Thursday, 6 November 2008

November Project

I have sewn up one sleeve on the Turbulence U-necked sweater, but seaming isn't knitting. When I get home frazzled after a long day with only an hour or less to relax before bed, I don't want to do seaming, I want to KNIT! So I've started the simple garter stitch jacket. I think it was the word 'simple' in the title that attracted me. 'Simple' sounds good to me! Maybe I can manage simple without the sturm and drang that accompanies so many of my projects.

The pattern is from a book published by Vogue in the 1980s - a collection of vintage patterns. There is a picture of a model with 80s hair wearing the jacket - but no schemata or measurements. We have much better patterns these days. I also like knowing who designed a garment. Then you can look out for their pattern books and read their blogs or websites. It makes the garment feel more like a friend designed it somehow. I think one of the hardest things about knitting is finding the right patterns, and if you love a designer's work and their patterns turn out for you - Kim Hargreaves and Norah Gaughn spring to mind - it helps the selection process.

The yarn is also vintage. It's 100% wool in Aran-weight, in quite a nice soft green with flecks in the wool, and there was heaps of it, which is good, but it's not that nice to knit with. It's very 'grabby' and keeps making a butcher's knot around my yarn-holding finger, which is annoying as I have to keep stopping and undoing it. It's been treated to be machine washable, but this has made it very rough and hard, so it's more like stroking porcupines than kittens. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little. Imagine stroking baby hedgehogs, that about describes it.

I saw an advert for Yeoman Yarns in December's copy of Yarn Forward, so I've sent off for the shade card. Their double knit acrylic is only 79p a ball - and the advert promises it's much better quality than the acrylic you can buy on a market stall. I used Robin acrylic from a market stall to knit a 50s 'Ladies Jacket'. Luckily my knitting was so awful that it had to go to the trash can. I say luckily, because although the acrylic was a nice colour and knit well, it did look cheap and naff in a finished garment. I tried it on with the tweed skirt it was knitted to go with. The skirt is a good one in a beautiful fabric (a Paul Costelloe snapped up in a sale) and the acrylic knitted fabric looked so wrong above it. Even though I use thrift shop finds for my test garments, I still always start out with the hope that they will be wearable!

I'm already thinking that I'll need to make another Turbulence before I knit the 'real' one. This is because I'm going to add waist shaping to the next one, and knit the sleeves in the round. That's two changes to test out before launching into one knit in expensive wool. I also want to make one in a dark colour. If the boxy shape of the garment still makes my middle-aged middle looked even more middle-aged than it is, even knit in a nice dark Gothic colour, then I'll save the lovely Jaeger for another project.

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