Friday, January 30, 2009

Teenage Waistband

I guess I have The Who to thank for getting me through this part of my project. The entire time I've been working on this waistband, I've had the song Teenage Wasteland stuck in my head. It's probably since the esteemed remaining members of The Who were recently honored at the Kennedy Center, and I really enjoyed that presentation.

So - I usually don't included cheesecake shots, but this was the best way to show my progress. The waistband has been completed and attached to the bodice using a three-needle bind-off. The bodice had quite a few more stitches around its diameter than the waistband did, so there was a bit of mathematical effort involved here, and I probably did have my tongue stuck out while I was thinking a time or two. The two margaritas I had while I was joining these pieces didn't hurt, either.

I'm quite pleased with the resulting success. I have never made a garment that was so fitted before, and so structurally sound! I really dislike wearing things that require constant tugging or tweaking, and this will not fit into that category! This baby hugs the girls with the spirit of a support garment that even Jane Russell would be proud of.

I now need to chart and knit the sleeves - they will be the last pieces to be made using the machine. After the sleeves, I'll be on to the peplum, so I ought to start thinking about what that is going to look like.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Houston, We Have Bodice!

It was a fairly productive weekend for my sweater project! I charted and made the bodice back, and assembled the bodice pieces. Assembly is an interesting part of the process for me - I plan for it while I design.

I left the stitches "live" at the shoulder on the front and back, and then joined them using the 3-needle bind off. This results in a neat seam that also has good structure to support the weight of the sweater without stretching. This method also greatly minimizes the amount of bulk under the shoulder seam that you typically get if you bind off the shoulders and then join them.

I also typically do edge decreases one or two stitches in from the edge. In this case, I did the front bodice decreases two stitches in from the edge, which resulted in a two-stitch wide, smooth, slanted row of stitches that runs up the entire bodice edge. This facilitates seaming greatly, as it gives the knitter a consistent line to seam along - whether you are grafting or doing ladder type stitch. So... the seaming edge of the bodice had two columns of knit stitches, and the seaming edge of the front band had three columns of knit stitches. After seaming with a one stitch selvage, I'm left with a smooth join that looks like three columns of knit stitches, and the seam is invisible.

The fit is quite good - it's definitely a form fitting garment, and ought to show off the girls a bit :-) It's just the right amount of snug at this point, because I can tell it will benefit from the weight of the sleeves and peplum once they are joined.

I must send kudos to
bevsyarncrazy on Plurk, for helping me with the word "Peplum." I was going to call that part of the pattern the "skirting", but it didn't seem like quite the right term - and as it turned out, it wasn't the right term at all. My Plurk Buddies know everything :-)

I'm still working on the waist band, and will chart the sleeves next.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gauge - Nailed It!

More progress and successes to report as I wind down Day 5 work on my Stitches West Sweater!

Success number one is that the two front bands have been grafted together at the back of the neck (see right photo). If I may say so myself, the grafting is nearly invisible to the human eye - even one that knows how to knit.

The two front bodice pieces have been made, and I did remember to make a left and right :-). This leads me to success number two: the finished pieces match the desired measurements that I charted - EXACTLY. I really rocked that gauge swatch!!! I'm pleased with the way I added fullness for "the girls." In case you are wondering, the yellow is a waste yarn provisional cast on. I plan to graft the lower edge of the bodice to the waist band.

On a side note, after reviewing these photos, it appears that it is time for a new ironing board cover. Another goal to reach by 2/26/09.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sweater Progress: Day 3

I've been working on my Stitches West sweater for 3 days now, and there is progress to report!

The front bands and cuff bands are complete. I had to do the front bands in two mirror-imaged pieces, because the pattern stitch I chose is a one-way design. Consequently, I'll graft the two together at the back of the neck, which should hardly show at all. Features include:

  • An angled edge at the lower front end of the bands where they will join into the waist band.
  • An I-cord like edging on the "public" edge of the bands as shown below. This feature adds stability to the pieces, negates any edge curling, and also eliminates the need for any further edge finishing work.
  • Beads have been sewn into place, and are looking really nice.
The empire waist band is in progress. For that piece, I'm putting the I-cord edge on both sides of the band to add extra stability. This band will need to be the "anchor" for the bodice - holding it steady under the "girls". I'm pretty tired of doing these bands, and they've made my right wrist sore because I knitted them using only the tips of my KnitPicks interchangeable needles. Not the brightest ergonomic move! I'm going to move on to charting out the bodice pieces, and I'll come back to the waist band a little later. It's serious math time, folks!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Sweater For Stitches West

I just finished a sweater I've been working on since last April. Normally it doesn't take me that long to finish a sweater, but 2008 seemed to be a year of knitting deadlines for me! The sweater started out great, but then took back seat to:
  • 5-1/2 pairs of socks for Sock Wars III
  • 4 design submissions for Think Outside the Sox
  • 4 slices of knitted toast and dishcloths for the Olympic Yarn Smackdown
  • 1 toy piggie for the Ravelympics
  • 2 baby gifts - one sweater and one blanket
  • 1 well-dressed charity bear
  • 1 Christmas sock monkey
  • 3 Christmas hats
  • 1 Christmas felted bag
  • 2 other pair of socks that really didn't have a deadline - I just wanted to knit them :-)

So yay! the sweater is finally done, and it fits great. I need to have The Boytoy take a photo, so I can post it here.

As I am so prone to do, I dreamed up the next sweater while finishing the last one. In my stash, I have 14 skeins of Knit Picks Andean Silk in the Hollyberry color. It is gloriously soft as 55% Superfine Alpaca, 23% Silk, and 22% Merino Wool, and the color is so rich and edible, it keeps making me crave cranberry sauce (and of course, the rest of the Thanksgiving meal.) I also picked up some cranberry colored glass beads when I visited Bellingham last year, which I'll incorporate into the design.

My goal for this sweater is to complete it by Stitches West, which begins on 2/26/09. The first day of this conference also happens to be my birthday, so I plan to decadently spend the four days immersed in fiber, creative consciousness, and margaritas. This is an agressive goal, but I'll admit up front that I plan to use my Bond machine to expedite the stockinette stitch areas of the sweater. The bands and wide lace lower border will all be done by hand. I have no guilt with regard to this strategy. After 40 years of knitting, I think I have earned the right to no longer have to prove I can do stockinette stitch in my sleep.

I'm no artist, but here is my "vision". I haven't named it yet (am open to suggestions). I'm sure it will get a nickname or two along the way.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

And So It Begins

Welcome to Knitters Brewing Co., the Original Yarn Brewpub.

This adventure has begun in much the same way as many of my creative forays - with the arrival of a shipment of yarn. This time, however, the shipment was just a little bit bigger than usual, and far less colorful. There they are... my first squad of cones, burrowing beneath one another shyly to hide their nakedness. They are willing volunteers for processing in the brewpub - happy to become plump and vibrant representatives of the company.

They dream of becoming socks - the favored pair in the drawer that gets shown off at social gatherings. The "Go To" pair that proudly gets worn to knitting circle. The rugged protectors of all things "foot".

I salute you, my little friends. We're going to make a great pair.

Chief Executive Brewmaster