Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Stitcher's Wardrobe: Pullover Sweater

This sweater has been 95% done for a couple of weeks or more. Sometimes I stall out at the end for various reasons.  In this case the neckline was reworked several times.  But sometimes I think I am not ready to let go of a project -- that might also be the case here.

I knit this from the bottom up, joined the sleeves at the base of the yoke, and worked the front, back, sleeve caps and saddles all at once. The math was enchanting.  I used standards for sleeve circumference, armhole depth, and shoulder width.  As a gal with non-angular proportions (and I know I am not alone in my figure type), I would like to see the effect of this same sweater knit with a narrower yoke and fuller sleeve caps.

The yarn is from my brother-in-law's sheep and a llama or two, spun into a 2-ply at MacAusland's, and dyed in my basement. This clip is especially hairy, like maybe someone's shipment to the wig factory was misplaced. Which makes me love it even more.

The buttons are vintage, and I am smitten with their largeness and proximity. In my next iteration I will move the buttons alongside the placket and make loops instead of buttonholes. I will also steepen the angle of the neckline where it meets the saddle.

The shaping is located almost under the arms, like a cereal box.

In other news, Project Two-Houses-into-One is progressing beautifully. I am sitting in a newly painted lovely knitter's nest. The sorting, culling, and improvements throughout our home are distracting and liberating.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Style Influences and Lack Thereof

I've been thinking hard lately about my design roots -- why do I have such a compulsion to make, and what influences my personal style?

I make because I was raised a maker, by makers. My Mom stitched and weaved and gardened and cooked and baked. My Dad built a tree house and a go-cart (and roads for the go-cart) and a train table and a loom. And that's just my parents -- the rest of my family were makers too.

My style is influenced by nostalgia. I had a simple childhood of sticks and dirt, hand-me-downs, one tattered Pendleton shirt, needles and thread, and four older brothers and sisters that treated me like gold.

We spent our weekends at our woods camp, off the grid, climbing trees and swimming in our pond. If I had forgotten a swim suit my mother said, "Just swim in your underwear". Surely this was not what my friends did, but whatever, okay.  Little did my Mom know what this would lead to.

One Friday when I was a Sophomore in college my friend Jen came to my door and said, "Tonight a couple of the boys downstairs are streaking through the quad. Think about it -- last year you would not dare go streaking because you were a Freshman. Next year you will not go streaking because you will not live here. This is your single opportunity."

Guess who went streaking through the quad that night.

In the following months there was a spate of streakers (not me, I had met my requirement), and when the weather got warmer we resorted to jumping into the Lamprey River at Wiswall Bridge, swim suits optional.

On a dark night my friend Paul was standing at the bridge railing talking to a really pretty gal, a really pretty naked gal. Paul was short like me and tongue tied around girls. I did not want to miss this. But he had drunk some liquid courage, and I was stunned by how cool and collected he was, chatting about class and such. And then the girl climbed onto the railing. Paul's mouth dropped open and his eyes grew huge. He grabbed my arm and blurted, "OH-MY-GOD-SHE'S-NAKED!"

I hope you have a grand weekend. (But don't streak because nowadays it'll earn you a sex offender record!)