Tuesday, September 26, 2017

WI Sheep & Wool 2017

Sometimes I can't believe how fast the knitting time has flown. I've been knitting for 16 years, I joined the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup over 9 years ago, and, relevant to this post, I went to my very first Wisconsin Sheep & Wool in 2008.

Like that year, I enjoyed WI Sheep in the company of knitting friends. This year was a contingent of House Cuppers, including IsisOnEarth, xamonster, tangledskeing, mariacrafts, (me), and bandbabe:

I also met up with my awesome research collaborator, hedgieknits, who drove up from Chicago for the day. She wrote about the event on her blog here. Most important, she was my voice of reason this year and kept me from running rampant in the Fiber Optic booth, as I've done in previous years. (Seriously, I was carrying around three different items and she helped me leave the booth empty handed - that's strong magic.)

That's not to say I didn't buy anything. Hedgie introduced me to Ewetopia, where I bought 2 skeins of Kickapoo sock yarn in the most lovely kettled-dyed purple-black. I also picked up a copy of The Complete Surprise, a book about variants of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jacket, which I've been eyeing for a few months now.

All and all, it was another wonderful Sheep & Wool festival. It's been a decade of this festival and I never fail to enjoy it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


I got a new toy for my birthday this year - a serger! I've been doing a fair bit of sewing recently and want to work with more knits, so it was a natural time to level up. I'm super excited about it (and glad to have another Janome in the house).

Buying a serger lets me dig into the backlog of patterns for knits, starting with the Lark Tee from Grainline Studio. I matched the pattern to 1 yard of brushed poly I bought from Zenith & Quasar in the most awesome chemistry-themed damask pattern.

Here's what I learned in my first run out:

  • Using a serger is just as easy as using a sewing machine. Actually, easier because you sew and finish your seams at the same time.
  • Be very careful to not make mistakes. I got a little nervous when setting in the sleeves (which I sometimes mess up when doing with my sewing machine) because the serger actually cuts the fabric and uses 4 threads. Mistakes will be much more costly to correct.
  • I'm glad I bought a catch tray for the cut fabric.
  • Note to self to always use compressed air to blow lint out of the machine at the end of the day to extend the life of the machine. It's amazing how much lint one project will create!
  • Related to the pattern: it is possible to make a size 8 cap-sleeve version of the Lark Tee with only 1 yard of fabric instead of the 1.25 yards specified.

The other thing I realized is that I'm still terrible at hemming my knits. Instead of using a twin needle, as in the past, I serged all of my edges, turned them up, and stitched them with my sewing machine's narrow zigzag stitch. This worked okay on the bottom hem and sleeves, but was a royal pain for the narrow neckline hem. This is something for me to work on going forward.

So my first project on the new serger is a success and I'm very much looking forward to logging more hours on this machine!