hello, and please forgive my absence of several days—we have been furiously uploading huge files for a The Work Project and any extra “connection time” had to be devoted to that.
on a bright note, i sent out 10 books on monday. done. off to the printer.
but then i got a whole other volume of books to finish off—only 6 this time, and actually, someone else will finish off the three more that go with them.
but still. i just now finished updating files for the day. each book has 2 tests and 10 lessons, A thru J. remedial math. and a teacher edition to go with. i’m kinda sick of it. but then, we all are (even you, right?). so, i apologize ahead of time if this post sounds distant. or if any equations creep in.
actually, i wish i could show you one or two—some of them are truly jaw-dropping in stature, despite their supposed remedial-ness (or maybe because of it).
it feels like forever since i had a normal amount of time to knit (3 to 4 hours in the evening, WHEN i feel fully awake and alert is all i’m asking).
i’ve been spinning more the last couple of weeks because it is soothing and uncomplicated. knitting has been a bit lackadaisical—i do what i can, but generally, my brain has felt like mush for it, especially the last few days.
i don’t have new pictures of any of that stuff, though—i missed the boat on daylight today. tomorrow i will regale you with visions of lovliness.
today, i’ll talk about the book, fitted knits, by stefanie japel, instead.
i looked forward eagerly to receiving this book, based solely on the title, i have to admit. i did not even know who the author was when i pre-ordered it. i purchased it strictly to satisfy my penchent for all things that smack of tailoring, detailed consideration of fit, or that hint at the employment of more involved technique (as tailored styles often do).
i think i thought that this book was going to be more of a study in garment construction and design, with information about how to make any garment more fitted—discussions of ease, different kinds of darts, different ways of shaping the body and sleeves, etc, and how to decide which to use where. more of a textbook.
so, i didn’t really do my research before i bought it. which is why i said in the beginning of january that, though i will not stop buying books, i will take some time to choose them more carefully, and i will probably not buy any more designer collections for a while.
but i digress. so, what i ended up with here is a sweater collection by stefanie japel, a designer known to favor top-down construction in her shapely silhouettes. she has had designs published in knitty, interweave knits, and several knitting collections.
this collection of feminine designs for pullover shells and sweaters, cardigans, a few dresses and a coat are very fitted, for the most part, with bust measurements ranging from around 33 inches to around 46 inches. many feature top-down, seamless construction, unique detailing, and allover shaping. there are underbust darts, princess lines, and shaping on the sleeves. for the most part, the necklines are open—boatneck, v-neck and larger round neck, rather than higher-neck styles.
there is a strong theme throughout the collection in the use of a wide horizontal banding to accentuate the waist area, coupled with a peplum-type hem. another featured element is the combination sleeve—puffed top with a straight, tight lower half. the overall feeling is young, soft and pretty, with a tendency toward the dressy rather than the casual. the yarns used are mostly easy to come by, and of nice quality; many styles feature yarns from the cascade line.
while a couple of styles had maybe a little too much going on, overall, the designs are cohesive and very nicely put together. there isn’t much here in the way of classic, fitted jackets, and i would not say there is something here for everyone.
though i have not knit from any of the instructions, at a glance, they are concisely written and seem fairly clear for the intermediate-to-experienced knitter.
the author gives a general overview in the beginning of the book about how one may further customize the fit of any sweater and make changes to the patterns. this will require the knitter to do some math, and to figure out where in the pattern to insert those changes. since the book is about fit, and there is encouragement for the knitter to make changes to achieve a custom fit, i thought it would have been nice if the pattern instructions would include a line or two telling the knitter (briefly) where to insert changes—”lengthen or shorten here”, “insert extra rows between decreases here”—that sort of thing. an example of a worksheet for keeping track of calculations or notes on custom fit might have been nice too.
the photography, book production, and layout is well-done—the text is clear, well-spaced, and easy-to-read. pattern notes are listed beforehand, and numerous photos of detailing are provided. some of the charts are tiny, but that is normal for book production these days.
one thing that always jumps out at me when looking at sweater books is how the finishing work translates in the photography. for some reason, those finishing details really pop in photographs. and here the sweaters show a few problems. the pullovers are generally flawless, but the cardigans seem to get a little sloppy. to be fair, this could be totally due to a lack of care of the part of the stylists, or from not taking the time simply to steam the garments properly. but i saw a number of troubled closures on otherwise cute sweaters. such as this
the reason i mention this is not to be petty, but to point out that these things are probably easily fixed. to me the finishing bands just look a little loose, as if using a smaller needle would have tightened the fabric up and made it sturdier and more anchor-worthy.
i also wondered if possibly, these things are a sign that the yarns used should have been knit at a slightly tighter gauge, to give them more body. i have used top-down and circular sweater construction extensively myself, and have found that without seams, garments tend to need a little more support in the actual fabric, either from tighter gauge, or from cables and stich patterns.
anyway, to sum up, this is a book of very pretty sweaters with a definite fashion direction, and worth looking into if your fashion sense is young, soft, and feminine. it is probably more suited to the knitter who has some experience in knitting sweaters. applying the suggestions for customizing fit will require an previous understanding of garment construction and its relationship to the body, as well as the ability to organize calculations for pattern changes.