Sunday, September 20, 2015

Walking around in this dress that she wore


This jumper, Daelyn is a quick and easy knit. And it went pretty fast, at least during the time I was working on it, but took a good four months overall because I kept putting it aside for other projects.

Daelyn back

It didn't help that after reaching the hem, I decided to reknit the body from the armholes down, as I wasn't quite happy with how it was turning out. That's a great feature of knitting top-down in the round - it's easy to try on as you go.

The pattern has these sloping lines which start at the sides and move into the front. It's not waist shaping - though it sort of gives a shaped effect - you are simply increasing the garter stitch back section at the same time as decreasing the stocking stitch front section.

first try collage

Since I was using 8 ply wool (a mystery merino cashmere bought cheap from the Mill Shop) and the pattern is written for worsted weight, I did some maths and chose the size, a couple of stops up from my usual, that would work with my stitch gauge. I wasn't so worried about row gauge, especially once I could try it on and see that the raglan shaping and armholes seemed to fit ok. And this worked well on the whole. But I really didn't like how sharply those lines down the side angled inwards, which would be affected by row gauge. There seemed to be too much clingy garter stitch section and then a funny 'stomach pocket' effect at the front.

I looked at examples others had made and a few others were similar, but it seemed from the pattern photos that that sharper angle probably wasn't what the designer intended. In any case, it wasn't what I wanted. I also hadn't made it as long as I really wanted. And I had also found that the short rows the pattern has you do at the back before the hem had only just made it about as long as the front, when they were supposed to make it slightly longer at the back.

So on the reknit, I did those increase/decrease rows only half as often - every 12 instead of every 6 rows. I also did almost twice as many short rows in that pre-hem section, and I was much happier with the results. You can see it's still only slightly longer at the back - which is fine, I didn't want a mullet hem, but I didn't want the front to be longer than the back!

Short row collar

The neckline area wasn't fitting well each time I tried it on, and I was worried that I would have to do something really tricky in picking up for the collar, I even thought about adding two very deliberate tucks in the front to pull it in. But when I saw it with the sleeves finished I could see that maybe it wasn't that dire. It was lower in the back than the front, and very wide at the sides. I thought I'd try doing a few short rows around the sides and back and it worked! It allowed me to add more collar length where I needed it and keep it from choking me at the front. I also did a very few decreases in the last couple of rows to pull it in a little bit more. Now I am really happy with the fit: the wrinkling in the above photo is only because I was holding the camera out, it actually sits quite nicely.

I don't know if you've guessed from these photos, but the final thing I did was overdye it red. When I bought the yarn it was only available in pink - this brighter pinks-n-purples variegated and a paler pink (I also have one skein of that). I was pretty sure I wouldn't wear it like that but I could see that dying could work to make it redder, or oranger - even shades of brown would have been okay. As I was knitting it I could see that the fabric was very soft and it quickly became fuzzy with handling. This made me even more sure I needed it to be a different colour. Although I do wear pink, pink AND fuzzy was very not me.  

Red Daelyn

Sunday, September 06, 2015


Viewing cranes

Going to Hiroshima was my idea; I was drawn to it as the site of a fascinating, momentous (if horrific) historical event. I don't regret it at all, but going through the Peace Memorial Museum - the grim building below - was a pretty harrowing experience. Probably not helped by the fact that part of the museum was closed for renovation, and so visitors start their tour/immersion pretty much at the moment of the atomic bomb's detonation, with this model of the city with a massive red ball, representing the bomb exploding, suspended over it.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

From there the galleries do a very good job of immersing you in the horror of the bombing and the aftermath. One theme that stayed with me was the seemingly endless stories of young teenagers who died, accompanied by displays of shredded school uniforms and other personal items. Many of these kids would not normally have been in the city but they had been mobilised for war service and put to work tearing down and clearing buildings to create fire lanes.


I'm sure I came across the story of Sadako and the paper cranes quite young. In the years after she died of leukemia, Sadako's classmates raised money to build a memorial to her and other children who had died as a result of the atomic bombing.

Window of cranes

Sadako's story became so well known and such a popular symbol of peace that people from all over the world started bringing or sending paper cranes to the Hiroshima memorial, and they still do. Display cases around the memorial showcase the latest collections, either in long strings or arranged into colourful pictures.


Eventually as the paper fades and ages, the cranes are recycled to make new paper. In the museum gift shop I bought postcards and writing paper made from recycled paper cranes.

Cranes detail


A moderate walk beyond the children's memorial, we  came to the A-Bomb Dome (Hiroshima Peace Memorial). This was the only building so close to the hypocenter of the blast which was left standing, and the city decided to keep it in its shattered state as a memorial.

P6131019 dome

Near the dome, a couple of bomb survivors had tables set up, where they were talking to people and I think selling books. Volunteer tour guide Okihiro Terao made these very beautiful glass 'before and after' models of the building, formerly the Products Exhibition Hall.

P6131035 glass models

I came away from Hiroshima wanting to know more about the context of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the time. I knew only the basic facts and the idea that the bombings had been considered to have ended the war, but I wanted to know especially how the decision was seen in the US at the time and after, and what people knew about the bombs, their destructive power and the radiation effects. In the past couple of weeks I've been reading 'Hiroshima in America' which covers some of this ground. It does spend a lot of time on the psychology of several important figures in the decision, especially President Truman - interesting stuff, if it does go on a bit (and as many reviews have pointed out, maybe speculates a bit much). The thing is, during the last few days of our trip, in I saw this book in the small English section of a huge secondhand book shop in Tokyo, and I was instantly drawn to it. But it was a large hardcover, I have a small suitcase, and have mostly broken my habit of book-buying while travelling; so I moved on quickly to the basement full of second hand clothing instead. Once I got home I couldn't stop thinking about that book. I had moved myself on so quickly I hadn't even written down the details, but I managed to figure it out and soon an old library copy was on its way to me via Better World Books

P6131037 ed