The holidays are fast approaching, and I still haven’t blogged about a photo shoot we did clear back in OCTOBER! Guess I’ve just gotten so caught up in all the business of the holiday season and blogging has once again gone by the wayside. Before the holiday madness hit, we spent the last glourious autumn day having a photo shoot.
Over the course of the last year I became obesessed with vests like this one from Hello Yarn, and this one from BrooklynTweed. I am always so sure that I can whip up a design out of my own head, that I rarely bother to buy patterns (in spite of the fact that it would be so much easier to have the work done for me), so I worked up my own desgin based on these. (Though I will note, that I did end up purchasing Jared Flood’s fantastic Alberta pattern just to see how it compared with the one I struggled to create on my own…and mine was actually pretty close, I’m pleased to say!)
KnitWit’s version: Striped Noro Vests.
For my vest I used Noro Kureyon #95 approx 3 skeins and 3 skeins of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride in Onyx.
The one thing I would change is the waist shaping I added. I DO think the waist shaping is necessary to give the vest a more feminine shape, but should I knit the vest again I would space the shaping rows out more. I placed my decrease rows too close together and thus my shaping was pretty severe…which has the unfortunate result of making the bottom of the vest bloom out like a puffed sleeve, accentuating an already not-so-flattering area of my torso…in otherwords, it’s shaped like a giant love handle and I really don’t need any help in that area!
Otherwise I’m pleased with how the vest turned out and I love the way the funky clown colors of the Noro work with the black to give the vest a funky look but not look totally overwhelming.
And because I have to keep knitting something until it’s perfected (in my eyes), the hubby got a vest too!
Mr. KnitWit’s vest was made from Brown Sheep Lamb’s pride again in Peacock and a color of Noro that I could not name, due to the fact that I lost the ball band ages ago…but it was black, gray, turquoise and had even a touch of burgandy here and there.
Here’s the hubs with little KnitWit in his tomten jacket.
The pics really don’t do the colors justice, the peacock is much brighter but works well with the Noro. It’s amazing to me how the bright colors can be so toned down by the darker tones, in my vest the solid black yarn, in the Hub’s case, the darker shades of the variegated Noro really tones down the brightness of the solid main color. I find the overall effect very pleasing and I think it looks great on the hubby.
Not to mention I love the versitility of a vest. It can be dressed up or down, with slacks or jeans (or in my case a skirt) and for the Hub, who is always hot, it provides that extra layer when the weather gets cool but isn’t as hot and overwhelming as a sweater.
Ane he just plain looks cool in it
I see more vests in his future!
There are a few more sweaters in my cue to blog about, but they will have to wait til after the holiday knitting is done. By then I may have a few more things to blog about. Til then, I wish everyone and safe, and joyous holiday and the best of all things in the New Year!
I was finally able to get some of the recipients of my handknits all in one place this weekend and get some long overdue pictures taken. The recipient of the Tomten Jacket was in town this weekend and when he slowed down enough, I was able to get a few shots:
There was plenty of yardwork to be done so we had to take pictures on the fly.
While he paused briefly to have his picture taken with me–wearing my Elizabeth Zimmermann Seamless Yoke Sweater–Will insisted he had much more important things to do….
…like pick up sticks….
…sweep the driveway…
Go for a walk with his Grandma Linda…..
…And pose for a shot with his coolest cousin, Brad, who's wearing a handknit sweater too!
In fact it was a real weekend of Elizabeth Zimmermann handknits. Will and his Tomten, me and my seamless Fair Isle yoke, and Brad and his seamless Hybrid!
I like to keep my family in handknits….
L-R: Me wearing EZ's seamless Fair Isle yoke, Brad in EZ' seamless Hybrid, Will in EZ's Tomten Jacket, and Brad's mom, Susie the only one not in an EZ sweater, instead wearing the Andean Treasure Sampler vest from Knit Picks.
I swear, I am doing a little dance in my chair as I type. I recently wrote a post on the Zimmermania blog requesting help on the Bog Jacket I'm knitting. This morning to my surprise and utter delight, there was this comment waiting:
The long sleeves were my addition to mother's design. You may make a cuff by working a short row every-other-ridge and always wrapping at the same place — OR you can make a tapered sleeve by working to within 2" of the end (repeat on other side) — then a complete ridge — then work to within 1-1/2" of the first wrap — then 1-1/2" shy of the last wrap, etc. Work X-inches plain from end to end – and repeat the foregoing on the other side of the 'shoulder'. Knit on, Meg
From Meg Swansen herself! I was so flippin excited I might as well have just gotten an email from….from….well I don't know, some major celebrity. (Seems like all the celebrity figures I admire are dead so just can't think of a live one who I'd be this trilled to get an email from). I don't know why I found this so utterly exciting or why I had such an unfashionably giddy response to this. I have actually gotten an email from Meg before when I emailed a question about some yarn to Schoolhouse Press, but this just felt way more exciting. Maybe it was just knowing that Meg takes a little time to peruse the blog (even though it's not even my blog, I'm just one of the dozens of contributors) and make a comment when she sees a Zimmermann fan in need.
I guess I will just never be cool when it comes to communicating with someone I admire. I always wondered what I would have done had I been able to meet someone from my list of celebrities: Ernest Hemingway, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Harper Lee, Flannery O' Conner, Meryl Streep, Robert Redford; what would I do? I would blabber like a bloody idiot and then I'd probably wet myself, that's what.
I harken back to this past Fall when my friend Carol invited B and I to join in the celebration of the dedication of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library in Mitchell, SD. George McGovern, former senator from Mitchell and 1972 Democratic presidential nominee is Carol's uncle and she invited us to join her and her family in the "good seats" for the Peter, Paul and Mary concert one night and the dedication ceremony the next day. I must have looked like a 5 year old with ADD! I couldn't sit still at the concert, I was grinning like a lunatic and singing along with every song, I think I even wept a little. (I'd grown up listening to their music and nearly wore out my mother's album. Yes, a record Album, not a CD or even an Tape, an ALBUM). I wasn't much better the next day at the dedication, with all of the representatives from SD on stage along with Senator McGovern and former President Clinton. Again, totally uncool. Snapping pictures as fast as the flash on my camera could reset. Good lord. Could I have been more….anything but cool? The thought of meeting someone who was in political office and is a household name was enough to put me into geek overload. And the Peter, Paul and Mary thing? NO excuses. My friend Amy put it so kindly when she said "Man, you're old!" And I'm not even 30 (yet) and she's only a year younger than me!
I guess it just doesn't take all that much to make me happy. And in some ways I feel sorry for people who can't get excited about the little things in life. If the little dreams can't come true how can we believe the big ones will? It's how I rationalize it in my geeky little head.
Ok, I thought I would share with you the details on how I finished my Red
Once all the knitting was done, and all the end woven in, I washed and blocked the sweater. Be sure to do this before you prepare for cutting the steek. If your sweater shrinks up or stretches during blocking, you could have a problem if you had already sewn along your steek stitches.
I then basted down the center of my steek with some contrasting colored yarn:
I used a 6 stitch steek, so I basted through the ladders between the 3rd and 4th stitches.
I then hand sewed on either side of my basting with matching sewing thread. Using a back stitch, I sewed 2 rows on either side of the basting, each row a half of a stitch apart. I sewed my steek by hand because I just could not figure out how to send that sweater through the sewing machine. I know a lot of tutorials say to machine sew, but I have not been able to figure out how to send a tube of fabric through a sewing machine and have things come out straight. So I just sewed by hand. It took a bit of patience, but I then had control over where every stitch went and didn't have to worry about the stitches being too tight.
Then I began cutting:
This is the part everyone is afraid of, but if you've sewn your steek you have nothing to worry about. My stitches had gotten a bit fuzzy during washing and held beautifully when I cut the steek. Nothing frayed or tried to slip out of the hand sewing or anything.
Just cut slowly right along your basting, cutting one ladder at a time. No problem.
Then, using my matching thread again, I folded back the steek stitches and sewed them to the inside of the sweater body. This will act as facing for the zipper. I could have machine sewn the facing here, but I didn't want my stitches to go all the way through to the front side (public side) of the sweater. I used a whip stitch to sew the facing to the back of the stitches on the inside (non-public side) of the sweater. It's very secure and non of my sewing shows through.
The zipper was a bit trickier. I had a difficult time finding a zipper to begin with. I went to every fabric store and hobby store in my area and could not find seperating zippers in anything but black, green, brown, or white. I looked for a 2 way zipper, but could only find them in very long lengths 26"-36" My sweater is 22" from collar to hem. I didn't want to have the zipper run all the way up the mock turtleneck collar so I just opted for a black zipper that was a bit short. I found a tutorial for sewing shortening a zipper, here, but I was afraid that the zipper head would come off when you zipped up the sweater. That's just my luck.
I sewed the zipper to the facing stitches (my sewing does not go all the way through to the front, but just though the facing stitches). I tried to use small even stitches (easier said than done) and sew near the teeth of the zipper.
And here's how it turned out:
Side view of ribbing:
All zipped up:
And it even matches my sweater style slippers!
All in all, I'm really pleased with how the sweater turned out. It was the first time I had used a steek for a cardigan, and the first time I'd sewn a zipper into anything! I learned a lot and will definitely do this again. I'll know what to expect next time. I think the next time I will add some of Elizabeth Zimmermman's applied I-cord to the body of the sweater on either side of the zipper. Just to give it a little finishing touch. I saw a beautiful example of this on the Zimmermania blog. It just makes a beautiful finished edge and covers the zipper up nicely. I'll try it next time.
added later: I decided to change the name of this cardi to just plain Red Cardi to try to avoid some nasty spam that keeps coming up as a comment for these posts that I think may be related to the word rib-bing. We'll see if this helps….
Let me count the ways….
added later: I have decided to try to change the title of this and the subsequent posts to avoid some nasty spam that always pops up as a comment for these entries.