Lupine

New sweater on the needles:

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A “wolf paw” lace pattern on the front, stockinette on the back. Cable ribbed hems, probably deeply cabled sleeve cuffs. I’m trying to chart out a compound raglan shape, but that it still sooooo far away!

Fingering weight sweaters are agony and ecstasy.

In the meanwhile, the Chevron Socks pattern is live! Testers have commented they love the fit provided by the slipped stitch heel and ball of the foot, so do give it a try if you want extra wear-resistant socks!

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When You Really Love a Cable

I swatched some of the pretty Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed a few weeks ago. It makes such a good fabric, wonderfully light, and with that matte integrity that tweeds seem to acquire after blocking.

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I’m thinking of a compound raglan pullover, bottom up, the raglan lines marked with — you guessed it — these slipped stitch cables from my last pullover.

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The sweater is going to be stockinette with lace on the front and shaping on the back only. Perhaps a deep, scooped neck. We’ll see.

I found a lace pattern called “Wolf’s Claw” from an old pattern book, but the text-only instructions were mind-boggling. They were a mad jumble of wrn, fully written out left decreases, and other horrors. So I tried to figure out the lace pattern by electronically annotating over the accompanying photograph:

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I’m happy to say I got only two rows wrong! Well, actually, the same row wrong twice, since the pattern alternates diagonally.

Now to figure out how to actually knit the whole thing…

Chevron Socks

Still not tired of knitting socks.

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I’m planning to  release these as a pattern for sale. The chevron pattern itself is dead simple and found across time and space, but the sock has some nice little features, like a reinforced heel bottom as well as reinforcing at the ball of the foot. Also, a more anatomically shaped toe than what I usually find.

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Also, testing on these is open! Sign up here if you’re interested!

Details
Pattern: My own, coming  soon eventually
Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist Light in “Thyme”
Needles: 2.25mm
Ravelled: here

Side Ruched Top

Here’s the second top I made using the sloper developed from a Craftsy class.

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I wrote previously what  a great moulage and sloper I derived from it, and my first garment. I used the same four classes:

1. The Bodice Sloper
2. Creative Darts and Seamlines
3. Creative Necklines
4. Creative Sleeves

Also, it’s amazing how Craftsy drops class prices to such fabulously low levels every few months!

It is a lightweight cotton (I think from one of the giant fabric shops in Nehru Place, New Delhi). I rotated the shoulder, half armscye and side dart into the waist dart, but didn’t use the waist dart since I have a tummy and don’t like to be fitted in that area. Then I split open the (unused) waist dart, and inserted wedges in the outer leg so that it could be gathered back to fit the central leg. I’m a bit bummed that the gathering is kind of invisible in this print, but at least I know it works!

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I also curved out the bottom to look more like a shirt hem. Also, since I didn’t want to bother with openings, I added 1/4 inch to each side (adding 1 inch ease overall) at the narrowest part of the waist so I can pull it over my head. Without closures, it feels a little snug to pull on, but once on the body correctly, it fits beautifully.

On the back I kept both, the shoulder dart and the waist darts, and extended the shoulder by 1/16 inch, easing it to fit the front shoulder. This provides a nice fit through the torso as well as leaving room for arm movement in a sleeved garment. Because this is a little more fitted than the previous one, I had to account for the horizontal waist shaping dart on both back and front. Since there is no waist seam, I compensated it at the neckline (the class explains how to do that).

The sleeves are short, almost cap sleeves, with gathering at the head to echo the side gathers and scooped at the bottom. Instructions on how to make them from here. I probably should have done facings, but loathe them, so simply added bias facing at the neck.

Now really, look at the fit on this one! I’m kind of stunned I made this, having been used to typical RTW fit, and lack of arm movement for so long! Even though it is a very simple top, it fits so beautifully! The only things I would change next time would be not to add a puff (in addition to the gathering) on top of the sleeve cap. And I should remember to centre prints.

Verdict: very happy! I think I’m actually gaining more confidence to use good fabrics from now on.

 

Scalloped Tunic

Here’s the first proper garment, made from my sloper! I used lessons from four Craftsy classes for this one:

1. The Bodice Sloper
2. Creative Darts and Seamlines
3. Creative Necklines
4. Creative Sleeves

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They are all by the super competent Suzy Furrer, and I’m pretty sure I got at least three of them at a 75% discount and one of them at a 50% discount. Excellent value for money!

The fabric is a thin summer cotton (probably from Nehru Place, New Delhi) and I followed  these instructions for the scallops. Seriously, the easiest scallops ever, without needing a million clips before turning.

In design choices, I rotated shoulder, half armscye and bust darts into a diagonal centre front dart (it’s a little invisible in this print, but you may be able to see an inverted V hanging off the neck at the centre front). I didn’t use the waist dart at all. It is fitted till just below the high figure point and then swings out. I calculated how much to add via insertions by seeing how wide the bottom needed to be, to fit in a whole number of scallops on the front and back. I think I went a little overboard though, and will take out two scallops from the whole circumference to recover it from maternity top territory. Luckily, this will be an easy adjustment, just a matter of bringing in side seams at the hem and blending to the existing seam at bust level.

The back has a shoulder dart (because it is sleeved), and the shoulder itself is extended by 1/16 inch and then eased to fit the front, to provide more room for movement in a sleeved garment. I omitted all other darts, and ignored the horizontal waist shaping on both front and back. I didn’t even compensate for ignoring it at the neckline, since it is a loose-fitting garment.

Guys, I am super pleased with this! I am planning to make a series of very simple tops, trying out a couple of new techniques in each. Nothing spectacular, but good enough to lounge at home or walk the dog. I kept this one deliberately loose at the bottom so I wouldn’t have to bother with closures, but it is intended to be well fitted from the full bust upwards. And it is! And look at that sleeve — it is the first draft, calculated off my garment sloper, but no drag lines! I think the sleeve cap could stand to be s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y less puffy, but that is the only fault I can find with it. Everything is well fitted, and yet arm movement is easy. I’m hooked!

I’m planning to make a few of these casual things to perfect the fit, trying new shaping methods and sleeves, before venturing into my expensive fabrics. For my next top, I’m going to keep the waist more fitted.

Verdict: very happy with this nice little tunic!

Selbu Modern Beret

Quick post for a quick project:

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I planned this to stashbust leftovers from my Natsumi and Arabella sweaters, and I still have some leftover yarn! What to do?

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I knit this exactly as written except for adding 10 extra rows (half a repeat) before beginning with decreases. I find that to get the kind of slouch I like,  I need to knit the hat straight till it is the length of my palm, from base to fingertips, before the decreases.

Details
Pattern: Selbu Modern
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino Light; Pecan Pie and Dusk
Needles: 2.5mm for ribbing; 2.75mm for colourwork
Ravelled: here

Breaking the Mould

I’ve been a busy little bee, sewing up a moulage for myself. And it worked!

Longtime readers may recall that ages ago, frustrated with sizing in commercial sewing patterns, I had applied the principles of knitting to sewing — draft a Back and do an FBA to get the Front. This actually worked surprisingly well, and I used this pattern to make quite a few pretty things.

But it was never quite right. Woven fabric behaves differently from hand knits, and there was always a little gaping here, a couple of diagonal drag lines there, some falling shoulder seams too, meaning the garments looked nice, but not stellar like some of my best hand knits (yes, modesty isn’t really my thing).

So finally I took a class on Craftsy, The Bodice Sloper, to draft my own sloper. People, it is a fabulous class, well worth the full price (and even better if you get it at a super discount like I did). The instructor, Suzy Furrer is very clear, articulate and competent, and the lessons are full of little nuggets of information: did you know, the front neck is 1/8 inches larger than the back to prevent gaping and pulling? And that if you’re over a C cup you should fold out half your armscye dart in a sleeved garment to have ease for sleeves and yet create additional cupping? That there is even a horizontal dart-like ‘waist shaping’ which needs to be dealt with to avoid wrinkling in the torso? That there are actually two points on the front, from which darts can radiate? I certainly didn’t, and I am so grateful I took this class.

You start off by measuring yourself and drafting a moulage which is a skin tight mould of the body in woven fabric. The theory is that once you draft a perfect moulage, you can then add ease to it to create a sloper, which is a basic template of a garment. So why not start with a sloper? Because the ease built into it will not allow you to correct fit problems. But by starting with a body mould (the moulage), you know that whatever slopers you create off it (with small positive ease for blouses, greater positive ease for jackets and coats, negative ease for knits) will fit exactly as intended.

I admit to having my reservations — I wondered if I should measure my front and back circumferences separately. But I followed instructions exactly, and yeah it all worked out! The only place where I went off script was to follow the instructor’s answer in reply to a question from a body type similar to mine. It was a minor adjustment to the side seam length, but it was necessary to get a good curve at the armhole.

Once my moulage was perfect (only took two tries, and the process was quick and exasperation-free), I drafted up a blouse sloper. What freedom that no further fitting was needed!

Here’s the Creature critically inspecting the moulage…

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I’ve already made a couple of blouses from the sloper, one sleeveless and the other with sleeves (which requires a further, small modification to the sloper), and will be posting about them soon.

Now, finally, I’m going to reanimate my plans for a Cambie and Parfait. I had dreaded the amount of adjustments required, but now I can just copy the style lines and draft to exactly my own shape!

 

As Beautiful As I Imagined It

 

It is done! I think this is my most well travelled knitting, started in London, knitted in Bangkok, finished in Johannesburg and photographed in Nairobi. It is everything I imagined it to be, elegant and casual, warm and light. And beautiful!

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I wanted a non-baggy drop shouldered pullover, with gentle side shaping and a hi-lo hem. With saddles starting at the  shoulder …

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…and running down the sleeves.

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I’m planning to write up a pattern eventually, so watch this space if you’re interested!

Details
Yarn: Lana Grossa Chiara, 7.5 skeins
Needles: 3.0mm for ribbing; 4.0mm for the rest (held lever style for effective needle size of 3.5mm)
Ravelled: here