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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

The other day, Rosemary - she of Ice Queen and Muir fame; and knitwear inspired jewelry artist extraordinare - tagged me for a '10 unusual things I've done' meme. First of all, go look at her list. It's awesome! And it's made me very insecure about my list. I'm a pretty safe person - lived all of my childhood (other than my first two years which were spent in Texas) in California, went dutifully to school, etc. etc.; so dredging up some interesting and unusual stuff that others might not have done is a little hard. I hope you'll bear with me. Here is the list:

1) Got a Ph.D. in physics.

2) Went to 5 schools in 6 years because of indecision issues. I know I've already mentioned this before in another meme, but I thought it bore repeating; plus I'm running out of stuff already!

3) Got married in Italy (where my husband is from).

4) My husband, in addition to his native Italy, has lived in Greece, Belgium, Singapore (where he completed high school), and London (where he went for undergrad). I know, I know, it's something unusual about my husband, but I'm getting desperate here!

5) Had a short story (very short - 500 words) published in the San Francisco Chronicle when I was 12 based on Beverly Cleary's Ramona the Pest series.

6) Have had designs published in Knitter's, Interweave Knits, One Planet Yarn and Fiber, JCA, Magknits, and two books (contributions).

7) Wrote for the Harvard Crimson when I was an undergrad.

Okay, I'm stumped. If I can think of any more, I'll edit this post in the future. But for now, 7 unusual things is all you're getting from me.

I'm supposed to tag a few other people now to do the same, but I feel a little lame requiring other people to do what I couldn't. So, consider yourself tagged if you'd like to post about 10 things you've done that are unique and let me know if you do so I can read about it!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Henley #2 Completed

I am officially sick of this pattern now. ;)

I finally finished my mom's Henley Perfected. I made the smallest size with a few additional small modifications to accommodate her short torso and arms.

The other modification I made to the original pattern was to double the button and buttonhole bands to match the doubled collar and hems. I know some people have been complaining about the roll in the i-cord edged bands I used for the Interweave pattern. Personally, I like the casualness of a rolled band. It's a design element I introduced deliberately, but I understand how it would bother some people. Fortunately, changing it is really simple.

To make a doubled band, follow instructions for the band until you come to the bind off step. Instead of binding off, work a turning ridge row (as you've done for the hems). Then work to match the right side band. For the button band, it's straightforward enough. For the buttonhole band, you'll need to make a second set of buttonholes to match the first set. I recommend blocking the bands before whipstitching them into place. You'll also need to use the buttonhole stitch (do this with cotton thread, not the yarn you used for the sweater) to sew together the two buttonholes together. Incidentally, the buttonhole stitch is also great for reinforcing regular buttonholes - a must for any knit where you actually plan to use the buttons. Because the button needs to go through two layers of fabric, a shanked button with enough height to clear the doubled band is necessary. You can buy them already shanked or make them yourself from regular buttons (there's a great Knitty article on how to do this).

To further increase the utility of this sweater (and hopefully give it a chance of actually getting worn by my mother), I sewed on buttons on the opposite face of the button bands to decrease the wear and tear on them. I forget exactly where I learned this, but it's a neat trick.

I used just 7 skeins of Alpaca Silk for this, one less than the pattern called for. The discrepancy is due to a combination of shortening the sweater and my lack of swatching for this project (which is what inspired me to use Alpaca Silk again). In fact, I had actually wanted to use a lighter yarn for this. Alpaca is a little heavy for the temperate California climate my mom's lucky enough to live in, but I got lazy. I was pretty sure my gauge in Alpaca Silk wouldn't change all that much between June (when I made the sample sweater for Interweave) and now. And since swatching is one of my least favorite parts of knitting (I know, bad Connie!), I decided to go with what I know.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Year in Review

1. Knitter's Summer '07 Fitted Tank, 2. Knitter's Summer '07 Auburn Mist, 3. Magknits Tori Vest, 4. Sensual Knits Lace Panel Twin Set, 5. Sensual Knits Lace Panel Camisole, 6. One Planet Yarn and Fiber Hexagon Bag, 7. Interweave Knits Winter '07 Henley Perfected, 8.One Planet Yarn and Fiber Lacy Rib Turtleneck

2007 has been a year of knitwear design for me. Technically, I started knitting my first design for publication (the Fitted Tank in the Summer Knitter's) in December 2006, but since it wasn't released in print until June '07, I'm counting it as a tick in the 2007 column.

There are items not included in the collage above (thanks, Lolly for providing the links to the mosaic maker) because they haven't been published yet. Among them are 3 items for Pure Knits, Yahaira's follow up to Sensual Knits, 3 designs that will appear in upcoming issues of Interweave Knits, a sweater for JCA's Spring '07 line, and a cashmere number for One Planet Yarn and Fiber.

2007 also marks the year where I met some knit bloggers in. real. life. First, I met up with Angela when my husband and I visited his family in Italy. Then, through my association with Sensual Knits, I met Veronique and through her the Spiders. And finally, I met Olga and Vanessa when they vacationed in NYC in the spring.

Last, but definitely not least, at the end of 2007, I was welcomed into the Spiders. Having a regular appointment to knit and chat with buddies has been wonderful!

Best wishes to everyone for a happy new year!