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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stripes for Cousin K

Last spring when I found out I was being an aunt again I casted on for another striped sweater. I still had some left over yarn from the Blue for Baby A, and I had some left over ideas on how to combine the colours.

I casted 176 stitches on the needles and began knitting in the round. After knitting a 2x2 rib in grey, I began knitting blue and white stripes. Each blue stripe consist of ten rows of blue , and each white stripe consists of eight rows of white.

This is the third time I have used this Drops pattern as a base for my own ideas (I have another sweater I still haven’t posted on Ravelry or here). I love the crew neck with the split, which makes it a baby friendly sweater when it comes to taking on and off. I am also a big fan of thin knitted garments as they warm, but are lightweight and does not feel bulky. Winter here is all about layers. Because the sweater is a small size it is still a pretty quick knit, even if it’s knitted on 2.5 mm needles.

Compared to “Blue for baby A”, this sweater is more “low key”, no bright yellow contrast. More subtle. Still, I couldn’t resist putting an x on one of the buttons holes.

In Novermeber, after spending time in the UFO pile for several months, I finished the last details (sewd on the buttons) in a hurry so this could be part of our Christening gift to Cousin K. Let’s just say that last minute photo shoots indoors in November does not give the best photo light. Have a nice Tuesday!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Leather Tag

Thank you for all the positive comments and feedback on the leather tag! Several of you have asked me how I made it and with what tools. Here is a tutorial for you in case you would like to make your own initials tag hat.

You need:
1. cutting mat
2. polymer or wooden mallet (do not use a metal hammer or metal tool as this will damage your leather stamps)
3. leather
4. alphabet stamps for leather
5. hole punch (2mm)
6. stamp handle
7. rotary cutter (or tapestry knife)
8. ruler
9. sponge
10. polymer cutting board or a wooden cutting board (not shown in the photos)

Cutting the leather
Cut your piece of leather into strips and cut each strip into several tags. My initials hat tag is 85mm long and 12mm wide. I also make other sizes depending on what kind of garment I am using them on. When making tags for hats I let the brim of the hat decide how wide and long the tag should be. For slippers I make a wider tag, and so on. I use the same rotary cutter I use for fabrics, a metal ruler and a cutting mat to protect my kitchen countertop.

Surface casing
You need to moisten the leather before stamping, this is called casing. There are two basic methods of casing, surface-casing and thru-casing. Which method is best depends on the thickness and size of your leather to be stamped. If it is a heavy weight leather and a big piece, you should use the thru-casing method. If the leather is lightweight and small you can use the surface-casing method.

My leather tags are small pieces of lightweight leather so I have used the surface-casing method. Surface-casing is when you wet the leather with a sponge on the skin-side of the surface. I however, did it on both the skinned side and on the flesh side (yes, I experimented a bit). Fill a glass bowl or a plastic container with water (metal containers can cause the leather to stain). With clean hands, apply the water as evenly as you can and dry of excess water that forms on top of the leather, (I have not done that yet in the photo above).

The rule of thumb is that if the leather is to dry when stamping, you will have to use excessive force and the leather will not accept the stamp impressions (This is exactly what I experienced with my first initials hat). If the leather is too wet it will form deep initial impressions, but will not retain the impression after it has dried. Try to moisten only the leather you are going to use there and then. If not you might have to re-moisten the leather too many times (which is not good).

When the leather begins to return to its natural colour, but still feels moist to the touch; begin stamping.

Stamping the letters
Place a polymer or wooden cutting board on a firm surface like a table or kitchen countertop. Place the leather on your cutting board, which will be your work surface. Place the letter stamps on your leather. Place the stamp handle in one of the letter stamps.

Make sure you hold the handle down firmly while striking with the mallet. If you are stamping more than one letter, place the stamp handle on the other letter, place it on the leather and repeat the procedure.

Use the hole-punch to make holes in the tag. Place the hole-punch where you would like the holes and strike with the mallet (but not as hard as when you were letter stamping). Your are now ready to sew your tag onto your knitted garment.

There are several alphabet stamp fonts. I bought the bottom one in Barcelona this fall, but I think my favourite is the one in the top. There are many different fonts and sizes in leather shops, hopefully you can find one that is right for your project.

If you decide to make an initials tag after reading this tutorial, and you blog about it, I would be happy if you link back to this post, as thanks. Oh, and please let us know what you plan to use the tag on, to continue the upward-inspiration-spiral. Thank you!

To read more about casting leather, visit this article by B. J. (Kirk) Kuykendall

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The AM hat

Another initials hat is off the needles with a leather tag placed in the front. This time after trying different options, I decided to put the label horizontally on the hat.

The hat is knitted in Drops Lima on 4mm needles. Approximately 70g disappeared from my Lima stash, including the pom pom. I used the “Initials tag hat” pattern, and added a few cm more before I began decreasing.

Usually I am the photographer in the house. I am used to stay behind the camera. This weekend however, I had to convince (… bribe) my daughter to take photos. She was a very professional bargainer and refused to take photos unless I made funny faces. So here I am, making funny faces. Hello to you all!
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

Next week I’ll be posting a tutorial on how to make the leather tag. In the meantime I’ll be knitting another hat and enjoying a cup of very warm tea (because it’s freezing here this week).

Welcome back next week!

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Things I Made

Welcome back! Did you have a nice and relaxing holiday? We did, and it was just what we needed. Slow days and lots of time to spend with each other.

These are a few of the things I made last year, they make me want to continue making things into the new year, just so that I can put them together in a collection of photos like this.

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me here on the blog during 2013. I have enjoyed getting to know you a little bit more for each exchange we have had, big or small, it is always nice.

Some of you I have known for a while now, while others are new. I apreciate all your kind words, questions and funny comments. Now I am looking forward to continue making, sharing, inspire and be inspired by you all during 2014.