Friday, April 16, 2010

More about the autumn cardigan

Garment ideas continued: I noticed someone on Ravelry had done a combination of stranded work with twisted stitches--it wasn't finished then, but it is now, so you should check out prairiespinner's ithilien brocade jacket.

Hers is a more complex interweaving of technique, and her reverse bands are norwegian knots. But as I pondered the project, I was also exploring more Bavarian twisted stitches, even completing a pair of Bayerishes socks, though they made my hands ache (getting gauge with the wool, which I didn't like anyway, required constant and severe tension on top of twisted stitches.
Of course, I'm not entirely happy with the other idea--expanding on Ruth's original hidden button band to create the illusion of an under sweater and a jacket. I went back and forth on the neck band of this, in fact ripping it out several times. I ended up with the straight neck mostly by default--I was running out of the orange-red and didn't want to fade into red-red. I think my ideal remake actually has a curved neck for the red-orange part, that way the green line at the top could echo the curves of the vines at the front.

More on the making of this monster:
Today, I'm just writing about the debates of the button band (there were debates on other parts as well.
Problems with a button band that is twisted stitch on top of stockinette, which is the look I prefer--it rolls to an absurd degree. You've just combined two forces of rolling. So it's going to need a hem of some sort--wide at least and perhaps full lining.
And then, you have the problem of color migration in the kauni yarn. I had decided to go with the orange-to-red against the dark teal, and of course, that's one of the shortest migrations in the yarn.
I did the i-cord first, because I was already obsessed with this and it gave me more time to think (though that ended up being a mistake for the sleeves, oh well).
One option I considered was making each band separately, either back and forth, or, seriously, in the round (a full hem achieved just by steaming, and no seaming, rah). I wondered how I put do pick ups to attach the band to the sweater while knitting in the round, but I figured I'd figure it out. I also considered double knitting each one separately, but the misery of doing twisted stitches in double knitting put that one out of my head.
As you see from the picture, I chose the path that seemed to offer the least resistance. That is, picking up on both sides every row, knitting back and forth, and including a large steek that would become two hems. It seemed to offer more hope for color symmetry than knitting each band separately, and while doing twisted stitches on the back side of the fabric isn't my favorite task, I have done so many picked up bands that at least it wouldn't bother me.
More notes on the technical excitements this ended up posing next time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Nerdy organization

Here's the way I think about my projects:
Pattern inspiration/Source:
Fun technical bits:
Garment idea:
Textile idea:
Notes on making:
Lessons to be learned:

I'm going to try this out for some old projects, and see how well it contains and satisfies my desire to think and about and thus improve my craft.

Of course, I should start at the beginning and go on until I come to the end, but there's a lot of stuff stored up, so I'm not going to do that. I'm starting with the last big project I finished, a modified version of Ruth Sorensen's Autumn Cardigan.

The finished sweater (on me, which doesn't do the shaping any justice at all, since the recipient has a good 5" on me in height, and a very different body shape too):

Project: The very fancy autumn cardigan
Inspiration/Source: Ruth Sorensen’s Autumn Cardigan
Fun techniques: Fair isle, steeks, double-sided stitch pick-ups, i-cord, double knitting, twisted stitch in two colors.

Garment idea: This is meant to look a pair of sweaters—an orange-red under-sweater with twisted stitch panels with a fair isle jacket in reversed colors on top.

Notes on making: I liked the basic idea of the autumn cardigan a lot. I especially liked the long two-color ribbing that becomes waist-shaping, and the button band hiding out behind the i-cord border. When I started making this, I intentionally make it narrower than intended, but kept the back and front the same (after all, most women do better if the front is a bit bigger than the back of the sweater). I worried that I might be too far off—that is, the back would end up too narrow, pulling at the shoulders in the back.

Getting started

Knitting combines several of my deepest aesthetic pleasures—the play of color when both depth and sunlight are at work, the textures of textiles, and the work of sculpture (art that you can enjoy walking all the way around it). Of course, it is hard to balance all these elements in any particular object, even harder when one would like it to fit a particular body. So I’ve decided to write here about my varied experiments, the victories and pitfalls. You’ll see I’m a knitting techno nerd, a tendency only made more extreme by the explorations that Ravelry allows. As an academic, I always try and note a source when I’ve borrowed part of someone else’s design or began with something as an inspiration. I sometimes comment on my Ravelry page about the quality of a published design’s notes or shaping; here I’m mostly recording my own adaptations and ideas.

The delight of knitting is that it really can be three dimensional. You can shape the fabric as you make it. The problem with this possibility is that sometimes garments require the stabilizing force of things like hems and seams in order not to become a baggy mess. The other hazard of making a single piece of knitting in three dimensions is how hard it is to alter in the end.

I love musing on the possibilities presented by a particular yarn when I buy on impulse, or what might work when I have started with a design idea.

Occasional diversions into more restful knitting may or may not get mentioned.