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bits and pieces

So many projects.  So many techniques.  I move from knit to crochet to quilting to Zentangles to embroidery and embellishments.  Why am I not crazy?

Because of the One Great Commonality:  They all are done in bits and pieces.

Now with patchwork quilting, this is obvious.  Embroidery and embellishments are add-ons, so they easily fit this hypothesis.  Zentangles?  This is a meditative doodling technique where you randomly section off a square and then fill in each with a pattern.  Sort of patchwork with a pen.

Crochet?  For me, it’s usually freeform.  Make a bunch of pieces; arrange them in the shape you need; join them; fill in the holes with more pieces.  It’s a building process, and it is similar to quilting.  You can also embellish it, even with embroidery.

Knitters can also do freeform work, but my bits and pieces is more than that.

When I make a sweater, I build it.  I think of the parts as I work.  One neckline, one back, one -two fronts, etc.  And any of these parts can be more than one piece; think color blocking.

So, my latest project shouldn’t surprise me, but it did.

I want to make some very openwork,  let a breeze blow through vests.  These are for those of us who really want to cover our arms in the summer.  However, those of us who really want to cover our arms do not need anything to help us be warmer—not in the sunny South.

I started by looking for someone else’s pattern.  I found a modular shrug by Iris Schreier in  her Lacy Little Knits.  Now I know ladies with big “girls” do not look good in shrugs.  I also know that a bunch of triangles (as in this pattern) will not fit a curvy body.  Still, I started the pattern.  When I don’t really know what to do, I just do something and hope I don’t hurt myself.

I knit the back triangle of the pattern.  I looked at it.  It looked familiar.  I fiddled and folded and realized it looked like a sleeve.  A sleeve that falls in a point.

A fluttery point.  If I put it across my shoulder, the pointy end draped down my arm and covered the wobbly bits.  The straight section of the triangle that was knit to build height looked like an underarm seam.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.

I knit another one.

Then I knit a rectangle to join them and named it “Back.”  I just guessed at a size.  If it is too wide, I’ll gather it.  Summer vests need to be roomy to let in the cool air.  I basted them together and tried it on.

Then I drew.  I needed to discover what shapes would be necessary to make the other parts of the vest.  I didn’t bind off anything.  Just cut the yarn 6 inches long and added waste yarn to hold the stitches.  Makes it easier to add on (or take out) to continue.

I like V necks and the “sleeve” has some sloped sides to accommodate, so I lay out a triangle for the bodice.  I proceeded confidently even though I had no idea what I was doing.  Sometimes confidence is rewarded.  I measured gauge and computed how many sts I needed.  Five rows in, I knew I was wrong, so I pulled out and cast on a larger number.  I did the increases every four rows because that usually works, and it did.  When it was long enough, I stopped knitting.

Basted it to the shoulder and sleeve and tried it on.  This is crucial.  You have to temporarily assemble and try on in order to really know what you have.  Measurements lie.

I know I need some extra inches in the underarm so I continued the back with a cast on of 6 sts at the end of the next two rows.  I chose 6 because of gauge and trying not to screw up the st pattern.  If it isn’t enough, I’ll know when I try it on before  I start the fronts.  I’ll just add more there.

I’m a little worried about the pointy sleeves.  I can use a ribbon and cinch them up for a frill effect.

This is it so far.  How will I finish the back? Fronts? Sleeves? etc.

No idea, but I’ll let you know when I do.  And you thought designing was hard.

More later–

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