The people have spoken

Published on Wednesday April 25th, 2007

…And they sure do like an elbow-length sleeve. Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful consideration of the matter — I had a good chuckle over your concern about me revealing my potentially flabby arms in cap sleeves. (I’m glad to be able to allay your fears and say that an active youth of horseback riding, tree climbing, and construction work, as well as skinny-arm genes from my mom, have rendered my limbs fit for exposure. But I’m grateful you’ve all got my back when it comes to averting tasteless fashion decisions!) The point that swayed me, though, was the astute observations by Emily, Karma and Debby that the tweedy nature of the yarn seems better suited to longer sleeves. I hadn’t even thought of that, but I completely agree.

In case you’re wondering how the mods worked out, I offer you a few cruddy self-portraits. Mr. Garter has departed for NYC (I’ll be hot on his heels Friday night, and I can hardly wait to see my New York pals), so I had resort to ye olde mirror shot. With low light on a gray day. Lucky you.

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I don’t have the placket stitched down yet, as you can see, and I haven’t attached the hooks and eyes, but I think at least we can see that the modifications were largely successful. The thing is going to close in front, and the waist shaping falls at the right place.

That’s Great-Aunt Priscilla (we have to distinguish, because there were two great-aunts Priscilla: this is the knitting, rug-making, ubercraft Priscilla, as opposed to mountaineering geologist Priscilla) looking over my shoulder. I can’t tell if she approves or not, but she’s always watching. She’s also way cuter than you can tell in these pictures — if only I’d gotten the red-headed-babe gene along with the skinny-arms gene. Mr. Garter would have been so psyched.
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Better photos when Glee is really done, I promise. And pssst — look what’s blocking:

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Modified glee

Published on Saturday April 21st, 2007

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Meet Glee, as she exists so far. Little Miss Glee is basically a Big Fat Experiment — the kind where you don’t know whether it’s all going to come together until the last stitches are bound off and the last hook and eye are sewn in place and you can try the thing on. The thing is, this little top looked cute on Carrie and on the pattern envelope. But once I bought my own copy and dug into it, there were some red flags. Crimson flags. Incarnadine flags. Ahem, no waist shaping? Nothing to trim the little madam down after she progresses past my bust? If I were a boobless boy, this might look good. Alas, I am not. Not even alas. I embrace my shapely femininity. (Cue Free to Be You and Me.) But what to do with tube-ish Glee? (Okay, those last few sentences read like Gilbert and Sullivan, had they written any scores while blind drunk. Sorry about that.)

Short rows. Hell-bent-for-leather decreasing. More short rows. More decreasing. Now some increasing, and I’m nearing the end. I took it off the needles once, just after the bust, to see how I was doing. Now it’s hold-your-breath, race-for-the-finish-line knitting, and the mood is one of anxious anticipation rather than glee. There will be glee if the thing fits like I hope it will, but not yet.

I do like this yarn, though. It’s Garnstudio Drops Silke-Tweed, and it makes a nice cohesive, slightly nubbled fabric. More than that, I love the color: indigo with flecks of red, green and white. You can kind of see it here, but it’s better in person.
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Okay, I’m off to concoct some sort of costume for Michelle’s Twin Peaks-themed birthday party (Happy Birthday, Michelle!), and then I’m going to spend a little QT with Rorschach, some hot ginger tea, and the BBC Pride and Prejudice, which you can never watch too many times and is unparalleled on rainy afternoons.

But quick, before I go, give me an opinion on Glee’s sleeves: Little cap sleeves as in the pattern (what you see above plus four rounds of 1×1 rib), or elbow-length like Carrie’s? Vote!

Half a loaf

Published on Thursday March 22nd, 2007

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The Elizabeth Zimmermann Rorschach Jacket is half done. I’ve just finished the black stripe on the second half. We’re off to babysit my small cousins, and since I have completed all the freelance work and I sat for my final exam in Art History this morning, there’s nothing ahead of me after their baths and bedtime stories but knitting and HBO (or maybe Grey’s Anatomy, which I’ll admit I’m kind of hooked on, even though I think it’s gone downhill). This sweater is coming together quickly, although I’ve made some modifications to EZ’s suggestions. I’m making the medium-size length but the small-size width, and I had to reserve a lot more stitches for the sleeve than the directions indicated. EZ says to parcel the stitches out in thirds, with the middle third becoming the sleeve, but that would have given me an uncomfortably snug sleeve when I wanted this blousier effect. She also says to K2tog across the whole sleeve for the cuff, but I couldn’t get my arm in when I did that (and I have pretty skinny arms). I can’t imagine how it would have worked if I’d been knitting the sleeve with the smaller number of stitches the pattern suggests. But this is the way EZ wants us to knit: with sense. If the directions seem suspiciously ill-suited to your body shape, don’t follow blindly along. Change them until they please you. Half the benefit of making your own clothing is that you can customize it to your needs instead of living with not-quite-long-enough shirts and too-snug armpits and a-little-too-Flashdance necklines.

I’ve also been working on Glee, because I can’t go long without casting on for whatever Lisa happens to be knitting. It’s coming together nicely in a nifty indigo shade of Garnstudio Silke-Tweed that I found on sale, and I’m experimenting with a few short-rows on the bust. I hope they’ll prevent majorly revealing busty gappage in between the hook-and-eye closures. If anybody has tried this, I’d love to know what you did and how it worked out for you.

Prairie Camisole hits the town

Published on Saturday September 16th, 2006

Prairie Camisole: finito! But what do you do when the weather finally turns Portlandish again on Seaming Day? This is how we wear camisoles in Stumptown, I guess:

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Prairie camisole, adapted from Prairie Tunic by Veronik Avery in Interweave Knits Spring 2006

Three balls + a scrap of a fourth Jaeger Siena 4-Ply

US size 3 needles

As you can see, I opted to do away with the racerback — although if the warm weather is truly gone and I have to wear it over a long-sleeved shirt from now on, it won’t even matter that I don’t own a racerback bra.  Ah well, there’s always next summer.  I’m pleased with the fit.  Once again I underestimated how quickly my hips narrow to my waist, but it doesn’t much matter.

Prairie Cami made her debut when I went to meet Michelle (yes, Spiders, Michelle is alive and well!) at Close Knit, a delightful yarn store I was visiting for the first time.  She drew enthusiastic admiration from Sally the Owner, which, combined with Sally’s beautiful and well-stocked shop, made me love Sally instantly.  I drooled over a lot of things in Close Knit, but Michelle and I were both particularly arrested by a sample of that short-sleeved coin-patterned top from this year’s spring/summer VK (design #6), worked with a simple crew neckline instead of the keyhole collar, in chocolate brown RYC Luxury Cotton.  It was very fetching indeed.  Hmmm…projects for next year!  I think I’m pretty much done knitting tanks, but a romantic vintagey short-sleeved top with a slender waist could be right up my alley.

Zimmermania newsflash: The Elizabeth Zimmermann knitalong will kick off September 23rd! Email me or leave a comment if you’d like to join!