while the free trial was still good I thought I'd try drawing a pattern for a fleece sheep and figure out how to embed that in the blog. Here's the result. You should be able to pop out that image and save it or print it. It's sized for 8 1/2 x 11 paper. You can get all the pieces out of one 8"x 8" piece of fabric if you tighten up the arrangement.

This pattern is a longer legged version of a sheep I made for my new cousin Immy at Easter. I named her Bewildred Nostrilson. Because Immy is a newborn I doubled the ears and changed how I did the wire legs so they would be safe.


I made up a pattern for a coat that I really like. I made her two, a regular one and a colorful baaaathrobe to go over her baaathing suit. I sewed the bathing suit out of the toe of some pink cotton tights I'd cut up to to make poster weights. It was a halter top one piece and it was hilarious, but I didn't get a good picture of it.

Bewildred was intentionally made with very short legs so she would fit in this plastic egg.


I will now make the new version, explain how it's done and give the finished measurements. And then I'll write up the pattern for the coat in another post.



Sunday, January 15, 2017

Women's March on Washington State Sash

My mother has no shortage of craft projects she needs for the Women's March on Washington. She sent me something she found on Facebook describing a sash that says she's from Florida. Since her friend is from Georgia and both states are mentioned on their banner I decided to make two-sided sashes for them. My mother's will have Florida on an orange ribbon in front with pink in back. Her friend will have Georgia on a pink ribbon in front with orange in back.

I got a Dymo Labelwriter 4XL for myself for a Christmas present. I thought 4"x6" mailing labels would make good stencils. I created a document in Affinity Designer and picked a font I liked and got my letters spaced nicely. Then I selected a 4x6 area and printed it. Then I selected an overlapping 4x6 area and printed that. I peeled away some of the backing under the R and lined it up with the other R on the second half of FLORIDA. Then I cut out the letters with an X-Acto knife. For Georgia I tried just letting the printer automatically cut it into two pages. This did not work well as it left out part of the R. I had to splice in an extra piece of sticker and freehand cut the part of the R that was missing.

I cut my ribbon 30" long

I made a two color pair for each sash

I sewed the two ribbons together with a French seam so the ends don't unravel.

I cut out the letters and then stuck the stencil over the ribbon on a piece of cardboard

I cut out the centers of the O, D, and A and placed them by eye

I squirted out some black puffy paint and applied it to the letters with a brush

Good coverage on the ribbon

I peeled up the sticker while the paint was still wet. Then I worked on Georgia

Georgia ready for paint
After I finished Georgia I went back to partially dry Florida and gave it a second coat freehand. Then I did the same to Georgia. They looked quite good. I was glad I used the cardboard because the paint bled through the ribbon and left a ghostly image on the black cardboard.

I also did a test FL on a scrap of ribbon. The next day when it was dry I applied heat to my test with a heat gun. It definitely puffed up. But it also went gray and lost the glossy finish. I decided I liked how it looked better without heat.
Above: Air dry 1 day, no heat
Below: Heated with a heat gun until puffy
They can secure the sashes with safety pins before the march 
To keep the ribbon from getting creased or frayed
crammed into their luggage on the train I used an
empty toilet paper roll to wrap the ribbon.


Ready to Roll!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Banner Enhancement for Women's March on Washington

Way back in November my mother bought a train ticket to Washington for the Women's march the day after the Presidential inauguration. Last week she asked me if I could make a banner for her. I asked my Twitter followers for help in the wording for the banner. I got some immediate help from @Thorvaaldr who rejected my initial attempt "RESPECT MY EQUALITY: HOLDING THE LINE FOR FREEDOM" and suggested "HOLDING OUR GROUND FOR EQUALITY: WOMEN ALONG THE GEORGIA/FLORIDA LINE." My mother is counting herself as Floridian because that's where she votes and her friend lives in Georgia. (I live and vote in Georgia.)

I also suggested "THE KING IS A FINK" and "I'LL TEACH YOU A LESSON YOU WON'T FORGET IN A HURRY" but my mother didn't go for either of those or "MIND YOUR MANNERS: DON'T MAKE ME COME UP THERE."

I had some banner material I got free from Vistaprint. I thought that's what all banners are printed on, but I was wrong. I figured out how to sew a pocket in the vinyl and decided I needed 4" on each side for that. Then I asked my mother to measure her suitcase so the banner would fit inside it on the train. The finished banner needs to be 19" high so it will fit in rolled up. I asked my graphic designer friend, Steve Leacock, to design a 2'x4' banner with the plan that I would cut it off at 19" from the bottom and fold over 4" on either side. He emailed me a PDF Monday night. Tuesday I went back and forth in text messages to my mother to decide what color she wanted. Then I uploaded to design to the Staples website and ordered the sign. It cost about $25. I drove down to Tallahassee Wednesday to pick it up. That's when I found out it wasn't vinyl, it was a sort of papery plastic material. It seems like it will scratch and crease. But it was fast and cheap so I was determined to make it work. I spent all day Thursday fixing it up.

The rules for the march don't allow for sticks on signs. I was hoping I could make the ends of the banner stiff just by doubling over the material. I ended up using 1" strips of foam core in conjunction with grosgrain ribbon and the extra material I cut off the bottom of the banner. I'll detail the rest in captioned photos.

Needs to fit in this rolling suitcase. 19" long

I have about 3 1/2" between the supports on the back of the suitcase 

I trimmed the white off the top of the sign then trimmed the bottom

I am not experienced with the rotary cutter yet. I learned the hard way you should always put the ruler over the part you're keeping, not on the waste part.

These clear rulers are awesome

I accidentally let the blade wander away from the ruler. Rookie mistake. I am ashamed

This time I put the ruler over the part of the work
I'm keeping and let the waste stick out.
Cut an extra 1/4" off to correct my mistake

Because this plastic material is translucent I want to stop people signing their names over the
letters for EQUALITY because it would show through on the front and look bad.
I set up a light under my glass table and traced around the letters with a highlighter

This should indicate a keep-out zone when my mother's friends sign the banner

I used a lot of this seamstick basting tape on this project. I got it from Sailrite to make an awning

I made some ribbon loops for the ends of the banner. I cut them 48" long and doubled them 2"

After one false start I decided to add a strip of foam core.
I had a piece 2" wide so I cut it in half

I started working up a sandwich of the ribbon and the banner material and the foamcore

I wrapped the ribbon loop around the end of the foamcore and stuck it down with more seamstick

With even more seamstick I added the extra material from the bottom of the banner to the edge 
I proceeded to fold all this stuff up, exposing strips of seamstick as necessary



Seamstick exposed, ready to be folded over

When I was all done with the second side I realized
I'd put the loop on the bottom instead of the top.
I'm going to blame this migraine.
I woke up with it and have been impaired all day.
But now you know what to watch out for!

I cut another piece of ribbon and sewed it into a loop. I carefully loosened the seamstick
and got the ribbon loop into the sandwich at the top of the banner with more seamstick

OK, here it is! I signed my name in the corner to see how that's going to look. Not bad!

Now my mother still has to carry this thing around for a week to get her friends to sign it.
So I made her a bag out of a pair of jeans. I made an extra pocket for this piece of
CPVC pipe to stop the whole thing from bending.
Once the foamcore gets bent it's all over.

Here it is with the pipe in the exterior sleeve and the banner inside the bag

Test it fits in the suitcase. Brilliant.

My mother came by to get it to take it to her
book group. Lots of signatures tonight!
Tomorrow I'm going to take more of that wide orange ribbon and make a sash that says Florida and a pink one that says Georgia for her friend. I'll write that up too. But I'm going to need this migraine to go away first.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Beachton Doubled Edge Pussyhat

Beachton Doubled Edge Pussyhat
My mother is going to the Women's March on Washington next week and she's demanding a lot of my creativity. I'm making her a banner and a sash and hats specified as the uniform of the movement. The Pussyhat Project has a pattern for a hat knit flat and seamed up the sides. This doesn't really appeal to me. I'd rather do a Kitchener seam across the top for the same result. I have some pima cotton/baby alpaca yarn on hand that I bought on sale in colors nobody in my family likes. But it's perfect for this. I have two 50 gram skeins of each color, fuschia, coral, and candy floss. I have no use for little scraps of this yarn so I'm going to try to use up every inch of it.

The pattern online calls for a hat that's 100 stitches around. In my hat experience that is way too big for tiny-headed people like me and my mother. I'm going to start with my favorite chunky yarn pattern for baby alpaca hats that has 72 stitches.

I'm using my new favorite stretchy cast on, the slip knot cast on.



I cast on 72 stitches using a size 11 tip.  I switched them out for size 8 tips for the first hat, a very small one. Making sure the stitches were not twisted I started knitting in the round, k2, p2 all the way around. It should end on p2. After one round I took a yarn needle and threaded the tail with it. I inserted it through the first slip knot stitch where the yarn came out. This makes a nice looking join and you can hardly tell. Then I knit 2x2 ribbing until I finished the first 50 grams of yarn. I joined on the second skein of yarn and knit another three rows of ribbing. Total ribbing came to about 5 1/2". It is 6" wide folded in half.

I slipped a longer cable into the stitches to try on the hat. When it seemed like the ribbing folded double would cover my ears I switched to size 9 needles and straight knitting. I kept knitting until the sides met in the middle when I tried on the hat. I actually started to run out of yarn when I was pretty close. I measured that I had 6 arm lengths left, knit around, measured again, and found it took 2 to do a round. So I had enough left for two more rounds. That works out as one to knit, and one for the graft. I knit one more round. Then I knit 18 stitches past the end of round marker, 1/4 of the way around. I moved the other 36 stitches to another cable needle.

Then I did a kitchener close across the top. I used a size 9 DPN to hold the gauge of the graft. It came out a little too loose. For the next one I will go down a needle size for the graft. The final height of the stockinette section is 5". It is 8 1/4" wide folded in half.

Kitchener closed with a DPN to hold the gauge. I wrap the yarn under the needle to work the front stitches and go over the needle to work the back stitches.
5" stockinette, 5 1/4" of 2x2 rib

Top section is 8 1/4" wide

Ribbing is about 6" wide. Photo is deceiving because fold is on a purl row

I use a needle and thread to secure the ends of this chainette yarn after weaving it in a bit. It's too bulky for knots and I don't trust cotton to stay put.

It came out to 98 g at the end.

No side seams, cute little ears.




Update: I grafted the top of the coral hat during the spacewalk on Friday, Jan 13. I used a 9 needle for the ribbing and 10 for the stockinette. I like this one better than the tighter knit hot pink. It's only 1/2" bigger but it makes the ears cuter. I also went down 2 needle sizes for my gauge-holding needle for the graft. I used an 8 for size 10 knitting needles. This was good.