June 04, 2006
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April 25, 2006
I'm taking the plunge. I've moved to my own domain -- http://www.savannahchik.com/
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April 23, 2006
Leaps of Faith
When I was in grade school I made a lot of my clothing. I think I started around the sixth grade. I don't even remember a time when I didn't know how to sew, or even learning how to sew.
My mom is an excellent seamstress and she was thrilled to have a willing pupil. My older sister wanted no part of it, so she really loved teaching me the details that make all the difference -- how a little tuck here or a gentle curve there makes all the difference.
You know how we knitters struggle with sewing in our first set-in sleeve? Seamstresses do too. I couldn't properly sew a set-in sleeve until the eighth grade. Until then, my mom had to do all my sleeves for me. I think the time I finally got it all on my own was bittersweet for her -- I had progressed, but it also meant I didn't need her quite as much. Mom, I have news for you...I still need you and I'm 34!
You might be wondering why I'm sharing all of this with you. Well, it gets to the essence of why I knit, how my knitting has evolved, and where I want to go with it.
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about how knitting patterns are created, the lines they have, and the technical details that make them work. All those years of sewing have helped me understand things like what a sleeve should look like, or how to use short rows to get that perfect fit.
And what this is leading up to is this. I've decided to take the plunge and design a few patterns.
Am I nervous? You bet. But if I don't try this I'll always wonder what I might have been able to do. Worst case, I'll have myself a few really well-fitting tops.
So here's my first design. She's yet unnamed.
Drape is important for this design in order to get a nice fluid line from the empire waist. And, with its wide neck and short sleeves, it's definitely for the warm weather. So, I'm using Euroflax Linen.
The swatch has gone through one round of washing and drying. The "yarn" starts out feeling like string. Twine, even. But after it gets washed it softens and blooms and makes a lightweight, drapey fabric.
The 2 strands on the right show the difference -- the top is before-washing and the bottom is after. The after shot shows you just what happens. It gets fluffier, develops a bit of a white halo, and the plies come together to make a single strand of yarn.
Knitting with this yarn takes a leap of faith. Fitting for my first design, no?
April 22, 2006
How To: Short Row Raglan Shoulders
Thank you all for the wonderful comments on Somewhat Cowl!
Several people left comments asking for more details on the short rows that I inserted in the shoulders. I'll share with you what I did, and what I think you'll need to do for yourself.
The point I want to stress is that you must do this by trying it on your own body. Shoulder width, drape and stretch of yarn and armhole depth will all play a part in how many short rows you need.
Here's an updated version of the illustration I presented in my last post.
This illustration shows you how SC's shoulders fit me after doing the yoke. The end of the yoke came out at a soft angle rather than a harsh 90 degrees.
After looking at SC on my body in the mirror, I decided I need about 1.5 inches total length added in the center of the sleeve, tapering out to nothing at the edges.
So, here's what I did, starting with the first row of the sleeve after knitting the yoke (let's assume a gauge of 6 spi):
Row 1: Pickup and knit stitches at armhole, and then around the sleeve until 15% of the sleeve stitches from the center top of the sleeve are knit. So, if the sleeve had a total of 100 stitches, knit 15 stitches past the center top of the sleeve. Wrap and turn.
Row 2: Purl 29, wrap and turn.
Row 3: Knit 35, wrap and turn (picking up and knitting wrap when you come to it).
Row 4: Purl 41, wrap and turn (picking up and knitting wrap when you come to it).
Keep following the above, going an extra 6 stitches (1 inch) past the last row's short row until a total of 1.5 inches of short rows have been knit.
Once they've been knit, start knitting all sleeve stitches in the round. For short sleeves on SC, this means knit an inch of sleeve in stockinette before switching to 2x2 rib.
Let me know if this makes sense, or if you think I've left something out. Like so many things in knitting (or just because I'm Italian and like talking with my hands) it would be a lot easier to demonstrate in person than try to get it down on paper.
April 18, 2006
FO: Somewhat Cowl
Can I tell you guys how much I LOVE this sweater! The yarn, the fit, the fact that it got done in 2 weeks. Two Weeks!
Pattern Somewhat Cowl by Wendy Bernard
Yarn Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed in a fabulous sage with bits of kelly green and roasted pumpkin
- Silky Tweed's gauge is 5.5 spi, and the pattern was written for 6 spi. This was an easy mod, I just used cast on numbers for a smaller size. I think the yarn would have knit up at 6 spi as well but with the wool and silk content I didn't want to knit it tighter for fear I'd roast in the thing. With short sleeves I wanted it to breathe.
- I did a much shorter raglan depth (I think it was 9.5 inches measured along the diagonal increase line). If I did it again I'd go even a half inch less. I'm short and I like fitted armholes.
- I started the cowl much earlier because I'm busty and I didn't want to need to wear a tank underneath it.
- I added short rows at the bust. I started them 1/4 of the way in on each side, spaced them an inch apart, and did 6 short rows on each side. This added about an inch of length and made the sweater fall evenly across my bust.
- I added waist shaping. Just an inch in on all sides.
- I lengthened the body ribbing to 4 inches so the body would end exactly where I wanted it to end. Gotta love top-down for that.
- I short rowed the sleeves a bit. A classic problem with raglans is that the sleeves come out from the body at a sharp angle, while your shoulders actually curve in a much more graceful way. So, I added a few short rows at the tops of each sleeve. I think it did the trick because there isn't any bunching along the shoulders.
- For the cowl, I reduced all purl 2's to purl 1's at the bottom of the cowl and at each point where the cowl meets the sleeves. I did this by following the directions as written for 1.5 inches, then decreasing in the places I mentioned, and knitting for another 1.5 inches. Then I increased all the purl 1's back up to purl 2's. This encourages the cowl to fold.
- I decided I liked the cowl better folded out. No change to the pattern, it's just more comfortable to me. After wearing it for a day I've decided to sew the cowl down at the bottom of the U. My seatbelt kept catching it and it started to pucker up (you can see it in the pic above).
Thoughts on the Yarn
I love this yarn. After having worn it for a whole day I can tell you that while it does have wool and silk in it that it really lets you breathe too. Two non-knitters complimented me on the sweater (without knowing it was handknit) and they both commented on how cool the coloring was. The yarn has a lot of depth.
The one "feature" this yarn has is that the ribs flatten out. It's probably to low amount of wool in proportion to the cotton and silk. It works well for this design, but I wouldn't use it for something that requires cinched ribbing. I suspect a heavily cabled design would also be wider in this yarn than in a 100% wool. I don't think it would poof up like a wool.
Still, I love this yarn and I will definitely be making more things out of it. The color selection is great and the gauge is versatile.
I Can Get Used To This
So yeah, it's still all Saffy all the time.
|cardigan fronts always look so tiny to me!|
I've now knit a full ball of yarn (just over 100 yards). They're not kidding when they warn you about the dye coming off on your hands. Look! After I realized how much dye was on my hands I stuck the yarn in a ziploc bag and was careful to watch what it touched. So far so good.
I've heard that denim yarn can be hard on your hands. I haven't experienced any of this yet, but I don't often get wrist or arm pain while knitting. So I'm not sure I'm a great barometer for those kinds of issues.
I was tempted to go with Elann's Den-M-Nit because the price was so good. But since this is my first denim project I thought I'd try Rowan's version first. I got mine on eBay from Jannette's Rare Yarns. At $4 a ball I thought it was worth giving it a try. Even though Jannette's is in the UK it only took a week to arrive (I've ordered from her before and had the same experience). She ships as fast as you pay.
I know this won't be my last Denim experience though. Denim People has so many nice patterns!
I've always liked Delta, but Rowan got lazy and only did the pattern in one size. I know why they did it--they didn't want to bother calculating out how to knit those two triangles to meet up properly for multiple sizes. But seriously Rowan...isn't that why I buy a pattern to begin with?
April 17, 2006
Silky Tweed Anyone?
I have 6 unwound hanks plus 4/5ths of a hank that's wound (I only used a little bit to finish the second sleeve).
I love the yarn but I'm done with the green. So, I'll either sell it for $38 including shipping ($34 plus $4 for shipping) if you're in the US, or if you want to trade for another color of Silky Tweed I'd be game for that too. The post that showed the color best for my monitor is this post.
Retail price is $8 a hank, so even with shipping it's still 30% off of retail price.
Email me at savannahchik AT yahoo.com if you're interested.
April 16, 2006
Do Not Adjust Your Monitors
No, you're not seeing things. I started a new project. And you know what that means, right? Yup, Somewhat Cowl is done. It fits really well and I'll post pics once I get some good shots.
I never noticed Saffy until I came across it at Bestitched. Hers is gorgeous and couldn't fit her better. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it. The yarn arrived on Friday but I was a good girl and waited until I finished Somewhat Cowl before I even opened up the yarn.
After finishing Somewhat Cowl in two weeks I'm wondering how long it would take to knit Saffy if I gave her the same kind of commitment. Truth be told I doubt it will happen though. While I think the results of monogamous knitting are great, I just don't think I can do it all the time!
April 14, 2006
Yup, the cowl's done. All I have is a few hours worth of sleeve knitting and this will be totally done!
If all goes well I'll be able to wear it out to dinner tomorrow night.
I never thought that'd be possible two weeks ago when I cast on. Imagine how much I could get done if I was this focused all the time!
April 11, 2006
I've finished the body ribbing. I ended up doing closer to 4 inches of ribbing just so the body would end exactly where I wanted it to end.
Sunday night I picked up stitches around the cowl -- 208 (yay! divisible by four!) -- and promptly went to bed. That's more stitches than what was on the body.
I now have a couple of inches of cowl ribbing done, and I've made another notable mod. I decreased the ribbing along the back neck as well as the center portion (where you cast on extra stitches to join the two fronts). I decreased approximately 10 stitches in each area, and I did it by changing a purl 2 to a purl 1 in all those places. Click on the left pic below--see how the ribs look like they're getting closer together? That's because they are.
Why did I do this? Well, I've seen a few of the SCs out there that have looked a little floppy, and I was concerned that mine might do that too. So, decreasing the cowl and then increasing it back will give it more support and help the under layer to stay close to my body.
See that pic on the right? That's to show you what a 9.5 inch raglan depth looks like on me. There's still plenty of room. I did cast on about 8 stitches at each underarm to merge the front with the back, but still -- that length is plenty long.
Now, I'm only 5'2" so I'm sure some of you will need longer. My point in showing you this is to realize you don't need that long of a raglan. In fact, raglans that are too long are ill-fitting because they restrict your arm movement (and pull up your sweater more as you raise your arm), and bunch up under your arm when your arm is down because there's extra fabric where you don't need it.
So, if you're doing a raglan try it on often! This is one of the easiest shapes to fit to your own body--just give it a try.