Sunday, January 22, 2012

Catching Up

Again a post I wrote off line and am posting to catch up.

Log Jam (Written April 5, 2011)

Right now I have a log jam in my head.  I’m seeing designs that I just can’t translate to make the fabric.  I’m seeing some socks and lace but when I put them to my needles, it isn’t working.  I either hate the yarn I thought would be perfect for the design or I can’t execute the design.  I started on a lace and cable sock, the yarn was obscuring all the lacework.  I was using Tousles but a solid color; well really a marl and it just didn’t show.  I have a shawl swirling in my head but I don’t seem to be able to get it down on paper, let alone knit it.  It’s all crammed in my brain without a proper outlet.  I have my little idea book that I keep with me, but I’m a lousy artist.  I tend to make geometric shapes when left to my own devices.  They should translate nicely to lace patterns but it’s not happening.  I feel perplexed by the whole thing.  I’ve not has a problem with sweater design.  That always seems to work itself out of my brain and into fabric.  The problem there is I don’t know how to grade a sweater up or down to get a pattern that useable for others I have lots of patterns for a 45 in D to DD cup, which is a 50-51 in chest with bust shaping that I can put out for use.  If you aren’t that I could write it to your exact measurements but not to a typical 38 inch bust measurement because there is no “typical” person out there to measure.  That’s where knowledge of pattern grading comes in.  While we probably can all add an inch or three to a bust, how much do you add for an arm circumference, or a shoulder or armhole depth to get the next three sizes?  I imagine that’s why someone who can grade a pattern is so valuable on Seventh Ave.  Pattern graders and pattern cutters are the highest paid employees in the garment trade for the most part.  They can affect profits by how well they know their materials and the design.   It has to fit the majority of people in that size range but not have too much ease and waste.   I have been buying books on the subject.  It’s quite an exercise in special geometry. 

I believe that women look better in clothes that have some structure.  Drop shoulder designs are a friend to very few.  They are easily designed but look extremely sloppy.  People like me who don’t have a strong shoulder line look awful in them.  I sometimes can get away with a modified drop shoulder, but only on casual clothes.  I look best in a set in sleeve with a saddle shoulder as a second best look.  I can wear a raglan sometimes, but I have a bit of a sloped shoulder, so it isn’t my best look.  So if I go for my best look, it usually means seams and finishing work which many people hate to do.  I think it’s because they don’t get taught the different ways to finish an item early on.  So they develop the idea that finishing is hard to do.  It isn’t any harder to do than learning how to knit is.  It’s just a matter of learning the different ways to sew up the pieces and which are the most appropriate for the particular seam.    Mattress stitch is the most popular for sewing long side and sleeve seams.  It leaves an almost invisible seam from the public side of the garment.  However, a backstitch can be used for a side seam successfully.   Backstitch is commonly used for shoulders seams although short rows and a three needle bind off are becoming more popular.  Some claim that this does not make a stable seam like sewing does while others claim just the opposite.  I think this may be a directional thing.    If you bind off towards the shoulder, the seam may stretch that way.  If you bind off towards the neck, it may not stretch as much.  Do I have proof? No, it’s just a conjecture based on the anatomy of a stitch in the bindoff.   
That was some ideas I was wresting with at that time.  I have since gotten a few books on pattern design and taken a class on pattern grading from Ysolda Teague while at VK Live NY a week ago.  I think I have a better idea on what to do and may be able to get some of these designs out of my brain.

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