seams like a good time

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

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(i just love the shadow of my funky little chair that appears in this photo!)

i finished knitting my triticum sweater pieces on tuesday night, but it was a little too late to get them blocked.

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so up early on wednesday to steam the pieces and put them together; i had the iron fired up by 6:30 am.

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it’s really important to block these sweater pieces before they go together so that the lace panels can be stretched and opened up fully. it’s ok if later, they pleat up again in the wash; they seem to hold their blocked shape pretty well (depending on the yarn choice).

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you want to block that lace fabric so that it will drape in a nice sweep down the front of the garment and not just sit there in a crumpled fashion, you know?

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this particular sample, knit in our stone soup fingering yarn (in the marble shade), is a good example of the fabric you are trying to get in this sweater. while it appears that i am stretching the pieces beyond a reasonable amount for a garment, it is by this method that i will achieve the light, airy, and open-grained fabric i want.

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it really should be semi sheer when you hold it to the light. part of that is how loosely it is knit and part of it is achieved in the blocking process.

the samples i knit with better breakfast fingering (porridge) and spirit trail tayet (midnight rendezvous) relaxed and opened up much more easily, due to the fiber content and relaxed twist of those yarns.

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stone soup fingering has a tighter twist and needs a little more coaxing to open up like that—one reason i like to knit it into a looser fabric on bigger needles than you would expect (in this case size 6).

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once it’s soaked, it blooms and softens a lot and the openness is supported by the expanding fiber network within.

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the final fabric has all the integrity of a heavier, firmer fabric with strong, even stitches and a smooth surface, but feels feels much lighter and more breathable—perfect for temperate weather, yet very durable.

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(the same goes for shawls and lace accessories by the way; SSF is a workhorse yarn that is, at the same time, soft and delicate).

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once my pieces were steam blocked to size, it was time to start assembling them into a garment.

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the first thing that needs to be joined are the two lapel extensions that form the back collar; this requires grafting. i always enjoy the special little pattern that a center back graft creates—it’s a unique feature that will occur only once in a garment and whether it’s the back of a shawl or the collar of a sweater, i love planning how it will turn out.

do not allow the prospect of grafting to cause you anxiety or allow you to avoid this project altogether—i will be there to help you. just log in to my free craftsy class on grafting and take it step by step. you will feel so great about mastering another knitting technique (and your fears about it).

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once the lapels are grafted together, the collar can be stitched to the back neck and the garment can be viewed on the dress form for the first time—so exciting!

from here, the sleeve caps are sewn into the armscyes and those seams are steamed and shaped (see this post for more detailed information and photos about seaming triticum or my craftsy finishing class for in-depth finishing instruction).

after that the underarm and side seams are stitched up and that’s it—triticum has no added button bands or neck finishes, so once the seams are sewn it’s done.

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by wednesday evening the work was complete; i finished up the last of the seams at knit night. but it still needed a good bath and after a quick dinner with david, into the wash it went.

i let it sink into a big tub of hot sudsy water, which lifted all the remaining spinning oil and dust from the fiber. once freed of this film, the scales on the wooly fiber open up and bloom, allowing water to penetrate. it is this process that transforms a dull looking yarn into a soft, clean, springy thing of beauty, alive with light.

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it really does look like carved and polished marble, doesn’t it?

after a good wash and rinse, i laid the clean garment out to dry. it’s been humid here this week so i was again very glad i had gotten it done by wednesday night—it would have a full two days to dry if needed.

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this yarn has wonderful wicking action however, and by noon the next day it was completely dry. it actually dried faster than i was prepared for—i meant to go back when it was halfway there to stretch the lace a bit more before it was totally done.

no worries, i can steam that out this morning. normally i wouldn’t even fiddle with it much, but this sample will be going into the fashion show at TNNA tonight, so we want it to look its best.

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my other incentive for getting all my work done before thursday is that my good friend and fellow designer, rosemary hill arrived yesterday for a pre-TNNA visit. we were able to have a really lovely day of knitting and talking about all things under the sun—from designer shop talk to yarn to trends in the industry to yarn to business and back to yarn (it is SO great to count one or two friends among colleagues that i can really talk to and share information with).

we will be traveling downstate in a few hours with erica B. to begin our weekend at the show; if you see me there, please stop and say hello.

laura and lauren will be storming the blog this weekend to bring you a couple of fun posts and i’ll be back next week to talk about new stuff.

14 thoughts on “seams like a good time

  1. This sweater is exquisite! Your photos are so wonderful it’s as though I am seeing the sweater in person. I love your designs and as a new knitter I aspire to knit one of them in the future.

  2. Good Morning,
    This post finally convinced me to buy your Craftsy finishing class.
    Thank you,
    Nicole

  3. Thank you for the detailed post on finishing this beautiful garment. It makes me more eager than ever to get going on it! Have a great time at TNNA!

  4. It’s so much fun (and sooo helpful) to see all these photos of the finishing stage of this sweater. I’m just shaping the left front of my Triticum right now, but it does indeed knit up quickly!

  5. I was hoping to see you at TNNA but my friend’s mother’s shop doesn’t do enough business these days to attend according to new roles. The shop owner is in her 90s and still runs a small business from home.

    I’m in Columbus visiting family and friends anyway.

    Enjoy TNNA

  6. The lys I work at will be at TNNA; I hope the owner meets you and you get her to carry more yarns ;). In lieu of myself actually meeting you, anyway! Have fun! I hope Triticum wins!

  7. I love this post! You’re so clear here about how the fabric should look (sheer but sturdy) – thank you, it makes pondering doing this particular pattern a much easier process when I look at what yarns I’ve got on hand!

    I often wish that along with the intended ease in a garment I could have a sense of what sort of fabric density the designer was going for. When I don’t know the suggested yarn of the sample it can sometimes be hard to know, and while gauge is great, there does seem to be a large range of preferred fabric density across knitters. I read somewhere of a generalized difference between UK and US knitter’s in regards to this, but I don’t remember it now. I just know that sometimes, I want a certain feel of fabric and it doesn’t seem to be what the designer was after.

  8. What a lovely post! I learn so much from these. Still dithering about which yarn to use to start Triticum #1. I am very close to gauge with BBF and too tight with SeaPearl. I know I can go up a needle size and swatch again. But maybe it will be too sheer? Yes, I should just go ahead and try, right? Have fun at TNNA! I always wonders what goes on there… does what happens at TNNA stay at TNNA?

  9. I just got back home from Greece and you have already finished your sweater. Love it. I am hoping to cast this one on over the summer holidays.

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