Fridays with Franklin – Interlude: Into the Hoods

fwf-logo-v11

Interlude: Into the Hoods

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

 

 

Twice a year I turn over the accumulated samples in my chest of drawers and make tough choices.

There are months when I feel like all I do is swatch. Yet the finished objects pile up. And up. And up. On one hand, it’s good to have evidence of productivity. On the other, it’s nice to not die trapped under a avalanche of small woolens.

At the bottom of a chest I found one end of Scarf That Ate the World, and after five minutes of pulling had got the whole thing out into the light.

Interlude 1

It wound up buried because I couldn’t stand to look at it, or to have it sitting around staring at me.

Interlude 2

It was ridiculously long: twelve feet. And so very candy-colored. Not a bad piece of weaving, sure. But unless I were to make the acquaintance of a six-foot-tall toddler with a chilly neck, what was it for? It took up a lot of precious storage space to be so useless.

The fabric itself–that wasn’t bad. Made from three colors of HiKoo® Rylie, it had drape, drape, and more drape; and felt deluxe in the hand.

Now, a nice thing about weaving is if there’s too much of it here or there, you can chop it to size. There wasn’t quite enough to make two good scarves, but I thought about trimming it to make one scarf of less monstrous proportions.

Then I’d have a length of handwoven to throw away, which seemed a shame. Why not do a little trimming and a little sewing, and transform almost every bit into something useful?

Stage One: Cut and Sew

After taking some measurements…

Interlude 3

I found I had the right amount of fabric to turn the scarf into a hood.

The first stage was staystitching (simple sewing to prevent unraveling) followed by cutting, as shown below:

Interlude 4

A sewing machine would have made quick work of the staystitching, but as my sewing machine needs to be hauled out and set up for every new project I elected to just backstitch by hand. Backstitch is quick–each seam took about seven minutes. Setting up the machine takes thirty.

The cutting was fun. There is something intrinsically thrilling about this sight.

Interlude 5

Next, I turned and sewed quarter-inch hems that hid the staystitching on both pieces of fabric, using a matching pink thread.

Interlude 6

Stage Two: Sew and Sew

Now I had two pieces–one long, one short–and turning them into a hood was ridiculously simple.

First, match the center of the long piece to the center of the short piece like this.

Interlude 7

Pin them together.

Interlude 8

And sew the seam, which will become the top of the hood. I used Color 088 (Guava) and whip stitch, figuring this piece was rustic enough that visible seams would be an asset. (For more on whip stitch, see Adventure of the Stealth Blanket, Part Two).

Then, sew first one side of the hood back, then the other. Same yarn, same whip stitch.

Interlude 9

That could have been the end, but I’d also found in my stash a ball of HiKoo® Rylie in Color 124, a deep purple that didn’t appear in the weaving.

Interlude 10

I used it to make a blanket stitch edge all around the hood opening,

Interlude 11

where I was tickled to find it tempered the cutesy-wutesy effect of all those Necco wafer colors. (You know the party is a little too WOOOOOOOOOO when purple comes in and settles everyone down.)

I liked the purple so much in the hood that I decided to use more of it…

Interlude 12

….to make four tassels…

Interlude 13

And these I attached firmly to the bottom corners with a bit more sewing. Tassels aren’t just decorative here–the added weight should help keep the tails in place if they’re worn thrown back over the shoulders.

Interlude 14

The Scarf That Ate the World is gone, and in its place is a hood that I hope will bring a big smile to dear girl who lives in the snow and wind of coastal Maine. I don’t know, because she hasn’t seen it yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Hikoo® Rylie (50% Baby Alpaca, 25% Mulberry Silk, 25% Linen), 274 yd/100g skein. Colors: 086 Periwinkle, 087 Freesia, 088 Guava, 124 Purple

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

 

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Advertisements

Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Transparent Excuse to Show You More Pictures of My Adorable Dog, Part Four

fwf-logo-v11

The Adventure of the Transparent Excuse to Show You More Pictures of My Adorable Dog, Part Four

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

 

The votes are in!

Last time, I asked you to decide whether I ought to move forward with Option A or Option B…

Transparent 4.1

…as the fabric for a new sweater for Rosamund..

(This is Rosamund.)

Transparent 4.2

More than 500 of you voted (thank you!) and it was a landslide for Option B, 73 percent to 27 percent.*

Which meant–shall I tell you what that meant? I’ll tell you what that meant.

That meant I had to re-knit the swatch for Option B all over again, because I didn’t take gauge measurements from it the first time.

Transparent 4.3

I think it was then that I realized if I could stitch together all the false starts and swatches associated with this sweater, I’d have enough fabric to make Rosamund a set of billowy Auntie Mame hostess pajamas with a matching capelet.

As a seasoned professional, I try not to let such thoughts become obstructive. When they bubble to the surface, I find it’s best to shove them down, down, down into the deepest recesses of the most remote crevasses of the outskirts of my soul. There they remain until, years later, they re-emerge under medically supervised hypnosis as a series of harrowing, apocalyptic shrieks.

It works for me.

Planning for Growth

Knitting a shaped, patterned fabric means planning the shaping so it plays well with the patterning.

You don’t necessarily have to hide your shaping stitches; but if they’re going to show, I find it’s wise to consider what effect they’ll have on areas around them. Otherwise you’re almost certain to find the areas of transition are a muddle, and it’s those areas that often draw the eye.

In the first sweater, which was plain, I put the increases at the shoulders. That made the increase stitches themselves something of a feature.

I could have done the same again. Why not, though, try to find a way to keep that grid of garter stitch flowing with as little interruption as possible?

It seemed to me I could begin the increases right under Rosamund’s chin, on either side of a center stitch, gradually forming a triangular panel across her chest.

Transparent 4.4

According to my calculations I needed an increase of 44 stitches from the neck to the shoulder, over a distance of seven inches–or, at my gauge, 42 rounds. Very convenient: I could simply increase two stitches in every other round. Sure, it wasn’t a perfect fit–but it was well within the fudging limits that knitting allows us.

Some designers can keep all this stuff in their heads and rush into the knitting. Me, I have to make myself charts and drawings to figure out what I want to do. In chart form, the triangular panel (here abbreviated so it will fit the page) looked like this.

Transparent 4.5

The question remained of how exactly to treat each of those stitches.

It would have been possible to work out a completely different stranded pattern for this area, but frankly time and logistics were against me. This is the busy season for a traveling teacher, and I will be at retreats or festivals almost every week throughout January and February. This would therefore be an on-the-road knit, and for the sake of my sanity I decided to do this.

Transparent 4.6

The chart’s been turned point-down now, of course, so it’s oriented in the fashion it would be knit–beginning at the neck.

What you see above is a series of stockinette panels which are, as in the original swatch, bordered by garter stitch. Within the garter borders, the light and dark yarns alternate stitch by stitch and round by round.The horizontal garter bands occur in the same rounds in the chest panel as they do in the rest of the fabric. In theory, it should all flow together.

It’s not revolutionary, but it’s something I can work without a chart on a bumpy airplane. In fact, that’s exactly where I knit most of what you see in this hasty progress shot.

Transparent 4.7

The chest panel is emerging pretty much as I hoped.

Transparent 4.8

However, this is the awkward adolescent phase of the project, when it’s bunched up on the needle and nearly
impossible to photograph without it looking more like a dog’s dinner
than a dog’s sweater. So I choose to reserve judgment until I have knit quite a bit more, and can perhaps get it home and have a preliminary fitting on the model.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing something we haven’t done before–revisiting and remaking an old project from one of the first series of Fridays with Franklin. Drop by in two weeks to see what I’ve been up to.

*Fans of Option A, don’t despair. I still like the chart and have filed it away. Today’s rejected idea is tomorrow’s…well, something. It’ll become something, some day.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Simpliworsted by Hikoo® (55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon; 140 yds per 100g skein). Colors: 033, Red Hat Purple; and 013, Violette.

addi® Turbo 16-inch circular needle
About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters
at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has
been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue
Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and
the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon,
one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average
day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays,
cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with
15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of
yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.