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Try On March 12, 2013

Once I got the nerve to frog a certain unlucky sample, a certain wardrobe sweater suggested itself to me.

(Now, my sample sweater wasn’t misbehaving, it just was something that was more fantasy than fiction. I ask you, would you do a 200 stitch provisional cast on?)

I had a lot of fun trying out some new short-row thingie-majiggies too but at the end of the day, the half-knit design was lounging in a box with a bunch of retired swatches, mocking me.

And it was made with yummy yarn, that was just sitting there, not earning its keep.

Now, it’s going to be one of those real-time grab’n’go goodies: nice color, comfortable size, it’s just a friendly little sweater. I really understand why those early 20th Century Suffragettes “borrowed” this from the boys.

Chic Knits Hey Girl

This is my personal Hey Girl, in oatmeal color Ultra Alpaca Lite.

I’ve joined the body section and have made my first buttonhole.
Chic Knits Hey Girl

See those neckline markers? They are what has made this type of top-down knitting sooo easy. I just hang one in every neckline increase (or raglan increase) and suddenly, it becomes simple to keep track of all that simultaneous shaping.

At the beginning of the yoke, I wrote in my pattern margin how many increases to make for my size and then just depended on the markers to Do Their Job. And all I had to do was count.

Learning how to “read” knitted fabric is something that definitely makes life so much easier. Every increase (or decrease) made has a definitive “look”: a little y-shaped stitch for a M1 or a slight little hump for a k2tog. Kfb has a little bar over a tiny hole. You can see it and you can feel it.

Even without markers, with a little practice, you can scope out the fabric landscape easily and just cruise along.

I’ve gotten requests from knitters who want me to check spreadsheets they’ve made to keep track of shaping – or who ask me to re-write a top-down pattern into line-by-line instructions to accomplish this. So complicated!

IMHO, this is much easier and intuitive (nudgies: try it, you might like it. :)

Now, I’m off to measure the circumference, check my row gauge (most likely to stray) and see if I need to make any adjustments to my body length.

Maybe I’ll reward myself with a Trip to the Button Box!

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Suffragette City Part 6: Boy Meets Girl February 15, 2013

Now, although it is not a Real Place, it takes place in a Real Time.

It’s a destination in history, now securely planted in popular imagination, happening at a place called Downton Abbey.

Here lives a family whose members, in age and cultural breadth, experience the wildly changing early days of the 1900’s.

Last year, I accidentally re-discovered a treasure trove of pictures and old magazines from this time in my studio and something else totally unexpected popped up.

While exploring the era’s wonderful history, something fashionable became clear: the sweater that started a revolution in knitwear (while starting a revolution in the voting booths around the globe), the first widely-worn sweater of the 20th century!

Chic Knits Suffragette City Part 4

Here you see Sylvia Pankhurst and, I believe, her sister Christabel, being arrested while demonstrating for the Vote, England, circa 1905.

But notice what the ladies are wearing – something that looks really modern, something you can still find in 2013, over a hundred years later, fresh as ever.

A Jersey V-Neck Cardigan.

But look closely.

These suffragette’s are wearing men’s cardigans!

Because, you see, up until this time, women didn’t wear Sweaters.

They wore cloaks, coats, shawls and wraps, looking more like this

Chic Knits Suffragette City 6

than this

Chic Knits Suffragette City 6

But as women ventured into the public realm more and more, the clothes they were wearing became less about silhouettes, embelishments or ornament

they became all about Mobility.

Imagine swinging a racket or club in this:

Chic Knits Suffragette City 6

or would you rather (notice the smile) wear this:

Chic Knits Suffragette City 6

…all in the series:
– Suffragette City Part 1
– Suffragette City Part 2
– Suffragette City Part 3
– Suffragette City Part 4
– Suffragette City Part 5
– Suffragette City Part 6

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New Threads Tuesday February 12, 2013

Chic Knits Hey Girl

It’s still sweater weather here in the PacNW and we’re loving it!

Whether you’re rambling around town (or just sitting in front of the fireplace), you need a little cozy, maybe a little hug…

Here’s our take on the boyfriend sweater: Hey Girl…

Borrowing from the most classic of classic designs (hey, this was most likely the first sweater ever Worn by women in the early 20th) we’ve updated it with some sassy detailing in an easy top-down style…

SKILL LEVEL: Advanced Beginner

34 (36, 38, 40, 42, 46, 50, 54) inches

YARDAGE (DK Weight yarn) :
1150 (1200, 1300, 1450, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2200) yds

22sts / 30 rows over 4″ St st using #5 (3.75mm) needles

get it HERE

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