Thursday, February 10, 2011

My Creative Space: Knitting ’Round Curves

My grandmother Eunice was a mad-keen Scrabble fanatic (she had a bit of competitive feist, you know), an accomplished pianist and was prone to ironing undies. With starch. She was an absolute shorty and I towered over her from the age of 12 – at least as much as anyone destined to end up at 153cm can expect to ‘tower’. Eunice was also rather curvy. Long have my cousin and I eye-rolled our grimaced thanks for our grandmother’s buxomly generous, genetic gift.

I have an unswerving theory that the sort of clothing that best befits a vertically challenged, well-endowed figure, is that of the beautifully tailored kind. The kind that requires an iron. And possibly starch. The kind that has a hope in heck of making it in to my day-to-day wardrobe. Notably, I have never, ever, owned a piece of knitwear of the flattering kind.

It was with a last-ditched, leap of faith, that I cast on a Tea Leaves Cardigan. Bored of all that peripheral hat, scarf, etceteras knitwear, I was determined to give torso knitwear a best possible shot. The click clack of needles accompanied the din of Rain on Tent throughout our summer holiday. Only when I had cast off a completed cardigan (ok, minus the sleeves) did I try it on for size. There isn’t a lot of mirror to be found while camping. Even so, I could tell that I had modelled some luscious Madelinetosh yarn into something akin to a knitted sack.

One deep breath later, I cast on Tea Leaves Cardi #2 – knitting and simultaneously frogging Tea Leaves Cardi #1.



By the time we had arrived home from our holiday, I had gone so far as to cater for waist shaping. I followed Sooz’s sage advice and transferred the stitches to waste yarn. I tried it on. In front of a mirror. Three times.



What I ended up with was a cardi which is a careful mixture of a size 36 through to a size 40. It has weird sleeves. I learnt something about shaping. I know about lifted increases. I know that even a second go at excruciatingly careful blocking of this yarn, unfortunately enlarges the whole affair by an approximate size. This is something of a bummer. I do love that I applied myself to working out the nuts and bolts for myself, rather than blindly following the pattern.



Even though I reckon it’s a jolly commendable, nearly twice-knitted effort, I remain unconvinced that knitwear does me any favours at all. Although this bit of knitwear is a veritable JOY to wear and I’m not particularly sure I could care less whether it does me any favours at all. Every time I don this lusciously snuggly cardigan, I do wear a wry smile on my face – the yarn colourway is unfortunately, equinely, titled Mare.

Because I never know when to quit, below is a Tea Leaves-inspired, making-up-as-I-go-along ‘something’. This time I am using an anniversary gift of Madelinetosh Tart. I am grinning from ear to ear with the very POSSIBILITY of a tarty cardi.



You can purchase a Tea Leaves Cardigan pattern, via Ravelry, here. You can find a bazillion other crafty creative spaces right here.

58 comments:

june at noon said...

Mmm ... I think you're a little too hard on yourself. It looks fantastic on you. Seriously. And I'm loving that red you've got in the works!

Jackie @ craftonmymind said...

I love your cardi (and also the Tart wool) - to me it looks great in the photos, but I know what you mean about looking in the mirror. Its a real bummer getting to the end of a long knitted project only to look in the mirror and not like what you see - good on you for having a second go!

Tanya said...

apply yourself indeed. be very proud

The Handmaden said...

I must be missing something here - the cardi looks great!
Loving that red too, very promising.

JoeyNomad said...

It looks amazing! Will you make one for Colin?

Suse said...

It looks great! Unless it's carefully styled with multiple clothes pegs in the back or something. In which case you'll have to always exit rooms backwards to maintain the magnificent facade.

Lola Nova said...

Oh goodness, you should see yourself through my eyes! If I looked that good in knitwear - I'd be crowing. Beautiful work on the cardi.

As for that red...lovely!

flowerpress said...

It is perfect and you look beautiful :-)

I am planning to attempt this pattern but now you have me a bit worried. My knitting skills are sadly limited and there's no way I could adjust from the pattern - intentionally!!

I love the Tart, I might have to steal that bit :-)

RED PEPPER QUILTS said...

Love the Tea Leaves Cardigan, it actually does look great on you. That MadTosh is amazing yarn, I have some (?) stashed (buried deep under the fabric stash), now just need to MAKE time to sit and knit.

Beautiful!!

Rita

Michelle said...

I love it and think it looks fabulous on you. I am desperate to knit this for myself but am on a weight loss mission this year so don't want to knit it and then have it not fit.....

The red is just gorgeous too. Think what you can get up to in a tarty cardi

Jo said...

Great cardi, makes me wish I could knit.
Btw, is the navy blue and white print skirt made with fabric from Ikea? It looks like a piece I bought ages ago with the intention of making it into an A-line skirt 'straight away' - still sitting in the stash about 18 months later :-)

Tracey said...

from one buxom, curvy girl to another - I hear your pain - but you do look fab in that there cardie. As for taylored wardrobes, I am learning that drip dry plus hang up in the bathroom while showering almost equals iron and ironing board, though maybe not starch...

Michelle said...

I think it looks like it fits you perfectly! Who said you have to wet block anyway? I'm a big fan of steaming, actually. Anyway you're fabulous for knitting this! It's gorgeous!!!

One Flew Over said...

It looks bloody amazing Tan. Truly, looks so, so beautiful.

I'm something of a Tosh lover...have three skeins of 'ink' in the cupboard. Destined for a cowl 'cause there is no way in hell I will ever attempt a knitted garment.

Power to you sister!

kirsty said...

i happen to think that you look rather spiffing in your tea leaves cardi, it is just gorgeous and only made more so on you! happy thursday.

x

Naturally Carol said...

It looks good from here! That red wool is a treat.

Madeline said...

You're crazy! It looks great on you! This pattern has been on my radar for a little while. I'd love to give it a go. But, first I've promised myself that I'm going to finish a few other projects that are lying about.
The tart yarn is too beautiful! What a yummy color.

Tas said...

Yeah- bah humbug to genetics. My mum is tall and thinner so I take after...wiat for it...my dad and my mum's mum (yep, both short and stocky) Meh to knitwear having to look good. I wear it anyway becuase I love it. Yours does look fab, girlie, and I am going to study that link before I make up my 2nd one.

Maxabella said...

I think it really suits you! x

ange_moore said...

Oh, I'm going to have to get knitting one of these! I bought the pattern and some BWM luxury last week and just need to free up the appropriate needles.

And your cardi looks fabulous - had you ironed and starched your knickers? Anyway, it's a wonderful cardi and a gorgeous colour, but I can't wait to see you strutting your stuff in the "TART" version!!

**Anne** said...

You and your cardi are awesome! Go on, make a whole rainbow of colours from this pattern, you look fab.
Anne xx

Fer said...

Love it! Suits you perfectly. I've bought this pattern too, but are yet to cast on. Although I have made Tiny Tea Leaves for the wee girl and are really happy with the result.

teddybearswednesday said...

what are you talking about Woman?
A veritable BABE, and possibly the New Hot Tea Leaves model xo

Sarah said...

I gather that woman is you - oh man if I looked like that I would be so super dupper happy. AND with a cardi made by self - WOW l.o.v.e.l.y

Kirsty said...

It's perfect. I'm with the crowd - it does suit you. Very well in fact.

Grand job! Of course I'm quite excited about the red job on the sticks. x

Farm Girl said...

Looks lovely - I'd be very proud of Tea Leaves if I were clever enough to knit one. Loving the red too.

Christina said...

Perhaps it is artful photography, but my eyes are completely unaware of any size or pattern issues with this delightful piece of knittery? Alas, I am of the pretty-much-non-knitting-crowd, so you could tell me anything and I would believe it. But I think it looks great.

:)

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I didn't understand half of what you wrote as you lost me with the knitting technicals but what I do know is
1. As a bosomly woman I am fearful of wearing anything thickly knitted, that is why I like this
2. I think the fact that you adjusted the waist to suit you is really clever
3. it looks great on you!

Amanda said...

You know I can relate to this post..And funny enough I am a bit scrabble obsessed myself, to the point that no one will play with me anymore..grrrr..

But I must say you look BEAUTIFUL and your sweater is absolutely gorgeous...LOVE that red going ons too..

spectacularfairywren said...

how the bejesus are you knitting through summer?

tart is lovely. make it up - it can always become a hat.

silverpebble said...

Oh, such a fantastic cardi.

Erm, do you have enough knitting needles do you think?

WHERE did you get that skirt? If you say you made it I will grumble off and sulk in the corner, muttering.

Janet said...

wow Tania, it's gorgeous! The line of this cardi around the neck and bust is particularly elegant on you.

gretchenmist . . . {belinda} said...

it looks gorgeous! i admire your effort re~doing and fixing up. definitely worth it. a bit jealous of your inherited curves . . . !

melissa said...

I don't understand a word you said - I lose track of my stitches when knitting a square so it's all double dutch to me.

However, as a fellow shorty (though I reached the great lofty heights of 154.5 - don't forget the .5!) with an, um, generous endowment of curves, I understand the difficulty in finding flattering knitwear but I must say, that cardie looks gorgeous - perhaps slightly loose at the back, but the front is lovely.

Mel said...

I know EXACTLY what you speak of. And I think I blame it on boobs. I would really love to knit a short sleeved one button little thing (name escapes me at the mo) but every person I admire it on has zero boobage. And the ones who do ... yeah not as good.

HOWEVER I don't know what the heck you are on about with this number. It is tres flattering Mrs and I am super glad you cast on another!

Cat from Raspberry Rainbow said...

Gorgeous cardi. And in that red, one will look AMAZING!
You just might tower over me by 6mm! he he.

CurlyPops said...

Wow, I think it's amazing! I would seriously love to somehow find the patience to knit something other than a scarf.
The colour is divine, and I love how you can see the different stitches (there's probably a real knitters term for what I'm talking about, but anyway, I have no idea)!

Andi said...

I think it looks great on you!!
And a tarty cardi sounds delectable!!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

It's lovely ! And the colour is , indeed , a gorgeous stormy sea* colour .
*mare as in Italian for sea , you daft ---- !

Kylie said...

It seems my planned comment is joining a chorus here... said cardi looks fabulous AND flattering... colours are divine and you are one clever Mrs :) Either that OR you should ditch the knitting for new job in clever flattering photography (you'd make a mint!) ;) Kx

Kylie said...

You know the photography bit was a joke, yes? Kx

Stomper Girl said...

I think it looks sensational on you. I didn't understand anything about what you did to shape it but if I ever decided to knit one I don't think it will matter as I am not possessed of an awesome rack like you.

Chantal said...

That's an exceptionally lovely cardi and it looks great on. Love the colour too.

Wendy said...

You are being far too hard on yourself. I am also small (5 foot 1 whatever that is in centimetres - I just checked and it's 153cm) and "buxomly" but I would never look as good as you in that cardi. It looks fab and VERY flattering as you can see your little waist underneath! The colour is gorgeous. Wear it with pride. That's an ORDER!

Smallest Friend said...

Good job! I think your cardigan looks beautiful. I'm very tempted to knit my own tea leaves now... Seriously.

Elizabeth said...

Just piping up to say I think it looks gorgeous on you!

Nauli said...

I think your cardigan just looks great on you! Nothing strange for me. Even the arms, I like them!

angus In Northcote said...

Hmm. I think after the success of campaign #1 (the relentless quest for the boyfriend hat) it may be time for campaign #2 - operation cardigan.

Cardigan, Cardigan, Cardigan.

There could be some tasty olives in it for you...

librarygirl said...

Tania, we are the same height, and I hear you, sister, re grief over boobage issues. But that cardi looks gorgeous on you - well done!

Amy said...

Am I missing something? Because I think this looks fantastic on you. Seriously, what am I not getting here? (Also, this is the second time this week I've seen the Madeline Tosh Tart in action, and I'm not sure I can resist it for much longer. Or the Mare, for that matter. Gorgeous, both of them.)

Sandrine said...

I share the small boxy tiny bits "sigh" and YES it can be a challenge to find nice fitting clothes. I think the cardi fits you beautifully because you are gorgeous in and out Lady!
Shall knitting be my 2011 challenge?You are tempting me but I am not sure I will be patient enough?!
That tarty one is SOOOOOO gorgeous!
Have fun ;)
xx

Gaby said...

It's beautiful! And it looks fantastic on you! I've had my eye on that cardigan ever since I saw Soulemama's version, but I just don't think I'm good enough to take up such a project. I think I'll have to stick to hats for now :)

eriven said...

I think it looks great on you! Your in action shot of Tart is lovely, gotta be my favourite colourway of any yarn ever. Pity I only just got my first skein just as I make a pledge to knit only from stash this year :(

Linda said...

OMG it is absolutely gorgeous and looks just as gorgeous on you!!! you have done an amazing job!!! I think it looks fab on truly ruly xxx

faeryfay said...

I absolutely adore your tea leaves cardi! I just finished a similar top-down cardi called Liesl by Ysolda Teague in feather-fan lace. I almost gave up a few times, but now it is finished I just love it!

sewjourn said...

I just love that cardi! What I would give to be able to knit like that.....

A Peppermint Penguin said...

Madeline Tosh!? That is some seriously luxe yarn ya got yerself!!

I think it's a triumph, especially with the frogging and reknitting.

I don't care for the plethora of stomach exposing cardis that abound - I prefer to be covered all over!? That said, I've not finished that many of such articles for myself, but my queue and WIPs are loaded!

Mare - as sea, not Mare as in neigh - unless you see yourself as a cheeky mare?

Have you seen February Lady? Another such and very popular on Rav.

Cheers,
AJ

Kylie said...

It looks great - this one is on my list for winter - must get it on the needles so I can wear it before Spring:)