Custom Knitting Orders

A couple of months back I had an email asking whether I would be interested in designing and knitting up 50 “St George Flag Headbands”for an Alpine Skiing Team.

At the time I had a few orders I was in the middle of, but emailed back and agreed to undertake the custom order.

During the past couple of months I have been working out the design that my customer would be happy with. Firstly, I had to find out the dimensions of the headbands and then what thickness he wanted them and what stitch pattern he wanted.

I originally hoped that I would be able to do the headbands on the knitting-machine as the thought of having to hand-knit 50 headbands seemed like a mammoth task. As I was hoping to use the knitting-machine I knitted up a couple of plain stocking stitch samples on the knitting-machine and sent them off to my customer.

Upon my customer receiving them he immediately informed me that they were much to thin and needed to be double the thickness. At this I thought okay I will try knitting them on the knitting-machine using double-knitting yarn instead of the original 4ply.

As I did not have any double-knitting yarn on a cone I sent off for a cone of silver grey. When it arrived I was immediately concerned as it was much thicker than hand-knitting double-knit yarn. I thought I would give it a go and set the tension to the loosest my machine would go to which was 10..

I knew it would be a struggle but little did I know that it would be impossible to knit on my standard gauge Brother 970 knitting-machine. The yarn was much too thick. I was aghast as it would appear that I would have to hand knit the headbands after all.

I emailed my customer and informed him that using the knitting-machine would be a no-go and I would have to do them by hand.

My next problem was which thickness of yarn to use. I immediately thought chunky as double-knit hand-knitting yarn would be too fine, so I again got onto the net and ordered a ball of chunky hand-knitting yarn.

Whilst I was waiting for the yarn to arrived I set to the task of what stitch pattern to use. My customer didn’t like the stocking stitch as it was too plain so I purchased some stitch pattern books and looked through them. I found a couple of patterns which may be suitable and emailed him pictures. He decided he liked the “Loop Stitch” pattern and we settled on that.

Once the chunky yarn arrived I set to knitting a tension swatch and worked out the stitches to cast on and the rows to knit. Maths is not my favourite subject but I managed it quite well and set to knitting the “Loop Stitch” headband. This is a picture of the final headband.

Loop Stitch Headband

Once my customer received the headband he emailed me and mentioned that it seemed to be knitted quite tightly and would I be able to knit it looser. The reason it was tightly knitted was I thought the tighter it was knitted the warmer it would be (and it was very tough knitting it). I was so glad he wanted it looser as it was hard work knitting it tight.

After thinking about it I agreed to knit a sample headband with the St George’s Flag on it in Chunky yarn on a larger needle and the same headband using Aran weight yarn. He was happy about this and away I went again ordering more yarn.

Once the yarn arrived I set of knitting more tension gauges and did more maths and away I went.

I think they came out really well. The first picture is the headband using Aran weight yarn and the second picture is using Chunky yarn. Which do you prefer??

Aran weight Headband

Chunky weight headband

Once I had completed the headbands I immediately preferred the Aran weight yarn and tied some yarn in a bow onto it so that my customer would know which one I preferred and sent them off to him.

Once he received them he immediately emailed me and confirmed that he also preferred the Aran weight headband and we agreed to commence with the order with a couple of differences. He now wanted 25 St George’s Headbands and 25 of various other flag headbands. I agreed to knit the 25 St George Headbands first and work out the other ones at a later date.

I set off working out how many balls of yarns of the two colours I needed and sent away for them. they arrived last week and as I have completed the order I was working on I began the headbands yesterday.

I have now completed one headband and have cast on for the second….I am bored of the headbands already but as it is a good order then I will persevere. I am hoping to have the 25 completed in plenty of time for Christmas (they take in excess of 4 hours to make each one) and will begin the last 25 after Christmas.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about how I work through an order from beginning to end and would enjoy hearing about your process of orders….


Ill Health (again) and Knitting Orders

Yet again I begin this blog with an apology. I know I said I would blog more regularly but my back has had different ideas. Yes, you guessed it I pushed my back too far and it went again (twice)…I have now learnt my lesson and am taking it really easy as I would definitely like it to be healed by Christmas…

Backs are funny things (not literally)….you don’t give them a second thought until you hurt them and then it is all you can think of. Every move I make hurts and sometimes even breathing hurts…Every couple of days I wake up during the night and am in agony, so have to take my strong painkillers which means that I sleep through most of the next day and nothing gets done….

Take last weekend for instance, most of the weekend I felt okay…had to take the Ibuprofen but not the stronger painkillers…On Monday I had to go out and do some grocery shopping as we were running out of most things and hubby was working, so I got dressed, took some Ibuprofen and went out.

Everything went okay until I pushed my back too far (again). I went to Wilkinsons to get some Christmas shopping then to Morrisons for the grocery shopping. Poundstretchers was next as I was in search of a baby doll to be a model for me (will blog about that next time). I then had to call at Farm Foods to get something for my tea as I had decided to have pizza and don’t really like the ones pre-made in Morrisons.

By the time I had left Morrisons I should have really gone home as my back was hurting, but no, I pushed it further and continued shopping. I then had to call at my parents as I had some photos which I had printed out for my father. He had just got home and had bought a new tumble dryer so I stayed to show him and my mum how to use it. Of course then my mum asked me to show her how to use her laptop (again) and then had to stop at hubby’s work to drop off his food for tea. Whilst there my mum phoned me up as she was having problems with the laptop (again) and I had to call back there to show her how to sort it out.

I had left the house at 3pm and did not get home until 9.30pm…A looooonnnnngggg day……

The rest of the week has meant that I have been resting my back trying to get it to heal. Backs are slow healers.

My Stitch’n’Bitch meeting was this evening so I had to get the four necklaces which had been ordered before my back went five-six weeks ago completed. I had only done one of them and after sitting there trying to get my head round the complex beading patterns decided to give two of the ones I had pre-made and were up on Etsy for sale, this only left one. I had major problems getting my head round the patterns and eventually found a really easy one and made that up over the course of two days, just in time for tonights Stitch’n’Bitch. The good news is, the lady who had ordered them loved them and totally understood the reason it took so long for her to receive them and I got paid.

Why is it when you are ill you get loads of orders all at once and when you are healthy there are none. Just before my back went I was asked to knit 50 headbands, 2 dog sweaters and the 4 beaded necklaces…since then I have also been asked to knit a 48″ cabled cardigan and of course the requests of baby cardigans off of my mother and sister.

I got the two sample headbands knitted and they were approved and now need to knit 25 of them before Christmas….one of the dog sweaters is completed and I have started on the second which is a complex four sets of cables pattern and finished the beaded necklace order…Oh I have also completed one of the baby cardigans for my sister.

All I have to do now is get the cabled dog sweater finished and knit all 25 headbands before Christmas…the rest can wait until the New Year…

I have now got a new Laptop and that took some setting up as I had a million and one programmes to install on it. The first few days was a nightmare with it as for some reason everytime I ran the Windows Update it would mess the laptop up totally, which meant resetting it all back to the Factory Settings. Finally I sorted it out and it is working brilliantly.

Next time I blog I will post some pics of what I have been working on and hopefully will have good news about my health, until then wrap up warm – preferably in something nice and woolly…