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Bottoms Up Tuesday April 27, 2010

Nothing as freshly danceable than getting to the end of the knitting. Or almost.

Here’s my CeCe Sleeves ready to go:


Indeed, they are not “really” finished because later today, they are going to be joined to the Body section that’s been languishing in the stash basket, all lonely-like, for way too long. Then the yoke knitting begins as the whole kaboodle makes one giant piece, with raglan and v-neck shaping continuing.

Time for couple of thoughts to land in the Chez Chic Archive of Splendifeorus Knowledge and all that:

In my earlier designing days, my in-the-round (or one-piece) knitting, was from the Bottom Up, where you knit the sleeves separately, with the pieces marrying into a yoke as above. The garment grew in size to the underarm; then diminished in size to the neckline. All shaping was done by decreasing stitches at the raglan lines and the neckline. There’s Ariann, Beryl, CeCe, ChicKami, Nicole, the Ribby Pulli (which I’m wearing as I write this in the cool morning air), and more.. In other words, a whole lot of this type of styling is in my portfolio.

    aleita-th-1  ariann-th  beryl-th  cece-th  chickami-th  nicole-th  ribby-pulli-th  ribby-shell-vest-th

But, I knew there was more and to get more versatile and really understand the karma of Round, I started designing from the top down, a style that starts with a small amount of stitches and then grows by being shaped by increase stitches to a magnificent volume much later in…the underarm area. One of the most fascinating Chic Knits style to me personally seems to be the Basic Chic Hoodie with its simple variations in decorative stitches, sleeve lengths, fibers, etc. I’ve made 5 of these and will probably make more. It is, for me, total TV knitting supreme, or the Set It and Forget It Social Knitting project where you could even probably tip a few glasses or mugs back and carry on.

Sidebar: even if I’m just drinking decaf with my knitting pals, I go off-course rather easily. Do not ask about the lace knitting under the influence unless you’re willing to leave your own story below… ;p


So I started going out on a limb and try pushing the TD Envelope, so to speak…

Now, it is not very common to see top-down sweaters with lace or cable patterning included from the cast on. Why? Because at the beginning of the sweater, lots of critical, immediate shaping is taking place. Throw a stitch pattern, even a simple one, into the mix and all of a sudden, instead of a mindless jog to the happy place, one has to Really Pay Attention.

I’ve found that the pattern phrase “work new stitches into established pattern” to be almost as toxic as “and at the same time”. Why? Well, I think learning to “see” the various portions of the garment when you have so much going on can be really hard to do, unless you’re a Big Picture kind of thinker, although, it’s a lot like learning to ride a bicycle. Once you get it, it sticks forever. I think part of this escapes us because we’ve now learned so much of our techniques and skills online. Even working with videos, it’s not the same as being shown by another knitter.

I sometimes wish I could just sit down with the people who email me with a problem because it would be so much easier to demonstrate what the matter was than trying to explain it in writing. One recent email asked me to write the entire pattern out line-by-line for them, but I knew, in the long run, this would not really help.

I constantly tell people to move away from the knitting, meaning, step back and look at the whole, then inspect and finesse the sections where stuff is going on.

I call this the Global, then Local Effect.

And I know, being a person who really likes to cook, how one can become a superior multi-tasker, just given the time and practice.

But it all depends — running with this meal metaphor because I haven’t eaten breakfast, yet — if you want fast food or the extraordinary.

I’m back to my Bottom Up roots with this project. I chose to knit the sleeves flat because I’m convinced I don’t knit smaller lace tubes very fast at all and I don’t mind a seam. And I know, once I join them to the Body, working the shaping of the Yoke is going to be as close to Set It and Forget It as you can get, with this simple lace pattern. Instead of having to multi-task the working in of the lace, I will be gobbling up those stitches by decreasing until just a few remain. NOM.

I better go eat something now…Cheers!

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7 responses to “Bottoms Up Tuesday April 27, 2010”

  1. Susan says:

    “Even working with videos, it’s not the same as being shown by another knitter.” Yep. I agree. So when I see people getting impatient with a knitter having a problem, it makes me a little sad. That’s why I like your patterns so much–you get it.

  2. Peggy Rauhut says:

    “Step back, look at the whole…” I tell my students to look at yesterday’s work when they start to knit each day. Mistakes are more easily spotted than when checked late at night, tired out, etc. And better to fix ’em now than down the road!

  3. MelissaG says:

    Which begs the question, why is it perceived easier to decrease in pattern than increase (as that’s what one does in bottom-up sleeves)? But then, I’m self-taught EZ-style.

  4. Angie says:

    I can’t imagine many things more difficult than trying to explain how to knit or perform a certain knitting action. Videos help, but are never close to as good as a real person.

  5. Dianne says:

    I find knitting sleeves in the round really mucks up my gauge – it is much tighter. This is particularly bad if the rest of the garment is knitted flat. Also I think it is part of the struggle with the small circumference which tightens the tension.

  6. dawnaurora says:

    I personally like knitting the sleeves from the shoulder out. Easier for me, but I really haven’t tried putting a sleeve on any other way.
    Gotta agree. It is harder to teach someone if not in person.

  7. executiveknitter says:

    I agree with dawnaurora! I knit set in sleeves by picking up the armhole and knitting down, short row the sleeve caps. That is the best and fastest way. You can even knit the sleeve flat that way and it works.

    (so true- lace in the small round is way too fiddley)

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