Calling it done

Alrighty, I think this is done (read, I really should stop spending so much time playing with it and do real work) and I know I am delighted with it. Now, let’s see if I can answer a few questions/make a few plans.⁠

1) Will I show you the whole sweater? Probably not. I don’t do pictures of clothes on me, the dressforms I have are not the right size to show the sweater off well, and taking a picture of a sweater laid out flat that looks anything other than awful does not seem to be a skill I have. So you will probably have to content yourself with pictures of the various corners I’ve doodled on.⁠

2) Does the stitch have a name? Not that I know of. I was just doodling around until I found something I liked. Though as with most textile things, the chances of coming up with something actually new are low and I am in no way claiming I am the first/only person to do anything because why would a person do that to themselves and invite those headaches. ⁠

3) Will I tell you how to do it? Maybe! Enough folks seem to like this (and the other embroidery stuff) that I’m considering doing a pattern of some sort. Because my primary sales platform requires that you only sell actual patterns there, I would probably end up doing something like a Very Very Basic Hat pattern with the real focus being on how you embroider on it like this. That follows the rules (hat=pattern), but I can talk a bit in there about how to adapt the embroidery for other projects as well (like, say, that comfy but boring store bought sweater). If that’s something you’d be interested in, let me know. If enough folks like it, I might do it (though it wouldn’t be until next year at the earliest). ⁠

But really though, I’ve got two sweaters I’ve decorated (cough, defaced, cough) and ideas/victims lined up for at least a third and a fourth, and I’ve learned a whole bunch about what does and doesn’t work well on knitted fabric, and I can absolutely see this on hats/mitts, so it probably if folks are interested, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to talk me into it.⁠

But for now I think it’s time to stop playing with this one and wear it!

Doodles continue

Embroidery doodles continue to be amusing…

But forward progress has been somewhat hindered by the supervisory efforts of Miss Fizzy.

Work will resume when she decides she has other places to be.

Doodles

We all know I’m not a sweater knitter.  Sweater wearer yes, sweater knitter no.  And while I have no desire to knit my own sweaters, I do occasionally want to, shall we say customize, the cozy, comfy, easy, store-bought sweaters I wear so often.

It started with mending, because why not fix what you have if you can.  Then it moved on to things like adjusting the band at the bottom of a sweater (the band that causes a sweater to draw in at precisely the point my body flares out, the appeal of which I will never understand) or changing the neckline on a sweater that didn’t quite hit where I wanted it to. And really, that one sweater I’ve been stitching flowers on for five years now is precariously close to doodling already.

So I finally decided to just intentionally put ridiculous stuff all over a couple of the current favorites, just to see what I could do.  The one I just mended and adjusted seemed like the obvious place to start.  And I suspect this is going to be rather habit forming.

Stay tuned…

 

Improvements

So, the sweater from the other day? The one rescued from the ravages of kitten brutality?  Here it is all mended (you can watch me do some of that over on instagram if you’re so inclined).

And here it is with the neckline adjusted so I like it better for me (you can watch me do some of that too). And just because this stuff is important to say, here is your bonus reminder that you should absolutely have your neckline wherever you want.  Anyone who tries to make you feel bad about how much or how little skin you show is an absolute troll and worth precisely zero of your time or energy. Any time I hear someone suggest a person’s clothing is too revealing, I’m reminded of the most marvelous comeback I ever heard, “she’s not dressed like a slut, you’re thinking like a rapist,” which I invite you use wherever possible. It’s really rather remarkable to watch someone’s face when they process that one.

And now…now that the hole has been repaired and the fit issue addressed in a way that makes me happy…now we doodle!

Stabby sweet

I love cotton sweaters. I love the tiny kitten. The tiny kitten loves to make biscuits on my cotton sweaters, and sometimes this happens.⁠

So I have to fix it.⁠

In this case, when it’s just One Single Split Strand, you can actually fix it pretty perfectly if you tuck the yarn back in and use matching sewing thread to splice the ends back together.⁠

But that will not be quite as sturdy as I like (I know myself, I know my laundry habits, it’s better if I fix this in a way that allows for rougher handling than that will permit). And I’ve been kind of wanting to doodle on my sweater anyway. So I have hatched A Plan.⁠

Part one of the plan is ‘stabilize the hole’ and that’s all done. ⁠

Part two is duplicate stitch a nice honking big patch over the whole area to shore it up and just look cool. ⁠

I actually made a video of myself doing that and posted it yesterday when I didn’t feel like doing actual work, and you can scroll back and see it in my instagram feed.⁠

Part three is close up an inch or two of the neckline of this with some blanket stitch because the designer of this garment and I have different ideas about how much of my boobs I want to have out taking in the sunshine.⁠

There’s a video of that too, because really, yesterday afternoon was NOT the time for sustained focus.⁠

Part four is doodle all over the silly thing with thread, and that is going to be so much fun and I am absolutely going to inflict it on you for the next several days, but we’re not quite there yet.

Joining, part two

That top I started to fix a few weeks ago? Yeah, here’s attempts two (ripped out) and three (the winner).

So in case you don’t happen to follow my every word with breathless attention, this is the neck opening of a sweater. It’s open a bit farther down than I’d like, so I wanted to close it up a bit.

I started by trying to just stitch it freehand (that was the post from a few weeks ago), but things shifted around a bit too much, so I stuck it in an embroidery hoop to hold everything still. That helped quite a bit.

But even with that, I realized I didn’t like how the stitches looked when I made them with the doubled up embroidery thread (that’s the picture up above). The thread twisted up on itself and the stitches weren’t as uniform as I wanted.

So I switched to yarn, and now I’m happy with it. I’m going to continue this up to the top of that darker stripe there, and it will be perfect.

I, alas, do not know the name of the stitch (if it even has one), nor am I going to try and teach it to anyone. Embroidery is an amusing diversion, and teaching folks how to do things is my job, and I do not want to rub work vibes all over something I do for enjoyment.

The most I can say is that I bring the needle up through the fabric on one side of the neck, then under the topmost strand of yarn in the middle. Then up through the fabric on the other side of the neck, and under the new topmost strand of yarn in the middle. Repeat that back and forth, keeping the stitches an even distance apart, and it makes a little mesh panel.

But again, this is absolutely positively something I’m doing to my own clothes for my own amusement, not something I’m even going to pretend to teach anyone else (this is code for please please please do not ask me to teach you how to do it, I will say no, and it will make me sad).

If someone else happens to know what it’s called or know of a resource for doing something similar, feel free to leave it in the comments though. But I suspect you’re all totally clever enough to figure out something similar if you want to tweak something of your own!

Joining

This is going to be fun. Well, not this. This is about to get picked out. But then I’m going to do it again more carefully, and I think that will be fun.⁠

You see, I have a sweater with a neckline that’s a bit lower than I like. And it would be the perfect sweater if only the neckline were just an inch or two higher.⁠ So I’m going to fix it.⁠

I started by putting it on and experimenting with a pin and a mirror to figure out where I wanted the neckline to fall. And it turns out that if the bottom two inches or so of the neckline are closed up, it will be perfect. ⁠

Now, I don’t think I can sew it up in an invisible way, so why not go the other direction and make it cute. This works, but I’ll be able to sew it more evenly if I get it in an embroidery hoop, so that’s what I’m going to do next.⁠

(Someone’s going to ask, so alas no, I have absolutely no idea what the thing I’m doing here is called. I was just fiddling around and it’s what happened, sorry.)

I can bring blocking into anything

Here’s that little shoulder patch after it’s gone through the washer (and dryer…pajama sweaters do not generally get air dried folks). Take a look at the difference between freshly mended and after several washes.

I actually like it much more now that the yarn has plumped up and fuzzed out a bit, so I am super happy with this. But it is a beautiful example of…wait for it…why swatching and blocking are so damn important. Bear with me here.

Swatching is to let you know how your fabric is going to behave before you go to the trouble of knitting a whole project. It’s a test run.

In order for that test run to be accurate, you have to block your swatch. And blocking is mostly just washing. Sure, there are exceptions. But ‘wash it, let it dry in the desired shape’ is 90% of most blocking.

So, a swatch is meant to answer the question ‘how will this fabric behave.’ And if that fabric is going to get washed, ‘how will this fabric look after it’s washed’ is absolutely part of the information you need to know about how that fabric will behave. So you gotta block (which again, mostly just means wash) your swatches people (even if there’s no stretching or shaping involved).

Because look how different this fabric looks after a few washes.

In this case, it’s lovely and great and just what I wanted. But if I’d made something where I *didn’t* want that much of a transformation, I’d much rather know it from my swatch than after I’d spent ages knitting something.

So…in what is perhaps the most on brand moment ever, that’s my lecture on ‘why swatching and blocking matter, as demonstrated by a random, non-knitted patch on a sweater.’

Further improvements

Ok, so there’s the first one done!⁠

You can see I ended up doing a second area of duplicate stitch, but it’s a little funny looking. That’s because, when I handed them back to their owner for a fit check, the heel was declared delightfully cushiony…and now that it was so soft and cozy, it became clear that the ball of the foot was…less so.⁠

That’s largely because I knit these socks back in my ‘what? what do you mean my stitches are twisted? aren’t they all supposed to be like this?’ phase of being a baby knitter. So the whole foot is twisted stitches. And between the twisted stitches and the rather unsuitable yarn, you can sometimes get a sock that feels a bit rope-y under foot…sort of like standing on burlap.⁠

And there’s not really a way to fix the whole foot being twisted stitches. But we can add some padding.⁠

I wasn’t going to have enough of the original yellow yarn to do the ball and heel both, so I picked another yarn (slightly thinner since I was just adding a bit of cushion, not repairing a worn spot). Then I duplicate stitched over the part of the sock that is under the ball of the foot when it’s on. ⁠

But I’m very lazy, and didn’t want to do that much duplicate stitch, so I cheated. I stretched each row of duplicate stitching over two rows of my knitted fabric. That gives a less dense patch, but it’s still plenty to make the socks just a bit softer under foot (and gets done in half the time).⁠

So, sort of a franken-sock vibe as far as the aesthetics go, but by all reports they are much more comfy now, and should be good for many more years of wear!

And repeat…

Now we settle in for the actual mending. ⁠


⁠But first things first, I was not in charge of this color selection. The original yarn is long gone, so I asked the sock’s owner if we should go with as close a match as possible, or something super high contrast. ⁠The vote went for super high contrast.⁠

So I rummaged around in the scraps bin for something of a suitable weight and fiber content (generally you want to get something fairly close to your original yarn, though it’s not a hard and fast rule) and settled on this. Yellow and purple totally count as high contrast.⁠

As for how I’m actually fixing the thin spot? It’s just duplicate stitch. Which I won’t teach you because I’m mean, and countless other (nicer) folks have already written up endless sets of instructions and I can think of no good reason to duplicate that work. But if you google something like ‘duplicate stitch, mending’ you’ll find all you ever wanted to know.

It’s my favorite way to reinforce thin spots and can even be used if you have some missing stitches. I firmly believe it’s the most useful technique for mending your knitting, and you should add it to your store of sneaky tricks.⁠

Always remember to extend the patch at least a few stitches/rows on either side of the thin spot, and try and keep your tension even as you work, but otherwise there really are no tricks to this. You’re just recreating the fabric that’s wearing thin. All it takes is a bit of patience!