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Monday, December 20, 2010

Thoughts on top-down knitting - and a progress photo + Christmas Glitter

As promised, here's the progress photo of my absolutely fabulous Soho Smocked Dress! I don't know when I  have enjoyed making anything as much as I have this garment. Even if my stockinette (of which there seem to be acres) is rough and uneven. I don't care and besides, wet blocking will even out at least 50% of it. I'm particularly enamored of the graceful V of the neckline ... which will be entirely too open during the cold of winter. But I am planning a pretty lacy dickie to wear beneath it. Something fluffy and white and probably cashmere - since I have a good store of that. It will also take scarves well and the solid color will allow me to use any of my printed silk ones. 

At this point I need to try the dress on again to see how much more smocking I'm going to do. My guess is that right now I've reached the exact waistline ... but I'm thinking I'll knit it just a wee bit longer so that perhaps an inch of it will sit at the top of my hips. Anyway, I'll try it and see, even if it means I'll have to rip out an inch or so of skirt. It just depends on how it looks. And of course, that's the beauty of a top-down garment. You can try it on and make adjustments as you knit.

This is my first top-down garment. I've been curious about them for a long time - well - at least a decade - since I got interested in knitting again. I'd read Barbara Walker's book on top-down knitting but it consisted almost entirely of raglan sleeve garments.  I figured it was not for me. The directions on the set-in sleeve variation basically involved flat knitting and if I was going to do that, I figured I might as well just knit flat pieces and seam. I am one who actually enjoys finishing and sewing in ends and all those fiddly bits. I'm still not convinced about top-down knitting when it comes to stranded colorwork. It would take a heap-0-convincing to get me to knit stranded colorwork flat - even if it's just the shoulder and upper body part. Just ... ick. no thanks.

Also, Barbara Walker's directions didn't click the way Kristina McGowan's did. Her explanations are succinct, brief, and well illustrated with clear color block photos. It just all made sense. And, now that I've gotten my feet wet - I can see there are a number of top-down projects in my future. 

Of course, it is Christmas week - and I'm trying to finish a pair of socks for BD that have been on the needles so long the cable's bent into a tight curl and even boiling water won't unkink it. They're made of the thinnest stretchiest yarn and I have been absolutely bored with them for at least a year. But I am also almost finished the second sock gusset - it's time to get these off the needles. Besides, he has been short of good socks for a long time. I'll scramble with these and then pick up my beautiful dress again later in the week. Or on Christmas day. 

So. May this week be full of happy anticipation, with a knitting project up ahead. To cheer you on your way here are some more pictures from The Christmas Tree.

Ornaments dangle on long strings to fill in gaps in the tree

LD's ornament inspired by the book Here Come Raccoons by Lillian Hoban

More glittery goodness

1 comment:

  1. Interesting comments about top-down garments. I, too, have wondered about them for a long, long time. My only access to patterns, though, was a library copy of Barbara Walker's book from which I did try, once, long ago, to knit a v-neck set-in sleeve jersey. Something went wrong and I put it aside and have now mislaid it. Somewhere. Being the Most Revered Knitting Person she is, I thought that it was me and not Barbara's instructions that were clumsy. Maybe it was a little of both. But it hasn't put me off wanting to try out a well-written pattern one day. Love the progress on your dress, by the way!