Friday, July 26, 2013

In which I jinx myself...

I don't knit myself "garments".  Sure, I knit myself hats, mitts, shawls, scarves and socks by the truckload, but fitted clothing, no.  I've knit myself exactly 2 sweaters, a shrug and a poncho.  

The poncho hangs in the hall closet begging to be unraveled or waiting until I find myself homeless and in need of a giant burnt orange wool tent.

The shrug is probably proudly adorning a girl about 8 inches shorter than me, or someone who likes 3/4 sleeves.  It was okay. I wore it a couple times, but it simply didn't fit me well as I made the sleeves too short, having measured my back with my arms straight, not bent.  It would have looked great had I worn it to say... my crucifixion. It got donated.

The first sweater... I don't remember very well. I knit it when I was 20 (half a lifetime ago!).  It was wool in a lovely charcoal/brown sort of color and it had a cable that ran up each sleeve with an otherwise stockinette body and high collar.  If I remember right, the armholes and upper arms were too tight and it was incredibly warm.

The last sweater I remember all too well: bright salmon colored cotton in a horizontal textural stripe that switched back and forth every 3 inches or so from stockinette to reverse stockinette all over, including the 3/4 length sleeves and deep hanging cowl neck.  What does stockinette do? It curls, in this case in and out creating rolls.  Pattern was modeled prettily in the magazine. I looked like the love child of a Circus Peanut and the Michelin Man in it.  Horrible.

And so, tired of expensive disappointments, I swore off garments.  I haven't knit a garment for myself in about 6 years.

If you asked me to classify myself as a knitter, I'd tell you I'm a "jump into the deep end of the pool" kind of knitter.  I generally love a challenge and don't fear any technique. 

If you ask me about clothing, I'll tell you, in all honesty, I don't have a good understanding of my body type and I change sizes seemingly twice in a day.  I have a general idea what shapes look good on me.  I don't completely understand how to look at a pattern size and understand how "ease" will affect the fit. And although I don't have any problem resizing and altering stitch patterns or resizing a shawl or other accessory, I'm terrified of modifying a garment pattern.  

Phew!  That was awful.  I hate confessing I don't understand how to make clothes fit me.  But I don't think I'm alone.  Yeah, there is a gifted population out there that innately understands shaping and either knits or sews clothing gorgeously.  There is a distinct other population out there that have the ideal body type and look good in everything, regardless of size, cut, shape, or time of the month.  I don't fit into either of these categories.  But I'm aiming to understand shaping.  

I would love to knit a sweater that not only features a gorgeous new design but that fits me and looks great on me.  And so, I embark on taking some classes, knitting a pile of swatches and "jumping into the deep end" - mostly.  Okay, no, not so much.  I'm actually dipping a toe in first. Whilst I'm taking said classes, I'm knitting myself a sweater.  Shhhh!  Don't tell the knitting gods.  They will jinx me faster than I can say "tink!"  I'm working on a simple sweater that is actually meant to replace a store bought sweater that I adored, loved, wore constantly and managed to shrink in an accidental machine washing.  It has very little shaping and is meant to be oversized.  It should be a no fail project, but we will see.  It could turn out to be a wool bathrobe for Hagrid.