Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lovely Leaf Lace Skirt

Pattern: Lovely Leaf Lace Skirt by Celeste at Lanaknits available at hemp for knitting's website
Date finished: July 10, 2008
Needles: US 3 to get the recommended gauge of 6 sts/inch in stockinette
Yarn: Hemp for Knitting AllHemp 6 in color 21
I used approximately 4.5 skeins (760 yards?)

The only modification I made was in length - I wanted more of a pencil skirt silhouette, i.e., I wanted it to hit just below the knee. Since it is knit in the round from the bottom up, I just slipped it on after I was done with the waist decreases and kept knitting until I hit it right.

The Yarn - this was my first time knitting with hemp. Yes, it is stiff stuff but man, is it worth it. The end result is amazing. After I blocked it, it softened right up. And the drape of the resulting material is perfect for a skirt. Enough give to be comfortable but not so much that it droops around the derriere. Hemp for Knitting does a nice job with this yarn - I did not come across a single knot in all 5 skeins. My only complaint was the dye was slightly uneven in one skein despite all the skeins being from the same dye lot. This resulted in a small horizontal line near the lace part of the skirt. I only noticed it after I'd finished the lace hem and it was not enough to make me want to rip back. You can see it faintly in this picture. Despite this little glitch, this yarn made me very happy and I would gladly knit with it again.

The Pattern - kudos to Celeste. This is a gorgeous pattern. The lace hem is fun to do and I really like the end result. The pattern is written so that the lace continues up along the sides of the skirt. Which looks great but I always find that my skirts don’t behave and by the end of the day the front of the skirt is covering my bottom. So I debated about just doing a straight hem but in the end decided to just follow the pattern. After wearing it a few times, I'm glad I did. Since the i-cord drawstring sits up front, there is very little sliding around on the hips.

Pre blocking: puckered mess

Post blocking: nice, well-behaved knitted lacy thing. By the way, this skirt is only see-through when the wearer leans over to photograph the hem while standing in front of a sunny window. Fear not, intrepid knitter for this skirt is quite respectable when worn in the usual manner and does not require a fussy slip to protect anyone's modesty.

Aesthetics aside, this is also an incredibly well-written and comprehensive pattern. Celeste actually tells you what bind off to use and explains how to make an i-cord. Unlike some other pattern writers (ahem, Debbie Bliss) there was not a single head-scratching puzzling moment on the user end. Something this particular user really appreciates. Well-written pattern for lovely garment makes for happy knitter.

As Celeste mentions in the pattern, this garment stretches when wet. I ended up making the small (even though I'm more of a medium these days) and just blocked it to what I needed. Like denim, the skirt tightens up after a trip through the washer and dryer and eases a bit with wear. The small fits me fine - for now anyway.

And the Yarn Widower seems to like it. Va-va voom, he said when he saw me wear it for the first time. Or maybe those weren't his exact words but something along those lines. ;)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Photodocumentation of Knitted Gifty Thingy

Like most knitters, I want my knitted garments to be cherished and adored. And if not that, then at least it should be worn. Once.

So along with my knitted gift, I often ask for photodocumentation of recipient modeling hand-crafted gift. Especially from those who live far away and I can't personally stalk them and pounce all paparazzi-like on them. Miss Aniston, you look stunning! Who are you wearing?

So the other day, I got a lovely email with some surprise photos. Here is my sweet friend Ella and her feisty daughter Ida. And what's that I see? A scarf knitted by little ole me? Aww, how nice.