Friday, September 7, 2012

Mary Maxim Aran Kimono Kit Review

by Kelly

The project for my aunt is done!

I tossed the finished product in the washer and tumble dried it for ten minutes and it is now wonderfully soft. And warm. Too warm to try on for even a few minutes in this ninety degree weather.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with this kit. The project was really fast to put together, even for an inexperienced knitter like me - it took less than two weeks. And the blend of knitting and crochet meant that it was never boring to work on. The acrylic yarn itself has varying thickness, so it self tweeds, without being either scraggly or too thick to work. And the little fluffs of dark gray add great texture and color.

There was also more than enough yarn to compete the project. I actually had a bit left over. Maybe my fabric should have been tighter?

My one quibble with the kit was the lack of guidance where seaming was concerned. I used mattress stitch on the vertical seam, and single crochet for the side seams. It actually worked out really well - it gives the garment a little more structure, while blending in perfectly with the edging.

At the same time, from the front or back, it's almost invisible:

Here's one last picture, posed artistically, as though I were putting it in the shop for sale:

I do love the colors and texture of that Aran Tweed yarn. I might have to get some for myself. It would make an awesome, soft and washable sweater. And with this latest success, I'm almost feeling brave enough to tackle the sweater project that has been languishing in a box since last winter. Almost.

Meanwhile, I had two gauge swatches that I had no use for - but then I got creative, so I took one of them apart and found another use for that yarn.

All together now....Awww! This little guy is going in the bag with the kimono. I hope my aunt gives him a good home.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Seaming the Mary Maxim Aran Tweed Kimono

by Kelly

Work proceeds on the Mary Maxim Kimono project. Now that all the pieces of the garment have been made, there is one more hurdle for an inexperienced knitter like me - seaming the thing together.

Seaming isn't my first love. There are any number of things I would rather do, including visiting the dentist and itemizing my taxes. Sadly, it wasn't the season for either of those chores, so I didn't have an excuse to put the project aside.

Warning: Although there isn't any flash photography in the pictures ahead, there is some potentially eye-searing orange shag carpeting. You may wish to change the color setting on your monitor, but then again you might not, because those settings will never go back to normal despite hours and even days of fiddling. Trust me on this one. A better solution might be to put on a pair of dark sunglasses. Ignore anyone who laughs at you for surfing the net with cool shades on.

Here's the garment all laid out on the floor, ready for the next step:

There are all kinds of ways to seam knitting together. The most invisible is mattress stitch, which is used to join two vertical rows together:

Mattress stitch takes a little work to get the hang of, but it's well worth all the effort. It's very gratifying to pull the seaming thread tight and watch the stitches zip themselves together.

But then I hit a snag - I had to seam two horizontal rows together. See how the little v's of the knitting are lying on their sides in exhaustion, rather than standing up straight? That's the first clue that trouble lies ahead:

The Mary Maxim pattern didn't offer any suggestions here, because they were trying to cram the whole pattern onto one sheet of paper, and there was no room for extraneous material...except for those images of basic crochet stitches, that is. Left on my own hook, I did what I always do, and turned to the Internet for help.

I found a simple tutorial on shoulder seaming at TLC knitting, so I tried that first. I wasn't happy, though, because it left a little runnel or valley in the finished side. So I took that out and tried a slip stitch crochet edge, which also didn't work out. Eventually I settled on a 'single crochet' seam, and I'm reasonably happy with how it looks. It blends in well with the crochet edging that  is going on the edges of the garment, and as a bonus provides nice folding lines.

I did a little more research, though, and found what I think might be a better solution for anyone else who might be working on this kit  - backstitch seaming. There's a good tutorial with tips at I have already started the edging and don't feel like frogging it at this point, otherwise I would give this kind of seam a try.

Now, all of this might seem (pun intended) really obvious to more experienced knitters, but I personally would have appreciated a little more guidance in the written instructions than "seam the edges neatly together". And speaking of guidance, for a wonderful page devoted completely to seaming knits, check out VogueKnitting. This link is definitely going into my bookmarks folder.

I'm off to finish the crochet edging to the kimono. Yay! Nearly done!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...