Monday, January 25, 2010

Pick up and knit the upper body

I've completed the lower body section of the Einstein Coat, with modification. The bottom part is 14" long and the upper body will be 18", almost the reverse of Sally's design. I picked up all 137 stitches along the slip-stitch edge and will knit the full width of the garment until the under-arm portions are bound off. Then, I'll work the upper left front, upper right front, and back separately.

Because of these changes, I put only one buttonhole in the lower body portion, 2" from the pickup edge. The remaining 5 buttons will be in the upper body.
My gamble in all of this is that there will be enough yarn. I bought 8 skeins when I was doing the child's large size. If I end up short, I'll find more and use them for the sleeves and the collar.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dilemma - to knit for a man or not to knit

On the one hand, I want to show the man in my life how much I love him by knitting him a unique, hand-crafted garment. On the other hand, I want people to actually wear the things that I make for them!

What better testimony to love that to spend hours knitting vest for said man. Hand-made says caring in so many ways. It is counter-cultural to create something that takes hours and hours by hand that could be produced by machine in a mere fraction of the time.

However, my man has high standards for the clothing that he will wear - subdued color, fine gauge, minimal patterning, and exacting craftsmanship. I can handle the subdued color. While I enjoy working finer gauge projects, I cannot imitate the super-fine gauge of machine-made garments. As far as craftsmanship goes, I may think that I'm being quite meticulous but in the end, there always seems to be some flaw that escapes me or that I have decided to accept. Believe me, that flaw will stick out like a sore thumb to my husband's eyes.

We were discussing this vest just the other day. I asked him to look at a couple of diamond brocade patterns, just to create a bit more interest for the knitter, if not the wearer. He said, "I probably won't wear it anyway. Maybe you shouldn't make it."

Now, what do I do? I have this Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in a beautiful cornflower blue - perfect for him. Who else can wear this color? It is not for me, but I have a daughter and a son who would both look great in this. Giving up, am I saying I really don't love him this much or am I merely accepting the reality that I can't satisfy his sartorial standards? If I rip, I have the pleasure of finding another pattern and starting a new project! If I don't rip, I can continue on, enjoy the creating process, perhaps work that diamond brocade pattern even though he won't wear it. I would just have to accept the possibility of his never ever wearing it!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Janet is not a genius

I sure hope that no one sees this current project and its name and thinks that I'm tooting my own horn. For sure, I'm no genius. But, I am modifying Sally Melville's Einstein Coat heavily, both to fit me and to take into account current styles.

For starters, I chose the child's large size. I lengthened the skirt of the coat from 12" to 14". Now I'm happily knitting away until the bottom piece has a width of 38-40". I'd like the fit to be on the small side of standard, which is 4" ease. We'll see, once I hold it up to me.

My gauge is 3.5 sts per inch rather than the 3 st per inch. I cast on 50 sts for the bottom. I also plan to lengthen the top from the underarm to the bottom piece so that the bottom begins somewhere around the hip. The other modification is to change the sleeves from drop to semi-set-in. I've seen the finished Einstein and there is alot of bulk under the arms.

Now that I will be working only 3.5 hours per day, I guess that means more time to knit and to document and to design and to teach? I'm in a spot that I hadn't exactly wanted - true part-time employment. But, I'm going to explore it more fully before I get out there and look for something with more hours.