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TGIF Nutty Button Edition September 9, 2011

Almost at the new threads stage with my retro cardi! And for some reason, I’m all sentimental today. Maybe it’s the weather (j’adore this time of year!). Maybe it’s the economy (crying in my cuppa!). Or maybe it’s just because I’m in Love with BUTTONS.

And the fact of the matter is, when you are a stash-prone type of person, or in impolite company, a pack rat, you will have the opportunity to deal some chips, so to speak. I truly resemble this remark and it was no trouble at all to pull out four different types of buttons to play with on my cardi.

It has new and improved buttonbands with my favorite buttonholes. In fact, this sweater, simple as it is, has probably been re-knit more than any other I’ve made in the past few years. I just was determined to get it right; it’s my wardrobe. But having no fear of frogging is perhaps a minus in this case. Perhaps I should set myself a limit of do-overs! Nay. For something that doesn’t have a deadline, it could go on to infinity (and beyond) if needed.

But my lust for clothes has actually put me back on track and all I have to do now is choose which buttons I will go with. (click for bigger pix).

Here we have what I’ll call the Uniform Edition vs. Northside Hip.

In the foreground, my go-to tortoise shell colored, simple and heh, typical choice; so predictable. Behind these are my favorites: some ochre colored buttons acquired a few years ago from my first Stitches Midwest. They are lovely, but methinks they are slightly too big for the band. (Are they too Big?)

But this is so my neighborhood, so me walking to the store, so accidentally adding some chic to the landscape. They pick up the slightest hint of umber in the heather of the grey yarn. They curve ever so slightly. They are lovely. I know these would be stared at in the check-out lane, when we’re 25 deep buying groceries. Depending on who’s waiting with me, that could be a good thing. Or not.

Two is never enough in the Studio Chic playlist and we find some more lovely contenders after a little digging.

At left: beautifully proportioned copper-colored metal buttons. They also work with variegated tonality of the yarn in a magic way. Check out the way the center of the button matches the color of the yarn as well. But they are a little heavy. Hmm. To the right, my attempt to extract a grellow moment from this project. And, bonus, I extract chartruese, (which is really no surprise). And now I get really sentimental because these are from one of my last trips to Tender Buttons, who used to be in Chicago, but is now only in New York. This, more than anything, has surely cemented our position as the Second City beyond anything else I can think of. Really.

I actually had to make a trip to NYC to buy buttons (and, truth be told, see a broadway show!).

But where am I going to find something with such sweet buttonholes in the button? Not here. Anymore. sniff.


Here’s the whole kit-n-kaboodle in a bunch.

Which would you use?

  • Tortoise Shell
  • Beautiful Curved Ochre
  • Copper Penny
  • Grellow

…DRUMROLL PLEASE! :) The winner of the KnitSimple KNITTING WORKSHOPS book is: Mary P from beautiful California! THANK YOU everyone for your wonderful comments – lot’s to learn and enjoy in your POV! Happy Knitting!


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it’s all in the details… September 6, 2011


click on pix for bigger pix…

Whether you’re a fan of top-down or piece knitting, there’s one thing at the end of the line that everyone has to do: weave in “The Ends”.

Since I’m a fan of knotting-in new balls of yarn in the work-in-progress, there’s always a few (or many) tails fringing up the back side of my knitting. Most of the time, I’ll get a bee in my bonnet and do them as I go, because, believe it or not, they tickle the heck out of me while I’m knitting! The upside is, there is much less to do when I’m really in that “ready-to-wear-it” mode, that last phase of any knitted garmet, where I’m just itching to have some new clothes (and damn the details).

And, I’ve found a little silver in this cloud, wherein you can use those tails to do more than just join in.

One thing that my retro-raglan has in common with every other raglan I’ve ever knit is the Gap (see picture at left above). Whether it’s top-down, like this sweater, or bottom up, there always seems to be some smallish holes around the edges where the underarm bind off happens. The stress of the first few knitted rows on any yoke cause those stitches to warp out, even use a little more yarn than, let’s say, in the middle of the row.

These really bug me. I’ve tried everything as I go along to minimize this, but have had no luck in producing a hole-free sleeve join.

So, I’ve just relaxed around the idea that this is one small adjustment that will be made in the finishing: Reinforcement.

And here’s where the tails come in. You can see in the middle picture, that where I attached the yarn to start knitting the sleeve, I’ve left a tail. Now, I’ll be honest here and admit that is one very stingy length on the tai above – usually I leave a longer one, and I recommend about a 5″ minimum tail for this type of thing. On the other side of the bind off area, when I’m done with the first area, I’ll attach a similar piece of yarn to do the same thing I’m going to do with this tail. That piece should be even longer.

And it is really easy! All you have to do is thread your darning needle and make duplicate stitches, from the backside, in the offending biggie stitches. This closes them up without an obvious “darned” look and gives strength and durability to a heavy-wear area.

Here you can see the path the yarn takes in making a duplicate stitch:

I’ve left it a little loose so your can see the loop made. It will be tightened up as needed, then that leftover tail will get woven in to adjacent stitches to become virtually invisible.

VOILA! No hole, no ends = a Two-Fer, one of my favorite kinds of things in the Universe at Large…


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Monday Morning Mirth September 5, 2011

Monday Morning Mirth

a big oh NOES! forms on my lips realizing I actually wore some of these:

Fashion FLASH through the decades: which was your favorite? (I’m partial to the Roaring 20′s!!)


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