Archive for the ‘Dresses’ Category

Audrey Totter

January 9, 2012

Happy New Year, y’all! It’s been a busy holiday season over at Kninja Headquarters, but I think the coming year should be a really great one. As you probably have heard, the Sanguine Gryphon closed its doors at the end of 2011. This is sad news for all of us who loved the company, but the two new companies (The Verdant Gryphon and Cephalopod Yarns) rising phoenixlike from the ashes promise new temptations and beauty for all.

The pattern rights for Sanguine Gryphon patterns reverted to the designers when the company dissolved, and I am now rereleasing Audrey Totter through Knitting Kninja. Both companies will still be carrying the Bugga! yarn used for the body of the dress, and both will have some lovely laceweights on offer for the sash. If you previously purchased Audrey Totter through The Sanguine Gryphon and you would like a copy of the Knitting Kninja version, please let me know through email or Ravelry message (username Jejune).

I am very excited about the advent of these new companies, and I hope you’ll be seeing more Knitting Kninja designs using their yarns in future!

I am addicted to murder. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve never killed, but I love a good murder mystery, and I love a good noir film. I have a certain sympathy with the dames, broads, dolls, and molls of the noir genre. They may be bad, but in the words of Jessica Rabbit, they’re drawn that way. Every femme fatale needs a tight fitting dress that makes her look like a million dangerous bucks, and that’s what Audrey Totter is. Knit simply in mostly stockinette fit, the design uses dart shaping and negative ease to cling to every curve. The lace sash is knit separately and joined to the dress afterward for a retro look that is to die for.

Woman’s XS (S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X)
Bust size 28 (32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52) inches
Bust: 26 (30, 34, 38, 42, 45.5, 49) inches

* 3 (3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6) skeins The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga!
[70% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon; 412 yds per
113 gram skein], shown in colorway Longhorned Beetle
* 1 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2) skein(s) The Sanguine Gryphon Gaia Lace
[40% Mongolian cashmere/60% silk; 420 yds per 56 gram skein],
shown in colorway Cobblestone Mazes
* U.S. size 4 (3.5 mm) 24” or 32” circular needle
* U.S. size 5 (3.75 mm) needles (straight or circular)
* U.S. size E (3.5 mm) crochet hook
* 5 stitch markers, one distinct
* tapestry needle
* waste yarn or 3 stitch holders

22.5 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch in Bugga on size 4 needles
12.5 sts/25 rows = 4 inches in Vine Lace stitch in Gaia Lace on size 5 needles

Buy it now for $6.50 US

One thing more! I will also be rereleasing the pattern Dear Jane, previously available through The Sanguine Gryphon. However, that pattern was knit in Sanguine Gryphon Codex, a yarn that will not be regularly offered through either company. (Sad tears here – that yarn was a real favorite of mine!) I am planning on reworking the pattern in a currently available yarn of similar fibers offered through another company and Dear Jane will be rereleased when the math is all done and the sample knit in the slightly different weight yarn. Thanks for your patience.

Introducing a couple of bad girls, and a discount

October 16, 2011

I am so excited to finally be able to tell you all about Audrey Totter, the Bad Girl. Audrey’s part of the Sanguine Gryphon Film Noir line for Fall 2011, and most definitely the sexiest thing I’ve ever knit! When the call went out for Film Noir inspired ideas for fall, I think I jumped up and down with excitement. I am an old movie junkie with the entire Thin Man collection on DVD, and for the last few years I’ve become deeply obsessed with mystery stories of any sort. Many of my favorite movies are noir, and I love the look of the period as much as the actual content.

I am not the world’s fastest knitter, and I am trying to know my own limitations, so although my brain caught fire at the prospect of making noir themed clothing, I decided to limit myself to one submission. Although at first I was drawn to creating menswear for a detective type, ultimately, I knew my sympathies lay with the femme fatale. And you know, I’ve really, really been wanting to design a dress for ages, so…

I immediately started looking at pictures of femmes fatale in dresses from my favorite movies. Some of these dresses were surprisingly sensible compared to what I was imagining, such as Barbara Stanwyck’s costumes from Double Indemnity. She wears a lot of twin sets and suits in that film and of course looks like a million bucks, but I was aiming to clothe a sultry nightclub singer, not a housewife, and I wanted something more revealing and clingy. There’s a sultry nightclub singer played by Penny Singleton in After the Thin Man, but her costumes are actually kind of silly looking. After a while I sort of went out on my own and started trying to look at period costume and make it more sultry and more like the picture in my head. What ultimately inspired me was this photo of the Boswell Sisters, a singing group that became popular in the ’30s.

I’m not sure which sister is in the center of that photo, but I do know I loved her dress right away. I’d never seen a dress with a sash threaded through it like that, and while the Boswell dress is not tight and sultry, the possibilities were very interesting. A sash threaded through a keyhole like that creates an exaggerated hourglass, highlighting the shape of the figure. (Also, seriously, I want those shoes. And the ukelele is pretty rad, too.)

This is what I drew.

I know the point of a garment sketch is to convey the idea of the garment, but let me tell you, I agonized over how terrible those hands look. I feel the need to put a disclaimer that I can actually draw, even if I didn’t do such a great job here. At a certain point, I was realizing I was spending all my time on the sketch and not enough on the actual submission and I let it go, but I am still not over those stupid hands.

My original idea was to knit it in a worsted weight yarn with a laceweight sash, but the wise folks over at the Sanguine Gryphon HQ knew better and chose Bugga! for the dress body instead. Bugga!, although thinner than I had planned, is actually a fabulous choice for a dress. It’s a hardwearing yarn (my son has Bugga! mitts that he’s worn for several successive winters and he is HARD on them) but soft as can be with a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, saturated, and the nylon content that can be very helpful in maintaining wear and shape in a garment. The sash is knit in Gaia Lace, a seriously luxurious cashmere/silk blend.

Despite being a dress, this is not a slow or a difficult knit. It’s done in the round to the armpits from the bottom up, and shaped with placed darts. The stretchy fabric created by the Bugga! hugs the curves with negative ease, but I wrote a very little positive ease into the waist so that the dress won’t cling at the tummy. The sash is knit separately in one piece and seamed to the neckline at the end. I’d originally planned to bind it off onto the dress, but when I tried, it looked absolutely terrible, so a little seaming it is!

The lace used for the sash is a very simple Vine Lace repeat to keep it all nice and easy. With very few rows to memorize, the lace breezes by. I was worried about whether I’d finish to the deadline because the idea of knitting a whole dress with sport and laceweight yarn was intimidating as all get out, but no sleeves and open lace makes for a pretty straightforward knit!  When I’d finished, I asked Mr. Kninja to take a picture of me in the dress before we sent it off, and he got super excited and asked our neighbor if we could take the picture in front of the neighbor’s Model A.

I don’t quite have the enviable proportions of the model used by the Sanguine Gryphon, but the stretchy fabric means it fits me too! You can buy the Audrey Totter pattern at the Sanguine Gryphon website for $7.00. Please do check out the rest of the Film Noir collection, as it is AMAZING! I love so many of these patterns and wish I had time to knit more of them. As it is, I want to knit both hats, and I think I can probably swing that!

I mentioned another bad girl. That would be our new rat, Amelia. I didn’t blog about this when it happened because I was so depressed about it, but one of our rats, Daisy, died some months ago after what should have been a routine surgery to remove a benign tumor. Her sister, Rose, has been kind of down since then, and since rats are healthier with cage mates we decided to get two new baby rats to keep her company. They came home on Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning we introduced them to Rose and put them in the big cage. It went great until I checked on all the rats a short while later and found only two of them, Clio and Rose. Amelia was loose. We spent a very upsetting day and a half searching and attempting to lure her out and feeling discouraged, but on Thursday afternoon, something nibbled my toes when I stood in front of the couch. I peeked under and there was Amelia! She took off for behind the piano, but once we knew where she was, catching her was not that hard. She’s in rat reform school now and I’ll post adorable baby rat pictures soon.

And finally the discount! I know we’re all deep in holiday knitting mode, and to aid in that, I’m offering 15% off any Knitting Kninja pattern from now through the end of November. Just use the coupon code jumpstart at checkout and you can get 15% off any pattern or ebook.

Happy knitting!

Ghosties and ghoulies

October 29, 2007

Pattern: Clementine Shawlette, Spring 2007 Interweave Knits
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy, Happy Forest colorway
Yardage: About 350 yards – I have quite a lot of yarn leftover
Needles: 3.5 mm, US size 4, random bamboo jobs I got on Ebay

The wee ones had a marvelous time carving pumpkins, and my Clementine Shawlette, less clementine than leaf, flew by. Less than two weeks on this one, and I credit the pattern (easy, but interesting) and the yarn (glorious) in making it such a quick knit.  The Dream in Color Smooshy lives up to its name.  It’s remarkably squeezable, soft and plump and wonderful, and soft as only merino can be.

I’ve never worn a shawl before, so I wasn’t sure how that would go, but the genius of this pattern is that it can be worn as a scarf as well as a shawl.  I’ve worn it out in both styles already and both were comfortable and attractive.

I suspect this wrap will serve me well in navigating the Bay Area’s micro climates.  It is an interesting fact of weather that you can go from sunny and warm to glacial in mere moments here by a change of location that is less than a few miles.

This is the terrifying apparition that appeared, courtesy of Liam, in the backyard.  I’d like to tell you that it sends a shiver down my spine and puts a chill in my bones, but the reality is that it makes me feel warm and toasty.  Perhaps it’s a friendly ghost.

All of the children have been kissing the pumpkins.  I asked why, and was told that it’s what you’re supposed to do.  Take note.

Gabriel’s pumpkin is the large red one, Liam’s is the medium sized round one, and Nora’s, seen here sleeping, is the wee babby gourd.

In the Handknits in Action category, here’s a lousy headless shot of Corinne worn by yours truly to her *gasp* ten year high school reunion.  Ten years.  I’m old, people.  Oh, and I’ve been married longer and have more kids than anyone else in my graduating class.  If I had known that marrying young would get me a gift certificate to Blockbuster, I think I would have been even more excited at the prospect.

Note the fancy shoes.  I have never owned shoes anything like these ones before.  I learned that I will not break my neck in heels, and also that I am seventy bazillion feet tall when I wear them.  And my feet hurt later.  They will be saved for special occasions, occasions on which I need to be seventy bazillion feet tall and intimidate my enemies.

High school reunions are strange.  We revert so quickly to our old roles, but with the weird perspective of a little time and distance.  As I was able to see, my high school experience boils down to me standing unhappily off to one side, thinking, “I feel so rejected by all the people I refuse to talk to!”

Ghosties and ghoulies indeed.

Thank you all so much for your responses to my thoughts on the domestic as hobby.  It’s heartening to hear about other women’s takes and experiences.


September 13, 2006

At the time I finished Corinne, my strapless bra was missing. You will have to trust me when I say that the sight of me in this dress without a bra is the last thing you want to see.

Pattern: Corrine, from Knitting Fog
Yarn: Rowan cotton glace, in the discontinued Delight
Yardage: I used just under five skeins, so about 625 yards
Yarn Source: Jannette’s Rare Yarns

This was a very fun knit. It’s my first lace project, so I guess I just threw myself off the deep end. It’s also my first large project knit in the round. I had some real trouble when I had to split the stitches for the top part, since I was used to knitting the lace in the round. Back and forth was horribly confusing, and I severely messed up the yarn overs and had to frog that section several times. But it’s all worth it. This dress is so gorgeous, and it fits like a dream. It was clearly kismet that brought it to my attention. I had exactly six skeins of Cotton Glace leftover from another project, and a slip in the right size and color to match. When I have a working camera again, I’ll get a picture of the dress when I’m actually wearing it. I don’t like most knit skirts and dresses. The material, even when it clings, is too thick and clunky to look sexy. But this! It’s amazing. I love it more than words can tell. I would absolutely purchase a dress like this in the store, if I wasn’t a cheapskate. It makes my rather flat derierre actually look shapely, which is a feat.

So far, actually, this is my favorite knit. I’ve got close to two skeins of Cotton Glace leftover, so I’m thinking of making a matching lace wrap.