All posts by Amy Gunderson

Creative Director at Universal Yarn

Color Pooling, Ocean Style

Last year, I wove a scarf utilizing the variegated effects of Bamboo Pop. You can find that post and all of my warping and weaving photos here.

This is the first version of the color pool scarf.

For my second go at this scarf, I decided to try one of our tonal multis in Bamboo Pop. I chose 205 Brilliant Blues + 120 Graphite for the warp. I wove with Whisper Lace 104 Fog as weft. This project takes just one ball of each color for a substantially sized scarf.

So soothing.

This blue-gray version is a more understated look than the original. I was hoping to show that this fun technique can be used to achieve more or less impact – it’s all about contrast.

I love the twisted fringe finish with hemstitching. It’s so tidy!

You can see both scarves in person at Stitches United next month. Stitches United is a new kind of multi-craft stitches. In addition to knit, crochet, and yarn, there will also be sewing, weaving, beading, and a lot more! If you’re in the Hartford, CT area at the end of April, you should definitely check it out.

See you next time here on the blog with more fun weaving!

Deluxe Cable Collection – Still Going Strong!

It might be February, but many of us are still working on projects from last fall’s Deluxe Cable Collection.

As a reminder, this is our ongoing blog series covering projects from the Deluxe Cable Collection. You can learn more about the knitalong by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

Our Sales Director Yonca has completed both ponchos from the collection. We don’t have a shot of her Catawba River Poncho which she knit up in Deluxe Chunky 91904 Pomegranate Heather (which might be my most favorite shade of Deluxe). Below is free pattern Valentina worked in this same color.

Free pattern Valentina, worked in Deluxe Chunky Pomegranate Heather

But Heather did manage to catch Yonca the other day as she wore her new Cumberland Poncho here at the office.

Is she adorable, or what?Yonca made a couple of small changes to the pattern.

First, since she is a rather petite woman, Yonca knit each panel a little bit shorter is called for, which resulted in a bit less circumference in the finished poncho. Her gauge was also a bit tighter than called for in the pattern, but it worked out in her favor, giving the piece a bit less depth, as well.

Second, Yonca added only half the fringe called for in the pattern. Which I adore! A few weeks ago, she had her poncho here in the office to show us how it was coming along. At that point, the entire thing was knit and seamed with half the fringe attached. She put it on to show us, and we convinced her that it looked totally awesome only partially fringed. And she was delighted to hear this, particularly since that is a lot of fringe to attach and she was getting rather burned out of doing it!

I love these changes that get made along the way (especially when they involve less work!)

How about you? Are you still plugging away on a project from this ebook? I’d love to hear about it!

Rocking Moto Jackets

You can read through the entire tale of the moto jackets on previous blog posts here, here, here, and here.  It took a few near all-nighters, but the moto jackets got finished by my goal of TNNA last weekend. Yay!

Here are myself and Yonca wearing them in the booth:

I love Yonca's choice of red zippers!
I love Yonca’s choice of red zippers!

For those who aren’t familiar with TNNA, it stands for “The National Needlearts Association” and is our industry trade show. The winter show took place in San Jose just this past weekend. It’s an opportunity for our LYS customers to swing by our booth and see all our new yarns, colors, and designs. We love meeting customers in person – thanks to everyone who attended!

After returning from our long weekend, Heather kindly snapped some detail shots of the jackets.

Each jacket has 5 zippers - that was 10 total zippers to shorten. Whew!
Each jacket has 5 zippers – that was 10 total zippers to shorten. Whew!
My pop of color is on the inside of my jacket in the form of teal lining. Mmmm.
My pop of color is on the inside of my jacket in the form of teal lining. Mmmm.
I really do love this pattern complete with details like these pleats. They're both stylish and functional, allowing for ease of movement in the back and shoulder area of the wearer.
I really do love this pattern that includes details like these pleats. They’re both stylish and functional, allowing for ease of movement in the back and shoulder area of the wearer.

 

The gray contrast fabric at the waistband, elbow patches, and a few other locations is a wool blend that was purchased.
The gray contrast fabric at the waistband, elbow patches, and a few other locations is a wool blend that was purchased.
It's amazing what a difference the details can make!
It’s amazing what a difference the details can make!

Yonca Jacket full blog

Next time, I’m going to be back at the rigid heddle loom with some of our Ready to Dye yarn and some experimentation!

Sewing Moto Jackets

Finally, after sampling for my fabric (and getting a cool scarf in the process),

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warping 280 inches of 432 ends,

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and weaving the actual fabric

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it was time to sew jackets!

The first step was to interface all of my handwoven fabric. I got enough lightweight fusible interfacing for all my yardage. The reason for doing this is so that when I cut into the fabric for my pattern pieces, it will prevent the edges from coming unwoven.

Two jackets-worth of pattern pieces and lining is a LOT of cutting!

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Every bit of fabric is precious since I wove it, so a certain strategy is involved when laying out those pattern pieces.

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With the interfacing on the back of my fabric, it made it easy to make pattern markings and actually be able to see them.

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I used a special foot on my sewing machine called a “walking foot” for some of the bulky seams. It helps to manage bulky layers of fabric so that they feed evenly through the machine.

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Sewing moto jackets requires a lot of coffee.

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Since this is a weaving column, I’m taking it easy on sharing every single detail of the sewing process. But zipper installation fascinates me, so here are some in-progess shots of the pocket zippers. Above, I’m sewing the lining onto the right side of the fabric.

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Then the pocket opening is slashed down the center.

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Next, the lining fabric gets pulled to the wrong side and pressed. It’s so clean and tidy looking!

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And finally the zipper is pinned underneath and sewn down. I love a good zipper installation. Which is good, since each jacket requires 5 zippers. Whew!

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Here we have something that is actually beginning to resemble clothing. Yay!

It's like magic that this can turn into a moto jacket, right?
It’s like magic that this can turn into a moto jacket, right?

 

If you’re planning on being at TNNA in San Jose this weekend, stop by the booth and check out the finished jackets. Otherwise, I’ll be back on the blog next week for final photos and wrap-up.

 

Weaving Fabric for Moto Jackets

And the adventure continues! You can read the first two posts in my moto jacket series here and here.

After warping my loom with my monstrously long and wide warp – 280″ long x 36″ wide using Deluxe DK Tweed Superwash, I was delighted to weave the fabric. I wove the same herringbone pattern that I used in my sampler scarf (seen here).

This piece of fabric I’m weaving will be for two jackets. My warp is color 414 Charcoal in Deluxe DK Tweed, and the photo below shows color 413 Smoke as the weft.

One bobbin of yarn lasted for about 3" on my 36" wide warp.
One bobbin of yarn lasted for about 3″ on my 36″ wide warp.

Back when I was winding my warp, I thought to tie some bright thread around some of the warp threads at the halfway point. I’m going to be changing my weft color halfway through since the jackets will be slightly different in color. This thread reminds me it’s time to switch colors!

This contrasting thread tied to the some of the warp threads lets me know I'm at the halfway point.
This contrasting thread tied to the some of the warp threads lets me know I’m at the halfway point.

Not too long into the second half of my warp, I realized I had a couple of problems. I managed to mis-thread two heddles, which resulted in a glitch in the patterning. See below for one example.

Uh oh!
Uh oh!

I could have fixed the problem right there – I could have broken the warp thread, threaded an afterthought heddle and tied on a new strand, but I opted to leave the mistakes in place and fix them after the fact.

If I had noticed sooner, I would have fixed them right away. But because I had made it this far and knew I’d be doing some repair work anyway, I figured I might as well do the whole length at the same time.

 

Cutting doesn't have to be scary!
Cutting doesn’t have to be scary!

After cutting my fabric from the loom, I simply knotted the warp ends together – no hemstitching. I then zig-zagged the edges with my sewing machine, and also sewed lines at the halfway point. I figured it would be a lot easier dealing with two 3 yard pieces of fabric rather than a 6 yard piece. I then cut the fabric apart at that halfway point.

Fixing my warp mistakes.
Fixing my warp mistakes.

After my two halves were cut apart, I threaded a tapestry needle and wove the correct placement for my mistaken threading. It was a little tedious, but very doable and wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be.

And here are my yardages basking in the sunlight prior to washing. I threw both of the pieces of fabric into my machine and washed and dried them on gentle cycles. Because I wove a fairly dense fabric, the fabric changed very little after finishing. But I already knew that would be the case since I was a good little weaver and did a sampling first.

Zippers, lining, fabric: go!
Zippers, lining, fabric: go!

My jacket will be made from the stack on the left – gray on gray fabric, teal lining, and gray zippers. Yonca chose cream to go with her gray for the fabric, matching gray lining, and bold lipstick red zippers.

My goal is to be finished with these jackets by next weekend’s TNNA. So if you’re planning on attending, stop by our booth and check them out. Otherwise, I’ll be back in a couple of weeks here on the blog with all the sewing details.

 

Warping for Herringbone Moto Jackets

After my successful sampling with my herringbone scarf a couple of weeks ago, I got set to wind a much larger warp – enough to make fabric for two moto jackets. I neglected to get photos of the warping process. I used the warping board I’ve shared photos of on this blog before. And this warp was so long, I almost didn’t have enough warping pegs!

Here are the specs for this giant piece of fabric I’m about to weave:

  • Yarn: Deluxe DK Superwash
    • Warp color: 414 Charcoal, 13 balls
  • Reed: 12 dent
  • Weaving width: 36″, 432 ends
  • Length of warp: 280″

My pattern calls for 2 1/4 yds of 55″ wide fabric. Because my loom has a maximum width of 36″, I had to do a few calculations in order to get the total square yardage I need. What I came up with was a really long warp!

280" of tweedy goodness.
280″ of tweedy goodness.

432 ends means 432 heddles to thread. And then, 432 ends to feed through the reed. Whew!

warping_2

When I’m threading the reed, I like to do it 4 ends at a time. I take my left hand and grasp the next 3 ends as shown below, holding my hand behind the reed.

It's important to make sure the ends coming from the heddles go into the reed in the correct order.
It’s important to make sure the ends coming from the heddles go into the reed in the correct order.

Then I feed the next end from my left hand and grab it with my threading hook. It’s a good way for me to stay organized during this process.

Opposable thumbs are really awesome.
Opposable thumbs are really awesome.

Tying onto the front apron rod means I’m almost ready to weave!

Gotta be evenly tense here.
Gotta be evenly tense here.

I’m just getting started here. Once I’ve woven this giant piece of fabric, it’s onto jacket making. And this project is going to go quickly since my deadline is next month’s TNNA show. Stay tuned!

 

 

Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong – Installing a Zipper

With the holidays upon us, I know many of you are busy plugging away at gift projects. Me? I’m as selfishly knitting as ever and just finished my modified Wesley Heights. Though I finished knitting the pieces and seaming the sweater many weeks ago, I just sewed in my zipper, and I’m going to show you how.

As a reminder, this is our ongoing blog series covering projects from the Deluxe Cable Collection. You can learn more about the knitalong by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

I basically knit the Wesley Heights pullover, but followed instructions for the Greensboro Cardigan for collar and zipper facings. Stitches for the collar are picked up around the neck edge and knit upward. Then, the first and last 6 stitches of the collar are continued to form the zipper facings.

zipper_1

Be sure not to stretch the knitting when measuring for the zipper.
Be sure not to stretch the knitting when measuring for the zipper.

It’s important to block your knitting before measuring for the zipper length and installing it. Zippers and knitting can be tricky, since zipper tape is typically woven and non-stretchy. But I’m going to show you what you can do to avoid the puckery zipper look.

Open up your sweater and measure along the front opening from the very bottom edge to the top of the collar. I like to leave a small margin of about 1/4″ at the top and bottom before the zipper begins and after it ends. Mark with a pencil or with pins (as shown) where the zipper tape needs to be cut.

Don't accidentally slide your zipper over the top of your just-cut end!
Don’t accidentally slide your zipper over the top of your just-cut end!
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT slide the zipper off the top of the cut edge!
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT slide the zipper off the top of the cut edge!

Next, we’re going to pretty-up that cut edge. I’m using a plastic zipper in the photo below. This method works great for a zipper with metal teeth, too. With pliers, carefully remove the 2 teeth from the top of the tape. If your metal zipper came with a stop (which looks like a metal tab), you can remove it from the piece you cut off and reattach to the newly shortened zipper.

Then, take a lighter or other flame and carefully melt the end of the tape. This will not work for a cotton zipper tape – it only works on polyester, nylon, acrylic – something that will melt when burned. Be careful, you want to barely melt the end just to stop the fraying of the tape where you cut it.

If you have a cotton or plant fiber tape, fold under the end and sew it down.

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This next step probably isn’t necessary for this particular zipper installation since my zipper will be sandwiched between the sweater and knitted zipper facing. But I’ve been burned before with forgetfully sliding my zipper off the top of the tape, so I like to do everything possible to prevent that! By whip stitching around the top of the tape just above the teeth, this will prevent the zipper from sliding off. Or if you had a metal zipper with a zipper stop and reinstalled it, there is no need for this step.

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Next, unzip your zipper (you did buy a separating zipper, right?) and lay out the appropriate sides on their respective fronts.

Triple check your zipper placement!

Triple check your zipper placement!

Next, pin your zipper to the sweater front. Ignore the facing for now. It’s much easier to pin it to the sweater front first and then add the facing. Begin by pinning the upper and lower edges of the zipper to the sweater. Then add in pins at halfway points between other pins until the whole thing is pinned down. Use lots of pins – you can never have too many pins!

Use lots of pins!
Use lots of pins!

After the front is fully pinned to the zipper tape, one by one, remove a pin and add in the knitted facing. The zipper tape will be sandwiched between the front of the sweater and the zipper tape. You’ll want to leave a margin sticking out a little bit beyond the zipper teeth so that the knitting doesn’t get caught when you’re using the zipper.

It's a zipper-wool sandwich. Delicious.
It’s a zipper-wool sandwich. Delicious.

Use thread that matches or will blend in with the color of your yarn. Take small stitches and go slowly. You are sewing through 3 layers, so take care and make sure the needle is entering and exiting the fabric where you want it. I kept 1 stitch in stockinette on my edges, so I’m using that as my guide for where to sew.

This step requires patience.
This step requires patience.

I use a running stitch, but make a back stitch every inch or two – basically whenever I remember.

Once the zipper tape is sewn to the sweater, it’s time to sew the other edge of the facing down. I left long ends when I bound off my facing for this very purpose. I also split the yarn in half to reduce bulk for the seam.

On the home stretch!
On the home stretch!

Once all your sewing is done, give the facings a light steam inside and out, and you’re done!

I really am smiling.
I really am smiling.

I love putting on a new sweater! And I’m lazy, so having a zipper is a big draw for me. Sometimes I like a buttoned sweater. But I like being able to zip and unzip a cardigan makes me happy. And pockets. And cozy!

How are your Deluxe Cable Collection projects coming along?