Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Ilene Levy at the GRAMKC seminar

I promised you some info on Ileen Levy (http://www.ileen.com/). The first thing she told us was that News and Views is being published again, and the first six issues have been released. It is being published bi-monthly. The new publisher is Country Knitting of Maine, and is available through Ileen or from from Linda Williams, http://www.countryknittingofmaine.com. Well, that was exciting enough!

Ilene's first seminar had to do with measuring yourself for use with her Design-a-Pattern software package, which is a charting package.

Accurate body measurements are probably a number-one requirement for success in knitting, whether designing your own pattern or adjusting someone else's. (Obviously the gauge swatch is number 2!) Ileen was so motivating, she really made me feel that it's not quite so complicated at all, I came home and on Sunday, took out a cone of bulky yarn that has been sitting around for a while, and knitted a gauge swatch according to her directions. Only since I was using a bulky machine, my swatch was 20 stitches by 30 rows instead of 40 x 60, as I would do on a standard bed machine. Ileen's method is to leave a stitch out of work on either side of the 20 (or 40) stitches - she pointed out that on all the Japanese machines, there is a marking on the needle strip that shows which needles to leave out of work. (I think my Brother manual might have said to mark those stitches, I will have to look that up later, Ileen's method is simpler). She uses an e-wrap cast on for her swatches, and marks the tension setting with eyelets at the end. Irene then uses blocking wires (I didn't for the swatch above) and steams it. If wool or cotton, you may want to pre-wash before measuring. Acrylic is probably good with a steaming.

This yarn is labelled 1/95 (date?) in big letters it says 356, below that Ruby, Blend 7378/8434 Lot No. 2. I see no info on manufacturer. The yarn on the cone is kind of rough-feeling, which is probably why it is still in my stash, but once knitted into the swatch, and steamed, it actually feels soft. I have no idea if it is wool or synthetic. I will have to do the "burn test", I suppose. ***Update: it smelled like hair burning, must be wool or silk/wool blend.

This yarn yielded a gauge of 5.25" over 20 stitches, or 3.8 stitches per inch, and 5.125 inches over 30 rows, or 5.85 row per inch.

I am planning to make a jacket to replace this one:

It is a jacket that I loved and wore quite often - too often, as the stuffing is now coming out of the quilted section of the jacket. The jacket was silk, and the outer shell seemed to tear every time I turned around. The sleeves zipped out - I have removed one to cut the seam and measure the sleeve dimensions.


One tip that is useful regardless of whether you have Ilene's software or not - BE SURE TO BREATHE IN when measuring the bust measurement. She demonstrated this with our model, and sure enough, the "breathy" measurement was a full inch bigger. She also noted that when measuring the arm length, to be sure to do it with the arm bent, as it seems to be a slightly longer measurement. She also demonstrated using a clipboard or knitting pattern book or something similar over the "curvy" places when taking a hip measurement or underarm measurement, to make sure that the garment is big enough to encompass the lumps as well as the bumps.

Ileen's software looked interesting and I was sorely tempted. But I have Garment Designer and I don't use it enough, so I reluctantly kept my wallet in my pocketbook.

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