Sunday, July 26, 2009

A survey! And meditations on The Swatch

First: the survey is up! Thank you all so very much for all of your comments and thoughts on the survey, on knitting, and on the intersection of personal identity and knitting. I've saved all of those emails, and they've inspired me to do a lot of thinking -- always a good thing. I've incorporated most comments, as you'll see, and I appreciated every single one of them. I also got some fabulous help from two friends and colleagues who are knitters and who have a great deal more professional experience with surveys than I do; they are sadly blogless, but I think the survey makes much more sense because of them. And finally, three brave beta testers helped me out by taking the survey to be sure I hadn't missed something as I put it together online. Thank you all!

So, without further ado, here's the link to the survey:

You can cut and paste that into a browser and you're off to the races. I'm hearing that this takes about 20 minutes or so to fill out. I have also put a button in the sidebar (oh-so-creatively labelled Knitting Survey), so you can click on that. If you find this interesting, and are willing to point people to the survey either in person or through your blogs, that would be fabulous. The link above should work, or you can send them here to click the button (I think, in theory, that I could also give you the bit of code for the button, if you're really excited about advertising the survey for me; let me know in the comments and I'll email you about it). I'm pretty excited to start reading all of the responses. (Of course, the next step is to start actually analyzing the responses. I haven't quite faced up to what that's going to mean yet, so I'm sticking with excitement.)

I have another finished object today, but I'm feeling much less excited about this one. I've been putting in some serious time with the summer shell (Rav link) this week, hoping to finish it before I leave for the Golden Gate Fiber Institute tomorrow morning. (Not that I'll be able to wear it, even if I would wear it; I hear temperatures are hovering in the 50s. I'm very excited about that, actually, and have visions of Shawl That Jazz dancing in my head.) So I cast off last night after watching the Tour de France, washed it and dried it, and spent some time this morning weaving in ends and sewing on buttons.

I'm thinking that was all wasted work and that I'll be ripping it out. The only good thing is that maybe the yarn will be more pleasant to knit with now, having been washed. See what you think (and excuse the dorky look; this was a quick photo shoot in the midst of packing and doing laundry).
Do you see what I mean? Maybe this will clarify the problem.
That's my cranky face. It's saying, "Waist? What waist?"

What's particularly annoying about this is that I knitted the entire bottom half in 2x2 rib for exactly this reason. I wanted some shaping. So I cleverly (I thought) began the ribbing just below the bustline. In order to keep the decrease from being too dramatic, I only put in every other rib for the first couple of inches (so it was a 6x2 rib, essentially), and then went for the full 2x2 effect. I thought it was going to be great. Annoyingly, the swatch told me it was going to be great. Even after washing, the ribbing on the swatch drew in, and it shrank as much widthwise as it did lengthwise. The sweater itself, before being washed, pulled in nicely below the bustline. But here again we see the difference between the way a 5x5 inch piece of fabric acts, and the way a garment acts. Sometimes that difference doesn't lead to tragedy, sometimes, though...
I don't know. I can't decide whether I'm OK wearing it as a casual summer layering piece, over tank tops and t-shirts, at least for now, or whether it's just too unflattering and embarrassing, and I should rip it out yesterday. I'm tempted to take it along to the institute this week, where one of the classes I'm taking is a class on garment design. Maybe I could get some pointers for the next effort. Opinions?

And speaking of the institute, I will be gone for the next week, which means no blog posts and no email (I can't find in the description of the conference center any mention of the availability of internet access, so I'm not going to lug my computer). As much as I'm not excited about packing up and leaving again after only two weeks at home (and with the prospect of only two days at home between this trip and Sock Summit), I am very excited about the institute itself. The organizers have been tremendously patient with me as I've worked through several different travel plans (I was going to drive when I thought Rick and the girls were going to come one way with me to see Grandmom, but that won't work out for various reasons, and I wasn't relishing the thought of 16+ hours of driving by myself, so I'm flying; this, of course, necessitated all kinds of dithering about whether now is the right time to buy a folding wheel, but apparently it is, heh). The location of the institute is one of my very favorite on earth, on Point Bonita, a ten-minute walk from Rodeo beach. Fog, sand, cold, windy beaches. I'm taking one class on garment design and one on spinning. I will be learning a ton, and I'm guessing that I'll get to make all kinds of lovely observations of knitters and spinners in their natural habitats. I'll bring my camera, I promise.

So, I'm off. I can't wait to see all the survey responses start coming in, so if you have twenty minutes and are willing to answer questions about knitting, I hope you know how much I'd appreciate your participation. Thanks!


Nana Sadie said...

Take it with you - get advice! Yes, I see what you mean, not it's not TERRIBLE, but it's NOT what you'd hoped, I can understand that. do have a waist, so you want to show it off (unlike me).


Now, I'm privileged to have been a beta-tester of your survey, and will now broadcast it to my readers. I'm so excited about this I could just SQUEE.

You know, I think we might be sisters from different moms - I LOVE cold windy beaches, too! Have a fabulous time, and a safe trip, and in just a few days!!! We'll finally get to meet!

Jane said...

have a lovely time away. It will be interesting to see what you learn from the survey. If you're like me, if you're not happy with the way a garment feels, you won't wear it, such a shame after such high hopes

Willow said...

Well, first off, I'd take the laptop anyway. Then, yes, I agree with KnitNana that you should take the sweater, too. If you decide you just can't wear it, someone in the design class can help you problem solve. Next, WHAT KIND OF WHEEL? I have a Lendrum, double treadle, travel/folding wheel. Lastly, I'd drive with you if I could go to the institute with you! Am I envious? A little bit! And I have a spinning problem right now that I'm trying to figure out!

Oh, one more thing- I'd be happy to put up the little sidebar widget for the survey on my blog.

Helen said...

I really like it, and I especially like the long-and-short ribs; I must borrow that idea some time. And I love the wonky button. I wouldn't worry about the waist. Now that I no longer have one, I know that it isn't your clothes that give you one :(

Have a fabulous time at the GGFI; it looks as if you will.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Even without shaping, I think it looks nice.. but the big question is, are you comfortable wearing it? I frequently talk myself into articles that aren't quite what I wanted, then they hang in my closet unworn forever

Gwen said...

I think it's the linen in a full-sized garment. Nuts! I wonder what a judicious application of elastic would do? Quite possibly, not enough to be worth the trouble.

I feel special. And that maybe unfocused multitasking leads to inefficiency.

I want to go to Rodeo Beach. I'd love to shiver on the beach with you! The fog's back, so yeah, not so warm over there. But over here in Oakland, it's perfect! Really! (ignore my pathetic attempts) Shawl that Jazz will be perfect. Hope you're bringing a coat, too.

Have fun!

ruthee... said...

I hope you did take the project with you and got some advice. A wheel? How very exciting!!!! That means pictures and posts about more fibery goodness.

EGunn said...

Folding wheel? Ooohh...I have been behind on reading, haven't I? Can't wait to see/hear about that one!

I know what you mean with the sweater. Two of mine did that to me last year. Not right away, just after being worn a few times. (Bust shaping should not approach belly button height. Ever.) It's so frustrating! I'm considering adding in some fancy grafted darts in one of them, but haven't gotten around to trying it yet. That would be harder with the ribs, though. Maybe just adding in a curved side seam? It would be interesting to see what your classmates/instructor think in the design class. I think it looks fine as a casual top, but if you don't love it, you should probably frog. Else it will end up like the closet!

Bea said...

Its a cute sweater, but it really does look very large on you. Yeah, on buying a new wheel! I really should sit down at mine occasionally...

Can't wait to take the survey. hopefully I'll have time this week!

Mary Lou said...

I think it's the linen. Sounds like a perfect project to take along for advice. Wow, that GGFI sounds like fun. Maybe I'll look at it for next year. I took the survey, and if you need help publicizing, let me know.

Rachael said...

have you thought about popping it in the dryer when it's just damp? I have one knit that I do that with, if I don't it's sadly unshapely, but the dryer does the trick every time!

dawn in NL said...

Regarding your sweater, I think it is just too big, looking at the shoulders and sleeves. I like the design so it would be worth trying again once you have some ideas about getting a better fit.

I am looking forward to hearing about your fibrey trips. Enjoy!


knitspot anne said...

i don't think the sweater is a total loss if you can live with it being a little loose. have you tried a drawstring that the top of the ribbing? it might save it!

of course i will always tell people to make a smaller size that they naturally tend toward, too,.

Holly said...

It's sad....but the sweater, while nicely done....doesn't show your figure in a flattering way; I have many in my drawers with the same issue....that said....your haircut is absolutely the cutiest.

Carrie K said...

Take it with you and get advice. It's nice but it's not fabulous and if you were looking for a good fit, very annoying.

The survey! Off to take it.

Have fun at the Golden Gate and Sock Summit!

twinsetellen said...

I like the idea of trying the dryer first. But with linen, it may just soften and drape even more. If the top doesn't get too loose in the dryer, you could clip a stitch just below the armpit and unravel and pick up stitches on a smaller needle and knit down, decreasing a bit at the sides at the same time.

But ultimately, I agree, if you don't like how it fits, you won't wear it, so what is the point?

twinsetjan said...

Actually, when I saw it, I loved it...but I love a loose casual fit. It just seems to work with the linen -- breezy and easy for hot summer days. That said, if you want to show off your waist, this isn't doing it!

Happy to advertise the survey.