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July 2020

Still learningMasksCornersRepairsBluprint updateRavelry’s new look

Still learning

Big thanks to all the generous knitters that took part in my little fundraiser! Together, we raised over $1000 for Campaign Zero. No doubt it’s a tiny drop in their budget bucket, but I hope it helps.

But here’s the problem. Condemning police brutality is easy. Ditto running a little fundraiser. Real change is hard. It’s going to take sustained effort to bring about big, structural change not just in law enforcement, but also in education and employment opportunities, in health care and mental health services, and in closing the wealth gap. It’s going to take serious effort to end structural racism.

But wouldn’t it be cool if we did? Can you imagine a society without poverty, without armed police, without bankruptcy caused by hospital bills? Can you imagine a society where everyone gets to contribute to the best of their abilities? That would be awesome.

I’m no expert. I don’t know how to get from the mess we’re in now to a just and equitable society. But I know it’s a worthy goal. So I’m learning. I’m reading books, and listening to podcasts and TED talks. (While knitting, of course! And while cooking, and taking walks, and...) It’s a start, I figure.

If you want to join in, I highly recommend The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale, and the podcasts Code Switch and It’s Been a Minute. And though I’ve just started listening, I suspect that We’re Having a Moment will be good too. What resources do you recommend?
Send me your suggestions

Masks

While we’re on the subject of massive upheaval in 2020, let’s talk about masks. By now, everyone knows they’re a smart way to avoid spreading coronavirus. I’ve made a number of masks, both pleated and fitted, from Sweet Red Poppy patterns...


...but I’m still making more, for a couple reasons:
  • To have enough on hand. Here in Oregon, they’re required when in any public indoor space.
  • Because I can’t help myself. You all know I like tweaking patterns, right? As much as I like the Sweet Red Poppy patterns, I keep trying little variations. What kind of elastic is the most comfortable? Exactly how long should that elastic be? What makes for the best nose piece, and should it be sewn into the mask or sewn to its exterior? Etc, etc.
What about you? Have you found a favorite mask pattern?
Tell me about your masks

Corners

In playing around with lace edgings in the past couple months, I’ve been curious: how do you get an attached edging to go smoothly around a corner, without cupping? The resources that I’ve read tell you to add fullness by attaching multiple rows to the same stitches, with more attachments for wider edgings. But as for figuring out exactly how many attachments you’ll need, given your edging pattern, yarn, and needle size? You’re left to figure that our for yourself.

Hmph.

Sure, sure, you could put in a lifeline, make a guess, give it a try, rinse and repeat. Trial and error, essentially. But is there a better way? I gotta think so. And that’s led me to play with this approach:
  • Knit up a length of unattached edging, with a chain selvedge along its unshaped edge.
  • Block it. (I’m serious. Don’t skip this step.)
  • Thread waste yarn into the loops of the chain selvedge.
  • Bend that waste yarn around a “corner,” and pin it into place.
  • Fuss with the edging. How many loops do you need to mush together, to get the edging to lie flat? Use that info to guide your initial attempts.

It’s a way of making an educated guess, and minimizing the number of attempts that need to be ripped back to the lifeline. More experimenting is required, of course – but it seems to have worked for this piece, which I managed to nail on the first attempt:


All this playing around is part of a long-term plan to make lace edgings more accessible for knitters. Stay tuned for more tips!
See this edging’s stitch map

Repairs

When repairing hand knits, I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. (Okay, okay, I admit I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes it a lot of things.) But when DH pointed out that nearly all the sweaters I’d knit for him over the years had holes in the elbows, then practicality outweighed perfectionism: I needed a way to repair the holes without re-knitting entire sleeves, duplicate-stitching tweedy slubby yarn in pattern, or driving myself nuts.

Patches to the rescue! Knit in pattern, in matching yarn, they would make the sweaters wearable again. Here’s how I’ve been going about it:
  • First, pick up stitches through the fabric, using new yarn, with the help of a crochet hook, without worrying too much about getting stitches of the same row. Close enough is good enough for a patch, right?
  • *Next, pull up a long loop of yarn through the fabric. Knit a couple rows with this yarn, then pull the excess yarn back to the wrong side. Repeat from *. Using a loop of yarn pulled through the fabric like this meant that one selvedge of the patch would be attached to the sweater – no sewing required!


  • Graft the top of the patch to the fabric. Actually, this is more of a “half graft,” with live stitches being attached to existing fabric. But whatever you call it, the end result is more fluid and less bulky than binding off and sewing down.
  • Sew the other selvedge in place, then weave in ends on the wrong side. Bonus points if you use the ends to lightly tack the holey old fabric to the patch.

So. Not pristine. Not perfect. But wearable, yes?

Bluprint update

Good news! It was just announced on Wednesday that Bluprint content has been purchased by TN Marketing. Maybe you’ve heard of them? They run several websites, including the National Sewing Circle and National Quilters Circle websites.
This means that the classes and subscriptions you’ve purchased will remain available: initially via the current Bluprint website, and soon enough on a new website. Yay!

Bluprint and TN Marketing are currently working towards making a smooth transition. Let’s wish them luck!
Read the announcement

Ravelry’s new look

Have you seen Ravelry’s new look? What do you think of it?

Myself, I found it too stark, so I switched back via the “Classic Ravelry” option in profile menu. Other people have reported much more serious issues, such as migraines.
 

Whatever your thoughts, take a moment to fill out Ravelry’s Feedback Questionnaire. Give the Ravelry team the data it needs to make informed decisions.
Take the survey
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