"Cat in the Hat" Cropped Sweater

Ahoooooy, Red Stripes!

Hey! Remember the GGH Bali I got last month? I bought it so I could knit it up into THIS:

"I know lots of good fun that is funny."

This, my friends, is the beginnings of the back piece of what Rebecca 29 calls the "Cropped Sweater". The original Cropped Sweater is worked in turquoise, ecru, brown and gold stripes, but MY version is worked in what I call Cat in the Hat Stripes, bay-bee! Just look at that. Every time I see it I think of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat. I could close the seam on that back piece, stick it on my head like a hat and hop up and down on a big ball of yarn (preferably, cashmere...or maybe alpaaaaaaaaaaaaca) while balancing a tray of margaritas and some of my stash...maybe the Rowan? Yeah...that's doable. "Look at me! Look at me now! With a pitcher of margaritas and thirty skeins of Rowan Calmer on the top of my hat!"

Just kidding. About making that into a hat, that is. And about bouncing around on the ball. But I wouldn't mind a pitcher of margaritas right about now.

thumb.jpg Dinner is a-calling and I've got some samples to work up for another school project, but before I go I'll let you in on the crazy outfit I assembled for my Uniforme project (described in this entry). It was a tough choice, but I ended up going with the outfit shown in my drawing to the right, because my teachers felt that the ruched sleeves (made from the upside-down chef's trousers) were a very interesting element. The denim "bustier" in that outfit was also a strong factor: It is actually the skirt turned around backwards with the waistband stitched onto the middle. (It's not shown on the mannequin to the right, but the finished bustier has an added denim jacket zipper as a front closure.) The skirt was made from the front piece of the bleu travail, assembled sideways with the collar at the back and the sleeves gathered to form a short layered train. I had to make this outfit so I could wear it (with funky stockings and some WILD theatrical Las Vegas-ish makeup for television news cameras [!]) during a student fashion show at a public event held in Lyon. (Footnote: I don't have the outfit at home so I can't show more photos of it; the school keeps it for a year so they can exhibit it and so we can wear it for another public event at the beginning of our second year.) And that is the end of my blabby Uniforme outfit post. Thanks for playing along :-)

You know those souvenir t-shirts?

The ones that people get as gifts for friends back home? You know, like "Grandma and Grandpa went to Katmandu and all I got was this lousy t-shirt?" Well, if I could give you a t-shirt souvenir to show what I've been doing for the past week it would read "Skinny Rabbit turned in a design project* for seven ensembles, gave an oral presentation before a jury, finished her end of the year dress and all I got were a lousy couple of inches on the front piece of her Cat in the Hat Sweater".

She still doesn't call. She still doesn't write. Where's the love?

*My design project (the one I had to present before a jury of design professionals) contained - among other things - two boards filled with design samples: Embroidery, motifs, sewing details and KNITTING. I worked up the majority of these samples at school but I did make a couple at home so I grabbed the camera and snapped a shot of one for you:

Rowan Cotton Tape and honkin' big 8mms.
Sample worked in less than ten minutes.
(I love me some big needles and big yarn, people.)

Motif with "Lace Ladders" from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns worked into it.

While we're on the subject of school: There are only two more weeks till the end of the school year. Other than some finishing touches (embroidery and beads and sparkly schtuff) on my end of the year dress and a fashion show on Wednesday, there are no other big projects for me to turn in and I'll have knitting time for me again. Woo hoo! [Throws confetti all around.]

Sunday I got a chance to...

...work on the front piece of my Cat in the Hat Sweater. Here it is, all pally-pally with the back piece:

[Click here to zoom out.]

Both pieces are on stitch holders (a.k.a. really long circular needles) as I'll be joining them with the sleeves and knitting all the pieces together in the round. And why didn't I knit the whole thing in the round from the start? I'll let you in on a little secret of mine, skippy. Even though I've been known to knit some things in the round - indeed, I once knit a top with matching shoulder warmer in the round - I don't really like doing it. Yes! It's true. I prefer flat knitting. Despite my hefty collection of circs and my tendency to procrastinate with seaming, I don't like to knit in the round and I like it flat, flat, FLAT. So there.

But! I don't like weaving in ends, either. The yarn is lightweight and these stripes are just the right size for me to carrying the working yarn up the sides, so that's what I've been doing*.

Look, Ma! No ends to weave in.

*I admit, though, that I don't always do this. When I work larger stripes and/or when I have stripes in a variety of colors I prefer to cut some of the ends and weave in as I go in order to avoid bulky seams. Sounds tedious, I know. But I still prefer to do that instead of knitting in the round. I don't think that flat knitting is better than knitting in the round (or vice versa, for that matter) but it's what I personally prefer. Isn't it great how we have choices in knitting? Yeah. I think so, too.

Is this...could it be...a...SLEEVE?

Take out a red pen and mark this day with a great big circle on your calendar, friends. I have managed to knit a sleeve of my Cat in the Hat sweater right after I finished the front and back pieces...and I didn't dawdle. It's true. Check it out:

She likes me! She really, really likes me!

Usually when it comes time for me to knit the sleeves of a sweater I become just a teeny bit bored with the project and I get all yarn happy by piling on the new projects like I've got all the time in the world and five sets of knitting hands. Not this time. I knit right on through with this one and didn't even blink an eye at my stash. (Okay, maybe I did blink an eye. But I didn't succumb!) I think I'll go reward myself for my loyalty to Cat in the Hat sweater by making a pan of brownies and eating half of them by myself while they're still pipin' hot. Or maybe an ice cream float. Made with Haagen Daz vanilla ice cream and an ice cold bubbly soda. Don't tell my dentist.

And are you tired of looking at red and white stripes yet? You may be, but I ain't. Check out a few of my favorite red and white designs of the current season:

spring2006_kenzo_thumb.jpg spring2006_ralphlauren_thumb.jpg spring2006_hilfiger_thumb.jpg

[Click each thumbnail to see a full view.]

From left to right: Kenzo, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger. All are from their spring/summer 2006 pret-a-porter collections and each represents a different style and look despite the use of red and white stripes. Honorable mentions go to this chunky striped number with three-quarter sleeves by Armani and these knee-high socks by Lacoste. And while black and white stripes are going to be a big player in next season's clothes, let's give a big "merci" to Lacoste for including this fabulous slouchy RED and white blouse in their fall/winter 2006 collection. It's so magically Cat in the Hat*, bay-bee!

* I think that should be the new catch phrase around here for something that is cool. You know, something along the lines of: "Hey! Let's go yarn shopping. Wouldn't it be totally Cat in the Hat if we found some cashmere yarn on sale? Like, TOTALLY."

Welcome to Sleeve Island!

Where margaritas (frozen, no salt thankyouverymuch) are served in order to make knitting sleeves a "let's knit while dancing with lampshade on head" experience because knitting the second sleeve can seem to go so sloooooooowly.

Sleeve One and Sleeve Two in a cuddly pose.

Skinny Rabbit Knitting Clause #9: Knitting a piece that is identical to the piece knit immediately prior may be deemed "boring". DVD consumption - particularly any DVD featuring Keanu (with the exception of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues*), Viggo, Depp and Orlando - shall rise considerably in order to ensure that progress continues. Alcoholic beverages may also be served provided it is cocktail hour and one has eaten a good lunch.

*Funnily enough, Uma Thurman is wearing a Cat in the Hat red-and-white striped top on the movie poster for Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. But not even that, or the strange cameo appearance of Keanu, could keep me from falling asleep after the first fifteen minutes into this movie.

Look, Ma! I'm a-yokin'*!

Joining back piece, front piece and sleeves on a
circular needle for purposes of knitting the yoke.
Then you swing your partner ‘round and ‘round,
And turn your corner upside down.

thumb.jpgI admit that this is my least favorite part; joining all four of these pieces and completing in the round. I find it cumbersome and it goes less quickly than my flat knitting. In order to up the entertainment value I am watching my newly acquired Narnia DVD collector's edition while I work on this. (Why, oh WHY did I leave my Narnia hardcover book series behind in storage when I moved over here?) And another bonus: I get to use my fancy Zephyr Style stitch markers that my friend Brenda gave me when she visited Lyon. They have cocktails [!] on them and one is a custom "Fluffa!" stitch marker. That makes the round knitting worthwhile. And yes, the sweater will probably be more comfy as there won't be any seams on the upper part of it. So round and round we go and I like sugar in my coffee-o, and meet your partner and prom-enade-o...

Oops. Broke into a bit of square dancing there. Going round and round on this circular needle does that to me.

On another note, four more days of school and then I work a three-week internship in July. But as of right now there will be no more homework until September! It'll be knitting and sewing galore! [Runs madly around the room in circles.]

Yep. Still a-yokin'.

On my Cat in the Hat sweater, that is. I've still got it on the circ and need to go round and round a bit more because I ripped out a few rounds as I modified the pattern slightly in order to i) suit my row gauge and ii) end with my red and white stripes the way I want. So round and round we go and it may be the last time, I don’t know, and oh by gosh and oh by Joe. You'd think I'd have enough of square dancing by now, eh? Well, I have but Cat in the Hat sweater obviously hasn't.

In the meantime I consider some design possibilities for my fabric stash.

About one meter of lightweight embroidered linen.
The drawings to the right are mine.

After contemplating my drawings I've decided on a skirt. Unfinished edges; something that compliments the rough string embroidery on the linen. I'll play around with some muslin and see what comes up before I cut into the fabric.

P.S. The bi-yearly sale for summer - LES SOLDES - just started this morning in Lyon. I took a break from school with a girl in my class and we went shopping downtown. I brought home this pair of sandals. New shooooooooooz! On sale, of course. I love me a bargain.

Avast, me beauties*!

It's me hearty Cat in the Hat sweater being seamed. Arrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Yo ho hoooo!

The Cat in the Hat sweater, she almost be finished. We should be mentionin' that she won't look exactly like the Rebecca 29 sweater, so don't be surprised when you see her lookin' a tad different in her hearty completion. We rewrote the pattern so that our Cat in the Hat sweater would resemble our rough sketch here, and we wanted different stripe placement and shapin' to suit our size. But even though we be pirates we let it be known that we used the Rebecca 29 design for elements in our pattern rewrite, so we don't take credit for all the booty. We stick to the code, mateys.

*We be talkin' like pirates today, me hearties. Kessa says me Cat in the Hat stripes remind her of pirates, and we be agreein' with that. Aye, aye! Now where be me pantaloons?

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Here they be:

(This be our activity on Thursday morning.)

Pantaloons** created without a pattern, but with the help of our pattern drafting teacher who be a kind lassie. We made a basic pantaloon in muslin and the teacher - a professional "modéliste", she be - pinned and tucked the muslin here and there on us so that we could use it as a prototype for some custom pantaloons in black. Plus, it be good practice for second year when we be makin' pantsuits, jeans and sportswear. Shiver me timbers!

**Okay, they aren't really pantaloons. They're actually black mid-knee pants I've been wanting to make for myself, but for the sake of being a pirate they're pantaloons. Arrrrrrrrrrr!

We be saucy lasses. Arrrrrr!

Captioned: "We've discovered that silliness abounds when we wear Cat in the Hat Stripes because we like lots of good fun that is funny. Read on only if you have a sense of humor."

This is the stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
Click here for the gratuitous, totally silly "We be saucy pirate photo."
(Alternatively titled, "Captain Destructo has a toy pirate sword. How could I resist?")
[What's that? You want CLOSE-UPS?]

Hazy days by the sea. Casual evening barbecues where saucy wenches are welcomed. Bailando en la playa hasta quién sabe qué hora en Acapulco, Ixtapa, Cancun, Puerto Escondido o Las Hadas durante la temporada de lluvias. (Dancing into early morning hours at Mexican beaches. Been there, done that oh so many times...could've used this top back then). What you see above - Cat in the Hat paired with weathered linen skirt - is how I plan on wearing Cat in the Hat in those situations. We be saucy knitter lasses!

But of course, I want to wear Cat in the Hat in the city, especially during mid-season weather when it's not yet warm enough to go without a light jacket or cardigan. As you know, I LOVE to layer my clothes and Cat in the Hat is perfect for that:

This is another stand-still-like-a-mannequin shot.
Click here for "The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire! shot."

Fashion footnote: I also plan on pairing Cat in the Hat with:
Loose-fitting khaki pants.
Form-fitting dress.
Navy blue layering tank or cami.
Kicky beige skirt.

Project details: This project is a hybrid design of my design sketch here and the cropped sweater in Rebecca 29. I rewrote the Rebecca 29 sweater pattern and used it for specific design elements, but I made a number of changes in order to 1) approach my own design sketch and 2) suit my body measurements. These changes include shortening the body, cinching the waist and modifying the neckline so it would sit just so on my shoulders. I used the same yarn called for, "Bali", but worked my red and white stripes instead of the brown, cream and turquoise stripes in the Rebecca design. I knit the sweater to my own measurements, which fall into a 34-36 European size. And....I think that's about it. Now it's time for dance, whack Rabbit, dance (as always, I give you much silliness).

In closing: This easy, quick little sweater is now among my favorite things I've knit. I love the wide neckline (which, incidentally, hits at the spot right where I want it and didn't slide down despite all my whack dancing) and cropped waist, but best of all: The stripes are just so Cat in the Hat!