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The Gift Of Knitting – Bamboo Drape Sweater

FO – Bamboo Drape Sweater

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Happy Sunday! Yesterday I finally had a chance to take photos of the recent FO – Bamboo Drape sweater. I couldn’t imagine taking photos of it anywhere, but here. This spot is one of my favorite in town – a small narrow street with dreamy windows and flowers hugging the walls; I always try to walk through it when in town. So, be ready for a photo overload 🙂 Isn’t this window lovely?!

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

As for the sweater – I am in love! Bamboo will definitely be in my stash on regular basis. I am so happy I experimented and got out of my comfort fiber zone. It feels like an oil flowing against my skin – soft, smooth and sleek.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

One more detail that is completely unusual for me is the ease. I’ve never had such an oversize sweater and it feels so unusual to wear. It makes it perfect for summer – you basically don’t feel wearing it, it is just flowing around you!

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

I am also very pleased with the color, it is very “me”, I love neutrals, beige and earthly colors, though this country definitely made me love the color more.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

When I walk in it, I feel like there are wings behind my back – the drape is just amazing and the wind is playing with the fabric. Absolutely in love with this effect, I don’t think I would be able to achieve it with the wool.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

I can talk about the knitwear for ages, so I am going to stop now and just wish you a great Sunday! Thank you for being with me and your lovely comments about this project!

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater


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By | 2016-05-08T07:15:58+00:00 May 8th, 2016|Finished Objects, Machine Knitting|38 Comments

Craft and Road Trip

Happy Wednesday!

The last week was absolutely crazy for me and I just needed to get out of town and into the wild. 10 minute drive from us there is a beautiful botanical garden where you can get lost in nature and have a quiet peaceful time.

Knitting and travel

There are very few people out there and you can enjoy walking along the canyon, read a book, knit/crochet and just be silent for a awhile…

Knitting and travel

I spent some blissful time with “The Catcher in the Rye“… It is so nice to get away sometimes, even if it is just for a few hours.

Knitting and travel

As for crafting, I started a new machine knitting project – Sand Sweater, right after finishing my Bamboo Drape. Yes, I can’t keep my machine empty for a long time! I am calling it Sand, because of the color of yarn and it reminds me of the pattern created by waves on the sand. I am using 100% mercerized cotton from my stash. I still don’t have a very clear idea what it will become, but in my mind it will be a light summer sweater I can throw on with jeans.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My goal for this year was to learn as many new machine knitting techniques as possible. This time I am experimenting with my machine knitting tools to create texture. My machine is very simple, so all the patterns have  to be created manually transferring the stitches. It takes much more time than the stockinette, but this stitch pattern is so worth it!

Machine Knitting Sweater

It is called “Tuck Stitch” and it is created by holding loops on the needles for several rows before knitting them all together. It is similar to slip stitch technique in hand knitting. I had the instructions for this stitch in my manual for the machine and I have no idea why on earth I didn’t try it before! Maybe I was intimidated by the complexity of it, but it turned out not so bad! I am much more familiar with the mechanism of the machine now and understand better how the stitches are formed.

Machine Knitting Sweater

My crochet cardigan WIP is causing me a lot of trouble. I think I will have to rip it out for the third time, first I ripped out because of my miscalculated stitch count (my gauge is significantly different from the one indicated in the pattern, so I am modifying). Now I think the fabric looks a little bit on the loose side, so I am thinking to go down with the hook size. I know it will be worth it in the end – crocheting is very relaxing and I will get a very wearable garment in the end.

Crochet Cardigan

I hope your week is treating you well and you are enjoying your projects!

Hope to see you at Yarn Along.


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Bamboo Drape Sweater. FO Details.

FO – Bamboo Drape Sweater

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Hello dear friends! It is nice to be back after a little break. My weekend and the beginning of the week were so busy, I couldn’t find time to sit and write down the notes for my recent FO – 3d project for my Machine Knitting Challenge 2016. This project was so bizarre – it went completely the other way I expected and it was a pure experiment without a clear plan in my head. Usually I see exactly what I get in the end, but this sweater took its own road.

Project Notes

Pattern. No pattern, whatsoever. I planned the sweater in my notebook before starting, but after I cast on I realized it had to be changed completely, so I just started experimenting on the machine and see where it takes me. Only when I finished I took some notes, sort of an afterthought pattern. It was a very liberating creative experience when you don’t follow any notes and just trust the fabric to take some kind of wearable shape.

Machine. The sweater is made of 6 separate blocks of fabric that were knit on Silver Reed LK150 knitting machine. As I told you in my first tutorial on the machine knitting, the machine has its limits. When I decided to experiment with bamboo, I knew I wanted a super oversize sweater to show off the drape of the fabric. The initial idea was to make four pieces – 2 big ones (one for the front and one for the back) and two small ones for the sleeves. But after starting the project I faced some challenges.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

I lost the yarn label and I have no idea what weight it is, but it is something between fingering and lace. As I mentioned before, my machine can knit a wide range of yarn weights, but not all of them. I knit lace weight wool on it and there was not a problem, but bamboo is very slippery and it was pretty challenging to keep stitches from slipping off the needles, especially in the beginning.

The other difficulty was the gauge. There are 150 needles on the machine’s bed and to get the oversize look I would have to cast on almost 300 stitches. So, I at that point I realized I had to “break” the front and the back of the sweater in pieces to get the width. I was lost at first, but then thought that it would be a great way to play with texture. Initially I planned the sweater in simple stockinette, so the plan has changed. I decided to break the front and back pieces in 3 for each.

I divided the stitch count I needed for the front width in 2. To get 32-34″ width of the front I had to cast on 292 sts. I made a rectangular central piece 140 sts wide (almost all  the needles on the machine were in work), then I made two pieces 76 sts wide. The same was done for the back.

Then I put 6 pieces together by hand. First the front. The central big rectangular part has a reverse stockinette stitch on the public side, two small pieces are on each of its sides, with usual stockinette on the public side. I put these pieces together using a crochet slip stitch seam. I always use it when I need to put two different stitch patterns together. I love it more than the mattress stitch in this case. The same was done for the back and then side seams were done using the mattress stitch. Here is what I got at the end.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

You can see the slight contrast between the central piece and the side pieces.

Yarn. 100% bamboo. This was the first time I worked with this fiber. You can read yarn review here – Fiber Experiment. This is definitely not the easiest fiber to use.

Pros:

Drape. The fabric created by bamboo is unbelievable! The drape is perfect for oversize garments that will flow around your body and won’t make you look bulky.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Sheen. Yarn has the natural sheen and the color changes depending on light. It really looks alive and vibrating!!

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Feel. It is a wonderful feeling to wear bamboo next to your skin.

Cons:

Slippery. I wouldn’t recommend 100% fingering bamboo yarn for a beginner knitter. You really have to have absolutely perfect tension. It is very hard to make stitches even and as in most plant fibers blocking doesn’t fix the unevenness 100%. Even in machine knitting you have to carefully watch your tension. I will show you my “off” spots later. If you still want to try it, I would suggest the following:

  • Use bamboo or wooden needles, they will help with slippery stitches.
  • Use a stitch pattern that doesn’t have to be smooth and even like stockinette, so even if your stitches are not perfect, it won’t show that much.
  • Try to use bamboo blends, with merino for example. This way you will be able to enjoy all the advantages of the bamboo, but minimize its cons.

Weight. Compared to wool, it is pretty heavy, so I presume it will stretch a little bit over the time.

Design Details

Fit. Super oversize sweater. I would say it has around 30″ of ease.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Neckline. I didn’t shape the neckline at all. Just bound off central stitches.For trimming I used the technique I showed you last month (Perfect Neckline Trim Tutorial) – first I made a chain of slip stitches along the neckline and then I made a single crochet in each loop. Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Hem. This was the most time consuming part. I planned to leave it raw first to let it naturally curl, but the reverse stockinette part was curling inside and I didn’t like the look of the raw edges in stockinette section. So I made a chain of crochet slip stitches along the hem and knit 1*1 rib holding two strands of yarn together. Again, for the extra stability. You can only imagine how “fun” it was – 64″-long hem knit in fingering weight yarn.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Sleeves. Initially I was planning to make sleeves, but when I seamed the garment and put it on, I realized that the sides of the sweater fall low enough on my arms, so the only thing I did was knitting 10 rows of 1*1 rib holding two strands of yarn together to get a firm ribbing. I also picked up stitches for the rib from the slip crochet chain – it just makes everything look better.

Texture. I love the ridges that seams created between reverse stockinette and the classic stockinette sections. Overall the sweater has 6 vertical seams. It took forever, but I know it will be worth it in the long term. As I mentioned above the fabric is pretty heavy and extra seams will prevent it from overstretching and will also hold the shape of the garment.

Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Tension. As I said, it is very challenging to keep the tension even when knitting with the thin bamboo thread, even when you are using the knitting machine. I tried my best, but there are still some “off” spots. They are not many of them, but there are there :(.

I love my new sweater and I learned so much working on this project!
Machine Knitting. Oversize Sweater

Have a great week! See you at Yarn Along! I am re-reading “Cather in the Rye” and can’t express how much I love it!


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Knitting and The Law of Gravity

Happy Wednesday!

Moeke Yarns

I often wonder if there is such a thing as a law of gravity that attracts not only us to the Earth, but also events, things and people into our life, some kind of gravity of energy. I love to create knitwear, to look at knitwear, to write about knitwear and take photos of knitwear, so maybe this energy attracts people into my life that have something to do with knitwear from thousand kilometers away?! Or I am overthinking? 🙂 Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I had a pleasure to meet a lovely girl who came for a short vacation with my friend to our town. She happens to live in London right now and study … textiles in Royal College of Art!!! If you read my Knitting Inspiration series, you know that many fiber artists that I admire graduated from RCA and I absolutely adore this place – I watched all their videos, read everything about this institution and dreamed of visiting it one day. Can you imagine what I felt when I actually met somebody in real life who is studying there?!! And what are the chances to meet a RCA student 10 000 km away from London?! Oh, my dear universe, I love you! To put it mildly, I was all over the girl – I asked million of questions and was way too enthusiastic! It was so inspiring to have a glimpse into this realm of textile and knitwear design! She actually studied for a year with Jessica Leclere, that I really admire as a knitwear designer. I was so inspired by this encounter and beyond grateful – it definitely found reflection in my current projects!

I guess this creative energy transmitted into my Moeke sweater that is blooming and I am falling in love with it more and more every day. I am slowly converting my hectic scribbles to a normal knitting pattern language. I think the test knitting part will start in 2-3 weeks and I just can’t wait – so looking forward to seeing it recreated!

Moeke Yarns

I also came back to my knitting machine after a one week break. Machine knitting is one of the main crafts taught in RCA and it is mind blowing to see what you can do with it! There is still so much to learn and discover for me, lifetime is not enough. I also wanted to say how touched I am by all the emails and messages I get from fellow crafters saying that they came back to their machines after a long break, because they saw my projects or they are considering buying their first knitting machine to try. Do you know what it means to me?! I am a huge advocate of machine knitting craft and I hope to see more and more hobby knitters using it!

My Bamboo sweater‘s pieces are slowly coming off the machine. I had to change my initial plans of making a simple 4-piece sweater – the yarn is very thin, hence the amount of stitches I need is way too big – the knitting doesn’t fit on the machine, so I have to make it in 8 pieces. I got frustrated at first, but then realized that it is a great opportunity to experiment and play with textures/patchwork techniques. I am curious myself what will come out of it…

Machine knitting sweater

I also got a very sweet gift from my husband – the set of 12 bamboo crochet hooks! He heard me complaining once that I can never buy all that I need in local craft stores and found the set for me online. He is definitely not a romantic guy, so this is a huge gesture 🙂 Do you feel like there comes a moment when your family realizes that your hobby is so much more than just a hobby for you and starts contributing to it? I love how light and simple they are!

Moeke Yarns

What can I say… I love my craft, it brings so much joy into my life. Feeling grateful…

I hope that you are enjoying your projects and your craft energy has a very strong gravitational pull!

Joining Yarn Along.


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By | 2016-04-20T06:47:14+00:00 April 20th, 2016|Knitting, Machine Knitting, Work in Progress|32 Comments

Making and Memories

I was recently asked by Alexis on Instagram “What making means to you?” and this weekend I realized that making has completely taken over my world. When you wake up at dawn on Sunday to get extra time with your projects, it means you are obsessed, right? 🙂 I invest a lot of time in making, but it seems so natural to me, that I’ve never given it much thought… But this question and my current projects got me thinking. I realized that the main reason for investing so much time in making is the gratitude for the opportunity to create.

Crochet - Machine Knitting - Hand Knitting

This blog is called “The Gift of Knitting” and it is my way to say thank you to this craft that brought so much joy in my life. I have my craft dreams, but my ultimate goal and dream would be to preserve this excitement about learning new things, about starting a new project and trying new fiber. So, making means to me first of all the opportunity to grow and to learn and this alone makes me happy.

This weekend I started planning a new crochet project. Whenever I start crochet, I take this book – “1000 Crochet Patterns”. This is my first craft book and it will be exactly 16 years old next month. It looks so beaten up, but it still travels everywhere with me wherever I go.

Machine Knitting

It was a gift from my Granny when I was 10 or 11 years old and I remember how excited I was looking through all the patterns there and imagining how I would crochet all of them. I stopped crafting as a teenager and didn’t come back to it until my university graduation. But I have so many memories when I look at it. When I was a child, the country was going through some big changes and it was financially challenging for so many families. I would never even imagine buying yarn for crafting at that time. We would spend hours with my Granny unraveling old sweaters to get scratchy and coarse yarn so I could work with it. I was even crocheting with plastic bags at that time! Can you imagine? My Granny didn’t like to throw anything away, so she would keep all her shopping bags and we would cut them in narrow stripes and I would crochet plastic rugs with it. It was actually very handy for wet weather! This experience made me really appreciate all the fiber opportunities that I have right now!

Well, back to my crochet project. I want to make a white crochet dress! It was awhile since my last crochet dress project (Wildflower Dress) and I decided it was time to challenge myself again. It will take awhile of course, but I am not rushing it, I will just enjoy the process.

CrochetMy Bamboo sweater is on the machine and slowly, but steadily growing. I might even finish it by next week, if I have enough time during the weekend.

Machine Knitting

I am joining Yarn Along to see how making has taken over other crafters’ lives!


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By | 2016-04-06T07:31:13+00:00 April 6th, 2016|Crochet, Machine Knitting, Work in Progress|32 Comments

Fiber Experiment and Fair Isle

Ever since I did the interview with knitwear designer Nikki Gabriel, I’ve been thinking about what she said: “Knitting is generally associated with wool.  As the book shows, there are 80 other fibers that can be knitted with.” This was such a fascinating thing to learn. Of course, I knew that the wool is not the only fiber out there, I always loved knitting with plant fibers, but the only ones I tried are cotton, linen and silk. But if to think about it there are so many more types of fiber and fiber blends. I decided I want to experiment more and see how other fibers work. Of course, it’s a comforting feeling to know how your wool sweater will behave, when you know exactly if the stitch pattern is going to work, if the garment is going to stretch. But it is equally amazing to break the pattern once in awhile and try something new.

I’ve had these skeins for almost two years now. I remember looking for the yarn on my last trip to Russia and I wanted to try something new. First thing that attracted me was the color. There is something so noble and classy about it.

Machine Knitting

Then I touched it and couldn’t let it go! I’ve never touched the fiber like that before, I looked at the label – it was 100% bamboo. I took them home, put them aside and forgot about them. It just didn’t feel familiar and I wasn’t quite sure what to make with it. As I mentioned before, I am taking part in 12MK16 MKAL (machine knit along) – 12 machine knitting projects in 2016. After finishing Ocean dress, I thought I had to cast on something else now to keep up with the MKAL. After rummaging in my stash I found these skeins and decided to give it a try.

Machine Knitting

I really wish the photos could convey yarn’s softness! The drape that is created by bamboo is inexplicable!!! After trying the first swatch, I realized I want to wrap myself in it from head to toe! This is the best fiber that I’ve ever tried to wear next to my skin! It has such a smooth and luxurious feel. Pima cotton that I tried was very soft, but nothing compared to it. I would even dare to say it is softer than silk, some compare it with the blend of silk and cashmere. I did a research before trying anything and this is what I found out (you can read the full article here – Properties of Bamboo Fiber):

  • Bamboo has much better moisture absorption and ventilation than cotton. Moisture absorbency is twice than that of cotton with extraordinary soil release.
  • Natural antibacterial elements in bamboo fibre keep bacteria away from bamboo fabrics.
  • Garment of bamboo fibre can absorb and evaporate human sweat in a split of second just like breathing. Such a garment makes people feel extremely cool, comfortable and never sticking to skin even in hot summer.
  •  100% bamboo yarns show a great elasticity i.e. nearly 20%. Even in 100% bamboo woven fabrics a remarkable elasticity can be obtained wherein the use of elastomeric fibres like elastanes may be eliminated.
  •  Bamboo fabrics need less dyestuff than cotton, modal or viscose. It seems that the absorption of dyestuffs is remarkably better. Bamboo absorbs the dyestuffs faster and shows the colors better.
  • Anti-ultraviolet nature of bamboo fibre has made it suitable for summer clothing, especially for the protection of pregnant ladies and children from the effect of ultraviolet radiation.
  • Product of bamboo fibre is eco-friendly and bio-degradable.

(Information source – www.fibre2fashion.com)

As you can see bamboo makes a perfect fiber for summer knitting! What swatch told me for sure is that the textured stitches are definitely not going to work in bamboo. Good old stockinette is the best way to go.

Machine Knitting

I am thinking of making a very loose oversize light sweater in simple stockinette, maybe with some lace at the neckline. I am not sure yet really, I will experiment and will share it with you here!

As for other projects I am more than half done with Green Snowflakes. I finally found my rhythm of fair isle knitting and it is going like a breeze. The fabric is till not perfectly smooth, but I hope good blocking will fix it. As I am knitting with slightly thicker than recommended yarn, my progress is much faster and I think I will need 6 pattern repeats instead of 9 to finish it.

Knitting Fair Isle

I find the wrong side of fair isle equally delicious!

Knitting Fair Isle

 I hope you are enjoying you craft projects! I am joining Yarn Along for some inspiration!


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