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?