Linen Jacket with Intarsia Stripes. Ooooh!

I think it's about time I started Captain Destructo's linen jacket, eh?

Oh dear Linen, how crisp and cool you are!
[Starts yodeling. Rather badly, but we're YODELING, by jove.]

We've kicked into full-time spring knitting chez Skinny Rabbit. Out with the wool, in with the cotton and linen. Now on the needles: The back piece [click to see it] of this linen jacket, which my Captain Destructo picked out from the latest Pitchoun catalog. I think he is intrigued by the horizontal stripes on the sleeves and the vertical stripes on the front of the jacket, which do make for a very interesting design element. (And they should be fun to knit, too. I love a wee dose of intarsia now and then.) Overall, I think it's a snappy jacket. If I say so myself, my boy has a sense of style.

As for the sizing, I'm knitting two sizes together. My son is five years old and tall for his age, but he's thin. In other words, he's got the weight of a five year old and the height of a six and a half year old. (I don't even want to go into the size of his feet - he'll probably be able to fit into my shoes next year.) I usually just knit his size and add on a few extra centimeters, but for this jacket we've got the vertical stripes placement. Plus, the jacket is divided horizontally into stockinette stitch and rib. So I decided to combine sizes by knitting the widths for the six year old size coupled with the lengths of the seven year old size. And doesn't this whole paragraph sound a bit like some basic algebra equation for knitters? "If Captain Destructo is stretchy like a mini basketball player and Mommy wants to knit him a linen jacket that fits him nicely without his wrists poking out of the sleeves like Herman Munster, which sizes of the jacket should Mommy combine without ruining the feng shui of the vertical stripe placement and stockinette stitch/rib pattern?"

[Twitch, twitch.]

I haven't been able to knit a stitch in FOUR DAYS. I feel like a yarn junkie going into withdrawal. "Hi, my name is Becky and I've been off the yarn for four straight days now." The only reason my knitting basket hasn't gathered any dust is because I've discovered that my whack dog Lucy sleeps in it when there's no one home.

But! I do have knitting to show. Yes, it's knitting I haven't touched for four days [twitches from withdrawal] but I hope to work a few rows on it tonight*:

She never calls. She never writes. Where's the love?

It's a front piece of my son's Linen Jacket. When I left off I was about to work the neck and shoulder shaping, so we're looking at an almost completed right front piece. And! The back piece is already completed...I pulled it off the needles right before I went to Paris last week. Despite my current lack of free time to knit [after June things will calm down, thankfully] The project is still (slowly) progressing. Margaritas for everyone!

*After I turn seven rough croquis into colored fashion figures with accompanying flats and specs. Send caffeine and Keanu on DVD, because I think I'm gonna be up LATE.

I'm all over the place today.

Let's start with sewing:

Before I earn myself the nickname of Procrastirabbit (procrastinating + rabbit) I figured I'd better get off my lazy bum and just hem my freaking PANTALOONS, ALREADY. Arrrr! Here they be:

The hurry-up-and-take-the-picture-so-we-can-go-eat shot.
[Click here to zoom out!]
[Click here for another view!]

Quick specifics: Low-waisted, wide-legged pant made without a pattern. I made a basic pant in muslin (using my pant with darts construction) and used that as a basis for making the one in fabric. I added box pleats in the front and darts in the back. Zip fly closure and the pockets are "poches italiennes". I was going to wear the pant with a wide reverse cuff, but I decided I liked the hem without so there you have it. My only regret: That I didn't buy more of this fabric when I had a chance. I'd love to make another pant like this in this same fabric, only full-length for fall, and there was no more fabric when I went back to the fabric store. Sob! (Yet another reason for me to keep on stashing like a greedy squirrel.)

We were all very hungry and on our way out to eat pizza, so it was a very quick photo shoot. But I make up for the lack of extras, like whack dance shots and whatnot, by showing this bonus photo taken of me and Captain Destructo smiling wildly in the late afternoon sweltering heat. Of course, I be wearing me pantaloons. Arrrrr!

Long, drawn out "Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese!"

And there is also knitting. Mommy Guilt won out and I worked on the Captain's Linen Jacket last night. Result: Two finished jacket fronts.

Yikes! Block us, ferpetesake.

If I continue at this speed the Captain will have himself a new jacket before the end of summer. And if I'm feeling really ambitious, I might just head off to the yarn store and pick up yarn so he can have two new hand-knit jackets to start the new school year. He has already asked for one with a "hood" and "a zipper". Boy knows what he wants, eh?

And while we're on the subject of school....

I just got my final report card in the mail. Celebrate with me now, friends, because all those 7 hour schooldays from Monday to Friday and those late nights and early mornings I spent studying, sketching, drawing, painting, draping fabric, making textile samples, sewing, working in Photoshop and the rest (not to mention less frequent postings on my blog and less knitting...thanks to all my readers and friends who still kept visiting even with my fewer posts) has paid off. Out of almost one hundred students I'm not badly placed at all, and come September I go into my second year for a degree in fashion design/illustration and pattern-drafting a very happy rabbit, indeed. Margaritas for everyone!

Hey! Remember my son's linen jacket?

Yes, this Linen Jacket. Well, I finally got off my procrastinating bee-hind and cast on for the first sleeve last night.

Teeny little intarsia stripes.
I love it!
[Click HERE for the WRONG SIDE* view.]

I tell you: When you get intarsia in just the right amount and this little amount is used to great effect on a sleeve, there is no such thing as Sleeve Island. Good knitting fun.

A closer view of the intarsia stripes in all their teeny wonder.

"My name is Tal-lu-lah, my first rule of thumb..."

*I don't like weaving in ends when I do intarsia. When I don't have too many rows or stitches over which to strand yarn, I just carry the yarn up as I go. (I've done this for the other stuff I've knit in intarsia.)

thumb.jpgWhat I'm currently watching while knitting: Bugsy Malone. We just got it on DVD and boy, does it bring back the memories. Bugsy Malone was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. I saw it when it came out in theaters in 1976 (oops, my age is showing) and a little while later, when it came out on HBO (remember when cable FIRST came out and HBO only had one channel?). My mother taped it on our VHS and I and my siblings watched that tape so many times that when I watched the movie today [after almost 30 years!] I was able to sing along with ALL of the songs and I still know the tap dance routines by heart. Tap, tap.

In other trivial news, I have a new afternoon snack of the moment: Petit Lu cookies with chocolate chips dunked in Candia milk. I don't usually dunk cookies - and I mean NEVER, not even Oreos - but boy oh boy can I go to dunking town with these cookies. I just ate about 10 [gluttony, thy name is Rabbit] and I could have kept on going. I like to call it it knitting fuel.

That's it for today. It's a laidback day. Monsieur Le Hubby is home so I'm heading off to the fabric store in search of muslin, and then I'll go to the gym to do some free weights. I'll be sure to work my foot muscles a little more because I've got some seriously fun SEWING I'll be doing next week and I'm gonna be revving my sewing machine pedal :-) [Revs pedal.]

Sleeve 1, and Sleeve 2.

"Dude! You've got, like, a sleeve cap already. Rock!"
Says Sleeve 2 to Sleeve 1.

Wanna know what I've been knitting in the evening? Well, you're looking at it. Sleeve 2 of Captain Destructo's Linen Jacket. I watched Mona Lisa Smile for the first time while knitting Sleeve 2 and the only thing I could think was, "Good thing I have some knitting to entertain me." Having the girls in the film shout "Carpe Diem!" and seeing Kirsten Dunst's hateful character climb on a desk while crying out, "Oh Captain, my Captain!" may have made it a little more entertaining, but that didn't happen. Skinny Rabbit One Word DVD Review: Lame. But we still love you, Julia Roberts! Yes, even if you once got married in your bare feet.

Anyway. Back to sleeves. I'm still not tired of working those little intarsia stripes so tonight's knitting session may very well get me mid-way through the sleeve cap shaping of Sleeve 2. (Can't work on Crinkle at night; black is cool and urban and all that but finishing's gotta be done in daylight in order to avoid boneheaded moments.)

And while we're on the subject of intarsia...

fall2006_kenzo_thumb.jpg fall2006_rowan_thumb.jpg

Sweater images of the day. To the left is Kenzo's knit sweater Fall 2006 (here's the same one in another color) and to the right is Rowan 40's "Eveleen". Flowers like those remind me of European patterned textiles from the 18th century, like this and this. I don't plan on knitting anything like this but that looks like some seriously fun intarsia.

See that?

We're finished!
Now block us, ALREADY.

It's a pile o' knit pieces! Of Captain Destructo's Linen Jacket, that is. They're all knit up and ready for seaming, so to the blocking board they go. After that: Seaming, zipper, neckband and front bands. Which means that soon I'll be taking a trip to Margaritaville (frozen, no salt) to finish this jacket. I'm not rushing there, though. I think I'll block and seam sometime this weekend, and then do all the rest the following weekend. That way, I won't go insane from finishing overload. But I see a finished knit on the horizon which means that the Captain will have a new jacket to wear for the first day of school!

And guess what? Today I sewed up my version of the Cambric Tea Blouse (the real thing, not the muslin), and even though [please read the following, thank you] it really needs to be pressed, has no buttons (I'll be snatching those off one of Monsieur Le Hubby's old dress shirts...recycle, bay-bee!), has a hem that is yet to be stitched and is being modeled by my mannequin* who does NOT have the same measurements as me, I'm still gonna show it. Here it is:

Tea Blouse to the left, muslin toile to the right.
I'll show a picture of myself wearing it when it's got buttons.
(Wouldn't wanna flash the internet.)

thumb.jpgI'm really happy with how it came out and with the changes I made to it. The fabric I used for this one is an inexpensive thin cotton I had bought for school projects. Okay for everyday wear, but I'd like one in a fancy fabric so I'm going to make myself another one in a nicer fabric, maybe in a print. And as for the sash? Yes, I'm going to make it. But for the Tea Blouse done in fancy fabric, not this thin cotton one. I'm going downtown tomorrow and I'll keep an eye out for an open fabric store.

In the meantime, think I should start a new knitting project? I think so. Just a few more weeks before fashion school lets back in, and my days are gonna be filled with school work; even more than last year. Let's see how much personal crafty stuff I can squeeze into these few weeks! (I feel a slight case of multi-project-itis coming on.)

*My mannequin is a French size 38 and was made to the standard measurements used in the fashion industry here; professional mock-ups and prototypes are done in the specific measurements to that size. I'm a French 34-36, so my clothes are a little tight on her and any custom stuff I make for myself has to be fitted directly on me. Ain't that just the luck?

Just can't get enough*.

Apparently, I didn't get my fill of lace cardis with my Crinkle. (Any t-shirts out there that read, "Lace Cardi 'Ho"? If not, print one up in my size 'cause that's me.) Late Sunday night I cast on for the ChicKnits CeCe Cardi using Calmer in "Coffee Bean" - thinking I'd work a few rows just to get started - and before you can say "Hooked on Calmer" it was 1:00 in the morning and I was watching Three Comrades with Robert Taylor and Margaret Sullavan on late night cinema because I could not put the cardi down. Check it:

There's MORE. Click here to see the whole thing.

That's progress as of early yesterday morning. Add on a couple more inches because CeCe was the only thing I worked on during last night's knitting session. Yes! I'm addicted to lace cardis and Rowan Calmer.

What else? Oh, yes. My Captain Destructo's Linen Jacket.

Yo! Where's the seaming party?

Still need to seam that. During the weekend I blocked all the pieces and knit the zipper bands, but didn't start seaming. I think I'll have Monsieur Le Hubby hide the CeCe Cardi from me so I can start seaming the Linen Jacket pieces this evening, ALREADY.

P.S. If you're wondering about my Tea Blouse, let me tell you right now that it's still sitting on the mannequin buttonless. Ugh. Sewing on buttons. How fun...not. Will sew on the buttons soon, though. There's another design sewing project I want to make this week and I won't let myself start it until the Tea Blouse is officially finished with buttons.

*It's the Guess that Band Blog Game. This is an easy one. Who sang the song mentioned in this entry's title?

Why, it's a seaming party! (Finally. Sheesh.)

It may seem like I'm being slowpokey with finishing Captain Destructo's Linen Jacket, but seaming has not been without incident. After I seamed one sleeve to an armhole, I decided that the sleeves needed a longer sleeve cap. So I ripped out the seam, ripped out a few rows on the sleeve caps, recalculated the the last shapings on the sleeve caps, and redid the shapings so that the sleeve cap would be 1.5 cm longer. Much better. The sleeve cap is a perfect fit in the armhole now:

It's about time, missy.

I should have taken a "before" photo but my ripping out and redoing part of the sleeve cap was done spontaneously. Carpe diem, and all that.

I'm aiming to have this jacket ready by Monday so that the Captain can wear it to school. I still have much to do in the way of finishing, though. Side seams, sewing on zipper, zipper bands, knitting on collar and some duplicate stitch on the front pieces. Sigh. I think can do it, though. As long as I don't go messing around with my other knitting projects this weekend, like this one and this one.

I also have to control myself to stay away from the drafting board. I'm in the mood for some fall sewing projects and I want to make a short jacket (still have the bug after seeing the coats that Nicolas Ghesquière designed for Balenciaga) along these lines:

From French Vogue. (Oh la laaaaa!)

thumb.jpgI'll be drafting the pattern myself for this one. I threw out a rough sketch of how I'd like the front to look (shown to the left of the magazine photo), and I'd like to use this chevron wool that I have in my fabric stash. It's heavy enough for a jacket but light enough to drape nicely. I'll be lining the jacket, too. Oh, how fancy!

I may also make another short jacket using this Simplicity Built by You pattern in a denim fabric left over from a design project I made last spring. This short jacket is very different in shape and fit from the above jacket as it's got a straight body, flared sleeves and pointed shirt collar, whereas the design above has a flared body, straight sleeves and a rounded collar. Plus, the Simplicity jacket is not lined. As I'm on a short jacket kick right now, I think it would be fun to have two short jackets with different cuts and in different fabrics. Carpe diem, and all that.

It's time for the Captain Destructo Show*.

*Alternatively titled: "Showing off finished Linen Jacket". (Like, it's about time, dude!)

This is the sweater on a table shot.
(It's late in the day, so the light isn't the best, unfortunately.)

And even though it is 6 p.m. and the Captain just got home after wearing his finished Linen Jacket all day long (so it could use some pressing), I still up and took a photo of him wearing it for you:

This is the "can't stand still like a mannequin" shot.
Wanna see the back of the jacket? Sure you do.

Project details: Linen Jacket, otherwise known as "Gilet" model 31 from Phildar's Pitchoun spring/summer 2006, using Phildar Phil Lin.

He loves those stripes.

My son just turned six years old last month, and he is thin and wiry and stretchy like a mini basketball player, and is way above the 100th percentile in height which means that store-bought long-sleeved shirts fit him in such a way so that his wrists poke out of the sleeves in the style favored by Herman Munster. (I'm not exaggerating. Even though he is the youngest in his class, he is the tallest. And, he is taller than some kids who are even older than the ones in his class. I doubt he's going to change with age because my paternal grandfather, may he rest in peace, had the same morphology and the family gene pool decided to distribute it at random. I've got cousins who are so thin and wiry and tall that they look like they unfold when they stand up from sitting positions, and I wager my Captain is gonna be the same.) I usually just add on about 5-6 centimeters in length to the sweaters and jackets I knit him, but this jacket has vertical stripes placement that vary according to each size. So in order to avoid ruining the feng shui of the stripe placement I knit the jacket in two different sizes: For the widths I knit the 6 year old size, and for the lengths I knit the 8 year old size. A successful fit! And to celebrate it, the Captain decided to turn what was supposed to be a quick photo session into the Captain Destructo Show. As always, he started acting silly and doing whack dances, but this time he insisted on running to his room in between photos and grabbing props. So without further ado, it's the Captain Destructo Show:

Dinner is a-calling, but I'll give the quick finishing details: I used three-needle bind-off for the shoulders and mattress stitch for the other seams. I didn't follow the pattern directions for the zipper bands. I so fell in love with the zipper bands that I knit separately and sewed on for the Cotton Jacket I made for my son last year that I did the same thing for this one. And when it came time to sew the zipper bands to the fronts of the jacket, I deliberately did not sew them to the rolling edge portion at the hem because I like how the jacket looks with a rolled hem. Hem wants to roll? Let it roll!

As for the Captain, he looooves this jacket. He wore it all day and asked if he could wear it again tomorrow. He says his favorite part are the "stripes on the sleeves". Awwwwwwwwwww!