Sunday, September 07, 2008

Casual, Elegant Knits

AP: Well, today the Casual, Elegant Knits Blog Tour makes its stop here. I'm talking with Faina Goberstein, one of the authors and the designer of all of the lovely skirts in the book. Since skirts are something not all of us have knit before, I thought I'd talk to Faina about them.

FG: Amy, I want to thank you for participating in the blog tour. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to tell you about our new book Casual, Elegant Knits.

AP: You're welcome! What inspired you to write this book?

FG: There are many different things that can give you a picture what inspired us. Dawn and I both love clothes that are fashionable and sophisticated. We love to knit and design practical things. Any time we get together, the conversation turns to knitting, new yarns, fashion, new knitting books. In other words, we inspire each other. The theme of the book comes from a reflection of people who live a busy life, care about style and color, like to wear knitted clothes and appreciate how unique they are. We are providing an example of a couple that fits into this profile. You can see they love what they are wearing and they are comfortable in their outfits.

AP: You have two skirts in your book. What do you like about knitting skirts?

FG: I love the flow and softness of a knitted skirt. I have millions of ideas for skirts. I also like to knit in the round and the skirt is one of the projects that can be worked this way. It can be a challenge as well and I love challenges.

AP: What advice can you give knitters who wish to make their own skirts? What types of yarns, stitches, and construction techniques give the best result?

FG: First of all, making a generous 6x6" swatch is hugely important for such a project. Let’s say you are using Stockinette stitch for a straight skirt. You want to take time to try different yarns with different needles until you like the look and the thickness of your fabric. The swatch must be treated in the same way you will be taking care of the finished skirt. After blocking the swatch, calculate your gauge accurately, counting stitches and rows in the middle of the swatch. Stitches at the edge are a bit distorted.
In terms of yarns, I would suggest using not very soft wool. For Little Flirt Skirt I used Cascade 220. This yarn has good enough memory to hold the shape. Good wool allows you to show off the chosen stitch pattern, which should not be overpowering. The pleats of this skirt are well pronounced. If I used a fuzzier yarn, you will not see them that well.

Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company, photographed by Brent Kane.

You can look for a yarn that has a springy characteristic, or some drape. My second skirt in this book is called the Tailored Skirt. My first version of this skirt was made out of Fauve by Louisa Harding. It contains nylon that makes it very stretchy. The skirt was looking great, but it was also on the heavy side. The version that you see in the book is much lighter and the skirt looks more feminine and romantic. So, your readers who are interested in making their own skirt need to become their own designer and find the yarn that works best for them. I would tell them to not be afraid to experiment and not to expect it to be an easy task. It is probably easier for most people to follow the existing pattern.

Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company, photographed by Brent Kane.

AP: What tips can you give for helping knitters end up with a perfect fitting skirt?
FG: I mentioned before about the importance of a correct gauge. Measure yourself carefully and be honest with yourself about the size you choose to knit. It needs to be your size if you want a good fit. Both skirts in the book can be made short or long. Do not try to wear a mini skirt, for example, just because it is in style. It could be that you look much better in a different length. If a skirt fits you well and has a perfect length, it is a winner. Another little secret is to wear an under slip. It prevents that bulging on the back. I hope it was helpful.

FG: Thank you, Amy for having me today on your blog. I hope that your readers will think about making these skirts. I am looking forward to see them on Ravelry.
Now, tell me about what is going on with you. Congratulations on your new job! This is very exciting. Are you going to have time to design?
AP: Don't worry about that! Doing both technical editing and designing are perfect compliments to each other. Right now I'm working on several designs for yarn companies and a couple of magazines too.

FG: Well, good luck to you and thank you again. I am inviting all of your readers to visit with Connie Chang of Physicsknits tomorrow. There is more to see.

1 comment:

Faina Goberstein said...

Amy, thank you very much for hosting me on your blog. Best of luck to you on your new job and in your design work.