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To Close or Not to Close May 11, 2010

Going through some of my Spring Portfolio files, I came across some early pictures I thought might be fun for all of us knitting along on Cerisara

The lovely RobinM, recently finished hers and used a rather unique closure on her sweater, something she describes as a “barbell”. (And please, for all things holy to Sexy Knitters everywhere, check out those Shoes!!)

I found this to be very interesting because, during the trial phases of the design, I was playing around with options myself. Ultimately, the choice of closure (or No Closure) was left up to the knitter.

Why?

Initially, as this design was floating, brain droit, as it were, it presented as something I am constantly in need of: something between a sweater and a shawl. To date, I’ve only knit one shawl. Even though I adore how they look, I just have never gotten the “hang” of wearing them. Better for ze Wardrobe, I envisioned? A light wrapper that would be lacy and airy, like a shawl, but have more structure, with sleeves and a traditional appeal, with a modern fit.

Chic-Knits-Cerisara-Back-NeckIt would be in one piece, seamlessly starting from the back neck and ending with only the weaving in of ends. (In fact, if one is a super-duper weaver, this piece can be worn inside out).

Ultimately, a delicate wrapper with lace fabric, was born… And that translated as buttonless. Consider: in the Real World Wearing of most of my sweaters, even if they have 10 buttons, only 2-3 will be used to close and much of the time not even that. They will be worn un-buttoned. A lot.

Which is why I am so Mad About Cardigans to begin with: the temperature control thing. ;p

But. If one Wanted to anchor the front with a fastener, what would it be? Buttons? Shawl pin? Or something like this:

Chic-Knits-Vest-ButtonThis is a little “option” that I’ve used in the past and really like with this style. It is a simple crocheted chain string, made long enough to form a loop, which then is used to fasten around a button anchored on the opposite side it’s anchored to.

The length of the loop controls the snugness of the fastening. In fact, my favorite option was not to attach the “working” end of the string, but to leave IT loose, (hanging straight down when not in action), allowing it to be wrapped around the button at different tightness levels, depending on how the piece was being worn (and what was being worn under it). This is, in fact, how I’m going to finish the Cerisara I’m working on now. :)

Here’s the loop in action:

Chic-Knits-Vest-Front-1

I used a really pretty light aqua button to be the anchor on the left side of the garment — so very lucky to be a Flea Market fiend the past summers at the local Sunday county fairgrounds (great diggin’).

This picture is the sample Cerisara before I started the sleeves. You can see that it makes a great vest (and armhole finishing is included in the pattern).


Fresh May 6, 2010

My “experiment” knitting with black yarn is almost finished and it’s left me very excited to do it again. This motivated another, more extreme, stash dive and I found the yarn that I was originally going to use for this (CE Avgnon Cotton/Silk) which is now rumbling around my head wanting to become something soon. Also popping up out of the masses, a couple of bags of Plymouth Wildflower, enough black OR dark navy to make some little cardies.

I’m addicted to 3/4 sleeve sweaters! One of my first designs ever to go into the ether was the Sitcom Chic (and I really have to laugh when I read the liner notes but hey!) It does say: “Fashion forward starlets and divas are wearing lightweight little sweaters over their chic sleeveless dresses or camisoles.” And everybody is still doing it — walking around State St everyday I see many, many outfits topped with a small cardigan. Me included. I live in them. The Eyelet Cardi was born after people wrote to me wanting to re-gauge the SChic and so I released a DK version, top-down, delightfully simple.

But there’s still unexplored territory here and who knows what little cat (heh, cardi) is going to come out of the bag?

CeCe-Back-8751

I’m 8 inches of neckband, two small seams and a few buttons away from some new threads!

Here they are sitting in the morning sun, by a window in my living room, rippled by the morning breeze and rustling tree limbs.

CeCe-Back-2-8754

Living two miles off of Lake Michigan is so very luscious in the A.M. Even when it’s quite warm during the day, the air drops down after sunset and the cool breeze visits all night long. It lingers in the early morning and is quite possibly one of my favorite things about living here. It makes me miss the days I lived in San Francisco less.

The windows open to its path fills the whole house with refresh.

And that’s why this little sweater is the perfect thing to go with my morning coffee. Or more…

…to be continued


Remix/Remodel May 4, 2010

Here’s an archived post that’s been getting some traffic lately, so here’s a reKnit

HOW TO: Convert an In-the-Round Sleeve to Flat Knitting…

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CeCe sleeves knit with ggh *Bali*

Because the Muse whispered DOit in my ear, this piece is being knit flat. The pattern instructs me to knit this CeCe sleeve in the round, which I’ve done for three (omg, I’ve made 3!) sweaters so far.

Those sleeves are very pretty. They have no seams.

And, IMHO, the knitting went very slowly.

More slowly than, say, knitting them FLAT [and taking a few minutes to seam them later…

Now you might be wondering how, in fact, many of you have written to me asking this, to convert instructions for circular knitting into instructions for flat knitting.

A Sleeve is the perfect teaching aid — not too complicated. Not too big.

Easy Peasy Circular-to-Flat Sleeves

– find the initial stitch count given for the circular sleeve. For example purposes, we are going to use the number 60.

– Take that number and add 2 stitches — [60 + 2 = 62]. These 2 sts are needed to balance the width dimension you remove by seaming. So, sixty-two stitches is your beginning stitch count for your flat sleeve.

– Now go through the rest of the sleeve instructions and highlight any numbers referring to stitch counts for your size. If there is a stitch pattern to be worked (like lace in the CeCe pattern) be sure to account for those 2 extra sts when you establish the stitch pattern. Ususally, then, the next relevant stitch count doesn’t occur until all lower shaping is done. Knitting flat does not affect the lower sleeve shaping – work all INC as given.

– Now we are ready to make the sleeve cap. Look at how many sts the pattern recommends you bind off for the underarm area. For example purposes, we are going say that the circular pattern says: “BO the next 16 sts”.

– Divide that stitch count by two. 16 / 2 = 8.

– To balance the st count for the cap area, you need to take away the sts you added for the seam allowance above. This is easily accomplished by adding one more stitch to be bound off per side edge — remember you are now binding off at the beginning of two rows to get the proper shaping in that area.

– So from our example above, the original count called for is 8 sts per edge. To take away the seam stitch, that stitch count now becomes 8 + 1 = 9 sts to be bound off per armhole edge. So instead of binding off 16 sts, you will bind off 18 sts total.

Here is an extra tip: when I cast on any pieces with seams, I extra length in the long tail cast on — it measures about a yard of yarn. This will become my *thread* to seam the sleeve. I wrap the yarn around three fingers, then secure with a twist-tie to keep it from tangling in the work…

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