Wrappy Jacket for going back to school!

Welcome to the Valley of the Looooooong Rows

You wanted something big? I got your big, pally. Go on, click a thumbnail:

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That's right! We've kicked into major multi-project mode like a mad, mad knitter Chez Skinny Rabbit. And it's all BIG! BIG and bad! Every knitting session is like a wrestling match with long rows and even longer circular needles. Neely* should have been clever enough to pick up one of these knits every evening:

1) Weighing in at 10 balls of Calmer in shade 474, light khaki, and 95 measly stitches for the back is "Whisper", from Rowan's Calmer Collection. Oh Whisper! How I've been wanting to knit you for the past two years! Why I procrastinated, I do not know. But procrastination is no more and I'm going at the Calmer like a starved knitter. One evening I cast on and flew through the tucks like they were a batch of Grandma's cinnamon cookies. [Cooooooookies!] And don't the tucks at the hem remind you of a melted candle? Yeah, me too.

2) Weighing in at 10 skeins of Phildar Quietude in heathery gray and 120 sts on an Addi circular is a Papa Vest. Yes, a Papa Vest. Remember the vest I started working on while I was on vacation in La Loire? Well, I bet you thought that I had hidden that under the bed and tried to forget about it. Haha! I did not. I worked on it while I was visiting my friend in the country. The seemingly endless rows in 5/2 ribbing make it easy to blab and knit at the same time. A good part of the back piece of the vest was knit while sitting outside and chatting with my friend, while our respective Messieurs Les Hubbies grilled every meal. As my Dad is a barbecue fiend connoisseur himself [five custom-made smokers and grills, anyone?] I'm sure he'll appreciate the barbecue smell that seems to have impregnated itself in this particular piece.

3) And the granddaddy of them all, weighing in at 9 balls of Phildar Auteil and 162 stitches [!] on a Clover bamboo circular, is my "Wrappy Jacket" from Phildar's Fall 2005 pattern book. Knit in one piece from side to side and taking up all the space in my knitting basket, this piece requires multi-tasking or it has the effects of a Seconal. I also worked a few rows on this piece while I was away, and now that I've returned I've been knitting it while reading the latest Harry Potter. [Thanks, Carolyn!] The looooooong rows in stockinette stitch make reading, watching dvds or otherwise watching Captain Destructo race around the playground like he's got a jet pack stuck to his back easy.

Speaking of loooooong rows, and to further prove how serious I am about my stash housecleaning (yes, there's more up), I'm putting to rest a project that I'm sure will remain unfinished. Out with the old and in with the new, and all that jazz. Say your goodbyes to:

R.I.P, Twisty Kimono Sweater

Thanks for the [looooooong] memories.

The twisty kimono sweater that made me weep a thousand tears while watching Seabiscuit. I've been reluctant about putting this project to sleep over the last year, thinking I'd eventually want to complete it, but truth is I probably won't. Yes, yes. I know the final result would have been fab. But the color and endless repetitive cables have the effects of a valium and a fab final result is not enough incentive for me to get past a sleeve. No ifs, ands or buts about it. I've already returned the unused balls of yarn to my local boutique, have kept a few for another project and remain with this woeful lonely sleeve as a souvenir. Woeful and lonely, no more. It will be ripped out and recycled, and maybe made into a long scarf with a more complex cable pattern. Hasta nunca, amigo.

In other news, I'd like to give a big public thank you to my pal Sarah R., she of the witty commentary in my comments box, for thoughtfully sending me a goodie package of treats for the Captain and some knitting magazines for me. The knitting magazines, of course, mean that I've now reorganized my entire fall knitting lineup because I fell in love with several projects in the mags. [Read: stash cleanup will continue.] My knitting pals are serious enablers, let me tell you :-)

*Come on, this is an easy one. Name that movie!

Why, it's an Incredible Gaping Armhole!

I bet you're wondering how the armhole of my "Wrappy Jacket", knit in one piece, is gonna look. Well, wonder no more:

Oops! Pardon my gaping armhole.
[Click to see the whole piece, Incredible Gaping Armhole included.]

Now that, my friends, is an armHOLE in the true sense of the word. And it looks so...Gaping! Huge! Cavernous! Still, I think it looks pretty cool, and I can tell that sewing in the sleeve is gonna be a party. Send a pitcher of margaritas, and don't be stingy with the tequila.

Gaping Armholes aside, I must admit that I don't usually wear whole garments knit in variegated yarns, but I love how it works for the Wrappy Jacket. It adds interest, and I don't think the Jacket would have the same effect if it were knit in a solid color yarn.</end two cents>

In other news, my friends are keeping me in STASH:

Received from Heather: Rowan Summer Tweed in Oats! That was received in trade, but she threw in a few extras because she's so sweet: Some Kidsilk Haze in black, a lucet from MS&W, the Rowan Tweed Collection and some excellent NASA swag for the Captain. WOW.

Received from Ei: Four skeins of Kid Silk Haze! Now she did something truly thoughtful: I was expecting two skeins in a color she was going to choose for me, and she went off and included FOUR; two of each in gorgeous colors. I'm in KSH heaven! Ahhhhhh! Now I can knit a beautiful Butterfly, too. (Have you seen hers yet? WOW.)

Received from Jenny: A surprise package containing a "back-to-school" gift for me: Some beautiful material that she bought during her trip to Hawaii. WOW. Sewing goodness! (And that marks the third time I wrote "WOW" in this entry. But really, can you blame me?)

Such fabulous stuff! I raced around the room in circles when I opened up the packages. I have such great friends. (And I know you're thinkin' it, too.)

Speaking of sewing, yesterday I picked up the Burda magazine at my local tabac. Silvia recommended these patterns to me and this is the first copy of the magazine I've ever bought. Boy, oh boy are there fab designs in this one! Five words: Me. Fabric store. Saturday. Ka-ching!

Direct from Lyon:

The Wrappy Blanket...er, Jacket.
(Oops! Please pardon my workout clothes.)

Skinny Rabbit Runway Review for Fall: Enormous boxy sleeveless Wrappy Jacket with giant gaping armholes worn over workout pants and t-shirt for casual look. Half-skein of yarn hanging from one end and live stitches on one side are left on super-long bamboo circular needle for edgy touch.

Just kidding.

That's the progress on my Wrappy Jacket as of today, and as you can see: Night Knitter Rabbit is still knittin'! And doesn't the Wrappy Jacket as shown above kind of look like a coat one would find on the cover of a 1970s knitting mag? We think so, too.

In sewing news, look at the buffet of sewing patterns Miss Silvia sent to me! Those Vogue patterns are fabulous, and I think I'd like to make some trousers in lightly pinstriped gray wool for winter using one of them. Yep...looks like next weekend is slotted for some fabric shopping and a date with the sewing machine. (A home date with my own sewing machine, that is. We've started playing around with industrial machines and sergers in pattern-drafting at fashion school. We're going to create our own designs soon, so we've already started learning how to do fashion drawing and I'll get my own dress form at school. Ahhhhhhhh! How I wish I could bring the dress form home with me on the metro!)

Is this...could this be...?

A sleeve cap, perchance?
Well, GO ON and click to see!

Woo hoo! I completed a sleeve on my Wrappy Jacket, which I bet you thought I had forgotten about and left to collect mites in my knitting bag. Well, not only did I finish what felt to be a mile-long sleeve [it's knit on size 3 needles, after all], but I went off and started the second one. All done in bits and pieces early in the morning or late at night, and surprise! I didn't fall asleep or make any mistakes due to sleepy bedheadedness. Can I get a "Woot, woot!"?

october_07_2005_debbiebliss_thumb.jpg I hope to get some quality knitting time on the Wrappy Jacket this weekend so I can get it close to completion. Which would, according to Skinny Rabbit Rules of Personal Knitting, justify starting a new project. Maybe a cardigan in the latest Vogue Knitting [thank you, Sarah R!] using this fabulous yarn sent to me in trade by Ashlee. It's Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and Astrakhan, and the lot looks so chocolatey and yummy every time I see it I feel like sticking my face in a box of truffles and just, like, pigging out, dude!

Knitting + Pancakes = Happy Rabbit

Photo entitled "Me like mini pancakes" or
"Successful multitasking without getting batter in the yarn".

When one makes potatoes and with melted raclette cheese for Saturday dinner, one must keep the raclette grill out so that one can make MINI PANCAKES the next morning. Of course, one must make the occasion even more festive by knitting the second sleeve of the Wrappy Jacket while waiting for the pancakes to get those cute little bubbles indicating that they're ready to get flipped. Multitasking, bay-bee! (Tasting batter optional.) And by the time pancakes are ready one should have twin sleeves:

Block us! Block us!
(So I did.)

Blocking and finishing is already taking place. [Mini slideshow! Mini slideshow!] And as reward, one is entitled to STASH OUT. Which I did, of course. Brenda, the Analyzing Knitter, is in Lyon and yesterday we spent a fun afternoon together, like, TOTALLY stashing out at my local Phildar boutique. I managed to exercise some self-control and instead of tossing three projects' worth of yarn on the counter, I pranced out of there with just seven wee skeins of Kid Mohair in a grayish brown. (Yes, I do need another project in the making. Really, I do. Just go along with me on this, 'k?)

But that's not all I have to show, oh no it's not. Brenda thoughtfully brought over my pal Claudia's Amazing Teacup Sweater of the 80s! It's here, in my apartment, waiting for me to play with it. Perhaps for a future design project for school? We shall see. (And aren't I terrible with this suspense?) In the meantime, I'm outta here for a movie date with Wallace and Gromit followed by dinner with Brenda and her hub. Woot!

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:

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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!

My first finished knit in fall:

Why, it's a Wrappy Blanket Jacket!

(And you know what? I really love it!)
This is the stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
[I got some CLOSE-UPS, too. Go on...click!]

Loose, flowing, flapping in the desert wind like Clint Eastwood in the dollar trilogies [feel free to whistle the theme music from those films for ambiance]... I'm thinking a fistful of dollars, bay-bee! While I do love my wee cardis and fitted jackets*, wearing a big Wrappy Jacket with sides that gently billow as I walk make me feel like I'm making a fashion statement with each step. (It's like wearing my trench coat open...having it flap behind me as I walk gives me the same feeling I bet Mary Tyler Moore got when she tossed her hat in the air.) Wrappy Jacket means business when it walks:

[Hey! Click here to see all walking views.]

Wrappy Jacket wrapup (hehe...couldn't resist using the word "wrapup"): Size 34 of "Gilet" pattern 1 from Phildar's Automne Tendances 05, using Phildar Auteil and a really long bamboo 3.5mm [!] circular needle. That's right: 3.5mm. When I look at the back of the sweater [here, take a look at it] I can't believe that I knit all those loooooooooong rows of stockinette stitch using that size needle because it didn't seem at all tedious or long as I knit it. In summary: Mindless knitting. Thou shalt enjoy dvds and a book or two whilst knitting the Wrappy Jacket. (At least I did.) Now, how about a few gratuitous dancing shots?

Other finishing details: When I knit the jacket, I did not join new yarn at the edges, but joined ALWAYS in the middle of a row at the BACK of the sweater; that way, even when the flaps open, there won't be any ends peeking out. When all pieces were complete I steam-blocked the dickens out of all edges because the ACRYLIC [gasp! acrylic!] content makes the yarn a bit of a curler. The only seaming consisted of joining the sleeve seams and sewing the sleeves to the armholes. After the jacket was seamed and all ends were woven in, I gave it a final blocking session by throwing it in the washing machine and washing it in the delicate cycle using wool detergent. Then I placed it on a flat surface, closed the jacket flaps (left under right), and pinned them down. The jacket dried overnight and...voilą! The Wrappy Jacket, my first finished knit for fall.

*Links lead to the projects I wore to school already, because I love to show off the knits.