Monday, May 9, 2011

A new design: the Camp Smock

Last summer I went crazypants trying to find the solution to a challenging wardrobe problem posed by

a/ endless day trips in the car and short overnight holidays and

b/ no longer having the jackrabbit metabolism that got me through all those last minute 'Gah! no wait, there's ice cream!' breakfast moments of my late-for-work youth.

Seriously: if you are going to be sitting in a car for hours on a hot day, then getting out to picnic on the ground or a very old municipal table, all you really care about are easy knits, like a T-shirt and a pair of leggings or cropped yoga pants.  Cheap stuff you can wash fast or replace altogether when disaster invariably strikes.  But if that same trip features a tour of an art gallery or nice museum, what then?

Well, how about this?

That's a bodice.  To see the rest, check out the gorgeous photography over at the preview page for Interweave Knits Summer 2011, and scroll down to 'Summer Twine' to click on Camp Smock.

I did get one other picture of my own though,

of a pleat at the hem that draws attention away from whatever is going on in the middle of you.

Where I got the idea

From watching countless little girls playing in pinafores over leggings and Tshirts.  How come they got all the fun?  Lots of shopping time led me to a ton of grownup-sized tunics and smocks and filmy dresses, but most of them were either so high under the arms I had to wash them daily (a real pain on a trip you have to pack for) or so snug through my midsection I had to acknowledge - along with the rest of the people around me - that years of ice cream for breakfast is incompatible with a flat stomach.  Also, that it is physically possible for a flat stomach to trade places with a curve formerly located on the opposite side.  How, I still don't know, but apparently it is.

Just around the time I started making a composite in my mind of all the best features of all the tunics and dresses and wishing I had one for real, Interweave published a call for submissions. Thank goodness the entire acceptance-to-sample-shipping period fell into an eight-week lull between family health crises, is all I can say about that.

Adaptation potential

The straps are knit of a piece with the rest.  They make the smock a lot more elegant than my original idea for straps knit separately and sewn on, with the stitches running through purely decorative buttons, but the sewn-on option would allow you make quick easy adjustments to the position of the bodice.

The pleats at the back produce a little curve should you not have one of your own, but some lucky people who do may prefer not to call more attention to it.  In such a case, it's just a matter of deducting during cast-on the number of stitches used for the back pleat in your size (read ahead in the pattern to find out how many that is), and adjusting the stitch count between marker placement to accommodate the change.

The Smock is great for summer, but after the winter I've had and with another big home reorg/repair looming I've missed my window for getting a big project done by June.  Instead I'm going to knit one in wool and enjoy it through the fall and winter.  I like layers then, too!

There are a ton of gorgeous patterns in this issue so I'm excited to get my copy, which will be soon I hope - if you feel the same way, you'll be glad to know it hits the stands on May 17th.


Unknown said...

You are amazing!

Binnie said...

*LOVE* this!

Sel and Poivre said...

To me, this is far and away the best piece in the whole preview...lovely idea and beautiful execution too. Congratulations on putting together something so fabulous on all fronts!

Mary Keenan said...

Aw, thanks guys!

Gina said...

I LOVE the smock. The little pleats are such an interesting detail. I can't wait for the new IK to arrive!