sew a fine seam

Posted on Posted in designing, lace/shawls, projects

much as i’d like to complete the finishing work on blümchen all in a day, it is instead progressing piece by piece, as i squeeze in a seam or two here and there between other pressing matters (no pun intended, haha).

there it lies on the arm of my study sofa, patiently passing the time til i can get back to it. i treat myself to a dose of finishing work whenever i finish something on my punchlist. it takes longer this way, but i can assure you, it WILL be done by the time kim gets here on tuesday—i’m pretty close now. i really want to show off and wear it to pick her up from the airport.

when we last saw it, i’d managed to join the shoulder seams and work the button/neck band (though it remained unpressed) and i was working my way around sleeve island.

well, now that i’m home, i’ve steamed the button bands, then attached the buttons—a row of tiny glass confections made by moving mud.

once again i sent a swatch of my knitted fabric to sarina and she worked her magic to produce something perfect. these look almost vintage in their classic simplicity—look at that crystal ball depth.

i love that sarina often sends me buttons that i would never have picked myself and always they are just right when i sew them on the sweater.
i’m just saying—trust her.

i usually don’t put the buttons on til the very last, but i was dying to see how these would look down the front of the cardigan—i had a good feeling about them. and i wanted to make sure that the button bands hung straight before going much further with finishing work.

(that droop in the sweater body will smooth out once the side seams and underarm seams are in—next on the list!)

i finished knitting the sleeves earlier this week; after spinning class the other night i blocked them and started attaching the sleeve caps to the armscye edge. this is fiddly work, so i spread it out over two evenings and finished up last night (well, very early this morning, actually, haha).

when i got up this morning then, i steamed those armhole seams into shape—you can see what a difference it makes when comparing the left one (unpressed) to the right one.

once they were all pressed (i use the curved surface of my sewing ham to shape and steam them), i hung the sweater on the dress form to check the straightness of the seams

pretty good—it’s hard to get them perfectly straight with steam alone, but they do relax once they are wet-blocked (which i prefer to do after everything is sewn together).

also, my dress form is bigger than i am, so the shoulders are a little wide for this sweater size—you can see that the cap is not sitting exactly where it would if it was on my own shoulders.

but still—they’re lovely i think and they’ll look even better once i can put it on. IMHO, a beautifully fitted shoulder line with nice seams really raises a sweater to another level.

so that’s where i am now; i’ll work on the remaining seams tonight, after i finish the swatch i have underway.

ETA: ooops, i almost forgot to tell you the winner of carol feller’s contemporary irish knits book.
the winner is janet b. (that’s her on the left) the fibrefanatic; congratulations janet!

speaking of swatching . . . this is the first swatch i did for a little shawlette project i’m working on with kollage riveting sport. i knit this one a while back but i hadn’t washed it. and i know this yarn changes drastically after soaking, so i need the gauge from the soaked piece to write the pattern. i finally got around to doing that the other day.

this is not the exact combination of stitches i’m using in the actual piece (i’m not using that horizontal zigzag insert), but the idea is to mimic the look of bandana fabric. i’ve always had a fascination with bandanas—if you notice, they are all the same . . . but different. and some of them are really great. they’re so commonplace, but i know nothing about why the fabric is printed the way it is.

it’s kinda like a shetland lace shawl—with a rather plain field pattern for the center square and more complicated bands of pattern as the eye moves out toward the hem. so much so that it makes me wonder if they ARE supposed to mimic lace neckwear in some sturdy, more durable way.

with that in mind, i’ve been thinking for some time that such a shawl would make excellent manLace—maybe even david’s first triangle piece (he’s very fond of wearing bandanas when he works to cover his head or protect his neck; he owns an impressive collection of them).

i have some very soft cotton/wool that kim brought me back from ecuador, which i had thought would be perfect, but then erica asked me to design a shawl with the riveting yarn, which is made from recycled denim jeans and it seemed a natural fit for this project.

it’s a tricky yarn though—it changes so much after soaking that the piece on the needles is causing me some doubt. so i’ve put that aside for a day or so while i knit another swatch on smaller needles just to be sure i’m wrong.

i know, it sounds silly, but it’s worth it. once i assure myself that i’m on the right track, i can knit without a care and finish the thing up in no time.

ok, one last thing before i knock off for the night

never one to let sleeping dogs lie, i put my blümchen leftovers to work on a les abeilles shawlette for my mom. and you know what this means, don’t you??

the christmas knitting has begun.
and with that, i’m heading upstairs to knit.

26 thoughts on “sew a fine seam

  1. Okay, I’ve made a decision. Instead of finishing my own projects, I’ll just spend all my time looking at your (amazing) finished projects. Sound like a plan? 😉

  2. Oh boy, that sweater s G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S and I can’t wait to get started… Is it possible to love it more than Sprossling?? No I think I can equally spread the love. I’m really intrigued by your new shawlette design, too. Wow, a great knitting fall/winter season awaits!

  3. I love seeing all the details of your finishing work. And seeing the sweater up close really shows off the spectacular color – I had no idea there were so many subtle shades in it!
    Just beautiful. I love it.

  4. Oh Anne, you are soooooooo organised – Christmas knitting started and we’re barely into October! You’ll have a veritable mountain of handknit gifts come Christmas Day! Those buttons are beautiful, I think I might need to investigate for my Rene.

  5. Any chance you could cover a technical piece on your method of seaming and steaming?

    The calibre of both can just make or break a whole lot of knitting time. I am so looking forward to this pattern.

  6. Blumchen is blooming beautiful, Anne. It may uproot Sprossling as my favorite KS pattern. Speaking of Sprossling, it is getting a lot of use in this autumnal weather we’re having here. Just the right weight.

  7. Blumchen is stunning. I am looking forward to the pattern. Do you have happen to have ideas on yarn requirements yet? 🙂 That maybe a premature question-but I am planning on visiting Briar Rose at Rhineback.
    I will be happy to start Rene in the meantime!

  8. the sweater looks so gorgeous – i love the combo of the lace pattern with that colorway. and the buttons are so great, too! i was lucky enough to meet Sarina when we were both out in Los Angeles for Vogue Knitting Live and it was a blast meeting her and chatting 🙂

  9. That’s looking lovely Anne. Another ‘must have’ to add to my list! Love the yarn colour and those very pretty little buttons. Ros

  10. Your knitting is gorgeous. Thanks for sharing the process of seaming your sweater. About the shawl. Since the yarn is riveting, maybe something inspired by the forties when Rosie the riveter was such an icon. Just saying.

  11. wow what gorgeous sweater, I amazed at your amount of patience although as I progress with my knitting I get more and more patient

  12. Oh wow Anne. . . can’t WAIT to see the Blumchen at the airport!!!! It looks absolutely gorgeous.

  13. I think this is my most favorite of your fall sweaters and something I definitely want to make. I love how sophisticated, yet simple it is……beautiful!

  14. Oh…and what is a sewing ham? I had the little Shorty Jacket up high on display at SOAR, but it still needs to be steamed and I am not quite sure how to do that properly. (It was very well received btw 🙂

  15. You make an airtight case for steaming after seaming! I must get a sewing ham- my mother had one but I have no idea where it went. Maybe I could make one?

    Love how blumchen is looking – so elegant, and the buttons, just wow!

  16. How can you say such a thing?! Christmas knitting? It’s still summer, isn’t it? (sigh) The kerchief is looking great, and Blumchen is gorgeous!

  17. Great to see blümchen nearly finished! Those buttons are so pretty, but the seams and the finishing even more so 🙂

  18. I find the manLace/bandana idea super intriguing! I too have a dizzying array of the traditional bandana (and really what is the history behind THAT pattern!?) for work and home use, but the idea of a knitted version that mimics the original tickles me. And if the recycled denim works out, this means that body oils and washing shouldn’t ruin the yarn, right? Just make it softer?

  19. I love Moving Mud’s work – she picked out some round green buttons with just a swirl of brown in them to go with a chocolate brown (natural undyed brown) vest – like you said, not something I would have immediately picked out but just love!! That is a lovely sweater!

    by the way, Green Mountain Spinnery was thrilled to see their “wonderfully wooly” mentioned as a yarn option for the sweater “Rene’.”

  20. The cardigan is gorgeous & I love the lace pattern. I find seaming very tedious as I try & seam everything together all at once. It’s a great idea to do one piece at a time.

  21. “a beautifully fitted shoulder line with nice seams really raises a sweater to another level.”
    Never a more true knitting statement.

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