Friday, March 20, 2009


Named for the intrepid California State Librarian (1951-1972) Carma Russell (Zimmerman) Leigh, this is a delicate jacket worked in laceweight silk that was held doubled while knitting. I love the drape and hand of the finished fabric, but found working with a double strand to be kind of a pain, frankly; also, this particular ink-blue color bled onto my fingers and stained my nails while I worked it. I'm tring to find a fingering-weight silk or viscose blend I like, so I can achieve a similar drape and texture for the next one without all that mess.

Best thing about this project, I think, is that it was totally seamless--worked top-down from a provisional cast-on at the lower edge of the back neckline with set-in sleeves that are picked up and knit after the front and back shoulders have been worked about 1/3 of the way down. Barbara G. Walker's Knitting from the Top describes this technique, but I think the description and illustrations in French Girl Knits by Kristeen Griffith-Grimes are a bit better--and her book includes some nice projects knit this way, too. The pearly antique-white collar edging is picked up and knit in one piece with mitered decreases at the corners. I finished it off with matching Dorset buttons made following this tutorial. These ones were only 1/2" wide and extremely fiddly (not recommended, frankly, although I think they really look nice). And there's crocheted shell-stitch edging all the way around, which is a total case of "if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail": shell stitch is the only thing I can do in crochet, and I only just learned it, so I kinda went to town on this one.

I like to think that the (extremely pretty) Carma might have worn something like this as a bed jacket around the time she got her degree from the UC Berkeley School of Librarianship in 1930. In this day and age, it'd be a perfect summer top over a sundress, or worn over a lacy cami and jeans.

Additional project details are in Ravelry...I'm currently working on a larger-size prototype, after which this pattern will be made available for test-knitting. Let me know if you're interested!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Welcome, Knitty readers!

Howdy to everyone who clicked over here from the just-now-live Spring issue of Knitty! That was awfully nice of you. And thanks to the truly stunning number of you who have already queued or faved the pattern on Ravelry, or written with kind words or comments on the Decimal sweater. Wow. I'm overwhelmed.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Would you look at that!

Some astute readers may have made the connection between my username on Ravelry--TT820--and the names of some of my sweaters--Laverne, Shirley, Harriet, Adelaide, the forthcoming Clara and Carma, etc. I admit the connection might have been a little harder to make when you consider the pop-cultural resonance of the first two names, though. And the image above, in which the sweaters worn by Laverne and Shirley respectively resemble their eponymous counterparts in my Ravelry store, will only make it harder to convince you that my designs weren't inspired by this very album cover...but they weren't.

Harriet, on the other hand, owes her name at least in part to this lady:

That's former Oregon State Librarian Harriet C. Long, for those who didn't recognize her right away. I think she looks like an awfully nice lady, don't you?

(Thanks to Frank's Vinyl Museum and The Oregon State Library for these images!)

Busy, not lazy

Aside from checking Knitty constantly to see whether the new issue is live yet (it's not), I've been writing up the pattern for Harriet, learning to crochet*, and making socks for the two newest members of the Center for Home Movies board of directors. Oh, I'm also enrolled for a full courseload, have a book review half-written for the AMIA journal, and am trying to get to the gym every once in a while. So I've been productive, if not vocal over here on the ol' blog...

*OK, I wouldn't say I have learned to crochet. I've just learned to crochet these. But that's not bad for a confirmed knitter!