Tuesday, July 20, 2010

FO: Issaquah Vest

Ohhhh, this vest.

I started it way back in October (or maybe November?) for my private reading in traditional knitted colorwork. I got a lot of help from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts's wonderful book, Knitting in the Old Way. I wanted a few key things from this project:

1. A fitted shape in a chunky yarn. My widest point is at the chest, and without shaping at the waist, anything chunky makes me look like a refrigerator.

2. Traditional shawl collar and motifs. I chose garter snakes and flying geese - the first for the little garter snakes my brother and I used to find in our front yard (and, okay, also for the not-so-subtle knitting reference), and the second for the Canada geese that hang out on Issaquah's Lake Sammamish, another favorite childhood destination.

I'm kicking myself for not writing up what I did. I do know that little to no intarsia was used in the making of it (because I find intarsia way too fiddly) and I learned quickly that yes, colorwork really does need to be on bigger needles than plain stockinette. The vest was languishing on my to-finish pile - with the zipper pinned on and everything! - because... well. Because I thought that sewing a zipper to a knit was rocket science.

And one of the many things I have learned from my internship at the Cleveland Museum of Art this summer is that hand-sewing is definitely not rocket science. It's difficult to execute perfectly since we are human beans and not machines, but the fundamental execution of it is pretty straightforward. Also, knitting totally taught me how to do ladder stitch: it's mattress stitch, only on woven fabric. Crazy, right?

Anyhoo, the moral of the story is that you don't actually get funny looks at Slow Train (plugplugplug) like you would expect when you're stabbing yourself with a needle, stabbing yourself with pins on the way to remove them, and slowly but surely, setting in the zipper of a truly badass knit vest.

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