Based on a True Sweater

Jun. 17, 2007

Personal Shoppers

First: Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm for the new sweater design! I am working on the pattern and a sample; I should have it available by the end of the month ("should" is the operative word...). I really appreciate your feedback about the edging as well; I think I was being a bit silly worrying to much about using a crocheted edging. :)

And now: Why my friends are awesome, part #4973

My sister is getting married next month, and I am a bridesmaid. I will be wearing a red strapless dress, with silver accessories. Tracking down the necessary shoes and underpinnings is proving to be a challenge and a half; I am difficult to fit. I did manage to find a bra in my size after a depressing 5-hour shopping marathon yesterday, but I failed to find a pair of shoes.

Today I had coffee in the afternoon with Susie. The plan was for us to meet up later with Travis, Rachael and Rachael's mother to go to the Richmond night market, which is a ton of fun; I had been looking forward to it all week. In the end, I bailed on that part of the evening because my back and legs were killing me from my shopping marathon the day before.

They dropped me home on their way to Richmond, and dropped in again on their way back. They brought me the items you see in the photo below. Combined cost: $30.

Personal Shoppers

I love my friends.

Jun. 11, 2007

Thinking About Edgings

Crocheted Edging

Thank you for all the comments and requests for the summer sweater pattern! (And thank you so much to dear Rachael to posting about it on her blog!)

I spent a large chunk of the weekend working up charts and numbers for the sweater, and have knit most of the yoke of the second version. I've changed the way the raglan and neckline shaping are worked; they are much more refined, and are charted out to integrate more beautifully with the lace pattern. The finished-measurement size range goes from 81cm-142cm (32"-56").

Version 2 will probably have the same simple crocheted borders as the original, unless I come up with a knitted border that will work as well with the lace and stockinette. (I have an idea to try, but I'm not sure if it will look as good.) For any non-crocheters out there, I'm curious; what would you do with a pattern that had simple crocheted borders? Would you try to learn the stitch involved? Would you come up with your own knitted border solution? Would you just make something else? Please let me know, I'm curious.

I'm a bit torn on this. On the one hand, I want to make a pattern that's accessible to a wide range of knitters, and I know that not all knitters know (or want to know) how to crochet. On the other hand, I feel that crochet offers the best solution for the borders of this sweater, and I want to be able to produce designs that use the best technique for the job.

This is where my impatience with all the knit vs. crochet crap comes in. They are both excellent ways to make things from yarn. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Each is easy to misuse, and can make things of unparalleled hideousness as well as things of beauty and delight. The question of one being superior to the other is ridiculous; the problem comes in thinking that they are interchangeable.

The lace pattern I'm using for this sweater would not have the same deliciously clingy, squishy, collapsible drape if I substituted a crocheted pattern, no matter how pretty and drapey it might be. Likewise, the crocheted border gives me the chance to make a lovely, stable border with perfect buttonholes, that looks both distinct from the fabric of the sweater, and harmonious with it. My original idea for the sweater involved knitted borders, but the crocheted border worked much better in the end, both visually and functionally.

I will probably end up keeping the crocheted borders, though perhaps I will offer a suggestion and photographed swatch for a knitted alternative. What do you think?

Jun. 8, 2007

Summer Sweaters

The multi-project tech editing marathon that has been eating my life since last fall is almost over, and I am regaining my ability to compose rudimentary sentences that do not contain bracketed sets of numbers.

Except for beloved Knitty, I am planning to take a bit of a break from tech editing now. I have some other goals to pursue in the second half of the year, one of which is to do more design work... that is, designing things that will actually become patterns.

One of the first pieces I will pattern will most likely be a revision of this little sweater, which I knit in at the end of May.

Little Summer Sweater

It took less than six 95m (104yd) balls of Katia Mississippi, to fit my 116cm (46") bust. I'm planning to make the second version in Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which is the same weight and has a similar construction.

I'm really happy with how this one turned out. I worked it from the top down, and incorporated the waist shaping into the lace pattern.

Little Summer Sweater

In the next version, I will change the way the raglan lines and front neck shaping are handled. I may also change the lace pattern slightly. This one had a six-row pattern repeat, with patterning worked on the third (WS) and sixth (RS) rows. To make the pattern easier to write, I may change it to be all RS or WS rows... I'm still figuring out how I want to handle this. Or maybe I will suck it up and not be so lazy, because this really made a nice fabric.

One of my favourite things about this in the end was the buttons I used. They are from Zak's late grandmother's button box, and I managed to find five similar buttons that made a nice colour gradation (though I didn't manage to get a good photo of them). Unfortunately, the bottom one broke the second time I wore the sweater, and I have yet to find a replacement that pleases me as much as the original button.

The other sweater I completed recently was a gift for my sister Shawn's 30th birthday. This is the first sweater I have knit for her, since she is seriously allergic to animal fibers, and I really can't handle knitting with inelastic fibers. (I'm starting to learn about sister-friendly yarns that don't kill my hands, but wool is still my Most Beloved.) I have recently discovered that I enjoy working with some cotton/acrylic blends, like Mississippi and the delicious All Seasons Cotton, and seized the opportunity to design a sweater for Shawn.

Birthday Sweater

This is All Seasons Cotton in Sea Foam, an unreleased (beautiful) shade which is being sold on eBay by Cucumber Patch and Jannette's Rare Yarns. It took just under 8 balls.

I won't be patterning this sweater, though details of it (like the patterning at the back neck) may show up elsewhere. This is partly because I've moved on to other things, but also because I like the idea of Shawn having the only sweater exactly like this.

Birthday Sweater: Back Neckline Detail

Here are a few more shots: a detail of the buttons and lower border, and some crappy shots of me modeling it. I tried to get better photos, without avail.

Birthday Sweater: Button and Border Detail

As clothing sizes go, Shawn is close in size to me, though she is considerably more... well-endowed. She's a few inches shorter than I am, but is not as short-waisted, so I think the length should be good on her. She says the length is good, but I want to see it! If she sends me a photo, I will post it. Until then, these will give a rough idea of fit.

Birthday Sweater

Birthday Sweater: Crappy Model Shot

I foresee more little summer sweaters in my near future. These ones were fairly quick to knit (if you don't count all the agonized ripping and second-guessing I did at the beginning of the birthday sweater), they don't take much yarn, and they're fun to experiment with. If you think you'd be interested in the pattern for the first sweater, which will most likely be a pdf available for a few dollars, please let me know; it will motivate me to get off my butt and get it done!