Sunday, May 24, 2009
A Simple Summer Tunic
Knitting does not have to be complicated to give dramatic results. You can achieve a designer look by simply using unique fibers in an unexpected way. The tunic that I'm wearing is a great example of a simple knit that creates a high impact look.
My tunic is knit with a unique fiber composed of stainless steel and cotton that is manufactured by Artfibers in San Fransisco, California. I first saw a shell top knit with this fiber by the other knitting Claudia (Claudia's Blog) and was inspired to give it a try myself. Parenthetically, besides a similar taste in knitting, the two of us share much in common including the profession of attorney at law.
The unique look to this tunic is achieved by knitting the yarn on larger needles than the recommended size to give it an open flowing look and keep the fabric lightweight. Due to the stainless steel content of this yarn I was concerned that a more dense fabric might prove uncomfortably heavy. As it is, I have a new appreciation for those medieval knights wearing metallic armor.
I love the way this tunic came out ~ it isn't really heavy ~ I was just kidding about that. In fact I feel rather swanky when wearing it. It puts me in mind of the time an opposing lawyer told me that she saw me sashaying about at the courthouse. Me? Sashay? Well, maybe once or twice. It's all about attitude, baby.
To knit yourself a simple summer tunic you simply have to find a beautiful yarn and swatch on over sized needles until you find a gauge that gives you the appearance you want. The tunic itself has only rudimentary shaping involved. The only knitting trick to working with an uneven yarn such as this is the need to iron the fabric pieces. Typically I just hand wash and flat block my knits. However, when using a yarn such as this, it is best to iron the pieces. Ironing will flattened out the fabric and gave it a nice, crisp, clean, finished look. When you use an iron don't forget to cover your knitting with a wet towel to protect the yarn and to first test a small scrap of yarn to make sure it won't felt with the heat.
By the by, these pictures were taken in Topanga, California. For those with an observing eye, the necklace and bracelet set I'm wearing is lapis lazuli which I purchased many years ago while visiting Santiago, Chile a region know for this stone which is mined in the Chilean Andes.
Particulars: 5 skeins Tesla (65% cotton/ 35% stainless steel) by Artfiber in San Franscisco; US 13 needles; Personal Tunic Pattern ~ details on my Ravelry page for those interested in the general construction and rough guidelines on how this is constructed.
Mr Puffy on the Importance of Relaxation
Last weekend we spent a few days in San Clemente, California. It was a little on the cool side but not too bad. I suggested to Mr Puffy that we ought to get out our boogie boards and go in the water. His response was "you're kidding, right? You know my nerves are still shot after the fire. I came down here to relax, not swim in shark infested waters."
I'm beginning to think he doesn't enjoy swimming in the ocean. He's always got an excuse. To put this in perspective, it's been over a year since the fatal shark attack in nearby Solano Beach. For myself, I hardly give it any thought at all. I would be perfectly happy to splash around in the water, dangle my legs over the edge of a boogie board, allow my legs to hang deep into the ocean's dark, murky, swirling and churning water. Besides, Solano beach is a vast distance away, all of 35 miles or so.
But, in the interest of being agreeable, I deferred to Mr Puffy's wishes. We sat out on the deck, relaxed, and just read and knit, or watched for shark fins in the water. I have to say, after a couple of days spent like this, we both felt much better for it.
The moral to this story is we all need to listen to Mr Puffy more. No, that's not it. The moral is that less really is more! This Summer don't over do it. Plan time just to relax with a book and soak in the sun. You, too, will feel better for it.