Wednesday, September 20, 2006

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  • Blue Jeans

    Blue jeans are the most beautiful things since the gondola.
    -Diana Vreeland

    I'm still waiting on those photos of me knitting in my camis that I know you're all dying to see. In the meatime, how 'bout some knitting?

    Every month I feel compelled to remind you of my plan. Did I never tell you about what I was going to make with the denim I bought for Month 3? (We, uh, started Month 4 yesterday.) I was feeling all denim-y, like I really needed a cute - knitted - denim jacket just in time for fall. It is feeling vaguely autumnal these days, if only on knitting blogs and not in San Diego. But I digress.
    I wanted a sweater. In denim yarn. There were 2 Debbie Bliss denim patterns on which I've long had my eye:

    Above, from Debbie Bliss' Knitting Workbook - the Denim Embroidered Jacket I believe it is called. Miles of stockinette and a new exciting embroidery technique to learn. Pros: I've been knitting lots of st st and ribbing while reading medical journals, so it might actually get done. Cons: My other sweater in progress at the moment is the ribby cardi. I could handle something a little more exciting. And the embroidery might be a little much in some ways.

    And the second (sorry about the poor photo), is also from Debbie Bliss, this one from Celtic Knits. Pros: So me. Fun but easy to memorize cables set off with seed stitch. Denim yarn looks great in cables. Cons: This one will take a little while, since it's a dark denim, hard to do at night, and just needs more attention.

    Any last minute bets on which one I choose? Option Two. It's just so me. I started the back about a month ago (on knitting, but not blogging, schedule), and just got up to the beginning of the waist shaping. When I had a realization. Sizing issues.

    See, I'm getting gauge, I think. The pattern is written for two sizes - 34 and 36 bust. What I didn't notice until yesterday was that the actual sizes that correlate are 40 1/2 and 42 inches. Now, I have a 36 inch bust, and I make most of my sweaters somewhere between 34-40 inches, depending on how heavy it is, how much ease I want. Usually it's a gestault kind of thing. A cardigan like this I would usually make about 38-40 inches, but I thought I could get by with a 36. . . which is turns out is really a 42. And, contrary to the sizing suggestions, this appears to be a fitted jacket. I'm going for a fitted jacket. Are you still following?

    OK, so who here has worked with denim yarn in the past? Because I can make my sweater back somewhere between 39 and 42 inches, depending on which direction I stretch it. I know the yarn shortens lengthwise with washing, but I thought not so much widthwise. So, should I continue on making the larger size planning to pull it lengthwise in blocking, or do I really need to rip it out and make the smaller size? So far I've knit one of 17 or 19 balls (depending on the size), so this is the time to rip it out.

    When I was frustrated with that last night, I picked out and started my project for Month 4. Details to follow, but I'm on Ob-Gyn this month. It involves babies. And oddballs of stash yarn. It is a good, good time. (That will also leave lots of time to settle my issues with the denim jacket above.)


    Blogger Meg said...

    I haven't worked with denim so I can't help you there. I just wanted to give you full marks for using the word gestalt in a blog post about knitting! (And I think option 2 is the nicer jumper too.)

    9/20/2006 4:21 PM  
    Blogger Lynda said...

    Yea - Option 2 was my choice, too.

    I SO have to agree with Diana V!

    9/20/2006 4:50 PM  
    Blogger Jenn said...

    Love the cables. Know nothing about demin. But it's purty! Good luck!

    9/20/2006 4:50 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Babies yes, but that's just the OB part. The GYN part is much less appealing, in my book!

    No recommendations on the denim, since I have never knit with it, but I love the sweater. Both of them actually, but the sweater you chose in particular.

    9/20/2006 4:56 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Rip it out, I say. It'll look much better fitted -- really fitted, not just pleadingly made to sort of be fitted.

    I'm so glad you picked option two. No offense to option one, but it can't hold a candle to option two. I can't wait to see it.

    9/20/2006 5:50 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I have worked with denim, three sweaters now. There's not much convincing it what to do. Yes, it will shrink lengthwise, a good bit, but it's not up to you to tell it how to do that. You do have the flexibility of cables (I assume that's your 39 to 42 inches) but, again, this stiff cotton does not subject itself to manipulation like wool or even softer cottons. If you're just working on the back and below the armhole you can fudge by adjusting the armholes forward, the fronts smaller and then having side seams pushed forward (make sense?) but since you're following a cabled pattern there may not be a good way to do that.

    9/21/2006 5:50 AM  
    Blogger Disentangled said...

    First, excellent choice. It just screams your name all over it. And I agree with Rachel - rip, rip, rip. Better now that half way through wishing you had done it sooner.

    9/21/2006 6:57 AM  
    Blogger Stephanie said...

    I love the cabled sweater. I haven't used denim yarn, but does the pattern have any indication that it will shrink? I'd hate for you to rip and reknit only to have it come out too small after washing. Maybe you should do a small swatch and wash it to see what kind of shrinkage you get - lengthwise and widthwise.

    9/21/2006 8:01 AM  
    Blogger christine said...

    Okay, this is the second time I'll try to comment...........grrrrrrrr

    I would have picked Number 2, too - it is you!
    I've used Rowan demin twice - once a cream sweater for moi, and a darker denim for Bob. It can get a bit tiring, because you have to allow for the shrinkage, but so worth it. They do get softer as they are washed and dried!!!

    9/21/2006 10:22 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yay for the second, cable-y number - that's going to look so cute on you! And, I'm sorry to say I agree with everyone else who said to rip. You'll be glad you did.

    9/21/2006 4:01 PM  
    Blogger cindy said...

    If you're thinking of using denim yarn read the Craftywench's analysis at

    She talks about Elann's denim being a good choice.

    9/21/2006 7:43 PM  
    Blogger Elinor said...

    I hate to say it but I'd go with the smaller size. DB patterns are notorious for being sized up/boxy/having plenty of ease. That's just what I've found. I always knit DB patterns one size down because of that. Even when I make gauge exactly. Good luck and the new BF looks cute! I'm glad you're having a good time.

    9/22/2006 12:34 PM  

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