Sunday, 29 April 2012

The need to knit

Why do I knit?  Why do I make stuff to wear and use, - and then don't?

Looking at both my Ravelry project page and a shelf at home, I find that I recently made quite a few garments but I have them folded in a neat stack on a shelf, - basically I'm not wearing what I am making.


There are success stories: I love and wear my grey cable vest.  Bit of luck with that one.

But there are numerous garments I don't wear.  A short-sleeved turquoise top I just (almost) finished, a rose steeked cardigan, several cowls, a plum-coloured very wide but short top, a white slippery yarn jumper...  The list goes on*.

I also started quite a few garments where I will knit like someone possessed and stop when I get to a bit where I need to think things through, really use the focus of my designer eye, my instincts if you will.  Instead it's as if the soothing motion of motoring through acres of stocking stitch is the one thing that attracts me to knitting right now.

This is not a problem: I have so much yarn sitting around that any progress is indeed progress, even if my completion rate is rather miserable.  At some future point in time I will be happy to go over projects and get them done.  It'll be nice not to have the whole lot of work ahead of me, but instead only a little bit to finish.  It will be a quicker route to achievement gratification.

Now I am keen to start yet another project.  Only this time it's not something with oodles of stockinette to keep me happy, no it's a sort of cross between a sock and a slipper, kind of a house shoe type foot covering.  There is a big difference to my usual modus operandi:  I actually need slippers.

Because I can put them to good use, I am highly likely to make good use of them too. So let me at 'em!

I am so pleased to be starting a supremely useful item.  You never know it might kick off a trend!  Though I wouldn't exactly hold my breath...

* the problem with most of those projects is that they don't fit as well as I'd like (whereas the grey vest does), or it's not the right time of year, or I've simply forgotten that I have it.  Darn.

The problem with the turquoise top, pictured as a WIP, is that I put the shoulder seams in the wrong place, they ended up too far back.  So not a good look.  I also knit the sleeves with the wrong needles, thinner ones - no idea how I managed that mistake (severe case of absent-mindedness?).  And I'm not all that happy with the general fit to begin with.  I have a feeling that I might rip this one down and start over.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Wahey! Version 2

And... voila!  Version 2

In pink this time.  Loads better than the blue one, still not as good as I'd like so I won't be making another one exactly like it.  It needs further refinement before I can use this as a template.

There is some diagonal pulling going on from the bust point downwards.  To be honest: I'm not really sure what causes that nor how to fix it.  I'll need to pop this on my tailor's dummy and investigate.  Maybe the bust darts need to be a bit deeper?

I am still glad how this falls from the shoulders, so that's a good starting point.  I'm happy with that.

I find the side picture the most interesting: I can see that the angle of the dart is rather too steep, I will raise the starting point.  The armhole is pretty baggy towards the top, that needs tightening up by taking the side seam in a bit more, both front (quite a bit more) and back (not nearly as much)

A spontaneous improvement on version 1: I used facings to sew behind the hems too - I did curve the front hem and wouldn't like any creasing from turning the hem just over.  I would have needed to steam the life out of it to get it to lie flat.

I am going to add a fastener at the top corners, just not got round to it yet.

The shoulders are definitely still too broad and I didn't cut the slimmer version rounded enough, I need to go in towards the middle a bit more because this bulges out a bit.  The centre back could do with a touch more cinching in than I did too.  Not sure if this will take care of the bunching up at the back of the waist - there is too much fullness there still.

All in all: quite happy with the improvement.  It was really interesting to work with a much stiffer less drapey fabric: much easier to sew but not as nice to wear.

I will have another try, again with a wearable muslin because I need to use up my stash fabrics.  I wonder what other material I have?  This one was a sort of quilt quality of cotton, it's a little on the stiff side for this type of top.

What I did hate about this are all the facings that need to go in.  I naively thought that this consisted of only two pieces: front and back, but when you count every single facing as well there are actually 12.  I must find out if there is something else I can use to prevent raw edges near the edges of the garment.  I don't want piping (don't like the look) but isn't there some kind of ribbon or braid that you can sew onto the inside to hide the overlocked edges turned inside?

I was even tempted to try rolled hems but that wouldn't be suitable.  I supposed I could just line the whole thing - I would grudgingly do facings for the neckline to make that sit better, but the rest?  Just bung in some lining in the right sort of colour on the inside.  I didn't mind the hem facings so much, they do improve the look of the garment no end and were much easier to deal with than turning the hem over twice but I did hate doing the armhole facings.  Just never-ending!

Maybe I should have a break from this top and start on my simple skirt template next?