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Dissertation Distraction Sweater

Long ago, though not terribly far away, I wrote a post about a delightful cable-y pullover sweater. This sweater took ages to knit, in no small part because I was working out the logistics of the pattern as I went, and, well that whole dissertation thing. Details.

The sweater is finished! It has actually been completed for well over a year now, but I had delusions of writing up a highly detailed and precise explanation of what I did to make the sweater. I have accepted that it just isn’t going to happen. Instead, here is a picture!

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This sweater is very snuggly and a bit oversized, which is just what I was aiming for. The only complaint I might have is that the shoulders and sleeves are too bulky to be very comfortable under a jacket. It works best as a solo act or as the outer layer on a cold day.  This is not quite the sweater that I initially dreamed up, but I am very happy with it nonetheless.

 

So what went awry? As you may be able to see, the front and back neckline are identical, so the sweater has no true front or back. This was NOT the original plan. The original plan was to extend the two rows of braided cable from up the sleeve all the way across the back of the neckline, rather than ending them at the neckline as they are in the sweater. This would have given the neckline more stability and offered the weight of the sleeves some support across the back of the shoulders. Unfortunately, when I was knitting this, I was rather focused on a dissertation chapter (DETAILS) and just carried on obliviously until I finished knitting the neckline edge. I couldn’t bear the thought of ripping out all that knitting, so I improvised and left the knitting as it is.

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Without the added support across the shoulders, the heavily cabled shoulders tended to drag themselves off my shoulders under their own weight. Nothing against off-the-shoulder sweaters, but that sort of thing works MUCH better when it’s deliberate and not weirdly bunching on the arms! My solution was to run a piece of sewing elastic through the pocket created by the double layer of ribbed knit at the neckline. This way the neck opening is still stretchy, but it also doesn’t let the sleeves attempt to wander off in different directions.

So will I ever catch up on the backlog of creative projects that haven’t made it to this blog? Who knows! But now I can finally wear my dissertation sweater without quietly thinking, “You know, you really should blog this!”

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Spirodraft Blouse

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I have returned at last, dear readers! This year I have been busily writing my dissertation (yes, that’s Dr. Autumnyarn now), but I am very glad to have mental energy for other kinds of creative endeavors again. I intend to get back to my at-least-one-post-a-month level of activity on this blog, which should help me get through the project back-log that has accumulated.

This post is a bit of a project log and a bit of a pattern review, but really, it’s all about this gorgeous fabric.

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It is a cotton voile from Art Gallery Fabrics in a print called “Spirodraft.” I was drawn to the warm mustard color because it makes a nice contrast to most of my wardrobe, but it is the delicate, complicated symmetry of the line drawing that I love most. If you look closely, this fabric has layered, nonsensical outlines and labels that playfully imitate technical designs. Suffice it to say that I think this sort of thing is really cool! But the question of what to do with this really cool piece of fabric has had me stymied for some time. The fabric obviously demanded a sewing pattern that would show off the unusual print, but I didn’t want to be left weeping with frustration when trying to match the print to cut out pattern pieces. The fabric called for something structurally simple and symmetrical to support the busyness of the print. That’s where the Belcarra Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns comes in.

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The Belcarra Blouse pattern is a simple pullover top with raglan sleeves meant for woven fabrics. The shirt has quite a bit of ease and a wide neckline so that it can be easily taken on and off without any zippers or buttons. This sounds like a great concept, but too often I have found that the execution of this sort of pattern ends up giving boxy, awkward results. But miraculously, the Belcarra Blouse somehow avoids the dreaded Boxy Problem. The gentle waist shaping at the side seams keeps the top flattering and also prevents any uncomfortable bunching of excess fabric around the waist. I am always a big fan of raglan sleeves anyways, and these sleeves fit beautifully with no extra fuss.

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The pattern sews up quickly and would make a great project for a novice sewer. I decided to catch stitch the neckline and hem (which takes forever because I am slow), but if you machine stitched everything, it could be sewn in an afternoon. I love the clean lines and simple finishing on this pattern. It includes pattern pieces for a variation on the sleeve with pintucks, which look charming, and overall, this pattern just begs for experimentation with different fabrics or a contrasting sleeve! I’m looking forward to playing around with this one for a long time.

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Most importantly, I would give this pattern an 8/10 on arm mobility. I can comfortably lift my arms above my head while wearing the blouse, but it does ride up a bit. However, the blouse doesn’t actually tug uncomfortably when I am driving or when I wave my arms wildly over my head just to see if I can, so it still gets my seal of approval.

The things I do in the name of rigorous pattern testing.

Overall, I am beyond pleased with how this project came out. The symmetry of the blouse pattern beautifully complements the symmetry of the fabric print. The blouse pairs nicely with jeans or a skirt, and you know I find that kind of versatility almost as important as arm mobility.

Almost.

 

 

 

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