Friday, March 20, 2009

Carma



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!

8 comments:

Steven said...

I only got a glance of this this morning, and then you it was gone. But it's beautiful! And the Dorset button, while fiddly, really look nice. Congrat!

Tam said...

Golly I would love to knit one of the Carma but there is no chance I could finish a sweater big enough for me on size 2 needles before Christmas. Good luck on finding someone to knit it. I will buy a copy once it is publish and change the gauge to a size 6 of 7 needle and bang me one out. Keep up the "BIG" I mean good work.

TT820 said...

Actually, this was done on size 4 needles, not size 2...so that splits the difference, at least! The stockinette goes really quickly, too.

I'll definitely provide some conversion suggestions/tables in the pattern for people who want to substitute different weights of yarn, though, since I know fingering weight on little needles ain't everyone's cup of tea.

Cyn said...

Thanks for naming this beautiful sweater after someone who was equally beautiful!

daquiet said...

Beautiful. I love the draping on this piece. I might be interested in knitting a sample. Let's talk

Connie said...

Very pretty! I like the delicacy of this piece :)

beth5646 said...

Wow!!! I LOVE your sweater. If you need any more test knitters I will be happy to oblige.

PetraPlatin said...

Love this pattern!
And I'm a trained
librarian too.