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August 23, 2006

Arrowhead Pullover

Add a hat, gloves, and a chignon and a girl with her living to get could meet with the approval of Poirot himself.

I had no idea how much fabric shawl collars take - right now, there's just enough in the way of short rows to allow a tiny, rather Peter Pannish rollover. I think I like it that way right now - very soft and delicate - though I might rip and add more if it starts to feel too twee as fall moves in. Otherwise, I'm enormously pleased with this, with the economy of it: the economy of the stitch, a very simple, very effective lace that makes the most of a few holes and a few decreases; the economy of the design, exactly what's needed and nothing more, with construction elements - shaped edges meeting at seams (check out the second photo), strong verticals separating repeats - becoming ornaments as well; the literal economy of the project, at $17.00 including tax for all the materials. There is history here, apart from the obvious, a tinge of tradition to all those things. I think this is why I knit.

Pattern: My own (pattern available someday - no timeline promises just now)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fine, in colors CW380 (dusty sage)
Yardage: 4 50 gram balls (about 800 yards)
Yarn Source: Woodland Woolworks
Needles: 2.5mm Addi Turbo circulars and 2.75mm (US 2) Inox Grey circulars
Gauge: 6.5 sts/inch over lace pattern
Modifications: --

See all entries on this project

August 17, 2006

Sweet

There hasn't been much actual knitting around here. I've been busy writing patterns (something I always dread - I'm a champion note-taker, but I also seem to excel at inventing new systems of shorthand, none of which make any sense an hour later), working on the books, planning a fun new technique series, and doing, oh, one or two non-knitting things besides. I've been working here and there on another simple little sweater:

Fair or not, I tend to draw a distinction between "plain" knits and those that are, well, unplain. "Plain" knits are ones that require only gauge swatch, a sketch and a calculator to plan - variables of fabric and edging and neckline are as easily swapped in and out as Lego bricks in a sweater that follows the usual pattern (in fact, too many books to count tell you exactly how to go about it). Unplain knits are anything beyond: tricky or unusual constructions, most of the time. Plain sweaters may be quite complex-looking - I'd put many Fair Isles and Norwegians in this category, along with Arans and other textured sweaters - "plain" just refers to the way the sweater is built. If the garment is going to be knit in the usual way, if the process is predictable, it's not harnessing the sun to drop in stitch patterns and the like, fussing here and there with the math to make it all work.

Unplain knitting is a pleasurable sort of challenge, but right now I seem to be avoiding it. It might be the only thing my frazzled brain can take right now, it might just be that I'm lazy, but plain knitting attracts me mightily lately. For one thing, once a few key numbers are established, you can just start knitting, doing the rest of the math - side, arm and neck shaping, for example - on the needles, rather than needing to plan everything before beginning. And besides, it's satisfying in its own right - there is a lot of pleasure to be had in making every humble little detail correct.

So anyway, it's a lacy little sweater in a dull mint shade of Brown Sheep Cotton Fine ( < $5.00/ball, woot!), worked in a variation of the traditional arrowhead motif.

I'm thinking half-sleeves with deep ribbing and a delicate shawl collar (as delicate as shawl collars can be, anyway). I'm going for Interbellum office girl - scrubbed-clean, competent, secretly dreaming of elegance, attaining it, a little, in small ways. Happily, the way the junction of lace and rib was planned couldn't be more Deco:

Sometimes, from some angles, I fancy that it (independent of its knitter) picked up a hint of L'Oasis. Which humbles me, indeed.



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