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!
Posted by TT820 at 11:23 AM