Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sweater Knitting

I was going to focus on the 1950s SD size dresses this week, but the weather did a weird turn and I found myself done with my own knitting project and thought, hmm, weren't there cute sweaters in the 1950's?  The ones with the beads and embroidery on them?  So here I am side tracked by obsessing over making a sweater for my doll, who doesn't really need to keep the spring chill off. 

I bought this yarn in the bargain bin on a whim, because I'm collecting very thin yarns for doll proportions, and it seems the more thin (fingering weight/sock weight) they are, the more expensive they are!  So I saw this for a dollar, and grabbed it.  I worked up a swatch, hated it for what I had in mind, and stuffed it in the bottom of my yarn bin.  A year later, I want a neutral, sort of fancy yarn to put some beadwork or shiny embroidery work on the shoulders of and there it is.  So I gave it another try.  Even though the gauge could be tighter, and I'm wondering where I can get hold of size 1 (usa) needles, I'm happy with it this time.  And I got the pieces shapes to look just like my human size sweater pieces, (though you can't tell from the curled up edges!)  The scale looks good and when basted together, it looked 'period' on Thea.  I'm going to haunt the retro sewing nets for a period design to use for the shoulder embroidery. The yarn is flexible enough that I don't have to worry about making button holes on this project if I use the 6 mm ToHo glass beads. But for the embroidery, if I use beads, it will have to be that blasted micro-thin beading needle and seed beads.  I might just stick with using shiny embroidery stuff after all and cheat.  But I doubt I'll find sequins tiny enough soon enough to go with beads and sequins.





Sample of what I'm talking about, though this is an allover design from the 1950's. It was pretty popular to have a sweater with elaborate decorative trim on it, and even store bought ones were embroidered and beaded up to make them individual items.

Vintage 1950s sweater listed for sale Here.

I also spend a lot of time going over Tasha at ByGumByGolly's Vintage Knitting College tutorials, and grabbed a book on designing knits from scratch from the local library.  My past efforts with doll sweaters have come out looking like--doll sweaters. Yarn too thick, finished sweater too stiff, making adjustments to my own lack of skills in knitting (basic stuff only), pretty much ick; and I found the free ball joint doll patterns available look like--doll patterns.  So I gave up.

But this time I'm determined to make a miniature sweater.  And after one unravel (length fail on the pieces) I'm quite happy with the way this basted up, and so far, my only remaining question is, what to embroider on it with what?  Soft pastel yarn (have to split it to get the detail work in) or sparkly with pearls?

There is a ball joint doll's sweater maker, SquirrelMoonKnits, that I've been watching on Etsy, lusting after one of her marvelously detailed sweaters for my big boys.  Gorgeous work.  I've saved a photo in case she sells this.

It's listed for sale here.  Check out her other lovely work! 
 I'll get the dress patterning sometime this week, now that the sweater pattern is worked out.  The brown travel journal print is cut out and waiting to be knocked together and the muslin for the wiggle dress is ready to be fitted, and I even have another dress pressed and on a hanger waiting to be put on Thea for photos, but this sweater thing ate my brain!

Edit: May 2, 2013

I found size 1 knitting needles today!  I'm going to finish the trial sweater, and knit a new one in the smaller gauge to embroider!  That way the little stitches will hold up better under the decorative stitching and maybe beads. ^_^

Update: Trial sweater's sloppy photo, it was a hot day, uncooperative camera day. Only one picture came out barely not blurry.  I think I need to do the grosgrain ribbon/button hole facing thing, because the beads keep popping back out.  But as a 'test muslin' it looks darned good.  I got the neck a bit snug, but that's just 2 more stitches in the neck pick up pattern.


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