I’m smitten. Why?
Because my skirt is totally awesome, that’s why.
I was walking on air all day long today, suffused with the knowledge that I was wearing a skirt I made, and it came out completely perfect. All I could think to myself all day long was “I made it myself!”
It’s not often that I’m THIS excited about an FO. It’s also not often that I finish something and can wear it the very next day for all to see–lately I’m knitting all socks or baby toys.
I whined the other day about my troubles with the hem. Thursday I went straight home, eschewed making dinner, and instead opted for a quick Subway sub (a comfort food–and with minimal flirting on my part I was charged for a 6-inch when I got a footlong) so I could buckle down. And buckle down I did. In just two+ hours I had both the waistband and hem finished, and I had a completely steam-blocked skirt.
Pattern: The Shocking! Skirt from the Winter 04 Interweave Knits
Needles: US 7
Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in gray, black, and “iron ore”
Size: Small (Too lazy to measure; I’m a US size 4 for clothing, and the pattern’s smallest size was perfect)
Started: Monday, April 2
Finished: Thursday, April 19 (Finished all but the waistband and hem on Saturday, April 14)
Notes: Let me first say, unequivocably, that I recommend this skirt pattern to anyone considering making a skirt. The A-line shaping is really forgiving, and the orientation of the stitches means little to no vertical drooping. It’s also a very straightforward project–the ticking row (the red) is perhaps a little hard to grasp if you’re a beginner, but if you put faith in the directions it’ll come out fine. (I made some modifications to the ticking row; see below.) The only other thing that’s tricky is that you knit the whole thing around sideways in one piece, and then you Kitchener the beginning to the end. If you’re not comfortable with Kitchener, well, it’ll kill you to do it over 108 stitches (and that’s for size small). I actually love Kitchener stitch, but it was a pain for me, too, because I did it without looking, and when I was about a third of the way across I realized that I’d been counting the wrap+turn stitches incorrectly, so I was off–I was going to run out of cast-on stitches way before I’d used up the final row of stitches. So I had to take that all out and be a bit more smart about it. (Lolly was with me for this, and she watched me start to crumple when I realized my error, but I was able to fix it that night without much strife.)
Modifications: There were several modifications, and I’m not entirely sure if they were useful or necessary. Useful modifications included spit-felting all joinings of new balls of yarn and even spit-felting some of the color changes (just from gray to red, not at evey gray-black color change! I carried those yarns along the same side, and was careful to wrap them in the same way at every color change.). Here’s one thing I learned: Spit-felting actually works better when you use SPIT. I’d in the past had a little dish of water handy for the felted join, but I’ve since read that enzymes help the felting process, and then when I was on Greyhound to MD last Thursday I had a cherry coke instead of a water, so I used spit instead. I was shocked (appropriately enough) at the results.
Another modification that I personally like is that the bottom hem doesn’t have that purl turning row. I hate the purl turning row on turned-down hems. I much prefer it to look as if the knitting just continues around. Otherwise, it just looks like a cast-on, and I don’t really like the way most cast-ons look. I also made the bottom hem a tiny bit shorter than called for–the pattern says to knit 3 rows, then do the purl row, then 3 more rows for the inside, and you’re done. I did a total of 4 rows (knit) and then sewed it down. (I did the waistband exactly as the pattern specified.) Oh, and I thought about doing something tricky like knitting down the hem and waistband but that was just too precious a technique, so I eventually whip-stitched the damn things down, and they’re FINE.
A big “modification” was my interpretation of the transition from panel to panel. The pattern doesn’t actually say so, but I think one plain row in gray is necessary to work all the wrap+turns, and if you knit this skirt you’ll know why. I think the pattern is a bit vague on this point.
Modification that may have been useless? The extra row of the ticking row. I’ve thought about this for a long time, actually, and I have come around to the fact that my modification was a good decision–I wanted to be able to spit-felt the red to the gray and have the gray begin at the side of the work where the red ended, and the only way to do that was to knit an extra row of red and do the actual ticking with gray on a knit row. (This only makes sense if you knit the skirt, but I hope someone does, so I’ll persist in my explanation.) I found that performing the ticking on a knit row was much easier than on a purl row, as the pattern expected, so the extra row made for easier work, too.
The reason doing the extra ticking row might have been bad is because at the very end, when you Kitchener, you end up with one extra row of gray. No one in their right mind will ever look at the skirt and identify the extra row of gray. But, naturally, I notice it (helps me know how to wear the skirt, actually). If I hadn’t done the ticking row the way I had, I believe that I’d have not had this undesirable extra row of gray. But it only appears in one spot, and ultimately I think it’s a small price to pay for the convenience of having practically no ends to weave in at the end. So, final verdict: Extra row of ticking worth it despite the flaw it yielded.
Now, about the elastic in the waistband. (Pam expressed keen interest in this subject.) Honestly, I don’t have much to say. The pattern called for 1cm elastic, so i got some, and it said to cut it to 1 inch less than the desired waist measurement, so I put the skirt on and then wrapped the elastic around me–I cut it exactly to my desired measurement, though. Ultimately, I probably shaved off 1.5 inches for the final waistband. The elastic isn’t much more grabby than the knitting was, but it gives just a bit of added security. It didn’t pull funny, and it doesn’t dig into my belly. I measured it to ride right around my hips, because I like lower-slung waistlines. I must confess: I didn’t actually sew the elastic to itself to secure it. I just pinned it with a safety pin. (I was afraid I’d wear it all day and discover it was too tight or too loose or something and I’d want to adjust.) So it’s pinned with about 1.5 inches of overlap, and since it wore just fine today, you know I’m leaving it as is and that safety pin is in there for life.
Many thanks to Lolly, who took all the photos of me with the skirt today at lunch! It was a delight meeting up for photo shoot and MoMA–seeing her twice in one week was total happenstance. (Shots of me with that rusty background are in the MoMA garden, where this large sculpture was taking up most of the grounds. It was echo-y in that little corridor-like space, and I totally loved the piece.)