Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An Affair to Remember

Sometimes you just have to lead off with a picture, right?

I'm so happy to have completed the cover skirt from "Romantic Hand Knits"!

Pattern: An Affair to Remember from "Romantic Hand Knits" by Annie Modesitt
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL, 5 balls, color 005 Aged Wine
Needles: Takumi Velvet size 9 circulars
Size: hip 34 (my hips are actually 37, but this fit well)
Time to finish: one week exactly, from 9/15 to 9/22
Mods: Went down one needle size, added some length to the top section

This is a beautiful pattern that was actually highly intuitive. The genius of Annie Modesitt is evident in this skirt shaping--that is, the lack of shaping. Instead of increasing and decreasing to make the skirt fit snugly around one's hips and backside, she uses ribbing that stretches over these areas, then gradually changes into stockinette to draw the skirt in around the lower thighs. It is easy to formulate the skirt to fit your individual measurements (I used the direct method of continually trying it on to check that it fit right). While I have seen many in blogland long for this skirt, but claim they don't have the body for it, I believe that with careful attention to how the skirt is constructed, it can flatter a variety of figures.

Though the pattern is marked as advanced, I found it rather easy, and ended up not using stitch markers except for center back. You need to know how to execute cables and do a simple lace pattern, but everything is straightforward and well explained. I loved not having to worry about increasing/decreasing over the hips, since it was built into the design.

I used Classic AL because it was the right weight, came in gorgeous colors, and was on sale at WEBS. I'd love to do this skirt in the called-for A-maizing, because it would be a lot drapier and smoother, but it's nice in the wool/alpaca blend, and probably a lot warmer (certainly more affordable!).

There were a couple of minor errata, which I'll be sending to the designer. I understand her life is rather hectic right now, so if they don't go up soon, they will at least be here to hopefully help people.

1. In the first decrease row in the Waistband section, there is a mistake in the number of stiches you knit before the k2tog. In the size I did, the second smallest, it should read k12 instead of k16. Other sizes should look at how many stitches you are supposed to end up with, and adjust accordingly.

2. In the Lace section, once you have reached the part where there are no nonlace stitches in the side panels except the center p2 stitches: the next oddnumbered round says to "p1, k1, (YO, k2togL) 13 times, p2, (k2togR, YO) 13 times, k1, p1," etc. When you get to the p2, there is one stitch left, and no way to k2tog. I just knit this stitch and went on to the p2, and on the next lace round, the pattern matched the directions. I'm not totally sure if this is right or if I somehow messed up, but this method kept the stitch count correct. Maybe others will figure this out, but since I ended up having to rip a few rows twice, I want to warn you to watch out for it!

This skirt was a pleasure to knit and even more fun to wear; I expect to get it out a lot this fall. If you're on the fence about this project, I highly encourage you to go for it!

One last pose like the model:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Busy knitting

While I haven't had much time to blog, I have been busy knitting! I started several projects and finished one.

First, my Isabella from Knitty, as worn by my straight-haired twin sister:
It doesn't fit quite as well as I'd like, but I'm slowly getting better at making well-fitted garments.

I've made progress on both the Indigo Ripples Skirt and the Bee Fields Shawl:

However, I've temporarily put them aside in favor of a project whose finished product I long for, and which I hope to complete by this weekend.

Yep, it's the "butt skirt" from Annie Modesitt's awesome book "Romantic Hand Knits." Otherwise known as An Affair to Remember, I'm knitting this out of Elsebeth Lavold's Classic AL in Aged Wine. It's going very fast with the large gauge, which is also a relief for my hands. I want to wear it this weekend because I'm finally going to a knitting/spinning event: the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival up near Portland. It should be a lot of fun! I can't wait to post finished pictures of the skirt, because so far it fits very well.