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Tag Archives: polar fleece

well, it’s like this

Another of our friends is undergoing chemo at present. This is not her first lot, but she lives interstate and we haven’t seen her for a while. We are hoping to visit her in a few weeks from now, so I thought I’d make something special for her. The only question is, will it be a cowl or a cap? And if a cowl, will it be sewn or knitted? I’m torn for good reason:

Humour me while I talk myself into trying this out for the first time!

I thought that I might sew a cowl. Well, you know – actually, you don’t because I haven’t mentioned it before! – I’ve just taken delivery of a new sewing machine like that one there, and I’m itching to give it a try. It arrived on Tuesday and all I’ve done so far is mostly get it out of the box. I know! But what with driving Dr B about the place after some minor surgery that prevented him from driving himself (recovery is proceeding well, thanks) and having a couple of things to do that didn’t involve being at home for serious chunks of the day, plus there’s this awful piece of work I’m trying to complete, there simply hasn’t been time! How sad is that??

Youngest Aunt gave me some fabric last year. Perhaps it was the year before. But anyway, I have some pieces of rayon (a couple of dresses that are worn in critical spots but too nice to throw out and from which I could easily harvest enough fabric to line a cowl) that I could combine with some fine polar fleece to make a deliciously soft and warm fabric cowl. Also, YoungB seems to have lost his original toob – somewhat to his distress; as I sometimes say, you can see why I keep feeding him! – and would be very happy if I were to make him another, please. The days are cold enough that he needs such a thing when he has an early lecture or is coming home in the dark after a long prac or lab session of some sort. At least he no longer has those ridiculously early starts associated with rowing training, but I’ll happily make him another toob. So, on the whole – and thanks for listening while I mulled that over – I think that this time I’ll sew a cowl.

However, as I bought some silky soft yarn yesterday, I might also knit a cap. Dr D lives in a jolly cold part of the country and her hair is just starting to experience what she wonderfully describes as fallout. Her head will definitely need covering. Therefore, the plan at the moment – I know, I’m not good with plans, but let’s just call this an idea of how I might go about achieving what I need – is to sew a toob for YoungB, a cowl for Dr D and then knit a cap. I’ll make the cap the negotiable factor, I think (life might prove busy with YoungB’s looming international travel to organise; and while I could sew a cowl and a toob quite quickly, it would take me considerably longer to knit a cap unless I went for my Inca beanie, but that would require different yarn that I simply don’t have).

Anyone want to put money on how quickly all of that goes off the rails? 🙂

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and then there are the babies

You know how I had a sort of rough idea of what I might be going to knit and sew this year? And then it got tossed on its head almost immediately? Well, I now have to factor in some not entirely unexpected but still unplanned-for baby knitting; at the moment, I’m looking for something quick! Baby blankets made in thick yarn will be the answer, I suspect. I’ve spent some time on Ravelry looking for pretty, simple patterns and found many. I have a number of patterns among my collection already but most are lacy, some are complex and I think all of them are large, so perhaps not necessarily the best option for something that might be used as a pram rug (though, yes, most could be scaled down). Why a pram rug and not a blanket as such?

YoungB had a fantastic pram rug that had been knitted for him by Great Aunt J. It was blue, yellow, grey, pale green and white – sounds awful, but wasn’t – and looked a bit like a Mondrian painting: modern with block colours and some unexpected combinations. It was gorgeous. Of course, it clashed terribly with his bright orange lambswool (though it was fine with the neutral one), but that didn’t really matter. It kept him warm in his car seat and in the pram and it was light enough to pack into a bag and take along wherever we went even minus the pram. Given that background, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve picked out some 12-ply yarns to make a couple of similar items. My usual baby gift is bunny rugs and I’ll probably sew a couple of those as well (flannelette comes in such pretty designs and colours as to be almost irresistible). None of it is going to be difficult, I promise you.

When I picked out that lot of yarn, there was only one announcement. Now there’s another, so I can see that there’ll be a further trip to my LYS in the near future. Oh, isn’t that going to be a hardship!

I still have Nonna’s cardigan to finish and despite the thick yarn and large needles, it’s not growing quickly. However, other plans, such as sewing new toobs for motorcycling use, have made progress. The other day, I whipped up a new scarf for Nonna. Ahem. You know, I cut a length of black polar fleece and stitched on a nametag. I didn’t even bother with hems. I mean, it’s polar fleece. It’s not going to fray, is it?! (If it looks tatty when it comes home for a wash, I’ll attend to such niceties then.) That used up a large chunk of the black fabric, so I promptly made a toob from the remaining bit. It’s sewn and nearly finished but I seem to have run out of the wide elastic. I really cannot imagine how that happened but, oh, well, that’ll be something else I’ll need to get when I’m out shopping, won’t it?

And I was told, gently but in no uncertain terms, that motorcyclists wouldn’t wear a white toob. Red might be acceptable but, really, dark blue and black are the options of choice. So why wasn’t that said to me before? I’d have stopped looking for the remnant of white polar fleece and just got on with making toobs from what remained of the black. Blokes. They just don’t listen.

But, you know, with all this stuff I have on my list, well, gosh, I might have to give up looking for a job for a few minutes so I can attend to those other duties. That would be a shame, I don’t think. It’s certainly one of life’s less appealing undertakings, isn’t it? But I’ve sent out another application and haven’t yet lost heart. I’m just pushing on with knitting while I commute to various appointments and the like.

Sorry, I could not find a suitable photo to accompany this post. A black toob? Boring as. YoungB’s original pram rug? Yes, that would have been ideal; but could I find one??? No. Better just post this and get on with the knitting, don’t you think?

 

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FO: Fabrique scarf

This is another of those fancy knitting tasks that make you look very clever. Once again, I didn’t pay full price for the yarn – if one can call it yarn; Lincraft Fabrique Ruffle Yarn which is, as the website says, a 100% polyester chiffon rather than a yarn per se – but the experiment was worth the shade over half-price that I did pay. I admit to having had difficulty getting this started. For some reason, the stitches seemed to slip a lot. Obviously, I eventually got the hang of it. I would have to say it wasn’t the nicest feeling article I’ve ever made and the resulting ruffle is scratchy against the skin. It would, however, look great draped around a collar on a jacket. It would add quite a bit of extra elegance. It took less than a week to make, so it’s impressively speedy.

Surprisingly difficult to photograph, but it's just a medium length ruffly scarf

Surprisingly difficult to photograph, but it’s just a medium length ruffly scarf

I am now so snowed under with bits of projects that I don’t quite know what to do next. I’ve knitted almost up to  dividing for the underarm on Nonna’s cardigan, which is now too heavy to be travel knitting and about which we are divided in our opinions. YoungB and I think that Nonna will wear it because it’s a purple yarn with other colours through it, Dr B thnks she won’t because it’s not a solid colour and he’s never seen her wear anything else. That might simply be because nobody has ever given her anything that wasn’t a solid colour; and in the days when she knitted herself, yarns were generally plainer than those readily available today. We’ll see.

I’m about two-thirds done on the Easy Lace Cowl (it’s looking nice and should be warm and cosy; luckily it’s lightweight enough to be still good travel knitting). Fingerless gloves/fingered mitts? Nah. Really quick mittens? Nah. Polar fleece toobs for needy motorcyclists? Oh, I can’t even get to my machine at the moment, I still have so much junk on the table as a result of bringing home all my things from the office. Sporadically, I clear a patch but it’s almost as quickly gone again with some other thing I’ve been asked to deal with. I can just about keep track of the black polar fleece, but it’s in imminent danger of disappearing, I tell you, and I still can’t track down any white.

And then I’m meant to be signing up with job sites and preparing this, that and the next thing for employment folk. Yeah, right. That would be a fine thing if only the technology would play ball!

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Knitting, Sewing

 

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FO: Elicia scarf

That lattice yarn? Yeah, sure does knit up quickly! A six-foot scarf in a few days? I’m impressed! IRL it’s slightly darker but the colour contrast within the skein is nowhere near as stark as what’s depicted on the ball band and I like the more subtle result.

What a lot of pink gorgeousness

What a lot of pink gorgeousness

The yarn is Lincraft’s Elicia Ruffle Yarn, a lovely bit of 100% acrylic that was out for half price recently. Well, I’d been itching to attempt using it and what better reason could there be than a colleague’s birthday AND a reduction in price?

I used size 9/3.75 mm needles, because they were handy and I like using them. The ball band instructions recommend 5.5 mm needles but add that needle size does not affect end result. To state the obvious here, the finished size will depend on how many stitches you cast on and how much of the yarn you use. If you follow the instructions on the inside of the ball band and cast on five stitches then knit to nearly the end of the skein, you’ll end up with a scarf that’s about 8 cm wide and 230 cm long. That’s what I did.

Dr B and YoungB think it’s a bit weird and I know they’re both hoping that, having got that out of my system, I’ll now get back to the serious business of making some more polar fleece toobs for them to use while motorcycling. The sewing table being somewhat clearer because that large piece of knitting is no longer there, I’m probably going to find that a much easier undertaking.

 

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still knitting

My workplace is presently a bit strange because everyone is restless (not only those who are going but also those who are staying). So I try not to focus too much on what’s happening there, despite knowing that I have a lot of work coming my way as a result of that situation.

As ever, in order to retain my sanity, I’m still knitting. Honest, I am. I’m still knitting the Easy Lace Cowl because I decided to make it deeper (yes, I made progress on that during the week while commuting). I’m still knitting Eldest Niece’s mittens (yes, I have done a couple more rows of that second one but haven’t yet picked up for the thumb). I’m still knitting the latest hat (halfway through a shaping row and wondering if the cables are going to be lost in the colours). And I’m still knitting the lattice scarf (wow, that’s an amazingly quick knit but best not attempted when so tired you can’t keep your eyes open and definitely something where you do not want to drop a stitch).

I’m also still knitting that Noro Silk Garden scarf that I started for Eldest Son’s 40th-birthday present. You might recall it morphed into something more sober and serious that my menfolk assured me he might actually wear (I don’t know if he does) but I didn’t unpick what I’d already done. I rolled it up and put it away in one of my many calico shopping bags. I picked it up for my travel knitting on Sunday, wanting something gratifying but not requiring huge amounts of concentration – I needed to be able to identify sheep and crops and participate in conversation, you know – and being a straightforward 1×1 rib, it was ideal for the purpose.

So I’m still knitting quite a lot. I’m just not finishing anything.

And now I have an emergency sewing project: some more toobs, please, because one is lost and the weather is getting too chilly to be without such a thing. OK, I’ve tracked down the black polar fleece, must be close to locating the white and am clearing the sewing table. Back soon!

 

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replicating the toob

Bikes, whether of the pedal or motor variety, bring attendant problems, among which are to be found helmets and what you have to do when you’re wearing one and the weather is cold if you want to keep your head and face warm. (That made sense, didn’t it?) You want to be warm but not hot. Whatever keeps your head and face warm must not fall down when your helmet is pulled over it. There should be no bumpy adjustment mechanisms. Such things are OK with a pushbike helmet, where they don’t run into the helmet, but problematic with a motorbike helmet which covers a lot more of the rider’s head.

Dr B had what he called a toob – it might even be a Toob, though I think one of his other pieces of paraphernalia is an actual Toob – and Boy borrowed it to keep his face warm during his five-days-a-week motorbike ride into school. Winter here is nowhere near Antarctic in its coldness but it’s cold enough and although Boy loves the knitted balaclava I made him, it’s not quite the solution it could be because it’s too bulky under his helmet (even though I knitted it in soft yarn and sewed it up using a very flat seam, there’s just not a lot of space in a motorbike helmet, which is as it should be, of course).

The toob covered the bottom half of Boy’s face and didn’t need to go under his helmet in the way a balaclava does, so it was a winner. Except that it tended to pull down a bit when the helmet went on and the adjusting knob had a tendency to dig in but, you know, despite those disadvantages it was warm and not bulky. I offered to sew an imitation toob using black polar fleece (already in my stash, left over from sewing a supporter’s scarf for our first Head of the River regatta nearly five years ago) and sewing in some elastic instead of an adjusting knob. Boy and I discussed what width and softness of elastic we should use.

The other night, I sat down and made one, which is really a prototype in the sense that the elastic was a bit hit and miss and perhaps a firmer one than I should have used (I didn’t have quite enough of the softer elastic we’d decided on). But the toob doesn’t pull down when Boy pulls his motorbike helmet on and it keeps his face warm (he’s already used it for several short rides to shops), so, even if it’s a prototype, it’s functional.

Black imitator on left, blue original on right (showing knob adjuster)

I couldn’t say it was difficult. I mean to say, how hard is it to sew a simple tube? One side seam. Hem top and bottom leaving a small gap at one end to thread elastic (I could have made it with an attached elastic, but I didn’t). That end will be the top, because you pull the toob over your head and adjust it so your nose is nice and warm. It required only very simple sewing, which I can do reasonably well. Boy could have done it, but he was busy with homework. The toob works fine. I recommend such a thing if you’re looking for a quick, easy project (and you have a cyclist of some variety or other who’s looking for such an end product).

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Cycling, Knitting, Rowing, Sewing

 

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