Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chip Off the Old Block

This is going to come as a shock to some of you, but Boy 1’s sweater is finally DONE! The pattern is called Chip so I’m calling my version Chip Off the Old Block.

Chip Off the Old Block

You can see that the sleeves are a bit long… I second guessed the pattern here. It said to knit 13 inches; when I held them up to him, they seemed too short, so I kept going. I didn’t realize that there would be more sleeve added above the armpit. Next time I knit a sleeve, I’ll measure it from wrist to armpit, not wrist to shoulder (it would have been helpful if the pattern had said what we were aiming to match…).IMG_0872 On the upside, he’ll be able to wear it for another year or two, which is fine with me!

I  finished the knitting way back on 1-13-13, but I finally got the zipper in yesterday. I had a couple of false starts.

  1. First, I bought a zipper at the fabric store that was a little longer than I needed, having read so many times that you can shorten it. I think this works better with non-separating zippers. After thinking about it a while, I abandoned my $5 zipper from Jo-Ann.
  2. I intended to use the no-sew zipper insertion technique described here, and I couldn’t find the “knitpicker” tool at the fabric store. I ordered one online, which added to my timetable.
  3. Then I decided to order a custom zipper and took a while puzzling that out. I ended up ordering from Zipperstop in NYC - I got the YKK #5 Antique Brass Separating Zipper (which comes in 30” but I asked it to be 21” for only $1 more).
  4. I was able to put the chain of stitches in the zipper tape with the knitpicker, but I failed to understand how to attach that to the sweater. I tried a few times and then gave up.
  5. Eventually, I used a very standard technique as outlined in Vogue Knitting. Pin the zipper in. Baste the zipper and remove pins. Backstitch (with sewing thread) on the edge closest to the zipper teeth, and whipstitch the other edge of the zipper tape. This was successful for me.

I actually kind of enjoyed the sewing (shhhh!). Here is the zipper pinned into place:


Here’s what it looked like after basting (see the red thread?) – the  pins have been removed.IMG_0856I used a backstitch along the edge of the zipper tape close to the teeth, and a whipstitch along the outer edge (using regular sewing thread, doubled):IMG_0862I quite enjoyed the sewing part once I felt that the zipper was behaving. See my sewing scissors with the green yarn tied to them? My mother gave them to me so many years ago – I was probably between 5 and 8 years old. She sewed ALL the time and of course, I wanted to sew, too. She created a sewing kit for me in a cute little round red basket. She made the lid from a circle of cardboard that was covered with fabric (red with white polka dots); the lid was rounded on top because she stuffed it with polyfill (doubles as a pin cushion) and it had a big white pompom for the handle. Inside were balls of string in various colors – maybe the string was crochet cotton? Also big needles – big like tapestry needles, but with sharper points. And white squares of fabric (an old sheet, I think) with simple designs penciled on them in running stitch. And an embroidery hoop.  I just had to go over the penciled lines with my thread. This scissors was in the basket and I was so proud to have my very own good scissors. Mine had yarn tied to them so we wouldn’t get them mixed up with hers. That’s the same yarn that’s been tied to them all these years (probably acrylic!).

Okay, back to the present. You can see that I left the zipper teeth exposed – I felt that would help prevent snagging. After all, this is for a BOY who won’t be gentle with the zipper!IMG_0870

After the zipper was sewn in, I folded the collar down to the inside, which covered the top bits of zipper tape. I tacked it down all around the collar line (using sewing thread).IMG_0873


Boy 1 wore the sweater to a concert we went to in town this afternoon. It looked great. It’s a little nerdy (tweed! sweater made by mom!), but also a little sporty (ribbed detail, zipper). It’s very him. I do hope he enjoys wearing it for a while. And perhaps a miracle will occur and his younger brother will also enjoy wearing it. But let’s not push our luck!IMG_0882 I’m so pleased to finally and successfully complete this project.

Onward! I have a couple of other things to tell you about this week…

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic. Love the sewing kit story and that the green yarn is still on those scissors. You made the zipper work and it looks great. He looks like such a grown-up boy in it.