Tag Archives: Knitty

Good lord, knitting a pattern as written?

I’ve finished my Simple Knitted Bodice and, other than being completely alarmed at how fat I seem to have gotten since I cast on (WTF, desk job? WTF, buying unhealthy lunches downtown every day? How could you do this to me?!) I’m very pleased with it. The fit’s great, which it had better be after I abandoned the pattern as written to custom-fit the damn thing to my spreading body. I think there are a couple of loose ends of yarn still dangling inside the thing, but they don’t poke out too often, so I’ll wait until I’m having a Type-A, caffeine-induced OCD kind of evening to take care of them.

In the meantime, I’m making Coachella. It’s a relief to be following a pattern mostly as written, though I’m doing a slipped-stitch pinstripe instead of plain stockinette and I’ve tweaked the armholes a little to fit better. As I posted in the comments of the author’s blog:

As I’ve been working on it, I’ve been thinking about the initial blogland squawking about wearing it with a bra and I think I might’ve cracked it. When I first saw the pattern, I thought “No way could I wear that! I have to wear a bra!” and it wasn’t until I read through it that I realized it was meant to be worn with a halter bra.

The thing is, a halter or convertible bra for a D cup is significantly bigger than one for an A or B cup. The strap around the back can be close to 2″ wide, and the cups extend much further to the side, almost in the armpit. A D-cup halter bra needs way more armhole and middle-back coverage. Mine would be sticking out all over in a Coachella as written.

Knowing that, I’m moving the bottoms of the armholes up, closer to the armpit, which should solve that problem for me. It’s an easy fix, and I’m stoked! Yay!

It’s got bust shaping, too, so I’m stoked all over. Though I’m knitting it in 100 percent cotton, which really, really shows off the stitches, and any imperfections you make along the way. I’m not making any errors, but I sure as hell am paying attention to how I weave in ends, and I have a feeling I’ll be unpicking a couple of those weaves and redoing them.

I’m also keeping a close eve on the rolled hem, since as a rule I hate rolled hems and this one’s rolling into itself in a thick sausagey curl that I don’t like at all. I have a feeling blocking will take care of it, but in case it doesn’t, I’m constantly poking at it, trying to guess how much work it would be to crochet it in place. I’m probably doing the bottom hem in ribbing, to keep that from rolling, since I’m probably not crazy enough to unpick a cast-on edge and reknit it … though I’m not ruling that out completely. It’s a bunch of extra work either way, but I’ve given up on talking myself out of my pathological disgust for things like rolled hems, cilantro and instant miso soup, and if this one doesn’t convince me, it’s history.

Next up: The Nieuwmarkt Pullover. I’ll do it as a zippered cardigan, since the fickle San Francisco weather doesn’t lend itself to big wool sweaters that you can’t adjust. I’m also toying with the idea of doing it as a hoodie, because damn I love hoodies, and they’re one of the only exemptions from my decluttering, “don’t have ten of everything” rules. (The others are neckties, skulls, and art. Though since I now have twice as much art as wall space, I might have to ban new art, especially since I’m moving this month to a room half the size of my current one. Sheesh.)

Onward!

Well, damn. I sort of finished something. Torqued

After more than a year (a YEAR! That is CRAZY!) of working on, abandoning and restarting a fingerless glove design of mine, I’ve finished one glove. I swear, I must’ve reknitted this thing from scratch at least four times in the last couple of weeks, and reknitted the thumb gusset at least four more times on top of that. I tried four different ways of binding off, trying to find the perfect stretchy edge that wouldn’t make the ribbing flare out. (I know it’s neurotic, but dammit, I came up with a perfect solution for the cast-on edge, and I’ll be damned if I’ll settle for anything less on the other edge.)

And I’m still (still! Also crazy!) a little dissatisfied with the fit of the wrist. Fortunately, this fitting issue isn’t an issue at all for the intended recipient, but it does mean I get to retool it again, probably while working out the two-colored variation I just thought of a couple days ago.

And the worst part? I’m not even sure fingerless gloves are the greatest idea. Aren’t people sick of them yet? Googling “Fingerless gloves” +knitting +pattern gets over 1,000 hits, and there are more than 200 on Ravelry alone.

But none of ’em look like mine, so I might as well persevere …

Invaded!

When I met Rico, a friend of my then-boyfriend Justin, I was knitting a pair of fingerless gloves with a band of skulls around the top of the palm for the boyfriend. Rico was very, very impressed, and requested a pair. I said “sure.”

Months later, I still hadn’t delivered, and Rico began the most intense knitting-related pressure campaign I have ever witnessed. He managed to work the topic of fingerless gloves into every conversation. He briefly discussed an upcoming trip to Europe for work and how the cool fall weather would make gloves absolutely necessary, and how the fingers of traditional gloves hamper the recording and note-taking of reporters like himself. Occasionally I’d get inquiries about the progress of the gloves, and I’d make lame excuses as to why they weren’t done, since at the time I was so busy I was barely knitting at all. Finally, I received a MySpace message mentioning that he would be in town and would like to visit Justin and me, and how boy howdy it sure would be awesome if he could collect those gloves.

In short, he badgered me into making gloves for him, set a concrete deadline and leavened the pressure with such obviously genuine enthusiasm that I just couldn’t get mad.

I’d intended to use the same pattern I’d used on Justin’s gloves, but it would’ve taken weeks to decode my elaborate original pattern. The notes on the short-rowing across the knuckles and careful shaping at the base of the thumb were scrawled in tiny letters on knitter’s graph paper around an outline of a hand, with stray numbers, row counts and scratched-out notes popping up like dandelions on a schoolyard lawn in summer. I scrapped it, dug some heathered merino out of the stash, drew out my skull chart again, printed out a copy of Knucks and went to work. I knitted until my fingertips went numb but by god I had those gloves finished and perfect a day before his arrival in town.

(One lesson I got from this was that I am capable of working amazingly well when someone applies the right balance of relentless prodding and cheerful encouragement. I’ve actually started inviting people I freelance for to harass me like this, since it keeps communication clear and keeps me on track. My medium-to-long-term goal is to learn to manage myself like this, so others don’t have to.)

I sent Rico a message that the gloves were done. He picked them up a few days later, completely delighted, and then the follow-up campaign began.

Usually, when I knit someone a gift, I hand it over and it disappears. (Literally, for the original skull gloves — they were stolen when Justin took them to Sweden.) This was different: Rico constantly kept me posted on how excited he was about the gloves and how and where he’d wear them.

He started off by wearing them all week after he got them, even though they made his hands sweat in the LA heat. Word got around about the gloves, and mutual friends would corner me to ask about them. He wore them when his friend took his picture. And made a point of crediting me every time he mentioned the gloves in person or online.

This is the kind of person to knit for.

And best of all, in an unexpected turn, he’s now mine to knit for whenever I want.

Invaded! Rico models his new Space Invaders beanie.
Invaded! Rico models his new Space Invaders beanie. Pattern: My own generic hat pattern, with some Space Invaders charts from Knitty’s BMP and one drawn by hand. Needles: US 6 and US 7, whichever I had lying around. Yarn: Knit Picks “Merino Style” in Maple Leaf and Coal.

New Knitty reminds me that I am an utter slacker

The new Knitty’s out, and it’s making me realize how predictable I am.

Cherie Amour, Knitty fall '07
Ooh, pretty! I like the tunic length, the deep, deep V-neck and the draping sleeves. Plus, the shape is definitely very ’60s, which is always a hit with me.

Cherie Amour is beautiful, very likely will be one of my next projects and as my buddy Sonya pointed out, looks a whole lot like the sweater I’m already knitting (and have been knitting since spring). Oops.

Henry is my other favorite, and it is 1. herringbone, like the skirt I am wearing at this very moment, and 2. identical in texture to a jacket I already own. Fortunately, the awesome new boyfriend’s birthday is in January, and he’s definitely a scarf-wearer who thinks my alchemical skill in turning yarn into cool wearables is downright magic!

But overall, the new Knitty is more of the same. That “same” is pretty awesome, though, which makes me think that I’m bored with the designs because of me, not them. Once my room is tamed and once I’m not jetting off every single weekend to a different destination, I’ll be booking one day a week for knitting and working on my own stuff. The sweet new Internet job is great ‘n’ all but it hasn’t supplanted the need to design, and the lust to be a designer of some sort hasn’t abated.

Before I can do that, though, I obviously need to rustle up some self-discipline. It’s easy having a job where people tell me what to do all day. It’s a whole lot harder for me to keep myself focused, and to set and hit deadlines. I beat myself up all the time for being a slacker, when I know I’m capable of generating massive amounts of ideas, energy and work, and I can do amazing things when I harness them. I refuse to believe that self-direction is innate; anyone got any ideas on how to foster it as a grown-up?