Christmas Angel final pics

We finished decorating the Christmas Tree tonight so I was finally able to take pics of my Christmas Angel tree topper in place on her cloud.  Click on the pics for bigger versions.  The first one is with flash and the 2nd is without.

Honestly, we refer to her as the Christmas Fairy.  It fits better with our beliefs.  I’m absolutely thrilled with how she looks.  She’s like a queen up there.  I should make her a crown or a tiara.

In case you are wondering, yes those are ornaments hanging from the ceiling.  I have a huge collection of Christmas ornaments.  My tree is much smaller than it used to be so they don’t all fit plus I have cats so the bottom half of my tree is all paper, plastic and metal ornaments.

Many years ago we strung wire across the ceiling, more or less in a starburst shape.  That wire was wrapped in alternating gold and red bead garland.  It stays up year round.  We hang the ornaments from that.

With the ceiling , the tree, the garlands (2 archways and one window), the top of the dvd case (which I treat like a very shallow fireplace mantle) plus some shelves, there is a lot of Christmas in my living room.  The red walls and chocolate brown trim only adds to the feel.

I am cautiously getting back to knitting.  I’m trying to be more aware of how I’m holding my head/neck and completely avoiding hunching over my knitting.  So far, so good.

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Altering A Christmas Angel Tree Topper

And now for something completely different.

I’ve not been knitting or spinning because I’ve got a terrible neck ache.  It’s part tension from Thanksgiving stress and part too much knitting.  So I’ve been trying to find other things to do.  Hopefully I’ll be getting a massage soon that will help.

I’ve been Christmas decorating and most of it is now done.  Just the tree and a few pictures left to go.  I pulled out my angel tree toppers. I have 2 and use whichever one I like best each year.  The problem is that I while I like them, I don’t love them.  I want a new one but they’re quite expensive and I never find one I truly love anyway.

I decided to try altering one of my existing angels.  After some careful and gentle poking and prodding I discovered that the clothing and wings are just glued on and it all came off quite easily.  So I dove into my fabric stash and came up with some gauzy fabrics and a lightweight solid that matched.  I’ve no idea what the fabrics are called.  The gauzy stuff I got from a rummage sale held by a lady from India and the solid was salvaged from a dress I dismantled.

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My angel sits atop a cloud of angel hair (the real spun glass kind that’s banned now.  I buy it anytime I find it at rummage sales and thrift stores.)  The skirts on store bought angels never really floated over that cloud properly.  So first up I doubled up the burgundy gauzy stuff and hand stitched a line so I could gather it up.  There’s probably enough fabric there to go around my waist so it’s nice and poofy on the angel’s 7 inch waist.

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It needed an underskirt as the gauzy stuff it still very sheer, even doubled.  So I hand sewed one out of the solid.  Next was a bodice, which is just the solid plus a gauzy gold just tacked together and then glued to the angel.

I had been planning to make a sort of coat, like the original clothes so next was sleeves.  Same as the bodice, but no glue and better sewing, still by hand.  I should of used a red thread.  The gold stands out.  I may glue on some ribbon later to hide it.

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I spent some time trying to figure out how to do a coat and failed.  In doing so I wrapped fabric around the angel’s shoulders like a shawl and really liked the effect.  So more playing around and adding the sleeves and more of the gold gauzy fabric and I got a look I really like.

So next is gluing the sleeves on and trimming the excess fabric.  Plus a little tacking down at the wrists so the sleeves stay put and don’t slide off over her hands.  I also glued down the bodice in back.  Then attaching the skirts properly.  I simply took the ends of the thread from the gathering, pulled them tight and knotted them.  I added a dab of glue on the knot.  I debated (am still debating) a ribbon belt/sash around the waist.  I’m just not sure how that would work over the poofy skirt.

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Finally I added the shawl.  I just gathered up the fabric, and tucked, pulled and arranged to my liking.  No glue or sewing.

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Now I am pondering wings.  Both if I should even add them and if I do, how to make them.

Wings or no wings, I’m now pretty excited to get my tree up and see how she looks up on her cloud.

FO and WIP

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A finished sweater and a new one started!

Both are Top Down Raglan Sweater Generator

Finished sweater is about 672 yards of reclaimed DK weight yarn.

size 8 needle.
gauge – 4.5 st per inch, 5 rows per inch.
42 inch bust – loose fit
Did neck band with size 6 needle, wrists with size 8 and garter stitch for bottom band.
Decreased every 3 rows instead of 4 on the sleeves.

I probably should have gone with size 6 needles for the wrists as the ribbing is a bit loose. Sleeves are a bit long but the cuffs fold up nicely and I may want that bit of extra length in the middle of winter when my hands are ice cold.

Other than the sleeves, the sweater is everything I wanted. Almost oversized, baggy, comfortable sweater. Much like the sweatshirts I’ve been wearing.  Honestly I’ve been wearing it for a few days and it’s so comfortable and warm but so far not too warm. I’m very pleased.  Oh and that lighter band of grey across the middle is not visible in real life.  I’m sure it’s probably there as the shades of grey did change from skein to skein but the camera picked it up much more than the naked eye does.  Or it might be my camera as it does seem to extend onto the sleeves and each sleeve was one skein.  Oh well, camera is old.

The WIP sweater is handspun corriedale, sportweight – ish with size 6 needles.  I used the comfortable fit instead of loose fit to make is a bit smaller. The first sweater is almost too loose.  Color is off in the pic.  My camera hates purples.  This yarn is unevenly dyed, the skeins were dyed at different times and some are almost variegated.  I’m just going to knit them as they come and if I don’t like it in the end I can always toss the finished sweater in the dye pot to even things out.

Sweater decisions

No picture because it’s the same as the last, just longer.

I tried it on today and I’m pleased with the fit.  Big and comfy.  It’s possibly a bit too warm until the temps drop a bit more.  Currently it’s in the 30’s most days.  Once it drops below freezing on a regular basis, this sweater should be perfect.

Right now, unblocked, it sits at my waist.  I need to decide how much longer it needs to be.  I’m planning 2 inches of garter stitch instead of ribbing.  I don’t want it to draw in at the bottom.  Experience blocking the dressing gown tells me that this yarn grows a lot in blocking.  Probably 2 inches or more on something that was already from my neck to dragging on the floor and that was I was just trying to flatten it, not stretch it.

It’s about 6 inches to where I want it to fall.  Subtract the 2 inches of garter and that’s 4 inches.  But that measurement is for the blocked sweater.  I don’t think garter stitch will stretch as much as stockinette so it’s really just the 4 inches I need to consider.  Do I knit 2 more inches and plan on 2 inches more in blocking?  It’s a very stretchy yarn so it can take a hard block if needed.  It could be a little shorter or longer in the end without a problem.

I just grabbed the sweater and yanking hard on it lengthwise I can pull it 10 inches longer.  I think 2 more inches of knitting will be fine and I can block it the rest of the way.  Maybe 1.5 inches to account for stretch in the garter section.  Can you tell I’d like to finish knitting this sooner rather than later?  I still have to knit the sleeves and I’d like to be done or close to done by the end of Thanksgiving weekend.

And I’ll have to make these same decisions for the sleeves.  Those will end in 2 inches of ribbing.  I’ve also noted that people had problems with the decreases being too slow in the sleeves.  I can see how that may be a problem.  For this sweater it’s 2 stitches decreased every 4 rows, starting with 91 stitches.  I’ll try that at first but anticipate having to increase faster after the elbow.  Probably a lot of trying on when I get to that point.

Sweater WIP

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Top Down Raglan Sweater Generator – I just wanted a simple, top down, in the round sweater.  This one is free and so far, pretty good.  I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner.  While I’ve not knitted a sweater before (unless you count the dressing gown as a really long cardigan) I do have a lot of knitting experience so the not very detailed instructions are not a problem.

The nice thing is that you input your bust measurement, needle size and gauge (it does require a swatch but I used the dressing gown as it is the same needle and yarn) and type of fit (I chose loose as I wanted it big and almost oversized. and then it spits out the instructions.  So if I wanted to add a pattern or lace or whatever, I would do my swatch in that to get the gauge and theoretically it would fit just fine.

Honestly, I’m happy with plain sweaters for now.  I have already started planning my next sweater out of some handspun.

Design fail

It was going so well.  I’ve been working hard on the Dwarrow stocking design.  The leg looks good.  The heel flap and heel are okay but the foot…the foot is a disaster.

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The gusset need some sort of design to ease the decrease line.  The foot design is way too big. This is just halfway through the chart.  If I finish it, it’ll be longer than the leg.  The stripes are acting as ribbing.  While some of that would block out, this is acrylic, so it would still be weird.  Despite my best efforts, it seems like my floats are too short, pulling the blue line of stitches apart to show the float beneath.  I don’t understand that since the floats make big annoying loops while it’s bunched up to knit.

It’s time to admit that this design is a fail and frog it.  On the plus side, the leg design will make a pretty cowl.  So it’s not a total loss.

I still need to release the Hap style shawl.  I’ll get around to it one of these days.  In the mean time, this stocking gets frogged and then I can use the needle to start a sweater (which is not my design.  I’ve never knit a sweater so there’s no way I could design one.)