Saturday, October 1, 2011

On Today's Agenda and Deep Thoughts

Just thought I'd offer up a few (fascinating) bits of info before disappearing into the sewing lair...
  • The Tubey sweater is coming along. Wow, I'm learning a lot about technique on this project. And my LYS, Lettuce Knit, has been an invaluable teaching resource. I unreservedly recommend this place. The quality of product is high, the client service unparalleled, the staff passionate and helpful, the community rich. (I do think the website could be jazzed up a bit, but that's quibbling.)
  • Mardel, in a comment on my last post, finally contextualized the fit dilemma of the shrug (as it appears in this garment and the Wispy sweater). As it's knitted straight (from wrist to wrist), there is no shaping at the armscye - so those wingy, pouchy bits at the back arm where it meets the side back are more or less inevitable. Your only recourse is to make the fit so perfect (snug), that they don't pop out.
  • I have most definitely done this. The finished shrug is about as snug as it can be without being too snug.
  • I loathe the edge roll of stockinette. If I'd realized this fully, I would have garter stitched around the shrug's top (front side and neck) edge. Of course, my circuits have been on full drive with this project, so adding another alteration might have been overwhelming.
  • Debbie Bliss Rialto aran yarn, while very luscious in its knitted form, is a bitch to work with. The microfibre seems to make all the strands puffball out and splitting is a regular occurrence.
  • I've just started the ribbing part of the body. FYI, in consultation with my knitting experts, I decided to make the XS for the entire sweater. Even though the term "XS" seems at odds with me in the chest area, I was reminded to disregard that and remember that the ribbing in XS is going to stretch to 40" at the bust. Given that I've knit the shrug at a smaller size than the XS, the ribbing at S was going to add a lot of stitches onto this thing. Too many, I finally concluded. My gauge swatch (not an accurate rep, I've come to realize, as my tension is tied to my feelings in any given session) showed that I was knitting the rib slightly loosely (though not visibly so). If this continues when I knit in the round (and it may not), it's best to have the smaller size - cuz I'm already building in a bit more ease.
  • I couldn't manage to pick up 90 stitches stringently according to 4/5 or 7/10 ratios - that's really hard to keep track of. So I just did my own thing (aka, leaving space every now and again) and, cross fingers, it seems to have worked.
And if sewing is your thing...
  • I'm about to make a muslin of the Clover pants - I realize I'm not waiting for the sew along, but I reserve the right to stop at any time.
  • I'm using a remnant of worsted, which I used to make a skirt I wear regularly. It's the perfect amount of fabric, and if it works well, I'll have a full-size, wearable muslin.
  • If it doesn't produce something wearable, the fabric will have met an honourable end. Either way, it will have helped me to perfect the fit of this garment on my body.
Which leads me to my thought of the day (conceived before the sewing fever kicks in): Creating a muslin is a totally different practice than making a TNT garment. I try not to see them as the same activity - cuz that just leads to unnecessary frustration.

The TNT sew is a lovely way to make a new item in your wardrobe that (all sewing acts of God aside) will be a relatively sure success.

Muslin-making is applied engineering. It's the time and space you are privileged to share with a designer's schematic, learning how to turn his or her vision into a beautifully fitting garment on your own body. The process is not designed to provide you with a relatively quick, finished item. It's designed to challenge all of your perceptions of three-dimensional space and your own body. It's a chance to learn more about your shape and your craft. What you gain is so much more than a finished object. So, let's all try to be here now. And, yes, by us, I do mean me.

Stay tuned...


  1. What a perfect definition of making a muslin versus working with a TNT pattern!

  2. I read the details of your knitting progress without really understanding much of what you're saying but nevertheless filing away terminology in case I ever do get the itch to knit something :).

    I like your thoughts on creating a muslin vs TNT. It's so easy to get caught up into wanting to be at the TNT phase already with a given design.

    I wish there was a way to put "all sewing acts of God" aside!

  3. That last paragraph on muslin-making is pure genius!

  4. Oh boy! Sounds like you are really psyching yourself up for this muslin! I agree, making Muslims is hard work compared to the instant gratification of a sure thing TNT.

  5. I love your thoughts on muslin as applied engineering--absolutely! I sometimes make things just to test out a pattern's techniques and find myself quite satisfied with that process on its own. If it turns out to be wearable (or sew-able), great. But if not, I feel satisfied with my "lab work".

  6. You are so right about the importance of a muslin. There isn't a better way to make a garment that fits well. And isn't one of the points of sewing for yourself to get something that fits the uniqueness of your own body?

  7. Carolyn: That's high praise coming from you!! xo

    Susan: Sometimes I am just NOT in the mood to sew a muslin :-)

    Debbie: Thank you so much!!

    Karin: So it came across? :-)

    Amy: It IS lab work - excellently said!

    Couture: YES! It's all about the fit. We have enough clothing in our closets. We can wait for that next perfect fit.