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Saturday, January 22, 2011

What was I thinking?!?

This top-down Happy Chanel Jacket doesn't need to be knit in the round and steeked. duh. It's plain stockinette stitches - no stranded colorwork or even fancy cabling that is easier to knit when you're always looking at the outside. duh. So glad I slept on this.

The plan now is to finish up the back shoulder area (have about 8 more rows to do) then do the front shoulder area in 2 separate sections down to the underarm joins - which is about where the short row bust darts have to be. Then it's just one big flat sweater body.

I've also been thinking about how many stitches to pick up for the sleeves. When I'm knitting flat I like to slip the first stitch. Makes a nice neat even edge that lies flat. But when I made the dress I was dissatisfied with picking up one stitch per edge stitch - which comes to one stitch for every other row. That's fine on vertical parts, but along the top of the sleeve cap you really need more stitches. I had intended to NOT slip the first stitch of the first couple of rows on my next top-down project - and of course, completely forgot. So here's my solution. I'll pick up one stitch for every edge stitch and then on the next round I will double the stitches across the top of the sleeve cap. Ought to be no more than 6 stitches - maybe only 4 since this is such bulky yarn. Final decision will come later. I plan to knit the whole body before I add the sleeves since this is just a wee little sweater, not a great mound of dress.

No photos since all I have is a blob of curling, lumpy purple and orange stockinette right now. I'll photograph it when there's some sort of shape to it all.

Sweater Quest: My Year of Knitting DangerouslyIn Other Knitterly Thoughts ... for Christmas I gave myself  Sweater Quest, by Adrienne Martini.  I love a Christmas Book and this year I was in the mood for a knitting themed read. This one is a blog-into-book book, a la Julie/Julia.  Since I hadn't ever read her blog I couldn't tell if there was any of that editorial micromanagement that can ruin a fine blogger's style by its strict adherence to the publisher's policies.

Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle KnittingIt's a quick read about the author's desire to knit an Alice Starmore sweater. I don't suppose there's a knitter out there who hasn't both heard of AS and admired the magnificently elaborate stranded colorwork garments she designs. But we all also know that she's got attitude and it permeates everything about her. Still and all, she certainly is an artist worthy of note in the fiber world. Sadly, much of her early design work is just not avaiable - though happily I see she's reissued her basic work on Fair Isle Knitting - which I popped $78 for on the used book market a few years back.

Anyway - the thing about Martini's book that I found ... well, exceedingly weird, but also interesting, in a turn the rock over and see what's underneath it kind of way ... was her constant question "If I make any changes as I knit this sweater, is it still an Alice Starmore sweater?"

I think if I knit for a quatrillion years that is a question that would never ever occur to me. Ever. At All. This is so entirely alien to me that every time she'd ask someone "Is it still an AS?" I would have to put the book down and go take several deep breaths. And at the point where she stated right out that the sweater looked terrible on her I almost quit reading the book. I just felt so awful for her. And yet she didn't feel awful. She didn't care. I can't imagine finishing something that didn't look good on me. For that matter, I can't imagine even starting a project I knew up front was going to look bad on me. And, honestly, only the flattest, squarest straightest people look good in a drop shoulder sweater - and that group doesn't include many women.

For Martini, though, the whole project was an attempt to absolutely obey somebody else's instructions - even though it was impossible to do that because even on E-bay there just isn't enough of the old Rowan yarn AS designed that sweater for. So the effort was both expensive and futile and yet she was so pleased with herself.

Which just goes to show you that there really are all kinds of knitters out there. Aren't you glad you get to be the kind you are and don't have to be the kind Someone Else is?


  1. To answer your question, Dear Bess: an unqualified Yes! And you're right -- I bought this book sometime last year, after I heard a podcast in which Ms. Martini had been interviewed, and though I enjoyed her tale of sweater adventure, that question was not burning a hole in my mind. In fact, I can't say I've ever wondered (or cared) whether or not, if I made an item from another's pattern, it would still be what it was. Ditto for cooking from a recipe...Just a thought.

  2. Love the dress! Fits like a dream and you look wonderful in it!

    And I never care if something I knit (or quilt, or sew, or cook) must be exactly as described - I never can follow directions exactly.