Sunday, November 27, 2005

Lack of blog posts does not indicate a lack of fiber pursuits....

Despite the holiday and ds being home from college, the knitting and spinning have continued here in Fiberewetopia. However, there have been days when the 'ewetopia' idea was a joke.

Take spinning as an example. Since I last posted we had a huge dip in temperatures, meaning that the central heat kicked on. There are two spinning projects going: the fine cormo on the Schacht and the blue wool blend on the Dundas. If you've spun for any length of time, you know that a traditional wooden spinning wheel needs TLC when the outdoor temperatures change. Attempts at spinning yarn consistent with what was done previously was impossible. So instead of actually continuing with the spinning projects, I tore down both wheels to lubricate and adjust them for winter household conditions.

Then the knitting. If you've followed this blog for awhile, you know that I started AS's Fulmar quite sometime ago...(January '04 maybe?...I'll have to check the archives....yep, Jan. 18, '04 gasp!.) I reworked the pattern to knit from the top down and for set-in sleeves. I've worked on this project in fits and starts. Now that the cold weather is back, it's moved back to the front burner. The body of the sweater is complete (except for neck ribbing) and the first sleeve, knit from the top down, is almost complete.

I tried the sweater on Wed. night and have been wrestling with the design ever since. I love the way the body of the sweater fits. I do not love the way the underarm of the sleeve fits. This has generated much thought on my part.

There are a number of factors at work here. The first being that most of the old AS patterns are made with drop shoulders and minimal upper body shaping. That worked well in the late 80's and early 90's because that was the style...big tops with big shoulder pads was the fashion silhouette. The silhouette now is much closer to the body and fitted (I still think most of the models look like 7th graders returning to school after a growth spurt!)

I did work out the body measurements carefully in re-designing the fit of my Fulmar, however when I worked the set-in sleeve I kept the original number of upper arm stitches. It appears I could get by with at least 28 less stitches, possibly 32. In addition, the armhole opening is larger than current fashion dictates.

Here's what I've decided: I'm going to leave the first sleeve as is for now as a record of what was done. On the second sleeve, I'm going to do something like a gusset to reduce the size of the armhole. (Picture a knitted crescent using short rows to raise the curve of the lower armhole.) Then I will again knit the sleeve from the top down, using short row sleeve cap shaping as described by Barbara Walker in Knitting from the Top, only this time there will be around 32 fewer stitches in the upper arm.

I've been keeping scrupulous notes on this sweater. I do like AS designs, and own a number of the books, but if I knit any more of the designs they need serious reworking in the upper body area.

The other thing I've been working on is moving my old blog files over to a new blogger address before closing the old site. Click on the link if you want to see short row sleeve cap tutorial It seems the photo's from the old blog appear over exposed here. Oh well...

If you're still reading're a champ. Most of the knitting books on the store shelves these days don't go into this kind of analytical thinking about fit and design. Too bad.


  1. I gave up on Fulmar - I knit up to the underarms, and realized it would fit a 60" chest (which I'm not!). I'd love to try it again, with a different yarn. Let us know how you reworked sleeve turns out!

  2. Julie (from England)6:03 PM

    Dear Valerie
    I have been trying to see if I can email you to ask you a question about your knitted cardigan but I can't see where or if I can
    If you don't mind getting in touch I would love to ask you a couple of questions if you don't I'll understand as I guess you must be busy. Your knitted garments are really lovely - I hope you get to read this
    best wishes


tie in the loose ends...