Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cutting and Sewing Knitting and Crocheting

We'll have to backtrack a little bit here. Back a ways when I was churning out Project Linus blankets from cheap acrylic, I also heard of a charity that makes sideways knit sweaters for kids in Romania. I threw a couple together (had a MK pattern to go by even)...it's just a knit "T" with short sleeves sticking straight out, which works for babies but not so much for anyone older than two, unless they have broken both collar bones. I made the large ones and tried them on and they were hideous. Maybe someone in Romania is that hard up, but I just couldn't send them. However, I didn't know what to do with them, so I stuck them in a basket in the guest room closet. (A perusal of my guest room closet will demonstrate that this is the Kath way to deal with any uncertain disposition.)

I found them the other day, having completely forgotten about them and about the other odd pieces of knit fabric I had churned out for who knows what purpose. But anyway, it's turned cold here (60 day time high, 35 night time low--this passes for cold in Houston.) I was wearing my recently constructed pullover that I cut and sewed, and I really like it!

So I took those old Romanian atrocities and one of Ashley's tops, and I cut out a pullover for her. I am learning my technique. I cut a seam allowance of 1/2" and I zigzagged right on the edge of the load-bearing seams, like the neckline and hems, which weren't going to be joined with anything else. I made a narrow zigzag (2 out of 5 wide, 4 out of 5 long) and bumped my presser foot up to the setting for the highest loft, and sewed the seams. My sewing experience came in handy, because I know to do the shoulder seams first, then the sleeves (they weren't set in, obviously), then the sides. Afterwards, I serged the excess seams together with my serger set at high loft, with wooly nylon in the upper looper and cone sewing thread in all the rest. This takes out the bulk and the raw edges. When you're sewing the seams and then serging the edges, it is important to push the fabric toward the presser foot, to keep from getting lettuce edge...unless of course you WANT lettuce edge, which is a pretty cute treatment, but on the outside edges, not on the inside ones. I figure I will try serging the edges of the seams before sewing them together sometime, just to compare, just for the knowing.

One more tip: If you are going to cut and sew, you MUST have canned air! Fiber gets everywhere, especially in your bobbin, and along the plate next to the blade of your serger, and it can bring everything to a screeching halt if you don't clear it often. And if you blast your machine with canned air that often, you will also need to oil it fairly frequently.

So I tried it on Ashley and she loves it because it is hairy and soft, and I like it because it was a waste and now it is a something, and it's entirely machine wash and dry. It's been wonderful to have two successive successes!

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