Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!  I've been knitting away on my lavender cardigan.  I started it a week ago Tuesday and mentioned it in last week's WIPW.  It's amazing how much you can get done when you focus on one project and are on vacation.  Here is where it was a week ago.

I mentioned that it was a top down set in sleeve construction called English Tailoring.  I had heard it mentioned by JC Briar in a class once but had never seen instructions for it until seeing Julie Weisenberger's ebook on it.  You start with the back neck, then do the back shoulders by doing increases (knit front and back) and then holding the back stitches on waste yarn, pick up for the front shoulders, knit three inches straight down.  Then knit across a front, pick up for arm stitches and knit across the back.  That is where I was last Wednesday.

Here's where I am now.  Body is complete including the ribbing at the bottom.  One sleeve is done and second is maybe halfway.  I  picked out buttons yesterday - I have learned that it is better to pick the buttons first and make the buttonholes match them than be stuck with buttonholes that aren't size to the buttons you like.

Here are some more pictures with the details.

 Here is a close up of the shoulder join.  Basically this shoulder seam sits behind the top of the shoulder, on the back.  You can see that it makes a nice tailored looking join.
I will confess that I wanted to do this pattern very badly - it is the last and most advanced in her ebook.  I did not bother doing the intro lessons of course, nor was I deterred by the fact that the pattern was for worsted weight and I had DK weight yarn (Cestari Island Collection - have I mentioned how much I love this yarn!!!).  So I redid the calculations for my gauge - perhaps a bit ambitious.  Laying flat like this you can see that the front shoulder is a bit gathered.  It looks great on, but you can see it laying flat.

Here is a better picture of the arm cap.  The flat section across the top basically becomes the top of the shoulder - you can see the trapezoidal shape of the sleeve cap.

It looks great on and molds to the shoulder well.  Now I did other modifications to match my shape (broad shoulders, small bust, bigger hips).  I added vertical darts (a la Amy Herzog Knit to Flatter) but those pictures didn't come out well.

Here are some other shots.  Shoulder, arm and front with v neck.  That dimple at the shoulder/arm/body join doesn't show up when wearing it.  Well, not as much.
Detail of the underarm shaping.  In general, I'm very happy with this type of tailoring.  I know want to go back and do the intro lesson baby sweater and there is a top down coat pattern I really like.  The instructions for the pattern are a little bit confusing and the schematic is not even close to matching the pictures for sweater length but that is a minor problem.  With luck, I'll have this finished and blocked in a week or so to show on a Friday.

In the meantime, happy knitting.  Check out all the great projects at Tami's.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finished Object Friday - Custom Fit

Happy Friday!  This is our last week at the beach and it has been great - great weather and lots of time to knit.  I should have finished objects for awhile.

Today, I have this grey sweater - which is astonishingly hard to photograph.  I made it to go with the skirt I knit this spring and it matches perfectly - even though the skirt is hand painted linen and this is a pima cotton.  I designed it with this great plan to have asymmetrical button bands with cute big buttons and crochet button loops.  I even have the really cute buttons.  The button loops were not successful.  I ended up with clasps that work really well.

This is typical of me.  I explain to you first the things that don't work on the sweater.  Now let me tell you why I'm happy with it.  It is made in pieces bottom up.  There is an inch seed stitch border at the bottom and the sleeves.  The cardigan border is seed stitch too and knitted in.  The square neck is also in seed stitch.

To get the sweater to fit - it is basically zero ease through the bust - I used vertical darts above and below the waist detailing.  This is the back shown here but it is similar on the fronts.  Color is much more true here as well.  I don't recall ever using vertical darts before - I like waist shaping but typically put it by the side seams.  It does work better in the body like this - as long as you can make it fit with the stitch pattern and you aren't bothered by the appearance of the vertical darts.  Here they worked out well.  So how did I learn to do this?

If you haven't seen Amy Herzog's book Knit to Flatter, I can't recommend it enough.  She does a great job talking about shaping but also a way to figure out your body type and adjust sweaters to FIT YOU!  I used the principles in her book to design the sweater to fit me and it does!

I had taken a class on altering patterns to fit about two years ago and it was a revelation.  I found out that my shape is not even close to what the fashion industry thinks it should be.  I have a relatively small bust but very wide shoulders and small arms.  So while I have always thought of myself as bottom heavy, pear shaped, my shoulders are basically balanced to my hip size.  I learned in that class that shoulder measurement is so critical on sweaters - it is the point where sweaters are supported.  Since then, my sweaters fit much better, but I adjust and customize everything.

But back to Amy and her mission to have everyone's sweaters fit them.  Her blog  is great and every Friday she does a mini lesson on fit with lots of pictures.  Can't recommend it enough.  She is working on a website/software program where you put in your gauge, sweater design choices (cardigan/pullover, neck shape, sleeve length, etc…) and measurements and it spits out a pattern customized to you that you can then purchase and download.  She is hoping to launch it this fall.  Several weeks ago she put out a call for beta testers and I was lucky enough to see it and be selected.  I'm in group two which starts next week so you be hearing more about it here as it goes on.  That has been part of my mad swatching this week.  And I'm trying to finish a project before starting my beta sweater.

So lots more knitting over the weekend.  Hope you have a great one too and have time to check out Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see lots of great projects.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday - Can't make up my mind

 The last few days have been confusing on the knitting side.  Lots of projects have ended and being on vacation, I don't have access to my stash.  Of course I did buy lots of yarn last week at the Knit and Crochet Show - which was fabulous by the way.  So I've been swatching like mad to figure out what to make now.  A friend told me it is always best to start swatting and planning your next project before the last one is done.

These are some of them.  There are several more but they are in the room where my DH is sleeping now.  Yes, blocking is more difficult when you don't have your pins with you.

My cable sweater is not going great.  The sleeves are moving right along but the gauge is giving me fits.  I'm far off on row gauge.  I can keep knitting to make it the right length but I'm just not sure how this is going to work.  So I could be done in three days if I worked at it but doubt is causing me not to want to work on.  Therefore the need to have another project.

I started this sweater last night.  It is a top down, V neck cardigan sweater with set in sleeves with an unusual construction.  It is from Julie Weisenberger (CocoKnits Designs) ebook on English tailoring.    The construction technique is one I've heard of in passing but not seen in a pattern.  You shape the back shoulders for a steeper slope and then do the front shoulders straight and they wrap over the shoulder line.  When I heard of it before, they did the sleeves just like normal set in sleeves, but she does them differently.  This should be a good challenge.  I got this yarn at the show, it is a cotton, wool, silk blend from a rancher in Virginia with his own mill.  Great color and feel.  Of course it is not the same gauge as the pattern so I'm changing the pattern to suit it, because there wasn't enough of a challenge.

At the show I took a class on Magic Loop, which was timely because it is needed in this.  It also covered Judy's magic cast on - which I use for toe up socks, but they were using it for double knitting - brilliant - and also provisional cast on.  Very interesting.  I also took Gwen Bortner's class on skirts.  Gwen is terrific.  Just a great class.  I can't wait to have the time to put it to use.  I also took Twined Knitting with Beth Brown Reinsel, another of my favorite teachers and just loved that as well.  So a great knitting week - learned new techniques and construction methods and bought great yarn with lots of possibilities.

Head over to Tami's to see all the great projects.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Work in progress - from the Knit and Crochet Show

Happy Wednesday.  I'm in Indianapolis for the Knit and Crochet Show. Today is Masters Day which is great fun.  Committee members don't get together that often so it is great to catchup with people we don't see often and also to meet knitters working on their Masters. The day is jam packed but really worthwhile for those working on their Masters.

My sweater is coming along. I did it in one piece bottom up for the body and that piece is done. The sleeves are saddle sleeves. I don't think I have ever done that type before and I'm not sure if it will fit well without modifications so I'm going on faith. So the fronts and backs are done and the sleeves are about 1/3 of the way done.

Head over to tami's to see all the great projects.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Finished Object Friday

Yeah!  I finished my sweater in time.  I will not have to put it in the suitcase wet or unblocked.  Unfortunately i am by myself right now so pictures are not that great.  I experimented with my camera timer for the first time but without a tripod, it is difficult.  So then I went to the camera in front of face in the mirror trick.  Not ideal but you get the gist of it.

It fits well and I am very happy with it.  I do need to wear a cami under it but that just could because of my age and upbringing.  I'll also be the last woman in the world wearing pantyhose.

I will try to get better pictures next week.   Now I can focus on figuring out what to bring to the Knit and Crochet Show next week.  My homework is done but what to bring is always a big deal.  What to wear and what to work on.

A few close ups of the details.  This is beading and horizontal welts at the waist line.  The welts show up above almost looking like bumps.  I don't know that they would always work but they provide the transition from the vertical pin tucks to the body.

I'm also very happy with the neck line.  Two rows of applied I cord - one rolled forward and exposed the pick up stitches.  Two laid flat.

Head over to Tami's and Wisdom Begins in Wonder to see what everyone else is doing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

The pictures don't show much progress.
The unending socks are at least recognizable as socks.

My cable sweater has been in time out for a few days.  Cables were just not behaving themselves.  I'll probably start up in a few days on it and it is the time to divide for the armholes.

And while it doesn't look like it, I think that I will finish the blue sweater in time to wear it at the Knit and Crochet show next week.  Just a little bit left to go on the neck line.  The good thing about top down construction is there is no finishing to speak of.  A few ends to weave in and blocking but this is so thin it should dry quickly.  I'll just show the neckline and with luck have it to show on Friday.

Head over to Tami's to see lots of great projects.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday

It has been a few weeks since I posted on a Wednesday.  My unending socks are still in progress, though for a week or so I did do a minimum of one round per day.  Things do progress if you work on them.  Imagine that.  My pink cable sweater got to the armholes and since it is part of a class I am taking, I set it aside when I got to that point per the homework instructions.  Class is on Saturday so I'll start working on it again this weekend probably.

I think I hadn't started this sweater when I last blogged.  It is an experiment.  Oh, by the way I want to be wearing it at the TKGA show two weeks from today.  Yes I am delusional.  Here are the challenges I gave myself.
1.  This is a great tencel/merino wool lace weight hand dyed yarn from BuenaSuerta, a great independent dyer from near Austin.  I loved the yarn at a fiber show last fall, but I am tired of making lace shawls that I don't wear much.  So, how could I do a sweater from the lace weight - challenge 1.
2.  I have a shirt that I love that has pin tucks down the bodice.  I wanted to get that look from knitting.
3.  I wanted to emphasis the waist with horizontal welts - meaning have the knitting stitches go across the bodice not in the direction of the knitting.
4.  I wanted to put beads in it - not sure why, I just did.
5.  I wanted to try top down construction with set in sleeves.

 Other than being done in two weeks, I'm pleased with my progress.  Not great pictures but here is a peek.  One sleeve is done - 3/4 length with a hem.    It came out pretty well - could have been a bit narrower at the underarm but this is the area I struggle with to fit properly.
The yarn is working out great.  This is on size 2 needles and the drape is wonderful.  I thought it might be too see through and I'd have to wear a cami under it but I don't think I will have to.
The pin tucks worked out great - these are twisted knit stitches on the right side and slipped on the wrong side.

Here is a close up of the pin tucks.  The horizontal welts worked out too - attached I cord!  takes forever but worked out great.  Those are beads between the welts emphasizing the waist.  So in general, I feel good about all these challenges.  I probably have about 4 more inches on the body and then another sleeve and the neck finishing.  That is the great thing about top down construction, you can try it on as you go.  Cross your fingers that I can get it done.  The socks will certainly not see any action any time soon.

Head over to Tami's to see lots of great projects.