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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Episode 4: Vest, and socks, and shaping, too.

Yes, I am tired of the rain, and the dirty, melting snow, and am now looking forward to mud season (not really) - and yes, mud season IS an official season in Maine. Good thing I've got plenty of knitting to get me over that dreadful hump...

In this podcast episode:
1) Joyce feels pressured by me (what?? me? nahhh...) to reconstruct her mitered vest
2) I get inspired by Cookie A., the sock mistress
4) the mini lesson is about full-fashioning

First off, let me apologize for the tapping/bumping noises on the podcast. I think as we speak, our hands move around (I am French, you know, and speak LOUDLY with my hands!), and perhaps tap the counter where the microphone sits. I haven't pinpointed the problem (we can't even think of what we were doing), and it may be annoying to hear. I'll bring my ruler next time and swat any noisy fingers! (just kidding...we'll just sit on our hands :-)

In Episode 1, Joyce and I discussed some ideas to change a vest from a too-small garment to one that fits just right. Although she claims that I "nagged" her into finally making those changes (something about being her work wife...), the finished version fits her way better, and looks great, too.
She chose to add a solid color band, continuing in Garter stitch with a mitered stitch in the front corner. A couple of rows of the contrasting color just before the bind off brings it all together nicely. I know taking out a project you thought was done to rework it is no fun, but that is the difference between a project that sits in the closet never to see the light of day, and one you can wear proudly, and often!

Joyce described a method of weaving a loose strand of yarn in and out of your fabric, from row to row, to use instead of a stitch marker. I searched the internet to find such a method demonstrated and didn't find anything. So I experimented and came up with this, my own version. I guess you could just as well make a small loop (like a yarn ring) and use that instead of a ring marker, but this video shows you what Joyce was talking about. Can you think of a reason to do it this way?

During my latest trip out of town (yes, again having to decide what projects to take), I took inspiration from a sock designer I very much admire, Cookie A. I find the way she makes the stitches move around in her sock designs intriguing and clever. So, as I looked at a new color of Ty-Dy Socks Dots (called Periwinkle, brand spanking new and not even in stock, yet), I decided to take a small stab at making my sock stitches travel, too. Still don't know what I'll call this design. Any suggestions?
I recorded a short video to demonstrate the Stretchy Cast On method I used for the top of the socks. It is a new method for me so my technique is a little rough, but I think it's clear enough for you to give it a shot. It really makes a nice stretchy cast on—not too loose and sloppy looking like some other methods I've tried.

This episode's mini lesson is about full-fashioning. As I explained in the podcast, that term refers to working your decreases a few stitches in from the edge to create a decorative ridge. The two garments shown below make good use of that technique for working a raglan sleeve. On the left, the Urbana Cardie, has the yoke worked in one piece. The cardigan on the right, the Stadium Cardie, has all pieces (fronts, back and sleeves) worked individually and sewn together. Both garments feature the feathered version of full-fashioning, and both are worked with Nautika, a high-twist and smooth yarn that shows stitch detail beautifully. It is new this season, comes in 12 coordinated colors, and is machine wash and dry (you gotta love that for a summer yarn!).

The 2 examples below are as follows: a close-up of the Stadium Cardie with feathered full-fashioning (left), and a small swatch done in Wrapunzel with basic full-fashioning. As I mentioned in the podcast, even though this yarn has lots of personality (textures and colors), the refined detail still works well.
As I finish writing this blog entry, the sun is shining today (the process of recording, video taping, editing and writing spans several days) and I see the remnants of snow on the roof morphing into water drops. Yes, ladies and gents, spring is coming to Maine, any day now, and that makes me happy. Have a great knitting week :-)


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