Friday, September 06, 2013

Knit for Work, Knit for Fun

My knitting falls into multiple categories.  I knit samples for a shop, which are intended to inspire people to buy yarn.  I knit for Lucky Penny Hand Made.  There's my personal knitting, which includes knitting for my own dog.  Then, there's this knitting.  Last week, I received an email from the costume shop at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, asking if I could make a sweater for a play that starts dress rehearsal this week (tomorrow, in fact).  I had been referred by Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.  If you've been following my posts for some time,  I had made a pair of sweater vests for a production of A Comedy of Errors.  The project was described, last week I met with the designer for yarn selections and discussion of the piece, and today, I took the finished sweater to the shop.  There were squeals, and I heard words like "awesome" and "amazing."   It's fantastic to have something that I knit get this kind of reception!  I love a challenge like this.  This went from a sketch and a mood board to a costume.  You may not know this about me, but my degree is in Theatre Arts, with a secondary focus on costume design.  It was many years ago, but I still have actual dreams about going back to school and getting my M.F.A. in costume design.  I watch movies and television shows sometimes only for the costumes and props, many times more than once.   I am thrilled to be a part of a production at a prestigious theatre company, even if my involement is small.  I hope that this is the beginning of a relationship with this shop.
I am not a fast knitter by any stretch of the imagination.  I may look productive, but it's really because I'm knitting a lot.   I used a knitting machine for the stockinette sections of this sweater.  I almost hit a snag with the machine, because when I was setting it up, I found some mysterious damage to the needle bed.  Fortunately, I was still able to  knit the pieces.  I drew the chart by hand onto graph paper that was printed to scale.  I was marking off rows as I completed them, but as things progressed I just held the piece up to the chart.  The yarns used for sweater were Hikoo Kenzie for the body of the sweater and duplicate stitching, and two different colors of Cascade 220 Superwash for the bear.   This is the best this sweater will probably look.  The designer, Ana Kuzmanic, plans on distressing it, including throwing some paint on it.  That's show biz!  Check out Ana's website, she's fantastic.  If you click on A Comedy of Errors on her site, you will see one of the sweaters that I knit.

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