Recently in Emily Johnson Sweater Category



Well. Believe it or not there HAS been lots of knitting going on over here at Family Trunk HQ, and some of it is turning out just swimmingly, but unfortunately a lot of it's also Top Secret Until Such Time As the Ministry Sees Fit to Release It (apologies to non-Harry Potter fans). There is something I can show you, but it's the one project that hasn't yet "clicked" for me into its final form.


You may remember this luscious blue angora yarn from my post over here about how it occurred to me to base the "Emily" sweater in the Family Trunk Project series on a much-loved photo of myself at 2.5, hanging out in the pumpkin patch in a baby-blue and tomato-red set of corduroy overalls and some dapper little tomato-red galoshes. I decided to femme the idea up a bit, with some twisted ribbing that emerges into stockinette on a diagonal as it progresses up the body, meeting in a point just under the bust. The sleeves (short or 3/4 length, I haven't decided) would be worked and joined onto the body, and then the upper portion would be worked as a circular yoke, with a row or two of eyelets to accommodate the lovely tomato-red velvet ribbon I blogged about last time. I'm thinking of some ribbon detailing on the sleeves, as well.


There are certain things about the way this design is working out that I just love. I like the degree of visibility on the cables: soft and romantic, but still easy to see. The transitions from cabling to stockinette also look lovely, and the decreases work out very neatly: 2X2 cabled ribbing means sets of four stitches, and the math says I need to decrease a quarter of the stitches away as I transition to stockinette. Easy as pie: working the two formerly-cabled stitches together when I work them for the last time gives me three stitches per set instead of four! I love it when math is my friend.


But something about the design is bugging me, and I can't quite put my finger on what it is. I've had to put the project aside for the moment anyway, since I'm working on some patterns with deadlines, but when I pick it back up, here's my plan:

I have a second big cone of this yarn, and I think I'll leave what I've knitted so far, and start again from the second cone. I'm thinking I'll adjust the line of the "peak" so that the cabling extends higher up and the transition to stockinette forms a kind of empire waist - always a flattering line. I may decrease the amount of ease slightly, because the angora is very fluffy and doesn't have much drape, a combination that adds weight: I guess there's a reason all those angora sweaters in the 50s were form-fitting. Between the empire waist and the snugger fit, part of my issue will be solved: I don't think the current version is all that flattering, despite the waist shaping working out pretty much perfectly.


Also, perhaps most significantly: I think my second attempt will be a cardigan. For some reason I've been fighting the idea of making this a cardigan ever since it first occurred to me; I'm not sure why. Usually when I find myself battling my instincts on a design, giving in turns out to be the right move, so that's what I'm gonna do. When I get as far on the second version as I am on the first, I can compare them and see which I prefer.

Up next: two sewing updates!



Since I started telling people about the idea of Family Trunk Project, a certain comment and question have been cropping up again and again. "YOU'RE part of your family tree," people remark. "Are you going to design a garment based on yourself?" And every time this question has been asked, the answer has been a resounding "Um." I mean, I'm having a hard enough time coming up with designs to embody my parents, with whom I share an an ongoing, ever-developing relationship. But myself? How on earth to go about such a project? A couple of times I've started a garment that I expected to be the "Emily" pattern, but these attempts have either lacked conviction and petered out, or become unrelated patterns (such as the Garden Gate Socks). Then, just the other day, a brilliant idea occurred to me.


This photo is Johnson-family famous; it's everybody's favorite snap of me, aged 2.5, on a trip to the pumpkin patch one fine October day. My godparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles all have copies, and my dad used to have a large-format framed version of it on his desk. Check out the excellent outfit my parents concocted for me: gotta love that baby blue/true red combo, with the matching rubber boots. Which led me to a realization about a little something in my stash.


That's ArtFibers Big Bunz (what an embarrassing name for a beautiful angora yarn), topped with a lovely little red velvet ribbon. Yes? Can we say "pullover"? I think so.