Filed under: WIP | Tags: A Stitch In Time, forties, Jane Waller, knitting, Susan Crawford, vintage
I guess I’ve reached that age: suddenly I’m getting invited to a lot of weddings. This is wonderful for lots of reasons. I get to share in my friends’ great happiness. I get to enjoy dinner and dancing. And I get to dress up, which is maybe the greatest pleasure my tiny soul knows.
So when I got a wedding invitation that stipulated a forties dress code, I was very delighted indeed – especially because I have the Stitch In Time book and have been staring besottedly at it ever since I acquired it. The book is as beautiful as the patterns it offers, with charmingly mannered photography and elegant styling.
Every pattern offers appealing detail and something unexpected in the construction, so settling on the one to make was heartbreakingly difficult. Such A Debonair Little Jumper won out in the end because of the excellent proportions of ribbing and lace (I think this will nip my waist perfectly when worn with a pencil skirt) and the impossibly pretty ribbon detail at the front neck.
With the wedding in August, I had some nerves about starting a sweater project so late on – and especially one worked in finer yarn than I normally use (the Zarina falls between 4ply and DK). I hardly needed to worry: lightweight and easy to handle, the stitches fly along my needles. After a week of evening knitting, I’m halfway up the back and my hands have barely felt tired. It might just be that I’m on the skinny stuff for life.
Long ago and far away (well, on Blogger) I kept a knitblog. It was a triumph of wonky stitches and wonkier puns. Then I found myself writing longer and less yarny posts, and eventually neglected KnitWrong while I set up Paperhouse. But I’ve still been knitting, and those knits need a place to live online, so welcome to the revived and revised Knit Wrong, Purl Wrong.
Oh horrid words:
Block all pieces to measurements. Sew Shoulder seams.
Left Front Band / Neckband
Note: to ensure a perfect fit, sew piece AS YOU WORK IT to Left Front, Back neck shaping, and Right Front neck shaping.
Attaching the band as you work it is really the only way to make a neat job of Bridie’s asymmetric front detail. Still, the idea of knitting one long snaky strip of ribbing and simultaneously wrangling needle and yarn sounded too fiddly to me: as soon as I read that part of the directions, I knew that I just didn’t want to do it, and realised that unless I worked out a sew-less way of getting the band in place, poor Bridie would be going back into the knitting bag with sad naked fronts.
Luckily, I have learned some things in my time knitting (even if I haven’t learned not to be a baby about seams). Remember Matilda Jane? Remember my delirious joy at her seamlessness? And remember that she has button bands? Knitted in button bands, no less. Adding a chain selvedge by slipping a stitch purlwise at the neck edge is a minor alteration of the pattern – but when you are the sort of pouting child that I become when faced with a bit of slightly-challenging making-up, it’s an alteration which makes the difference between ending up with a wearable garment, or ending up with a sorry heap of knitted pieces.
Ever since I first bumped into Bridie on Anna Bell’s beautiful, eloquent blog, I’ve been anxious to knit it. The pretty stitch pattern, the striking shape of the fronts – the details of this design make it both pleasurable to knit, and lovely to look at, while its quietly classic beauty mean it is likely to play a regular part in my wardrobe for some time. Anyway, KnitKnit arrived as a Christmas present, the mountain of Wool Cotton I’d been collecting urged itself as a summery sub for the Karabella Aurora suggested by the pattern, and I cast on.
In the world of some knitters, casting on at Christmas would mean a cardigan by, ooh, Easter. Not me. I made it almost all the way up the back before filching the needles for another project:
Meet Quilty. Quilty is bottom-up tank knitted in twisted rib and smocking stitch. Quilty is the product of my own beknighted brains. Quilty was racing along to the shoulders until the moment that my husband said, “so, what are you wearing to the wedding in two weeks time?” At which point I remembered Bridie, hunched in the knitting bag waiting for someone to supply fronts, bands, buttons, sleeves etc etc. So the plan for the next fortnight it to finish her – not a wildly overambitious plan, but still pretty daunting given that she’ll be my first major seaming job.
In other news: my knitblogging skills are now in the pay of Yarn Forward Magazine, where I’m posting behind-the-scenes news and work from readers. If you’re reading this post after my massive internet hiatus, do come over and say hi…
Hello from Bath, where the Webbo family is happily unpacked and ensconced. From now on, I’ll be using knitwrong as a secondary blog. All knitting content will still be cross-posted here (so if knitting’s all you’re after, you can leave your bookmarks as they are with no fear of missing out on another exciting installment of my yarny travails), but my main self-publishing outlet will be Paperhouse, where I intend to parade my ignorance on a whole range of topics.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it transpires that I can’t generate enough knitting content to maintain an active blog, and having a knitting title left me feeling apologetic every time I digressed into other matters. The “wrong” part of the title ended up as a bit of a burden too – everything that didn’t turn out to be an unmitigated disaster seemed to demand an explanation. So, it’s on to Paperhouse, where my first post should be up in a few days time. It’s about some knitting that didn’t turn out so good…
Knitwrong is taking an enforced absence from the internet in order to effect the sanity-shattering relocation of the Webbo family from from Sheffield to Bath. By Sunday. (And I know that this is not so much an “announcement” as a “statement of self-evident fact”, but I thought I should put some gloss on the cryptic pronouncements of the last post.)
Moving means purging. I am taking uncharacteristic pleasure in divesting myself of Stuff – that inchoate accretion of objects which seems untouchable until one is faced with the prospect of hoiking it into a van and lugging it across the country. Goodbye, books I never really liked! (Lunar Park, The Human Stain, Infinite Jest, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – you will not mock me from my bookshelf in Bath.) Goodbye, ugly vase we got for Christmas and kept in a cupboard! And goodbye, amazing jumper from a charity shop in Oxford! I bought this out of a curiosity to see Fair Isle close up, a love of the colours, and a fascination with the label (it was handknit in Oxford, apparently). I am re-donating because it’s so warm it makes my face sweat even in midwinter, yellow makes me look peaky, and the floats are brazenly too long (several have snapped and it’s beyond me to fix them). Oh, and it’s got drop shoulders which give me monkey arms.
As this is like my fiftieth post or something, I suppose I could be ungenerous enough to give it away as a prize. But I’m not even resourceful enough to think of a competition right now. Perhaps by post #51, I’ll have come up with some decent loot and a way for you to win it.
Here it is, just in time to avoid getting rumbled as not-a-proper-blogger: the obligatory trying-on post. Shiny face? Check. Unflattering pose? Check. Unbrushed hair? Check. Well-fitting jumper? Check, check, check! The only reason you’re not getting this via the bathroom mirror is that my boyfriend nobly stepped into the breach. (I say nobly, but looking at the state of me, I can’t help suspecting that his motives consisted less of chivalry and more of, “let me watch MotD in peace, woman.”)
Cyn at Half-Assed Knitblog, because I will never tire of her knits’ propensity to turn into monsters. Also, because she has been knitting for about the same length of time as me, but has a design sensibility (and an ability to put that sensibility into actual yarn-y practice) which I find inspirational.