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Project Swapway: Designing a Cape

A few months ago, I joined a Steampunk Swap in the Odd Duck Swaps group on Ravelry.  My swap target (or “spoilee”) was very talkative and fun, so I got loads of ideas for what to make for her.  One thing she mentioned caught my fancy right away as a great opportunity to set a design challenge for myself.

The inspiration started with a page of illustrations of Victorian capes that my “spoilee” had posted.  One caught my eye immediately.

Victorian Cape

Victorian Cape

So gorgeous!  I loved the high neck, the tailored look, the weighty drape of the luxurious fabric (presumably fur, in the original).  I imagined that this would be a lined cape that would keep a lady warm on the coldest winter strolls, and yet be easily tossed aside for a waltz with a beau.

So then I started to think about how to put my own spin on it.  A steampunk cape with a bit of my own flair.  I toyed with the idea of buying fabric and sewing, but I really wanted to knit it.  A yarn with a good drape should mimic the weight of the fur better than even faux-fur.  And what would a knitted cape be without a heavenly lace trim? Continue reading

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Project Swapway: The Steampunk Swap

Over in the “Odd Ducks” group on Ravelry, knitters get together and have swaps akin to secret santa.  You get someone’s name, answer some crazy questions, research your “spoilee’s” likes and dislikes and make them something wonderful that they will hopefully really enjoy.  Presumably you get the same treatment in return, and craft exchanging occurs.  The Odd Ducks pick crazy themes on which to have these swaps, and I recently joined their “Steampunk Swap”.  What a fun group of Ravelers lives on that forum!

I hesitate to divulge too much information here, just on the odd chance that my spoiler peeks at my blog and happens to also be my spoilee. Continue reading

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Spring designs for machine knitting

With a basic knitting machine, as I have found out to my chagrin, highly repetitive and complex patterns are very time consuming and not as fun as they would be to hand knit.  Without a few tricks, a dense pattern (either colorwork or texture) might even be faster to knit by hand.

Of course, this changes if you have one of the fancy punch card machines, but that is not what I have.  So I am always on the lookout for patterns that I can manage on my basic knitting machine.  Alas, most of the books and magazines on machine knitting are pretty dated, and the fashions in them look dated.  Most veteran machine knitters say that instead they adapt patterns for handknits into machine knits.

That is probably sage advice, except that I wasn’t having much luck finding patterns that looked like they would adapt well to my basic little machine beyond really boring stockinette-only designs.

Today I discovered Continue reading

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Holiday machine knitting

Holiday crafting consisted of only two projects this year (which will, at this rate, be done in mid-January).  May I just say that my large extended family is wonderful for deciding this year that we should do a cookie exchange for the adults and only do gifts for the (2) children.  So much less pressure!  So I planned and began a couple of machine-knit scarves for my nephews thinking that nothing could be faster… except that I chose a tightly-repeated fair-isle “snake” scarf for one of the two projects… Continue reading

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Flat socks and knitting machines

With the holidays looming, my thoughts turn once again to production crafting, and I have retrieved my standard gauge knitting machine (KnitKing/Knitmaster 4500) from under the bed. On it was a partially-complete side-seam sock that I started several months ago.

Knitmaster Know How

KnitKing/Knitmaster Graphic from Newsletter

For those not familiar with knitting machine lingo and history, let me briefly summarize what is going on here. Continue reading