Twist Collective Blog
French Girl, My Love
In my capacities as features editor here at Twist Collective, I do sometimes get some lovely packages in the mail. Generally, I ask people to send me things so I can take pretty pictures of them to put in the magazine. It is my practice to send them back in perfect condition, since most of those kinds of things are handmade or from small producers, much like the work of the designers we champion.
But I also get some books for review. It had been my original plan to blog about knitting books much like how The New York Review of Books writes about books in general: take a few books with a common thread, and spread them out on the table in front of me, compare and contrast, play up the merits of each, and sound smart in the process. I had big plans before I knew how much of my time this job would take up, and how little time I would have left for spending leisurely Saturdays reading through all the new books (note to self: scale back on need to sleep).
To be honest, only Interweave Press sends me any. Happily, Interweave happens to be cranking out my favorite new knitting books lately, so I am happy to say the nicest things about what they send me if only one at a time. Yet some of them merit such undivided attention.
To whit: French Girl Knits
At this point, I feel it may be unncessesary to say how lovely is this collection of patterns from Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, because the preview pages and the video on Interweave's website is so captivating, so conducive to wistful longing that my eyes well up at the thought of it. Oh, to be in France, at a little cafe in Saint Remis nibbling Croque Madame and knitting away at a little lace fling to just throw on, as I flirt in my broken french with the dark and handsome fellow sitting at the table next to mine. . . You can click there for yourself and get a very good sense of what it feels like to hold the book in your lap, and of the need to cast on for any one of the many beautiful designs, each and every one of them able to transform the knitter out of place, and into the chic and creatively dressed creature we all have the potential to become.
My own knitting queue is lengthy, and I am committed to knitting so many of the things out of our own pages, but the Stella jacket on page 54 is a masterpiece of dress, a signature item in the right yarn I could wear both as robe and raiment, curled up on the couch, or over a silk dress out to the opera. Bravo, Kristeen. (I can call you Kristeen, can't I?) I am weak when it comes to good patterns. I have a shelf of knitting books that I purchased each for the love of one pattern to prove it, so the Stella jacket would have been enough for me. But I haven't even mentioned other projects in these pages I could also fantasize about, and use to justify my outsize collection of Kid Silk Haze.
The book also offers a study of one piece construction methods and thematic chapters each more charming than the one before. Nicely designed, styled, and photographed, it's a feast even if you never knit a thing from it, so why deny yourself the pleasure?
Making a Larger Sylvi
A number of people have asked how to make a larger version of Sylvi. The pattern has directions for up to a finished bust measurement of 47", which in a stretchy pattern like seed stitch is probably forgiving enough for a few inches of negative ease. But what do you do if you're a girl with 54" or so of glory to clothe?
Sylvi has one chart and one neck measurement for all sizes, the result of raglan decreases that begin at progressively lower points on the back chart as the sizes go up.
For every size increase, Sylvi has an additional three or four stitches on either side of the chart, and the decreases begin (for the most part) about six rows earlier. So if you are looking at the chart, you can see that each new size decrease looks like a step, and logically, you can project what the next size or two would look like. Add a new size in 3 inch increments (say 50" and 53") by adding four stitches for each new size up on either side pof the chart. Draw it directly on the chart with a pencil for security's sake. Count four rows out and six rows down for each new size increment for the sleeve decreases, and thus make your own modification. Be certain that when you knit your fronts, that you match your decreases there to the back.
Raglan sleeve decreases need counterparts on the sleeves too, so keep good notes, and make sure you increase the sleeve stitch counts accordingly, and have as many decreases in your sleeves as you made for your front and back pieces.
Keep in mind that beginning the sleeve decreases earlier in the chart will shorten the length of the sweater to the underarm, and that there is a limit to the number of rows you can add to the distance between the underarm and the neck, so I would recommend this guideline for no more than two sizes up.
My friend Kelly made hers two sizes up following this general rule, and she generously sent me her numbers and how she did it.
Basically all I did was looked at the L and XL and sized mine to a 2XL (approx 52") based on the difference between the sizes. Broken down, here are the modifications:
CO 118, adding the extra 8 stitches to each side, 4 stitches per side in Seed Stitch. Follow chart as written (just remember you have the 4 extra stitches on each side) through row 96. I made the armholes deeper to accommodate the extra stitches. So I started decreasing on row 97. I BO 4 sts at the beginning of row 97 & 98. Starting at row 99 work decreases at each side of every other row as show in chart: k2tog on right, ssk on left side. All extra stitches will be used up and you will end up at the neck the same as all sizes.
CO 60 sts, follow directions as written. The 4 extra stitches will end up on the side seam. I adjusted the rate of decreases on the front to accommodate the extra stitches. After the decrease on row 11, I decreased every 8th row 6 times, then every 6th row 6 times. You will have 47 stitches when you complete row 96. Begin raglan decreases on row 97 following directions as written.
CO 60 sts, follow directions as written. Adjust decrease rate as you did on the left front. Begin raglan decreases on row 98.
Follow direction as written until sleeve measures 22" (I didn’t make the sleeves any wider. I find most sweaters are a little baggy there for me). I added 8 extra rows and adjusted the decreases on the sleeve to make sure my raglan shaping was the same length as the front and back. Once you start raglan shaping repeat decreases every 4th row 12 more times, then every other row 3 times.
When you get to finishing you should follow directions as written. All stitch counts should be the same as the pattern.
If you refer to the pattern, you'll see that each size up requires another skein or so, so by adding a size increment, you'll probably need an additional skein, or 136 yards, perhaps another for two sizes up. But then again, you might not. Happily, it's a reasonably priced yarn, so live a little.
If you live outside of Canada, the famous Halcyon Yarns of Bath, Maine now offers Atlantic on their website, and will ship abroad as well. We're so happy they are supplying this classic yarn for the rest of us. Tell them Twist Collective sent you!
Countdown for Elissa
Any aspiring crocheters should take note, the free period for Elissa by Amy O'Neill Houck from the winter issue will expire on February 1st.
Designed by Amy to be a knitter's introduction to crochet, the scarf and hat set exploit the virtues of crochet, and achieve pattern elements that knitting could never reproduce. From this knitter's perspective, that would have to be why I would ever want to crochet something. I men, why crochet when you can knit.
Oh, you say only crochet can do that lacey petally open thing? Well damn, then. I better get my hook on. While it's still free. Download now.
On and ever after February 1st, it will still be available for sale, like all our other lovely patterns.
Tidbits Remote: Things Seen and Noted
Handmade Font has a new typeface called Thread Red for sale. You won't be seeing this in the pages of Twist Collective, but I thought it was fun enough to share.
Twist Collective Now on Facebook
Hey you social networking site addicts (and you know who you are), now Twist Collective is on Facebook!
Come drop by, sign the guest book, and help spread the word among your long lost high school buddies.