Thursday, March 14, 2013

so many balls

Hello Blogland!  It's been a while.  I'm happy to report that my mind is on my work, where it really needs to be during this precious research leave (which is almost at an end, sniff sniff)...and there is still a little stitching going on, but nothing like the fury of thread, fabric, and yarn that characterized deep winter.

This little blog serves me very well as a kind of diary of creative efforts and I don't want to abandon it even as I get deeper in my two current book projects.  So while my posts may be brief, I'm hoping to keep them going!

I have a few quilt sampler-related things I'd like to write about...soon....My Farmer's Wife quilt top (finished nearly a year ago, egads) is next to be basted and Pony Club sampler and Nancy Cabot 1933 sampler both seem like perfect summer projects for me, given the fact that I have soooooo many balls in the air right now.

I love that sampler blocks offer themselves up as small, do-able tasks, objects of challenge and beauty in their own right, each offering a sense of accomplishment on a small scale. Mmmmmm.  Sooooooooon.

Meanwhile, I can report a quilt finish -- my second Scrappy Trips Around the World quilt, based on Bonnie Hunter's excellent tutorial.  This one is the product of the over-loaded red-pink-orange corner of my fabric stash and is a gift for my good friend Miriam, co-conspirator in the mass conversion of 14-year-old private school girls to the Cult of the Quilt (more on that soon, too). I hope to get some good photos of the finished quilt soon but for now here is some evidence of its existence: Saturday night basting party.

This time around I used 3.5" strips to make my blocks, and this larger size has some REAL advantages.  First, everything goes more quickly: each block finishes at 18", so 25 blocks and you have a queen-sized quilt.  Yay!  The larger squares also show off larger prints; this is great too.  

Fabrics: scrappy with a big dose of Denyse Schmidt. The "stems" of each block (for lack of a better term -- these are the lines that criss-cross this quilt) are two of the black and cherry prints from Denyse Schmidt's Greenfield Hill and the backing is yards and yards of  "Preservation Peony" from that same line.  It looks lush and vaguely decadent.  I bound the whole thing in a red and pink polka dot print from Denyse's first line for Joann's (can't recall the name).

On the knitting front, I finished the main part of my Agatha cardigan...but after blocking (and obviosuly before making the buttonband) I remembered why it is that I should avoid cropped styles: my shoulder-to-waistline distance is really small.  And then my waistline to hip length is relatively long.  So with Agatha's waist shaping (which, in the original pattern, never gets reversed), the bottom of the cardigan just straaaiiiiiins around my tum.  Not comfortable and not flattering. 

You would think I would know better by now...but no.  I just knit along merrily, despite the nagging voice that said, This will not work for you!

Anyway, live and learn.

I have unravelled the body up to the bottom of the waist shaping (see the giant ball and the smile of a woman no longer restricted by a too-small-cardigan?).

I'll pick up the knitting at this point and start hip increases right away.  I think a longer cardigan will be nice too...I just have to go back to Romni wools, where I prematurely returned 2 skeins of this yarn, thinking myself to be a buttonband away from a finish.  Sigh.

Knitter know thyself. Discovering the timer on my camera is a step in this direction.

It's a hard pill to swallow, but after 30 years of knitting I'm still learning about what will and what will not work for me. In fact, when I started knitting in the early 80s, "fitting" was not an issue that knitters discussed.  You followed a pattern, probably one for a sweater with dropped shoulder and boxy pattern pieces.  Maybe it's because I'm such an experienced knitter that it's hard to break with habit and think critically about how to tailor a pattern to me.  I'm going to work on this.

(EDITED TO ADD: even with this amount of "frogging," I can see that the fit of what's left is not ideal.  The bunching on the side under my arm, at the bust, is probably due to the fact that I need an FBA -- more increases at the bust -- while I could probably do with a smaller size for the basic shell.  These are exactly my fitting issues in sewn garments.)

From a little online research, it sounds to me like Ysolda Teague's "reference" section in  Little Red in the City is probably the best guide to fitting shaped knits. And how can I resist that title, sooooo perfect for me?

Do you have any favourite reference books for shaping and customizing your knitting? This old horse is ready to try some new tricks....


LizA. said...
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LizA. said...

I admire your tenacity. I think I would have hidden the whole thing away in a closet or box and tried to forget about it. I've only tried knitting a couple sweaters and not had much luck with the fit. I read Amy Herzog's blog and am looking forward to her upcoming book.

Nic said...

Welcome back to blogland. Glad to hear that your sabbatical is going well.
Ouch, all the frogging is not fun, but I can understand why you did it.if you're not happy with what you've currently got when it sits closed, why not try turning it into a cardigan that doesn't close. I quite like that style.
For fit, the Cora I just knitted had a lot of fit checks and tips in. And Amy Herzog has a site (and classes I think) all about getting a good fit.

Prof. S (the enchanted bobbin) said...

Thank you so much, my kind friends :) Interesting that you both thought of Amy Herzog...thanks for that tip! While exploring her blog, I discovered a link to her craftsy class @ 50% off, hooray! See the March 3rd post: