Friday, September 11, 2015

Denim Blanket Coat

Denim Blanket Coat

This loose fitting blanket style coat is my first pattern involving STEEKS.  I (probably like you) was afraid of steeks, what with all the cut ends to finish off somehow.  It seemed like it would all unravel as I attempted to negotiate those cut rows!  This time though, the unraveled ends seemed perfect for the blanket fringe I had in mind, so I gave it a go.  I love the results, and although it was a bit of work to make the fringe, I did it in a way that was totally manageable, and will try to walk you through in words and photos.
This is NOT a beginner pattern.

Yarn: DK weight that knits to gauge**** please knit a swatch and block and measure!  Approximately 500 grams or 1200 yards.  (I used a mill end cone of merino tape, so exact yarn will not be available)
Needles: 24” circular needles, 4mm or whatever hits the gauge.
 2 stitch markers.  Long stitch holder or spare circular needle to hold stitches not being used.
Fringe twister (optional, you could hand braid the fringe) 
Gauge:  17 stitches = 4 inches in stocking stitch (after blocking) on 4mm needles.  I knit loosely so you may need 4.5 or 5mm to get my gauge.
Sizes:  Small (fits 32-36”bust),[ Med/Large (fits 38 – 42”),  XL (fits 44 – 48”)]

The body of this coat is worked in the round until armholes, then the back and front are worked separately.  “Steeks” are then cut and unraveled to create a front opening, and a fringe.

Body:  With circular needles, cast on 12, place marker, cast on 170[188,210], place marker, cast on 12.  Carefully join without twisting, and begin pattern:
Knit 12, slip marker, seed stitch 170[188,210], slip marker, knit 12.
Repeat this row until 1.5 inches of seed stitch are done. 
Change to body pattern:   Row 1, 2, and 3, knit every stitch.
Row 4, 5, and 6: knit the 24 steeks stitches (the short section between the markers) and purl the 170[188,210] body section stitches.
Repeat rows 1 through 6 for the horizontal rib pattern.
Work until length from the beginning is 17”[18”, 19”], or length you want to the underarm.

Divide your front from the back like this:    Beginning at first marker (continuing the ribbing pattern), work  45[50,56 ] cast off 6 stitches,  work in pattern next  68[76, 86] stitches, cast off next 6 stitches *place last 68 [76,86 ] stitches on stitch holder or spare circular needles.  Work in pattern until last stitch marker.  
Now you will work  the ribbing pattern and maintaining the steek (24 stitches between the markers) without joining the circular needles ….
You are working from underarm to underarm and the steek stitches are in the MIDDLE of the front.

Continue ribbing pattern and the steek stitches are now stocking stitch (knit the right side, purl the wrong side)  Until you have 9[9, 10] inches from the underarm split.  Next row: Cast off loosely until first marker, remove marker and work to end of row.  Next row: cast off loosely until last marker:  You now have only the 24 stitches between the marker “live”.    Do not cast these off!  Place these on a stitch holder, and place back stitches (from holder ) back on circular needle.
Work these stitches in the ribbing pattern until you have 9[9,10] inches done.  Cast off all stitches loosely.

Cast on 34[38,42] stitches.  Work in seed stitch for 1.5 inches.  Change to stocking stitch and work for 3 inches, INCREASING one stitch each end every four rows.  At 3 inches, work three repeats of the 6 horizontal ribbing pattern.  Return to stocking stitch for the rest of the sleeve.  Always increase every four rows until you have 76[78, 82] stitches, then continue without increasing until you have 17 inches from the start (or length you would like for the sleeve to the underarm).
Cast off 5 stitches at the start of next two rows.
Cast off 6 stitches at the start of next two rows.
Cast off 8 stitches at the start of next two rows.
Cast off all the rest of the stitches.

Steek Cutting: (photos below)  carefully, find the center of the 24 steek stitches, and cut between the stitches all the way down the front.  Do not unravel yet.
Starting at one end.  Pull out two threads and using the fringe twister, create a twisted fringe and tie a knot to hold it.  OR if you do not have a fringe too, you can pull three threads and braid them to the end, tying a knot there to hold it.
Work all the way down one side and up the other.  Watch that you do not pull too hard, you want the edge of the body to lie nice and flat.  Take your time.  It will be beautiful when done.  The cast on row can be a bit tricky but unravel it too.  Braid four strands at the end if there is one left alone.
Once the fringing is done, you can sew a 4 inch shoulder seam, starting at the armhole.
Sew your sleeve seam.
Pin the sleeve evenly into the armhole and sew in place.
Gently wash and block your new coat!


 Fringe twister tool:

Monday, May 25, 2015

Thirty Minute Fur Wrap

It started with an amazing sale at Michael's Canada.  $1.99 for a 100gram skein of Premier Yarns Starbella Arctic.  I scooped up 7 skeins, and decided to use it to "arm knit" a thick wrap.  How to arm knit:  check out this or other youtube videos

 Yarn:  Starbella Arctic, or other furry or fuzzy super bulky yarn.  Artic is actually a thick ruffle style yarn, but looks great when arm knitted.
Gauge - unimportant.

"Cast on" 10 stitches, and arm knit until last skein is 2/3 done (I was getting about 1/3 skein per row).  Cast off.
Use a shawl pin to hold the wrap closed! 
This took me 30 minutes to knit and cost $14!
 Beautiful!  The edge of netting, usually used to knit through gives a nice texture to the fur stitches.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Panoply Conference

My nuno felt workshop took a road trip to Burlington, Ontario, where the Ontario Spinners and Weavers were hosting a three day conference.  They wanted a few other techniques for their members to try, and invited me to do a half day scarf workshop!
Here is half my gear rolling into the room.

Here we see one of the eight students, laying out the beautiful fibres onto the bed of silk chiffon.
 Another layout in amazing colours.
 Busy learning the joys of nuno felting!
 They even tackled the hard physical work with humour and grace.  I attempted to entertain with stories of large and unexpected felting successes.
 And after three hours each of them had a unique and completed scarf to wear home (although they were a bit damp).
 They are much more impressive in person, as the photos do not show all the textural details that you would see, and the way they float around when worn.
 Later in the evening, there was a fashion show, and a few of my pieces found their way in!  Here, a model really shows off the volume and the float of the soft nuno felt coat.
 A model in the black and red vest.
 Also very warm in the burgundy winter coat.
 And the finale of the show, my butterfly coat, worn by a delightful gentleman, who swooped around like batman and showed how big and dramatic this piece can be!
I had such fun with this group, and everything was well organized, with enthusiastic attendees, and energetic volunteers.  I thank them all for the opportunity to be involved.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Butterfly Project

It starts with sheer silk chiffon in white, dyed a beautiful orange.

Then the sketches, and measurements.
Here is the bodice layout.  Fine black merino, orange merino and silks.
The black "scarf" that becomes the draping neckline.
Four pieces of wings, and more black for the back.
Measurements dialed into the dressmakers dummy....
and the final results, a lovely monarch has emerged.

It moves like air.  Stunning!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Art Gallery Installation

My Puesta de Sol (sunset in spanish) wet nuno felt art piece is now hanging in the Art Gallery of Burlington (Ontario).  It will be part of the Panorama of the Americas exhibit in the Community Gallery until May 24.  Please visit the gallery if you are near Burlington.  It is the first time I have been there, and it is a huge and varied gallery with some amazing art of all mediums!
 My entry won an award that will be presented at the Panoply - a Pan American Celebration of our Fibre Craft Heritage conference May 22 - 24, where I will also be teaching a workshop for nuno felt scarves.  The workshop is full, but I made some wonderful new friends at the gallery, and will be organizing several new workshops in the near future.
 My fish in the room of weaving and knitting and tapestry.
You can walk all around Puesta de Sol, and see all the details.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Amazing Experience

Pamela's, my lovely shop in Jordan Village, was featured in a local fashion show, raising funds for local women's charities.  The host for the fashion show was the wonderful Lynn Spence (fashion expert from Cityline).  She is as amazing in person as she is on TV.   Lynn came to all the shops personally to choose the fashions that were featured, and when she was in Pamela's she saw my  nuno-felt coats.  She chose two to be toppers over outfits, and asked me if I had a light colour one for her to wear as she hosted the event!
I was honoured with the request, and brought the rose-grey (the one from my etsy site).  She wore it over a black dress, and you can see how great it looked on Lynn!
 Backstage in the prep area.
 Lynn with me backstage.  What a wonderful, inspiring lady.  Thank you Lynn.
The coat is still available on etsy if you would like a "famous" piece of nuno-felt wearable art!  (upper right corner of the blog).     Sorry this one is now SOLD!  Custom order one in YOUR favourite colours!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

More Colours available on Etsy for the Home Workshops!

Here are two more colours of home workshop scarves available on Etsy.....
Hit on the link at the top right (the butterfly coat) to jump into my etsy site.
The workshop kit includes everything you need to complete the scarf, except water, towels, dishsoap, and a dryer.  All instructions in a 21 page colour photo booklet are included, and I am only an email away for help....   Dare yourself to learn this amazing craft!

Black, brown, and now purple kits are in stock.  More to come, or just email me with a colour you like.  I am sure I can build a kit for you.   :)