Posts from the ‘musings’ category

blinded by the …

… eyestrain brought about by working 2- and 3-stitch cables on US 1 needles (2.25mm) in black fingering weight yarn. Yep, tiny, tiny, black cables on tiny, tiny needles. Am I crazy?

Well, yes, probably. But I really wanted the cuffs on my newest design, Taxi! Booties, to look like little car tires/tyres (tomayto/tomahto all over again). The only way to achieve that was by suffering for my art and working out just which little cables, in which sequence, gave me the look I wanted.

A pair of yellow, black and white knitted booties with a cabled cuff made to look like a car tire sit sole to sole on a gray tile floor.
I think it was worth the eyestrain, don’t you?

The solution? An OttLite, of course! These wonderful daylight bright, adjustable lamps make all the difference when you need to *really* see what you’re doing. Mine is a floor model with dual shade and a USB charging station. I must admit, I don’t often use the charger, but the little iPad/tablet stand is handy for keeping my pattern notes. Mine looks a lot like this one:

White Ottlite dual shade floor lamp

It also doubles as an excellent reading light. I keep mine right next to a comfy Ikea Poang chair and I can plonk myself down anytime for some knitting or reading. They’re not cheap, but I think one of these is a worthwhile investment no matter what kind of crafting you do!

Taxi Booties will be published on April 22nd, 2021. Watch my social media feeds for details!

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So, sew, part 1

I have a love/hate relationship with sewing. I learned as a child, on my mother’s Singer Featherweight, and quite enjoyed messing around making doll’s clothes. At school, sewing was mandatory in in 1st and 2nd form (year/grade 7 & 8) at Canterbury Girls’ High School (now CGSC). Our teacher, Mrs. DeTarsinszky (sp?), was, um, let’s just say, demanding. Because they weren’t perfectly straight, I ripped out the seams on the nightgown I made in 2nd form so many times that when I finally wore it, the material shredded away to nothing all along the seam lines. We worked on old Singers, both treadle and knee-lever types. I’m pretty sure I’m still traumatized by trying to sew smoothly on the knee-lever machines. The treadles were a little less daunting.

When my kids were little, I bought a cheapish Kenmore machine and made some curtains for the house and a few bits of costumes here and there and did some mending. That machine now resides with my daughter, and I’ve been happily not sewing for quite a few years. But recently, I’ve been thinking that I’d like to have a machine again. For one thing, I *hate* the roman blinds in the kitchen of the house we bought. I’d love to make some to replace them and use some fabric I’ve found on etsy with Australian flora.

So …. recently, I started idly looking at Craigslist from time to time. There were plenty of treadle machines in the Atlanta area, but most were a little pricier than my budget would allow. Last week, I found a listing for a Singer 66 in an art deco-ish cabinet local to us at a good price. Yesterday we went for drive and ended up buying it from a nice lady who has 21 sewing machines and is out of space. It’s currently in quarantine in the garage for a few days.

A slightly battered, wooden, art deco style sewing machine cabinet sits on a concrete garage floor.

The cabinet is a little rough on the top and around the edges but is sound. Mr. Booties will be doing some work on it in the coming weeks to tidy it up a bit for me. I think it’s a knock-off of the original Singer desk model cabinet in the ad image below. The trim is a little different (and doesn’t look like it replaced any other original trim). Every other picture I can find on Google image search matches this one:

An old magazine advertisement for the Singer Deluxe Desk Model No. 42 wooden art deco-style sewing machine cabinet.

The machine is in working order (the seller gave me a demo) and looks pretty clean. It probably needs a new power supply as the cord is alarmingly frayed and I’d like to get a new foot pedal for it too. That will all have to wait until it’s out of the cabinet temporarily and we can assess just what it needs.

A vintage Singer sewing machine is in the dropped-down position, on its side, inside a wooden cabinet.

It came with a huge amount of accessories. I’ll post about them in part two!

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Just “trust the pattern”

How many times have you had someone tell you to just “trust the pattern” about a particularly tricky or counter-intuitive section of a pattern you’re making? I know I’ve struggled with quite a few patterns that other people have breezed through (I’m looking at you Hitofude, for one) because I just couldn’t visualize what was supposed to (magically?) be happening.

Several of my patterns have directions for knitting the cuff with the bootie turned inside out. This is typically because they have an outside cuff which folds over an inner, ribbed cuff, and it’s easier to knit the cuff inside out, than purl it right way out. (Unless of course, you’re someone who prefers purling to knitting!)

When you’re doing this working in the round, the first step after turning the bootie inside out can be a bit confusing – especially the first time you do it! Here’s what it looks like when I do it:

I’ve just finished the last round of the instep and my yarn is at the back needle. Ordinarily, I’d start knitting into that front needle with the yarn from the back.

The bootie is now inside out so the yarn is hanging from the front needle instead.

Now I’ll knit into those stitches on the front needle. Because the yarn is at the front, and not being carried around from the back, there will be a slight gap at the beginning of this round. It will be hidden later by the outside cuff.

I hope this helps anyone who’s stuck on this bit of any of my patterns!

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social media

So I finally managed to set up a Facebook page for shake your booties! I knew I had to do it, I was just procrastinating for some reason! Like many people do, I suspect, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I enjoy engaging with others and seeing their pictures and updates, but I sometimes resent the amount of time it takes up in our busy lives.

Next is to change my Instagram account to a business account and learn about IG Stories … I need to have all this in place and some kind of posting routine established before school starts back up in September.

What else am I forgetting? Business cards? Are they even a thing any more?

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starting fresh …

So, I decided the time was right to start a new website. I’m getting ready to transition from full-time library work to full-time knitting design and tech editing. It was time to let the Handknit Librarian go and unify all my knitting endeavours under my designer name.

I have a new logo; I’m most of the way through Joeli’s tech editing course, I’ve got some great new design ideas; and we’re house-hunting for our retirement house. Full steam ahead!

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