As a former newspaper gal and a freelance writer, I pride myself on my ability to meet a deadline. Thinking back through all my years of writing and even reminiscing about high school (!) I don’t think I missed one due date.
For whatever reason, my knitting doesn’t seem to follow the same rules as my writing. It probably has something to do with the fact that I view knitting as a peaceful, calming thing, which to me is inherently the opposite of a deadline.
I was not even close to done dutifully working on a baby blanket when its recipient arrived. I’d like to blame it on the fact that the sweet girl came a few weeks before her due date, but that day came and went while I was still working away, needles whispering late into the night.
So when I told myself I would finish Jordana’s Emmery by a speaking engagement in November I’d agreed to, I knew I was pushing it. Well, November came and went. Then December. (This, my friends, is why Christmas knitting isn’t in my near future.) And finally January.
Wheee! It’s my first sweater! And it only took me six months! To be fair I did have a few other projects I did in between, and my torso is obscenely long, so the body took some time. I am absolutely thrilled! It’s only been off my needles a few weeks, but I’ve worn it four times already!
Jordana told me that in every project I should learn one new thing. If you have to learn too many at once, she said, you can get overwhelmed and give up.
There were a few new things I picked up in this project, provisional cast ons (crochet method worked best for me) and how to try on a WIP (take the needles out and use waste string), but what I’m most proud of was tackling my fear of using DPNs. Not as scary as they look!
The Emmery really is a great sweater for someone who’s never made one before. It’s all stockinette and the shaping is really easy. Because it was so simple, I started to understand the construction of a garment in general. Super helpful.
Every time I put it on and take it off I’m sooo careful, as if it’s going to fall apart or something. It’s really taken some getting used to, this whole wearing-clothing-I’ve-made thing.
I’m definitely hooked, already deciding what my next JP knit is going to be. I’m thinking either Cerie or Cadence. I love Cerie’s look but I wouldn’t mind some long sleeves. Although by the time I’m done it’ll probably be summer!
Arg! Laddering! I didn’t have this problem with the Emmery, I think because it was all knitting. As soon as I started purling it happened. When I worked on the sweater I would pull very hard on the first few stitches and it seemed to work. Not so much here.
Any advice on how to avoid this as I finish this sock and immediately cast on the next? I’m all ears!
When you’re in college, you don’t jump right into a 300 or 400 level class. You start in the 100 level class and learn the basics, right? Rebecca feels like she’s definitely taken that approach since she learned to knit several months ago. Here’s her latest update:
Generally I’m the kinda person who doesn’t like to get too comfortable, but comfortable knitting is really quite luxurious, wouldn’t you agree? Like a pedicure almost. I think I’m getting a little too comfortable knitting squares.
I’ve knit several scarfs. I wear them on my head, around my neck, as belts and ship them to friends when they’re too thick for California winters. The washcloths came afterward.
What a brilliant idea, especially when I’m camping. Dirt and campfire smells do not mix with the delicious alpaca and cashmere I’ve quickly become so addicted to. But honestly, my bathroom only needs so many of these.
So while I’m enjoying it, I gotta move on. You can only have so many pedicures before you can’t walk on your feet any more. After many months of knitting scarves and washcloths (and one giant afghan), I finally bought the yarn for Emmery, my first sweater!
I gotta say, I was more than a little overwhelmed when I got 14 skeins of yarn. I just wanted to use it as a pillow, it was so soft! This was also the first time I ordered yarn online, so I didn’t realize I would have to wind it myself.
Now, in every book, magazine and blog I’ve read. there is much debate about swatching. From what I can tell, if you don’t swatch, you could end up being a very unhappy knitter.
So of course, I swatch. I even got an extra skein so I could swatch, because I’m good at following directions (most of the time). Plus, I happen to have had a history of loose knitting (doesn’t that sound a little scandalous?), so I didn’t want to have a gargantuan sweater on my hands.
I spoke to a super friendly gal at Swift Stitch who told me to knit a big swatch and measure in several different places. Also, she told me: swatch in the same way you knit, so if you generally knit at night, don’t swatch first thing in the morning. Or something like that. Here’s what I came up with:
In my head I envisioned my swatch being perfectly 22 stitches per four inches. When I write it here, it seems ridiculous. I’m not a machine!
But I was stunned when one was a touch under gauge and one a bit over. Thankfully I have Jordana, the pattern designer, to help me. After asking a few sizing questions, she said go ahead and knit with the US 5, but try it on as I knit.
So I’ve cast on (a provisional cast on no less!) something that isn’t a rectangle, and I’m headed deep into unknown, imperfectly swatched, sweater territory. Wish me luck!
Help Rebecca hone her swatching/knitting skills: What’s your swatch methodology? Tell us about it in the comments!
Last June my mom cast on Emmery. Voila, it’s done! She’s so pleased the sweater (knit in Ultra Alpaca Light by Berroco) and I think it looks great on her. It’s the first Jordana Paige pattern she’s knit. Sold on the fabulousness of top-down sweaters, she’s now cast on Landon.
Karen bought the pattern for Emmery just a few weeks ago at Stitches West and she’s already done. Knit in lavendar Valley Yarns Northfield, Karen modified the pattern by work a row of reverse stockinette at the bottom, cuffs, and neckline (at the folding points) to make the facings easy to stitch down evenly. She wore it to work for the first time this week; “Lots and lots of comments today about the sweater, from men and women alike! I’m thinking of making another one in light seafoam.”
Whew, I did it! Thirty days of only wearing my own knitwear designs. You can see all the looks in one place at weardrobe.com. I really enjoyed this challenge; both the styling and getting to wear my designs. Although taking my picture every day did turn into a bigger project than I expected, I got a little sad taking the last photos today. It’s been fun. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
I feel like I need some great big finale-type look for today, but I really just wanted to wear Emmery one more time before it gets shipped off for a trunk show. It’s my favorite (my most recent design usually is). The past two times I wore it, I dressed it up. Today I kept it casual. The world is full of cute clothing, but nothing beats being comfortable. If you can get cute and comfortable, like with Emmery, then you’re in fine feather.
Entries for the contest are being accepted until midnight PST. The winner will be announced tomorrow.
Jacket: Emmery by Jordana Paige
Pants and Black Top: The Limited
Shoes: Bakers Shoes
Earrings: The Loft
Bracelet: Made by my aunt
Purse: Rio by Jordana Paige
Of all the sweaters I’ve worn so far, I am enjoying wearing Emmery the most. The yarn (Blue Sky Alpacas Sport Weight) is amazing. It’s so cushy, cozy, warm. Yum! I could just hug myself. I had a meeting today, so I needed an outfit that was business appropriate. I think this did just that.
One part simplicity, two parts charm, this irresistable double-breasted jacket is knit soley in Stockinette stitch from the top down and has minimal finishing. Emmery gets dressed up with a ruffled edge and funnel neck. An asymmetrical hemline adds an extra bit of eye-catching appeal. View garment specs, download pattern and get knittin’.
Ever since I designed Emmery, I’ve been noticing ruffles everywhere; on the runways, in stores, on the street and TV. I got excited when I saw Lilly’s wedding dress on Gossip Girl (shhh, yes it’s my guilty pleasure). It’s a perfect example of the two types of ruffles one can use for adorning her garment with frilliness. The front of the dress had two gathered ruffles and the back was draped beautifully with circular ruffles. When I was designing Emmery I played around a lot with these two types of ruffles before I settled on one that “worked”. Thought you might like a little tutorial on ruffle making.
Gathered ruffles are rectangular in shape. When sewing, this is usually done by basting a thread along the long edge of the fabric and then pulling it to create a gather. When knitting a ruffle, this is created by casting on the number of stitches equal to the length of the edge on which you want the ruffle attached. On the next row increase into the front and back of every stitch. Work even until ruffle is desired length. The fullness of the ruffle can be adjusted by how many increases are worked. If you want a really full ruffle, try increasing into the front, back and front of every stitch. Experimentation is key with this type of ruffle. The look of the ruffle will vary depending on the weight of your yarn.
I used a gathered ruffle for trimming my Knitty Gritty Kitchen Couture Apron, which is why when I sat down to design the ruffle for Emmery, I automatically started using this method. I tried increasing and decreasing the fullness of the ruffle, but nothing looked right. It finally dawned on me that I was using the wrong type of ruffle. I needed to use a circular ruffle.
Circular ruffles (AKA flounce) are made from circles (shocking, I know). To make one from fabric, cut out a circle. From the center of that circle, cut out another circle. Make a straight line cut from the outer edge to the center. The edge of the inner circle is sewn along the edge of the garment. Calculating how big to make the circles uses fancy numbers, like magical pi. There’s a great explanation of all of that at whatthecraft.com.
When knitting a circular ruffle, you’re obviously not going to be knitting circles and cutting out center circles. That’s what’s so great about knitting – you shape the fabric as you go so it all gets done in one big swoop. Cast on the number of stitches equal to the length of the garment edge. Divide your stitches into segments. The smaller the segments are, the more flouncy your ruffle will be. For the sake of this tutorial, we’ll say 8 sts make up one segment and call the eighth stitch the “spoke” stitch. You may want to mark the spokes with stitch markers. On the right side of the ruffle, work up to the spoke st. Increase on both sides of the spoke stitch. Work to the next spoke stitch and do the same. On the wrong side rows work even. The spoke stitch will always be the same stitch, even after working the increases. Keep increasing on each side of the spoke stitches until the ruffle is desired length. Basically what you’re doing is creating little fans.