Saturday, March 06, 2010


This week is another of those weeks, its the week of iD Dunedin Fashion week, so there are 3 large shows, and a competition and lots of visitors to the school. Its also 3 weeks out from my Brother Andy's wedding to the lovely Caroline ... and I was asked to make her jacket. Now I don't regularly 'do' wedding garments - but Caroline is so nice, and my brother is so happy and calm to be with her ... that I couldn't refuse, didn't want to refuse. On the knitting front I've finished Skew and the planned modifications worked (!), and played with thrumbs (interesting but not what I want to knit right now), and found a new sock to knit, a fun sock, one that has me problem solving and racing to the heel. I apologize, today is a long post, if you are here soley for the knitting, skip to the end, there is an extra project replacing my knitting, and its slipped into the blog for a bit of show'n'tell.

Caroline, as I might have said is a darling, and a very very good hairdresser. I've not experienced one of her cuts, but she her employer flies her around the country to judge competitions and is flying her into see iD dunedin and all the shows - they only do that for the 'good-uns'. One of her clients gave her their own heavy lace wedding dress, saying she wanted Caroline to have it, to use it, that none of her own daughters wanted it. The lace is the kind that is hard to find today, heavy, thick, strong lace, in a nice soft weighty cotton. Caroline is such a sweetie that she happily accepted the gift and went about making it part of her wedding outfit, she asked me to make a jacket from it to wear over her dress. I'm happy to help, Bridezilla she is not. Caroline lives in another city, so we have been sorting the jacket by distance, she visited and tired on my different Jacket blocks, and we chose the one that fitted best, I made a calico/muslin toile and sent it up, Caroline and her mum fitted it and drew in the shape of the cutaway front and curve of the back hem ...and it has come back. I disassembled the toile and used the calico/muslin as the pattern, I'm classically trained, so prefer working with the toile as the pattern not in a paper copy of the toile.

Then I dismantled the old dress, more of tunic really. The old dress was very late 60's early 70's, with long straight tunic skirts, split up the sides, the back cut longer as a self train, long fitted sleeves and high mandarin style neck. I hoped that we would get the planned jacket from these two sections of lace, but I wasn't sure.

It worked, all the pieces fitted, just, with only little trimmings around the edges left. You can see there was not a lot of spare width to waste.

Today I stitched and pressed and stitched and now I have the jacket near done. I was going to mount the lace sections on sheer organza - but it was strong enough not to need any support. Caroline will be visiting this weekend for the iD shows, and next Sunday she can try it on and we can finalize the last little details. I was surprised at the ease with which this went together, the lace is so tightly stitched that cutting the pieces out gave me several blisters, even though I was using my tailors sheers, but because it is so tightly stitched it needs no edge finishing. Because it is cotton the fabric pressed and steamed like a dream.

In between the jacket wedding preparations, I finished Skew. My modifications worked, I simply worked the short rows to straighten the top as written but began each short row with S1 1 YO knit to ...(or S1 Yo Purl to ...) which effectively replaced the stitches eaten away by the continuing the decreases at the COR (Center of Round). Then I worked one round of knit twisting all the YO's closed, and worked the K2P1 rib with the purls positioned over the twisted YO's. One could of course omit the decrease at the COR but then the pattern of created by the decreases would suddenly stop half way up the leg ... and that wouldn't look good.

Don't get me wrong, Skew is a bias sock so it can never be a stretchy stretchy sock. The bias design means the greatest stretch of the knit is not around the foot or leg, but by retaining the stitch count at 72 stitches instead of decreasing to 50 stitches just before the rib the sock is much easier to pull on, a firmer fit than a more traditionally shaped sock - but not a problem to put on. And the WOW factor of the heel when combined with a stripey yarn is well worth loosing a little elasticity for.
I also tried JSSBO for the first time and yes it is surpisingly stretchy, but its not pretty to my eyes. I'm still deciding if I will use that one again or not.

I did sit down Friday night and continued to work the thrumbed mitten sample. I like it, but it is not what I want to knit next, I needed a new sock to knit ... so I've finished it with its thumb, but still awaiting its ribbing cuff and mate and ...

cast on for a new sock, a Turkish sock. I was inspired by the first project in Knitting Traditions. Anna Zilboorg writes about how warm and toasty Turkish socks are, "Immediately, I was as warm as though there was central heating". Which made me think that any sock that promises the warmth of central heating where there is none (my house) is worth a try.

I don't have any Harrisville new England Shetland but I do have lots of other yarns. I fossicked around looking for a colourway that would not show too much dirt. Bingo, these two,Wendy Sunbeam St. Ives 4 Ply Sock Wool in dark green and a Regia Design Line Kaffe Fasset in dull and bright autumn tones. I suspect these sock yarns are finer than the Harrisville shetland as after a bit of a play with different needle sizes I've settled on 2.5 mm (I usually knit socks on 2.25 mm), and the pattern calls for 3.5 mm. I tried 3.5 mm but it felt to loose and open for a thick warm slipper sock, which is my intention for these. The cubs like to curl up on the couch, we all do. I have a rule no-slippers-on-the-sofa, so often there is a sea of abandoned slippers in the living area, more as the cubs still both kneel on the dining room chairs so we find slippers under the table as well. If these truly are warm then they could be worn on and off the couch, and kneeling at the dining room table. Because my sock is on smaller needles the instep chart didn't fit my stitch count - but after reading Anna Z extolling the virtues of simple geometric knitting patterns - I was inspired to work a simple mirrored chevron. I think I might play with reversing the chevron at some point --- perhaps the chevron becomes the sole and the heel has the point reversed?

So my week will be busy, Monday night spinning, Tuesday night working on the jacket a little more, Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday out with iD events ... I might even get my photo taken with the visiting scholar/designer - Zandra Rhodes (her haircut inspired my current style - the cut not the pink) .. and I'll get to see our recent graduates compete with others in the international competition ...
I don't foresee a lot of knitting or blogging time before Saturday.
Take care


Anonymous said...

Wow can't wait to see the finished jacket :)

Milly said...

Wow, just reading all that you are doing makes my head spin! the mittens are adorable.

KathyR said...

I thought my week was going to be busy between spinning, friends and family but, no, you win hands down!

Your sister-in-law-to-be's jacket will look wonderful! Certainly can't get lace like that now; great that it is able to be used again.

The Skew socks look great! The new ones look really interesting, too. I love the way you are using the striped yarn with the plain - makes the design even more complex-looking. When you said about knitting new socks I was thinking maybe we would be seeing the latest VP club socks, but no. I will have to wait a little longer, and search a little harder to get a peek!

Enjoy your week - hope you have time for a breather somewhere in there, though!

Suzanne said...

Are you absolutely sure you don't want to try the pink hair? :-)

Your tailoring skill and aptitude is so evident. It always makes me wonder why you find knitting interesting because even the most polished bit of knitting can never really top a beautifully tailored garment. The jacket is going to be fabulous!

I also love the look of the slippers in progress. Tempting.

Remember to take breathers in the hectic week.

Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, the jacket is looking like it's going to turn out beautifully -- what a wonderful way to use that lace. I can't wait to see the finished product. And I, too, am craving Turkish socks after reading that article. Of course as we head into spring, my need feels less pressing, but they're in the back of my brain for someday soon...