I had a package come in the mail today, and it was my copy of Ohio Knitting Mills! I don’t add new knitting books to my collection very often now that I don’t rely on them for patterns, but I love getting books about knitting history. I have a few that have more of a British perspective, and this is my first book that’s about the US’s knitting history. I’m really enjoying reading it so far. The Rust Belt‘s heyday is one of those things that I’ve always known about in vague terms but never read about in detail, so it’s interesting to hear about the factory’s start-up, successes, and struggles. The book does include some patterns but they’re mostly there to be representative of what the mill was making. The patterns are broken up by decade with each section talking about American fashion trends from that period and how they relate to knitwear. I love that sort of thing, and I’m always on the hunt for more books about knitting history. Do you have any favorite books about the history of knitting or the textile industry?
One of my favorite things about spring and summer knitting projects is that they’re almost all pretty and frivolous things. This pair of gloves that I’m working on is no exception. These tea gloves will look perfect with my dresses and cardigans when it warms up enough that I don’t have to wear a jacket. There’s nothing practical about them, and I love it. As you can see, I settled on an alternate stitch pattern, and I’ve knit most of the left glove. I’m excited to start the individual fingers. These are going to be fingerless gloves, but I’m making them the style that goes up just past your knuckles and has individual finger holes. Haha! That’s really confusing to describe, but I think you know what I mean.
A long time I ago I knit myself a crop top of sorts to practice bust shaping. It was a little bit inspired by a bralette I found on Etsy and a little bit inspired by all the Tank Girl I had been reading. That top might be one of my favorite things I’ve knit. There’s just something about it that I love. When I made it I never really planned on wearing it, but as crop tops crept back into style, I started looking at it a little differently.
I decided to knit myself a new crop top that was meant to be worn, and that’s how this one came to be! I knit it using Quince and Co Chickadee so it’s a little lighter weight than the old top with its DK weight yarn and stranded colorwork. I also made the bottom band deeper so it gives a little more coverage and looks less like a bralette. But overall, the construction is pretty similar. The bottom band is an elastic casing so the top fits snuggly. The bust is shaped using short rows, and the top edge is finished with a backwards i-cord bind off. The center is gathered, and stitches are picked up to add the center placket and straps. The halterneck straps button at the back of the neck like they do on my old top, and I added some matching decorative buttons to the front.
I don’t know if there are many people who want a skimpy knit crop top, but I really wanted to write up a pattern for this, none the less. I spent a long time struggling to figure out how I could write a pattern for something that needs to be so custom fitted, and I began to research the capabilities of PDFs and found a way to make a customized pattern generator. All you have to do is plug in your measurements, and the details of the pattern automatically fill in. It’s pretty cool, but I’m definitely going to need some test knitters for that!
I originally learned how to knit without looking so I could knit while I read books, but it’s proven itself to be a skill that’s useful in a lot of situations. It nice to be able to maintain eye contact while talking and knitting or to watch movies in the dark. I often get asked about it, so I put together a video and list of tips on how I knit without looking!
Work a few rows to establish the stitch pattern. This will allow you to get the rhythm down and to give you enough knit fabric to feel what is going on.
Get familiar with what different stitches feel like on your left needle.
Check your work often while you’re new at this. Mistakes are easier to deal with if you catch them early.
When you’re ready for a more difficult project, use stitch markers almost excessively to keep track of decreases, increases, panels, etc.
Last time I visited my parents, I did a little digging through my mom’s fabric stash, and I found this floral cotton. It happened to match a knitting project I was planning, and my mom told me I could have it so I took it home with me to make it into a skirt. I was hoping to make a circle skirt, but there was just barely too little yardage, so I went with a simple gathered skirt instead.
The skirt turned out surprisingly nice for how sloppy of a sewist I am. I probably did the best job I’ve done in a long time installing the zipper, and the skirt came together quite easily for me. I didn’t have to rip out any seams or redo anything. My only minor complaint is that I’d prefer it to be a little longer, but that wasn’t an error due to sloppiness. I wanted the skirt to be the same length as my favorite red circle skirt and cut accordingly, but I didn’t think about the fact that fuller skirts end higher on your leg even when the fabric is technically the same length because they angle away from your body instead of hanging straight down. It only looks two or three inches shorter so it’s not a big deal, but it was a good reminder to think a little more about how my fabric will behave before breaking out the scissors!