Friday, November 11, 2022

A More Discreet Raglan Increase

This is a photo of the alternative to the Yarn Over increase that I used in Mr Greenjeans. I don't think there's an agreed upon name (or abbreviation) for it, but Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits refers to it as a "knit under the bar" increase.

When you come to the point where you would otherwise make a Yarn Over, you simply make a knit stitch under the thread connecting the stitches before and after. Instead of a great honking buttonhole you get this nice, tidy decorative opening. Bonus: like the YO increase, it's fast and easy, especially compared to the more common Make 1 increase.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

A Winter Uniform

I have a new favourite dress. It's my latest modification of the Carson Dress, this time with 3/4 length sleeves.

The fabric is Robert Kaufman's Brussels Washer, a linen/rayon blend that's perfect for all seasons, but especially winter. It drapes beautifully and resists wrinkles. It can be a little difficult to source in Canada, although if you hunt around the internet you can find sources.

Mods: 1. Neck raised 1 1/2 inches. I might even raise it by another 1/2 inch in the next iteration. The original has a whopping huge opening.

2. The bodice and skirt widths have been reduced by 1/2 inch at each side on the pattern pieces for a total width reduction of 2 inches. As originally drafted, I would have been swimming even in the size Small.

3. I took one inch off the bottom hem, then did a doubled 1/4 inch hem. 

4. I "perfected" the cut of the pocket pieces. The pocket and pocket lining pieces were not perfectly aligned with each other or with the dress front, but that was easily solved. I find this sort of thing is a bit more common with indie patterns.

What I love about this dress:

1. The slanted pocket openings.

2. The 3/4 length sleeves. Perfect for winter when worn under a sweater.

3. The extraordinarily comfortable high waist.

4. There are no darts. With a T-shirt underneath, no bra is necessary. A win, for sure.

5. The whole thing, from cutting to wearing took only three half days of effort.

As Bill was quick to point out, this dress wouldn't make it on the streets of Paris. My response, "It would, however, be perfect in a Merchant & Mills photo shoot." It's rather like a cross between M&M's "Ellis" and "Florence" dresses.

FYI, the cardigan is my now very old Wakefield Redux in Galway wool, no longer available in Canada. Is it still being sold by Plymouth in the US? Such a lively green. The elbows are about to go, so I need to take care of that asap. The outfit is pulled together with my Pembroke Scarf in Regia sock yarn.  Worn with leggings and ankle boots, it's perfect.

I love this outfit so much that the first thing I did when we got home was to order more Brussels Washer to make a second dress. This is definitely my new uniform.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Welcome Back, Mr Greenjeans

In 2007, Knitty Magazine published Amy Swenson's lovely little cardigan "Mr Greenjeans", and I promptly made a version for myself. It was the year we moved back to Canada after 16 years in Washington, DC. It was the year Bill became a semi-retired person, although he continued doing contracts for the World Bank as well as working some adjunct professorships for a few more years. It was the year James went away to University.

At the time, the knitting universe was in a state of evolution. There were a number of digital pattern platforms popping up. There was Patternworks, started here in Canada. And the next year along came Twist Collective, also based here, under the leadership of Kate Gilbert. I got my start publishing patterns with these two, as well as Knitty. 

In 2007, Ravelry was founded. It was different. It allowed designers to publish their own patterns directly, without going through submissions, editing, and the half-year long wait to finally see a pattern go live. It enabled designers to do their own photography, add links to tutorials without the constraints of hard copy magazines, do post-publishing corrections and changes, and best of all see photos of finished projects and comments from knitters. 

Knowledge of Ravelry spread slowly at first through the knitting world. In 2010 at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, I went to a Ravelry get-together wearing my little Ravelry button. There we all were in a small grassy field. Only a few years later, pretty much every one of the thousands of attendees at Rhinebeck was a Ravelry member.

The success of Ravelry naturally led to the eventual extinction of most of those earlier online platforms as the digital knitting revolution sorted itself out. But Knitty has stuck around. Last summer I browsed through some of the early issues and was reminded of how much I enjoyed knitting and wearing that old Mr Greenjeans. I decided to make a replacement using some skeins of BT's Shelter in "Snowbound" from my stash. And here it is:

Modifications: 1. Instead of yarn over raglan increases, I chose to do the more discreet "knit into the space under the thread connected to the next stitch". There's a little hole, not a great gaping buttonhole.

2. I made the sleeves wrist length. If it's cold enough to wear a sweater, you generally want your forearms covered.

3. I made four buttonholes, not just one. You can always do up just the top one. I like the way the cardigan hangs on me when it is fully closed.

4. I made this buttonhole from my tutorial on buttonholes in 2x2 rib.

Welcome back, Mr Greenjeans, and thank you, Amy Swenson. Now, I'd better post a photo of my new cardigan on Ravelry.