Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'm Ready For Spring!

Hooray for finished knitting! I started this top back in the fall, using handspun cotton that I had left over from my lace cardigan. (I had to put it down in order to knit the wedding shawl in time, and just picked it up again when that was finished.) I had maybe 8 ounces left of the cotton yarn, and considering I had gotten a long lace cardy out of only about 9 ounces, I thought I had a shot at getting a small t-shirt type top out of the rest. The finished top weighs 7 1/2 ounces. Of course the cardigan covers a lot more area, but it's knit on considerable larger needles, and in a lace pattern, while the top is knit densely enough to be worn without needing a camisole underneath. We're looking at the difference between 4 1/2 sts/in and 6 3/8 st/in. The yarn for both was spun at about 34 wpi and a grist of about 2000 yrds/lb, depending on the skein. My spinning was a bit on the inconsistent side for this, as it is my first large quantity of handspun cotton. Also, I switched to the very fast flyer for my Lendrum wheel part way through the process, when it became clear that the fast flyer was just too slow for cotton. All in all, I'm quite pleased. I've put quite a bit of shaping into this top, so that it wouldn't be bulky and "sweatery" around the waist, but would fit more like the slightly lycra tee-shirt tops I like from Target. The top is shaped with "yoke" decreases, worked around the lace pattern in a pleasing manner so as not to skew it. I also used short rows to make what is, in essence, a bust dart. I've been putting about a 1" bust dart into any close fitting sweater I make for myself for a while now, ever since the first close fit sweater I made. That one didn't have a dart. The front of it fit just fine, but the back had a big droop right above the ribbing. I ended up shrinking that droop out as much as possible with the blocking--not the prettiest or most permanent solution. The reason for the dart is that for a moderately endowed woman with good posture, the distance from her shoulder down her front will often be longer than the same distance down her back, because, well, there's a breast there. This isn't the case for all buxom women. Many larger busted woman do not have upright posture, but rounded out backs, sometimes because of the weight of their bust and how it affects their posture, and sometime because they developed a large chest young, were embarrassed, and stood with their shoulders rolled forward and sort of slumped to hide their bust. It's very difficult to relearn this bad posture as an adult. I'm not huge busted, but a little larger than average for my body type, and have good posture, which makes my bust prominent. Similar actually to the dress form's posture, except I have squarer shoulders and stand just a bit sway backed. As you can see on the form, the bottom edge is even all around. Without the short row bust dart, it would be riding up a little in front, or hanging down a bit in back.

I was using the dress form to block the top. There was no point blocking it flat after all the effort I had put into shaping it to not be a rectangle, so I steamed it on a dress form that was close to my measurements and then left it on the form until it was completely cool and dry. Blocking isn't set until it had fully cooled and dried. If you move the garment before then, you'll lose some or all of the shape you were trying to set it in.

I'm thinking about writing out this pattern for multiple sizes and trying to sell it on the internet, maybe on etsy. What say you all? Is this something you think knitters would be interested in making themselves? Do you think enough people would be willing to use the yarn info from my handspun to either spin their own or chose a suitable commercial yarn? I'm not sure how many knitter are out there who only use the recommended yarn for any project.

This pattern wouldn't be ready for sale until probably the fall, after my wedding and after my summer job. My plan would be to write it out for more than just S, M, L because last I checked, there are a lot more sizes than that. I'd like to go up to at least a 48" chest and offer petite (which mine is), regular, and long. That's a fair amount of time calculating.

Please post in the comments whether you think this would be a worthwhile pattern to write up for other folks. I've been thinking about getting some patterns published for years, and this might be a good place to start.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting our Stuff Together

Stuff we're making for our wedding:
lace shawl
2 wedding bands
2 origami bouquets
2 origami boutineers
table favors
1974 Volkswagon "Thing"

Stuff we've finished:
lace shawl
engagement ring (that has to count for something, right?)

This isn't a problem yet, is it? We have almost 6 weeks left, and it's a small car. I guess for a little more perspective, I should look at...

Stuff we're not making for our wedding:
wedding dress (Thanks, Georgia!)
other people's clothes
other people's transportation

Wish that list was longer.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Yes, that's Rusty and I getting our 15 minutes of fame. If you're a relative of mine or Chris's, you've probably already received a copy from our parents. The article was printed in a local free newsprint magazine called "Forever Young" that highlights stuff to do in the area for folks over 50. I'm not sure if it's Rusty or myself who's supposed to be over 50.

I brought a copy to my vet and she said she would frame it and hang it in the office.

We were "discovered" at a monthly knitting night at which I had been working on the wedding shawl. A nice woman there was asking about the pattern of the shawl, and what the yarn was made out of, and asked if she could take a picture. I said sure, and next thing I knew she was asking for an interview. I expected two paragraphs as a side bar to another article by Linda, owner of Raveloe fibers, but was shocked and pleased to see the entire interview used and filling a whole page. I was actually interviewed by email, which is why there are no "ums" or sentence fragments or agregious gramatical errors.

Here is the finished shawl:

and when you compare it to the earlier pictures I posted of it in progress...You'll see the huge difference that blocking makes on knitted lace, both in how much the pattern opens up so that it can be seen, and in how much bigger the piece is once blocked! Both pictures show exactly the same area, the size of my scanner bed, and as you can see the blocked shawl is now too wide to fit.

I'm off to begin moving into the new apartment that Chris and I have rented for the three of us (Chris, Christopher, and I) to share after the wedding. I will be finished moving by the end of this month, but the boys will probably move more slowly and finish in May. I have a lot of books to lug up the stairs this afternoon.