All posts by Amy Gunderson

Creative Director at Universal Yarn

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.

zipper_5

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.

zipper_6

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?

 

Weaving Wednesdays – Herringbone Sampler

I’m pretty excited about this current weaving project. For years now, I’ve wanted to weave my own fabric for a custom-sewn jacket. And finally, I’m going to make it happen. In fact, I’m making two of them! Yonca, our sales director (and my boss) caught wind of my plan and requested a jacket for her own. You be able to find us at next January’s TNNA in our matching jackets.

Years ago, I sewed a moto jacket from this Burda pattern.

6032_tech_large

Here I am wearing my version, circa 2009 or so.

moto1

I’ve been wanting to weave with our Deluxe DK Tweed Superwash ever since we introduced it earlier this year, and I decided this would be the perfect project for it. I toyed around with a few ideas for the type of weaving draft I’d use, but in the end I decided on a herringbone tweed. I love the idea of classic herringbone and tweed modernized in the ultra-cool moto jacket.

Before beginning, I knew I need to make a sample of my woven fabric. I mean, if I’m going to be weaving yards upon yards of fabric for two jackets, I need to know I’m going to like it, right? I was also having trouble deciding on colors, and saw this as a perfect example to introduce a little plaid into my tweed and herringbone.

First, I selected five colors from the Deluxe DK palette that I’d been considering:

dw-tweed-906-aegean-web dw-tweed-910-porcelain-web dw-tweed-912-ebony-web dw-tweed-913-smoke-web dw-tweed-914-charcoal-web

Next, I set out to warp my loom with a section in each color. I read that it’s a good idea to use a denser sett (ends per inch) when weaving twill, so that’s what I did. For a DK weight yarn such as Deluxe DK Tweed Superwash, I would normally weave with a 10 dent reed. But for this project, I opted for a 12 dent.

herringbone_1

herringbone_2

I’m using a four harness loom which makes weaving twill a breeze. But with if you have a rigid heddle loom, with the use of pick-up sticks this is totally achievable.

herringbone_4

As you can see, my warp has 5 different colors. I also wove with the same 5 colors to see how they all interacted with one another. I found it interesting that the same 2 colors played differently depending in which was warp and which was weft. The color that is the warp (in this particular twill) shows as being more dominant that the weft.

It’s nice to do a “practice” piece of weaving that I’ll actually use and wear!

herringbonescarf1_deluxedktweedhires

herringbonescarf4_deluxedktweedhires

The colors that I ultimately selected for my jacket are the two that I would have picked anyway, but I’m so glad I did this exercise. It also gave Yonca a chance to see the different colors so she could make her choice as well.

Stay tuned for more herringbone twill and moto jackets!

 

Free Pattern Friday – Sideline Scarves

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Just in time for football season (and gift knitting season!), we have the Sideline Scarves. And a photo tutorial!

Each scarf requires 1 ball of Uptown Worsted Spirit Stripes and 1 ball of Uptown Worsted. 1 strand of each yarn is held together throughout the scarf.

Though these scarves look like intarsia, I can assure you there is no manual changing of colors in this project. The vertical striping along this piece is inherent in the yarn print. This project takes advantage of the color changes in the yarn, and employs what we call “intentional color pooling.” The reason for the tutorial below rather than a simple pattern is that the color changes in Spirit Stripes can vary just a bit from skein to skein. With the method below, no matter what the lengths of color are in your particular skein, you can achieve intentional color pooling.

With just a little bit of preparation, you’ll be knitting away in no time!

Here’s how to do it!

When choosing yarn colors, it’s best to pick a color in Uptown Worsted solids that contrasts with the Spirit Stripes. In the tutorial below, I’m using Uptown Worsted 324 Black with Spirit Stripes 517 Arena (red and yellow)

Step 1: Holding both yarns together, cast on 30-40 stitches with a US Size 10 1/2 needle. Make sure that the last cast-on stitch ends right at the end of that particular color section in the Spirit Stripes. This is important because we’re going to be calculating just how many stitches are consumed by each section of color.

colorpoolscarf1

Step 2: Work in K1, P1 Ribbing through the end of the first section of color. Count how many stitches it took to get through this color, and round to the nearest even number. We will call this number of stitches “X.” If you’re as absent-minded as me, write this number down!

colorpoolscarf2

Step 3: Next, work in K1, P1 Ribbing through the second color and count the stitches. You will most likely have to turn the row before you’ve made it through this color – that’s okay, it’s unimportant now. We will call this color “Y.” Y may not be the same number as X, because the color sections are not always exactly the same length.

colorpoolscarf3

Step 4: Unravel your knitting from above. Add X + Y, then divide in half. The resulting number will be your cast on. Your cast on number should be roughly 24-30 stitches.

Step 5: With waste yarn, make a crochet chain that is several stitches longer than your cast on number. Now, holding both yarns together, from the tail end of the yarns, find a color section a few colors from the end. Find the halfway point of this section of color. Be sure to leave at least a yard or so of tail for binding off later.

colorpoolscarf4

Step 6: Beginning at that halfway point in the first color section, working through the bottom bump of each crochet chain, [pick up and knit 1 stitch, pick up and purl 1 stitch] until you’ve run to the end of this color. The number of stitches you were able to pick up should be half of X (or Y). If you picked up more or fewer stitches before reaching the end of the color change, take out a few stitches and adjust tension as needed.

colorpoolscarf5

Step 7: Continuing where you left off in the rib sequence (you may have left off with either a pick up and knit or pick up and purl), pick up stitches in K1, P1 Ribbing until you have run halfway through the second color. This number should be half of X (or Y). If it is not, take out a few stitches and adjust your tension.

The total number of stitches on your needle should be the cast-on number figured in Step 4, or X + Y divided by 2.

colorpoolscarf6

Step 8: Now it’s time for the fun part – the knitting! Turn your work. Work in K1, P1 Ribbing until you reach the end of that color. Your last stitch in this color (shown yellow below) should fall right on top of the first stitch yellow stitch. If it doesn’t, take a few stitches out and adjust your tension.

colorpoolscarf7

Step 9: Continue in K1, P1 Ribbing to the end of the row. You should now be halfway through the second color (shown red below).

colorpoolscarf8

Repeat Steps 8 & 9 until you have about 1 yard of yarn left, enough to bind off.

Here is another version of the scarf, a little further along:

colorpoolscarf9

You can see that the midway point between the colors is not perfect – and that’s okay! Just be sure not to get too far off track with your alignment of the colors, or it will be tougher to correct when you get farther into the scarf.

Pick your team, choose your colors, and get knitting!

Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong – We’re Still Knitting Along!

It’s been a little bit quiet on the ol’ western front  with the Deluxe Cable Collection Knitalong. But I can assure you, those of us with projects still on the needles continue to plug away!

Knitalong graphic hi-res

As a reminder,  you can learn more about the knitalong by reading previous blog posts here, viewing the collection here, and joining our Ravelry group here.

Heather finished her Tillery Socks last month, but she didn’t stop there. She is now the proud owner of her very own two-color Cold Mountain Hat:

heather-cold-mountain-this-guy

Look how happy she is! I would be too if I had a hat that looked super-awesome with my blue hair.

heather-cold-mountain-side-1

You can just barely see those blue locks peeking out from under the double-folded brim, but trust me: this is a fun color combination.

I love how Heather took this pattern and made it her own, through something as seemingly simple as different color choices. It always amazes me what a difference color can make in a knitted item or anything else, for that matter!

Often times we see a project and don’t look twice because the color doesn’t suit us. Heather proves that if you like the stitches and the item, the color is the easiest thing about it to change!

lurve-this-book

Do you love the Deluxe Cable Collection, too? If so, I’d love to hear about what project you’re working on!

I’ll be back next time (hopefully sooner rather than later this time) to demonstrate the finishing on my modified version of the Wesley Heights Pullover. I’m almost there!

 

Win Yarn to Make the Sugar Plum Hat + Cowl

Ready for a little cheer? How about the chance to win free (!) yarn? We’ve partnered with the folks at I Like Crochet to give away 8 balls of one of my favorite yarns, Dona, along with the pattern for the Sugar Plum Hat and Cowl I designed for the current issue of the I Like Crochet digital magazine. It’s a fun skill-building project that makes the most of Dona’s squishiness in luscious crocheted cables.

dona-ball-cut-out-2-hi-res

The following post original appeared on the I Like Crochet blog (link) :

Today’s giveaway is so good you’re going to feel like Santa came early this year. The rich blackberry color of FibraNatura Dona yarn is exactly the luxurious hue that you need this winter season. Soft and delightful to work with, this yarn is DK weight and 100% Extra Fine Superwash Merino.

A beautiful yarn like this is destined to be made into something cozy, which is why the amount you receive in this giveaway will be all the yarn you need to make the Sugar Plum Hat and Cowl from I Like Crochet‘s December 2016 issue. The Sugar Plum matching set features three-dimensional lattice texture and a spunky pom-pom hat. With FibraNatura yarn and a stylish crochet pattern, you will be all set for crisp winter days and a season of style.

ILC-resize-40Sugar Plum Pattern

Click through to the original post for details on how to enter. Good luck!