Monthly Archives: April 2016

Bucket List: Dropping This Sweater & Too Many Stitches


Girl Friday cardigan by Mercedes Tarasovich

The Girl Friday sweater, a free pattern by Mercedes Tarasovich, has been in my knitting bucket list since the very beginning of my knitting obsession. Since learning that Mercedes will be teaching at Super Summer Knittogether 2016 (SSK) I moved Girl Friday into this year’s project queue. But it has been cleaned out of my queue & bucket list. I am no longer in denial. Reality has sunk in. 

The SSK KAL (knit along) for Mercedes patterns runs April-May. I thought I was being proactive & prepared by swatching the week before. Unfortunately, I was STILL swatching two weeks into April. I finally gave up on that  and two other of her sweaters, I thought could work instead. 


Swatch 1 Girl Friday sweater in thrift shop upcycle yarn

 Swatch 1: love the ‘fabric’ created. Except for two things.  

The lumpiness or uneven stitches clearly seen in the ribbing & stockinette sections. It’s because this is being knitted from unraveling a thrift shop sweater. To correct this issue, I would need to completely unravel the thrift shop sweater, winding it into hanks, wet block the kinks out, and then wind them into bowls. That process would take at least a week. 

The second reason, it is more of a DK or heavy fingering weight yarn. Not worsted weight as I had thought. 

Swatch 2. Didn’t bother photographing it. 

Swatch 3 Girl Friday sweater, in Isaac’s Colorways Merino Blend yarn

Swatch 3: I found this yarn on clearance at Michaels, Isaac’s Colorways Merino Blend. The only color in sweater quantity is the cream. Of course, it’s not really light worsted as labeled nor in the same weight as recommended by the pattern. 

Sadly, I finally realized that I just didn’t want a sweater full of this lace pattern. Maybe as a border above the ribbing.

Pattern 2:Metropole coat is in the Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Line book. This pattern is in linen stitch and a long coat. (I don’t have enough Aran or bulky weight yarn. And too ambitious for my first big project. And really, too ambitious anytime soon. )
Pattern 3: Lattice Edge cardigan is in the Brioche Chic book I just found on the last road trip.   

I really like the lattice design. Not crazy about wearing a dolman sweater. 

Basically, I realize that for at least my first sweater project, I should buy the recommended yarn for the pattern and pick a basic sweater shape. I don’t currently have the brain power to adjust all the numbers.  

I have moved on to other Mercedes projects during the KAL. Mercedes has two courses on Craftsy. I purchased the simpler one, Brioche Knitting, Made Easy. 

Already finished two hats in brioche. Brioche is much more fun than I expected. The hats were very easy. 

First two brioche hats, design by Mercedes Tarasovich


Openwork Triangle shawl by Mercedes Tarasovich

Until the third project.  Now instead of dropping patterns, I’m dropping stitches causing great setbacks. I’m working on the Openwork Triangle shawl, from the Brioche Chic book. Super simple pattern. I don’t need to look at the pattern until the border. 
What I’m learning right now is how tentative those stitches are on the needles. Normal dropped stitches are easy to fix with a crochet hook. Not brioche and especially NOT above an increase. A dropped stitch loop falls like water over a waterfall cascading down the rows. 

After tinking* back 20 rows, knitting up 10, and discovering a few dropped stitches below and tinking back another 24 rows, LIFELINES are a necessary evil (preventive measure).

*tinking, as opposed to ripping back, is a more careful way of undoing your knitting. 

Huge progress on the shawl after using lifelines every 12 rows. 

I added beads just to the points.  It was too fussy working with everything. And I was so ready to be done with this one.

You see, this last week I dropped a third thing…me. Twisted my ankle on the curb & banged my knee dropping to the ground. 

Not much else to do but knit and catch up on a backlog of podcasts. Thank God for knitting!

Wow, which leads to a fourth thing I dropped podcast subscriptions. Very interesting listening to back to back episodes, my tolerance for useless banter or lots of commercials dropped to zero. 

Finished but not blocked Openwork Triangle shawl

Blocked & drying Openwork Triangle shawl

Medium Project: Recover 4 Chair Seats

Apologies for not posting. Life and mind were elsewhere. 

This project happened because:

  • I want to use up my fabric stash
  • I’m done living with uncomfortable chairs for 25 years
  • I wanted something to better color coordinate with the kitchen. 

Surprise! It took a whole day to accomplish and a bit exhausted the second day. 

Very very happy with the results. 

I bought two 2″ x 18″ x 23″ foam prepackaged at the craft/fabric store. I was in too much of a rush to wait for an employee to cut exact length for me.  I did seat test it on the store floor. Just to make sure I was getting the right amount of squish. Remember this project is as much for aesthetics as comfort. 

I had several choices if fabric in the studio. I choose the most practical, sturdy, & not too thick to staple through. 

Out with the old.

Cutting the foam to size was easy with the electric kitchen knife. I’m so glad I learned this trick. 


Use an electric kitchen knife to cut foam


Pulling out the old staples was the toughest part of the job. Flat head screw driver and needle nose pliers and a lot of patience got it done. 

One chair’s worth of staples done. Three to go.

Using a good stapler makes a big difference. I would not have enough grip strength with the old fashion one. Better still would be an electric one. But not for an occasional project. 

I forgot to take before pictures. 

Cut the fabric with generous length & depth for stretching and stapling to the back. I had 81-12″ extra. Cut the excess after all the stapling is done. 

Like all things that need a tight fit. You start stapling at the center of one side. Then alternate to the opposite side. I couldn’t take pictures of the process. I was kneeling on the seat to squeeze the foam down & pulling the fabric as taut as possible & stapling it down.  No free hands to take a photo. 


Basic stapling sequence. 1-2-3-4-a-b-c-d-etc




Here’s the after. 


Newly recovered comfy chair.

Yeah! Success. 

DIY cost:

  • Fabric $3 for 1.5 yards
  • Foam $10 for 2 (on 50% sale)
  • Lots of staples
  • Lots of elbow grease and time

Chat with you next week. 

Small Projects Turn Into Bigger

Remember that little Easter egg 1 particle skein of yarn dyeing experiment success? 


Overdyed with Easter egg dyes, Nebbiolo cowl pattern by Thea Coleman

 Well. I thought I’d do a bigger project, a sweater’s worth of yarn. And a few more scraps of the first yarn to make a matching hat.


Yarns prepped for overdying

I thought I’d just multiply and duplicated what I did the first time. What could possibly go wrong? 
Well. A lot. For one thing, I wanted a dark teal color from that bright green. OK, use all of the turquoise & blue dye pills & every other possible blue food dye in the house & maybe some black. 


Every blue & turquoise food dye in the house

This is where math would have been a good idea. And doing more research and learn for other experienced dyers, like this one:


  • I used too much vinegar in the soaking bath. 
  • I used too hot a soaking water. 
  • I mixed all the dyes together before pouring them over the soaking yarn.
  • I poured them all at once into the soaking water

That dye stuck to the yarn exactly where it was poured. 

Blotchy ugly yarn dyeing

 And the reason I didn’t post anything last week:

  • I was exhausted & defeated by simple Easter egg dyeing. 
  • I have to figure out what I did wrong. 
  • I hate wasting good yarn. 

It took a second whole day of driveling small batches of very diluted turqoise, blue & black food coloring to get closer to what I originally wanted. Repeated over & over again. (Cool soaking water and no extra vinegar)

I’m thrilled with the final results. It’s not going to work for the sweater. It will make a beautiful hat, figureless mitts, & big shawl set.  I’ll save that project for later. 


Over over overdyed yarn

Now, I have to find another yarn in stash to make the original sweater. 

Here’s the finished cowl & ‘matching’ hat. Buck hat & Nebbiolo cowl both designed by Thea Coleman. 


‘Matching’ hat & cowl, Buck hat designed by Thea Coleman

Chat with you next week. 

I did another ‘bigger’ project: recovered kitchen bar chairs.