Friday, July 4, 2008


There are different categories for me, in the world of things made of yarn, and they are very discrete. In no particular order:

  • Yarn I like to buy. I love handpainted yarn in the skein and luxury fibers. I also like yarn on sale (usually a separate category itself.) All of these lend themselves to smaller purchases.

  • Fabric I like to wear. I will wear wool, and I like to wear cashmere and alpaca, so it's not a complete disconnect. But I love stretchy cotton and don't actually like the feel of excessively drapy fabric.

  • Fabric I like the look of. This is mainly to say that I don't like the look of most handpainted yarns knit in stockinette, or really in any combination of just knits and purls. I like non-pooling stitch patterns like slip stitch and Tunisian crochet, or motifs.

  • Patterns I like to work. I like idiot knitting and crocheting. A lot. I like to grab my project and be able to work an arbitrary amount, without having to count or cut the yarn or do anything fiddly. The body of a top-down sweater in an easily-memorized, single color stitch pattern is my favorite. Except then I am getting antsy to finish it, since I'm a one-project-at-a-time girl.

  • Patterns I like to wear. I like to wear garments that are fitted, sweaters with set-in sleeves.

  • Garments I actually need in my wardrobe. I need a black cardigan, and I have for quite a while now. I don't need any more tank tops or skirts. I need solid-color pieces that I can wear with the huge number of prints and multicolors I already have.

  • Patterns that catch my eye Well, fitted patterns, yes. Peplums, waist shaping done with gathers in the back, 30's and 40's styling.

So, not completely mutually exclusive, but impossible to satisfy all at the same time. How does my current project fit in?

It's a tank top design by Vivian Høxbro, called "Domino Shells Top" from the Spring, 1998 issue of Interweave Knits. (The fact that I usually design my own sweaters is another wrinkle, but I've been going through all of my magazines this week, which is the subject for another post.) The yarns are from my stash: bronze silk, cream merino and chocolate-brown alpaca. All were purchased separately over the years (the merino was on sale.) I had a few balls of each. They're the leftovers from my last project. i also chose this pattern because I was going away last weekend and wanted something I could start without doing any calculations. I even used my swatch as the beginning of the garment, once I figured out how many more I'd need.

It's mostly silk, so feels good to wear. The slip stitch shells mix the colors up (although they're all solid.) But it definitely violates the rule about idiot knitting, Each shell starts with very fiddly picking up of stitches, and there are already a bazillion ends (six for each motif.) I don't like to stop in the middle of one (just because, not that I lose my place) and each motif takes about 20-30 minutes.

It's not particularly fitted, and the size of the motifs constrains how close I can get to my actual bust measurement. I don't need another tank top. And I also chose it because I'd never done any modular knitting before, and I wanted to give it a try.

There are other factors, too, Such as the season, and how old the yarn is, and whether I have a bee in my bonnet about anything. Last week, I was on fire to knit a lace hat, á la Annie Modesitt. Now I'm caught up remembering an old Burda pattern (from 1993) that combines knit and crochet lace strips. By the time I finish this project, though, who knows?

1 comment:

pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

I don't need another tank top, either, but they're so quick and fun to make; no sleeves! And I *do* need a black cardigan, but there isn't one in my needles, or even on my horizon. Go figure!

Your shells look cool. Have fun. Life's too short not to!