"Letterman Jacket"

This is, like, a very blabby post.

(Psst...click the links and thumbnails or you'll miss the visuals.)

So! This is how my Wrappy Jacket looked for the past two weeks:

Photo entitled: "This is what happens when Rabbit decides to go back to school."
(To be viewed while listening to lyrics of song "I'm so lonely" sung in a funny helium voice.)

All blocked and nowhere to go but in a waiting pile of lonely non-seamed knitted pieces. For two long weeks Wrappy Jacket remained untouched! However, I'm happy to announce that this past weekend was spent finishing Wrappy Jacket, and she's ready for a debut this week (hopefully tomorrow, which is a holiday) so photos will be forthcoming. But before I can even think about showing you a finished knitted object, I must bring you up to date on activities the past two weeks:

School. I had three school assignments due over the past two weeks, which is why Wrappy Jacket remained so neglected. One of those assignments was in pattern drafting (construction of skirt from start to finish, with accompanying visuals and documentation), and this is how my apartment looked for a good part of that time. I felt like a one woman sewing sweatshop! Thankfully, the project has been turned in and Skinny Rabbit Sewing Sweatshop is hoping for a satisfactory grade.

[Footnote: The observant may notice an addition to the Skinny Rabbit Sewing Sweatshop. That's right; it's my new SERGER. I call him "Boxy", and oh how I love him.]

Captain Destructo. To add to the busy-ness of the past two weeks, my boy decided that it was high time he got the chicken pox. Boy stays home all last week and binges on A Bug's Life on DVD and games of "Go Fish" while my husband and I manage to perform juggling of schedules and "I'll take the morning off while you take the afternoon off" negotiations. Boy gets to wear staining red medication that he happily says makes him "look like a clown". Today, after almost 10 days of recovery, he's more than well enough to go trick-or-treating and I don't think he'll need a costume thanks to red medication.

Knitting. Shockingly, I managed to get knitting done even though seaming on the Wrappy Jacket took a back seat. I nabbed some rows here and there on a few projects currently in the making so it's basically, like, total multi-project mania, dude. Really, it is.

Go on, click a thumbnail:

fall2005_butterfly_back_finished_thumb.jpg fall2005_letterman_back_thumb.jpg summer2005_papavest_front_thumb.jpg

1) Butterfly camisole. Oh la laaaa...the Kid Silk Haze, she's like an early morning drug. I still get up 20 minutes earlier so I can knit a few rows on Butterfly while drinking my morning coffee and trying to clear my bedhead. Early morning knitting on Butterfly works, as I've completed the back piece and have started the front piece. The end of November will not come without my wearing a finished Butterfly, let me tell you.

2) Captain Destructo's "Letterman Jacket" from Pitchoun Hiver '05. How could I let fall go by without knitting this cute jacket for my boy? I have a free hour every Monday at school and this is the project I'll work on during that time. The hem and sleeve cuffs have striped ribbing that is worked on size 3.5mm needles, and the rest is worked in another yarn using size 6mm needles. It's a pretty fast knit thanks to those size 6 needles. Last Monday I started the back piece and finished the ribbing at the hem. The project remained untouched for the rest of the week, and last night I knit through most of the back piece while watching Star Wars (the very first one, with Carrie Fisher and her side buns hairdo) on DVD. (P.S. The first time I watched it: When it came out in theaters way back when. Hello! My age is showing again.)

3) The Gigantic Knit Otherwise Known as Papa Vest. Bet you thought I had given up on those seemingly miles of ribbing on my dad's vest, didn't you? Haha! I didn't. I started the front piece (back piece is completed, remember?) and in this very photo I'm just 30 rows shy of the armhole shaping. Looks like my dad is going to be wearing a handknit ribbed vest this winter. Who loves ya, dad?

But wait, there's even more: A big thank you to my friends Nancy and Mrs. Pilkington for keeping me in happy snail mail. On Saturday I received packages from both of them, and that made my weekend! Nancy thoughtfully sent some Noro goodies, a vintage "how to knit" book (I *love* that kind of stuff) and some Halloween treats for the Captain. [See it all here.] Mrs. Pilkington, who always knows just what I need, sent me some gorgeous fabric, some hard-to-get-here candies, a 70s sewing pattern for a sewn telephone and trucks, and a 70s book entitled Creating Body Coverings that is literally FULL of wacky ideas I can use in my projects at school. [See it all here.] Wow! I'm very touched and want to give a big public "thank you" for their thoughtfulness and generosity!

Woo hoo!

Look where I am with my Butterfly camisole:

[P.S. Don't forget it's got beads. Wanna see the beads?]

I'm on my way to a completed front for my Butterfly camisole. Oh, yeah! And look what I finished up after my English [!] test* today:

[Oh, but there's more. Click to see it!]

It's the completed right front piece of my son's Letterman Jacket. Once you get past that ribbing on 3.5mm needles and change to size 6mm needles for knitting the stockinette stitch in the main yarn, the piece practically flies off the needles. ZOOOOOOM! Frankly, I love knitting on small needles but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't get a decadent little knitter's rush when I hit that armhole shaping so quickly thanks to those 6mms. So go right ahead and give me a big knit every once in a while, skippy.

*I love that I have to take English as a course. Gee...I sure hope that I passed the test I had today. [Har, har.]

Before I head off, it's a meme! (I don't usually post memes, but Whispering Pine asked and it's a knitter's meme):

What is your all time favorite yarn to knit with?

Right now, KSH. But I'm so fickle I'll probably have a new favorite next month.

Your favorite needles?
Addis and Clover bamboo. Circulars, bay-bee!

The worst thing you've ever knit?

Frankly, I can't think of one. I currently like everything I've knit and if there has been a project I didn't like I usually ripped it out before it was even finished. I always frog things I am not enjoying or that are not coming along because I am a proud member of the Rip Out The Crappy Knits Club.

Your most favorite knit pattern? (maybe you don't like wearing it...but it was the most fun to knit)

Up to now, the Flowery Cardigan and matching culotte I knit for my niece. Working that flower intarsia was waaaaaaaaay fun.

Most valuable knitting technique?

Tubular cast-on. Mattress stitch. Free-loop backstitch on the right side of the work.

Best knit book or magazine?

Montse Stanley's Knitter's Handbook.

Your favorite knit-a-long?

I rarely join knitalongs and I'm gonna be partial: My Bucket Hat Knitalong. Fab design by a fab designer and everyone who joined knit great hats and shared some excellent pictures.

Your favorite knitblogs?

The blogs you see me commenting on frequently/those by my friends are my absolute faves. Even at my busiest I'll stop by and see what they're up to. (I also tend to visit blogs by knitters who regularly comment on my own blog and I enjoy reading them, too.)

Your favorite knitwear designer?

The entire Phildar design team, Kim Hargreaves and Bonne Marie Burns.

The knit item you wear the most?

My Elfin, my Bobbly Cotton Jacket, my Debbie Bliss Fiery Bolero and my Hagrid Beard scarf.

And that is all for today as dinner is a-calling!

I don't know about you...

...but I just love doing raglan sleeve decreases. And that's not all; I also love seaming garments with raglan sleeves. There's something about putting the pieces together that make me feel like I'm playing around with an incredibly easy jigsaw puzzle. I know, I know. I'm easily amused. Anyway...behold the second front piece of my son's Letterman Jacket with it's amazingly fun raglan sleeve decreases:

[Hey! Wanna see both completed front pieces? Sure you do.]

I've already completed both front pieces and am now working on the sleeves. Woot! And you're probably wondering where I am with the Mystery Project for Winter. Well, wonder no more. I worked on it while riding in the car to Vienne this afternoon:

Send hot chocolate and some decent lighting, stat.

Yes, yes. I know what you're thinking: The Thing looks like a dull-colored animal pelt sitting on my lap. I assure you; it's much more beautific in person but light conditions were far from favorable. (We had lots of sun during the week but today was a cold gray day, complete with snow. Send hot chocolate.)

And in order to distract you from the fact that I've yet to get off my procrastinating bee-hind and seam Butterfly ALREADY I'll share a gratuitous slideshow of snapshots taken during hat night on Friday (Sainte Catherine Day), when all of us crazy fashion design students danced about while wearing outrageous hats we made in class last Tuesday. Rawk out.

A few knitting things I plan on doing this Sunday:

1) Get off slothful when-it-comes-to-finishing bee-hind and start (I said start...key word, that) seaming my Butterfly camisole, already. Really! I ain't lying. Look:

Look, Ma! I'm grafting! (Again!)

Fun, fun, fun. Har! Grafting Kid Silk Haze makes me want to drink a margarita. Two, maybe. Lampshade on head optional.

2) Finish knitting the second sleeve of my son's Letterman Jacket:

Ze sleeve, it is not alone.
Look at ze first sleeve I knit already. C'est chouette, no?

Yep. Second sleeve. This is the SECOND sleeve because I already finished knitting the first sleeve during free moments nabbed at random times while at school. Look, just look at them both! And I admit that I'm happy that they're in contrast colors because it made knitting one sleeve after the other so easy. No procrastination, bay-bee! I love how the Captain chooses flashy knits.

3) Start blocking the front piece of the Papa Vest. That's right, friends. Your eyes do not deceive you. I finished knitting the seemingly miles-long front piece of my dad's vest! Here it is posing with the completed back piece:

[Click here to see the front piece on living mannequin. Hee hee!]

[Monsieur Le Hubby consented to acting like a mannequin by modeling the front piece for me even though he's about 40 pounds shy of being able to wear it. Dad used to be a weightlifter and is built like a rugby player. Good thing I knit the vest in stretchy ribbing, eh?]

Steam-blocking of both the back and front pieces began today. And you know what this means, don't you? There's another completed knitting project on the horizon. Woot!

I don't know about you, but I feel like celebrating with the current knitting productivity happening at Casa Skinny Rabbit. Go on, have another margarita. Dancing on table optional.

Rabbit very busy...

...but I still took time to take a picture of the Cité Internationale with all its fab Christmas lights:

I've got a small apartment.
(With a really great view.)

I also took the time to work on my boy's Letterman Jacket:

Doncha love my fancy d.i.y. blocking board?

I finished knitting all the pieces and am now blocking and seaming. Woot! But that's not all the blocking and seaming I did. Oh, no. I also blocked and seamed both pieces of my dad's Papa Vest. And before I could even say "Rabbit on Big Time Finishing Kick" I picked up stitches for the armbands and knit them on like I was getting paid for it:

I love you, Dad.
But boy, oh boy do you have really big arms.

Yep, I see another finished project on the horizon. Looks like it's going to be a very Knitted Vest Christmas for my dad after all.

And I know that you're thinking, "But hey! Where's Butterfly?" Well, I'll tell you. Butterfly is finished! I worked the picot edges around the armholes and neck Sunday, knit the straps on Tuesday night and...get ready for this...was so impatient to give it a debut that I wore it to school the day after where I got Big Head for a while because I got some nice compliments on it. I know, I know. Pictures of finished Butterfly are very much in order! I will show pictures soon. All I need now is some free time [I am on two weeks' vacation after tomorrow] and a bit of decent lighting for picture taking. In the meantime I distract you with a totally gratuitous picture of a wacky jester-inspired Winged Insect Light costume I and a second year student designed, sewed and constructed together using two types of mattress foam [!], vinyl fabric, wire, velcro and toy stuffing. We also designed and engineered the light system for the costume using 12.0 amp rechargeable batteries, LED lights, strand lights, plastic gardening tubing, metal wire and double faced tape. (Pity the wings - which are a riot - and lights don't show in the picture.) The costume was one of 40+ light costumes made by the fashion design students at my school as a collective school project, and it was worn for a light parade and show on December 8th for the Fête des Lumières. (I would have taken pictures of the parade, but I was too busy acting like a wacky jester-inspired Winged Insect all lit up for the holidays.)

It's gonna be a Very Knitted Vest Christmas:

I finished my dad's Papa Vest*. Go me!

This is the stand-REALLY-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
[Wanna see the Mannequin Dance? Sure you do.]

*That's my husband, a.k.a. Live Mannequin, modeling the vest.
It's three sizes too big for him.
Ain't he a sport for modeling it for us?

My dad's Papa Vest has been completed and has already been sent to him so he'd have it for Christmas. Ho, ho, ho!

Details: Papa Vest, or Debardeur Encolure Ronde pattern 9 from Phildar's HOMME Hiver 04/05, using Phildar Quietude. I knit the XL size and did without the stripes because my father said that he wanted something in a solid color. (All that 5/2 rib, in dark gray yarn. Who loves ya, Dad?) Side seams were joined using mattress stitch, and shoulder seams were joined using three-needle bind-off. I picked up stitches for the armbands and neckband, and knit them on in 1/1 rib. [See closeup of armband and neckband here.] My dad has big shoulders and arms, so I picked up more stitches than required for the armbands. In order to keep the armbands from flaring up at the shoulder area due to the additional stitches, I decreased a couple of purl stitches in the ribbing as I bound off the last row. I blocked the whole thing when finished by throwing it in the delicate cycle of the wash and pinning it to measurements on my d.i.y blocking board. [Here, make your own d.i.y. blocking board.] Sometimes acrylic is gooooooooooood.

But that's not all the Christmas knits I'm doing. I'm on a race to finish my son's Letterman Jacket:

Give me a neckband, already.
And trim those ends while you're at it!

I'm finishing up my son's Letterman's Jacket because I am determined that he wear it tonight when we celebrate Christmas Eve with family. Captain Destructo WILL wear a completed Letterman Jacket today, oh yes he will. Even though I still have a Nochebuena Salad to prepare and I'm sitting here in my pajamas and morning bedhead.

Captain Destructo in pajamas tries on jacket.
[Zoom out for a gratuitous rare photo of boy in his Clark Kent glasses.]
(He wears them to watch morning cartoons. Awwww!)

I picked up stitches for the neckband and am halfway through knitting it. The yarn used for the neckband is much smaller gauge than the yarn used in the body of the sweater and I am making the neckband large enough to fold over and sew down inside the jacket, so knitting that ribbing is a party. When that's done I still have to sew in the zipper [previous zipper slideshow here] and - if I have time - sew some ribbon or knit facings to hide the wrong side of the zipper. Oh, zippers! How I love sewing you in! If I didn't have to have this jacket ready by today I'd just knit the neckband and leave the jacket out with a plate of cookies and milk in hopes that Santa would get an elf to sew the zipper in for me. But I'll get it done!


A Boy, a Roboraptor and a Letterman Jacket:

Someone got a finished knit for Christmas!

This is the TRYING to stand still as a mannequin shot.
[I got some CLOSE-UPS, too. Go on...click!]

*He would not pose for the photos without his roboraptor.
P.S. The boy wants me to knit "a little jacket" for it.

Details: "Letterman Jacket" or pattern 16 from Phildar's Pitchoun Hiver '05. My son picked it out himself because the sleeves, front and back pieces are knit in different colors. The Captain's got flashy taste. Here's a view of the back:

We like the flashy knits, yo.
[Of course, I've got gratuitous Silly Boy Photos, too.]

Captain Destructo turned five in September, so I knit the six-year-old size using 9 skeins of Phildar Partner (for the body of the sweater) and 2 skeins of Phil Laine (for the cuffs, hem and neckband). My gauge was larger than that required in the pattern and I was expecting the boy to swim in this jacket. (I try to knit his jackets large enough for him to wear two winters in a row. Last year's Christmas jacket got some serious wear this season.) But when he pulled the Letterman Jacket on, it fit him perfectly. Considering the fact that I had to buy him bigger shoes and longer trousers right before Christmas because he suddenly started to look like Herman Munster in his fall clothes (bought in September!), I'm pretty sure he had a growth spurt while I was knitting this. Good thing I knit the big sizes, eh?

Other details: I gently blocked all pieces before seaming. [Slideshow of how I block here.] I joined shoulder seams via three-needle bind-off and used mattress stitch for the sleeve and side seams. The zipper was basted onto the front edges of the jacket and then hand-stitched in using sewing thread. [Slideshow of how I sew in zippers here.] I then folded the neckband - which was knit extra long - inside and sewed that down over the reverse side of the neck using sewing thread. By that time, of course, I was sick and tired of hand-sewing and was ready to kick my little sewing kit off a cliff with a spinning pirouette. And in case you were wondering, I DID finish this jacket in time so my boy could wear it for Christmas Eve festivities:

It's a finished knit for Christmas Eve!

The force is strong in this one.

You are looking at a neckband and zipper that were feverishly added by a whack rabbit wearing jammies and badly tousled bedhead the entire afternoon of Christmas Eve. Then I got ready and headed to cousin Marie Jo's house in Chaumont where we all ate and drank until 3 o'clock in the morning because, you know, we like being whack like that. Merry Foodie Christmas!