Thursday, July 3, 2008

Altering the Leaf Kimono Part III: All Done!

It's done. I had all the pieces knit and blocked before we went to Berlin, but I left them at home so I wouldn't be tempted to try sewing everything together in such distracting conditions. Boy, what a good decision that was! Yesterday I spent about three hours sewing, pinning, and trying on the top in various stages. First the two front edges, then the back edges, then sleeve seams, and finally tacking on the ribbon. Here it is all put together:

Finished Leaf Kimono

And here it is on me:

Leaf Kimono Front

Now, when I first tried it on, it felt a little floppy in the back. You can kind of see it in this photo:

Leaf Kimono Back
Several other folks who've knit this and discussed the design on Ravelry had the same problem, and they mostly ended up re-knitting the back triangle with more frequent decreases. Then I remembered that I'd basically wet-blocked all the pieces separately before sewing them together, and that I should probably wash the entire thing once more before doing anything as drastic as ripping out two seams and four inches of knitting. So I soaked it in lukewarm water and tossed it in the dryer, and it came out perfect! The waist and arm seams snugged up just enough, some of the drastic blocking came out of the back triangle, and the sleeves sit better. The lace pattern isn't quite as well-defined as it was before, but it's still a identifiable as a regular pattern. Remember what I said about this top when I first blogged about it? I wore the top to dinner, and it was fabulous. Exactly what I imagined.

Incidentally, it took me for-freakin'-ever to get those photos of me in the top using the timer on the digital camera. For some reason, every other shot or so would be tremendously out of focus and/or overexposed. I couldn't figure out why, but I had to take about 20 photos to get three that I was pleased with.

In other news, now that I've finished both projects, it's time for some new stuff! I got caught up with all the goings-on at Ravelry, and discovered Le Tour de Fleece, and decided to join up. The idea is to set yourself a personal spinning challenge while following the Tour de France. You only spin on the days of the tour, rest on the days they rest, and if you meet your self-proclaimed challenge, you get a coveted Maillot Jaune. In the interests of keeping myself honest, I'm here to announce my intentions. My goals for the Tour de Fleece are to:

1. Spin a fiber I've never spun before. I will spin up my 2 ounces of Yak fiber from A Verb for Keeping Warm:

A Verb for Keeping Warm Yak

It is warm and squishy and I love to pet it, and after taking the exotic fiber tasting class at the Color Fiber Festival, I feel more confident spinning something like this.

2. Spin stashed fiber. I have been a bit of an instant-gratification-fiber-whore before I left for this trip, buying new stuff and spinning it right away while ignoring stuff I already have. I have lots of fiber in my stash, and I shouldn't get into the habit of buying stuff I won't spin. So this yak fiber is from December of last year, purchased about 6 months ago. I don't think I have any older fiber in my stash, except for some alpaca purchased at the same time as the yak.

3. Spin yarn for a specific pattern. I will be making Bronte's mitts, which require a fingering-weight yarn. It's been difficult for me to reproduce a fingering weight on my wheel, so perhaps going back to a drop spindle will help a bit. I'd like to become a more versatile spinner. Instead of just spinning the same yarn over and over and getting basically the same results, I'd like to be able to plan a project from fiber to garment, and this is a step in that direction. Gotta practice in order to get good, right?

Again, in the interests of full disclosure, these were all goals I had for this spinning project before I found out about the Tour de Fleece. But I think the fact that I will be journeying through France for the first 8 days of the Tour de France is a little too serendipitous for me to pass up this chance. Besides, I was so sad I missed the Knitting Olympics last time.

Oh yeah! And the new project. Here's a little taste:

Honeybee Progress

Behold, the first four and a half repeats of Chart 1 of the Honeybee Stole. I've been drooling over this project for a long time, and I was a little astonished to see that the yarn had been marinating in my stash since November! I will say one thing about planning my knitting for this trip: I'm a bit stuck with what I have, but I haven't felt constrained. It's kinda nice.


Knitsonya said...

A self-timer tip - make sure you're not in front of the camera when you press the button. I was having the same problem, thinking that my camera had gone completely wackadoodle, then my husband explained that the autofocus, white balance etc was adjusting for what it saw in front of it. Lovely, lovely top and yak - drool!

Lakin Khan said...

the kimono is stunningly gorgeous; what a beautiful piece! and the Honeybee stole is another winner! Have a good time with the Tour de Fleece on your trip through France.