in which the reading hoodie becomes shapely

Thank you to everyone who offered suggestions for my research. I have thought about blogging my dissertation, but I think that’s going to remain something I’d ideally like to do. Having something to hand in that I’m even vaguely happy with is going to be hard enough, unfortunately. If, and this probably isn’t that likely, I do end up writing what I actually would like to say I might post it, if you would be interested.
Anyway, here’s how I shaped the hoodie, which is currently this big:


This sketch shows the dimensions I’m aiming for. The pink squiggles are where I’m working the shaping.
Here are those measurements converted into stitches and rows by multiplying by my gauge. I’m doing six sets of paired decreases and increases which means that every shaping round involves a change of 12 sts (6 sets of 2). Therefore the difference between the number of stitches at the waist and cast on has to be a multiple of 12. I knew I wanted a bit of ease at the waist (my waist measurement is about 28″) so I was aiming for an inch or two more than that. 4×12 = 48, which gives 204 stitches at the waist. 204/7 = 29.14 – which will do nicely

I wanted the decreases to be worked over 3″/ 27 rounds. I needed to space 4 decrease rounds over that many rounds. I decided to work a decrease round followed by 8 plain rounds 3 times, followed by another decrease round.

I then reduced the number of plain rounds between the decreases and increases by 2 to 16.

I wanted the increases spaced over 45 rounds, and as I’d already decided to let one of those rounds to eat into the plain rounds between the shaping I divided 45/3 so I would work one increase round followed by another every 15th round 3 times.


I worked out where to place my markers by dividing the number of stitches at the waist by 8. Then I rounded the number of stitches – in this sketch the top row shows the unrounded numbers and the ones below are the numbers rounded to whole stitches. The proportions I used are pretty arbitrary – I think anything between about a third and half of the stitches should be spaced between the darts. I guess I’ll see how this works out. I decided that it would be slightly better to work the proportions out at the waist rather than the hip – this is probably just me being anal.


Hopefully this made sense. I decided to work a couple of extra rows after the hem to counteract the way that the 3 dimensionality of the hem slightly reduces the length. So after the hem I worked 9 rounds, then on the next round I knit 34, placed a marker, k58, placed a marker, knit 34, placed a marker, knit 34, placed a marker, k58, placed a marker, and knit to end. (I’d already placed a marker at the beginning of the round). On the next round I (k1, ssk, k to 3 sts before the next marker, k2tog, k1, slipped marker) around. I then knit 8 rounds, and repeated the last 9 rounds 3 times. I then worked 8 rounds before beginning the increases, which I worked as paired lifted increases with a plain stitch on either side of the marker between the increases.

Here’s a close up of the decreases.


One point to consider is that I’m not skewing the increases towards the bust. I did this in Matilda Jane for example, and I do like the effect. But basically I have no boobs, so I figured it wasn’t all that important, and in this case I wanted to keep things simple. It’s not hard to do, and if you do have boobage is definitely a good idea. Basically you would take the difference between your under and full bust measurements and increase that number of stitches only in the two front two darts. Short rows would also be a good idea.

Since my last post the hoodie has absorbed (or hopefully, at least, I have):

‘Toward a Feminist Narratology’ by Susan S. Lanser;

‘Authorizing the Autobiographical’ by Shari Benstock;

Some extracts from Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble;

‘The Carceral’ from Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish;

‘Hypertext and the Laws of Media’ by Stuart Moulthrop.

I’m quite liking keeping this record of my reading here, perhaps I’ll continue that – even if it’s just for myself. Or maybe once I’m done with degree I’ll be more inclined to blog about reading in more depth.

Shannon (go look at her gorgeous new jumper) asked if I knew of any Utopian literature set in a matriarchy. The simple answer is no, but I’m sure there is some. Gilman’s Herland, springs to mind and was the first book we looked at on my Utopias course. However, I’m not sure matriarchy is the right term – it depicts a society without the presence of men. Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time depicts a non-patriarchal society, but without the dominance of women. There are some 70s feminist utopian type manifestos? about matriarchy as either an ideal, or a necessary stage on the way? towards a society without oppression. I’m sure there is some fiction though, any suggestions?

As for how I read and knit. Here’s how I replied to the first person who asked:

I learnt to read and knit at once gradually – once I could watch films while knitting without needing to look down I realised I could do the same while reading.? I think it’s just something that takes practice, and trusting that you don’t need to check that you’re hands are doing it right. It probably makes sense to progress from fairly mindless tv, to something you want to pay attention to, to subtitles before trying to read.

In terms of how to hold the book open, books like the one pictured above make it easy. For other books I’ve made some weights from fabric filled with rice. I’m sure I’ve posted pictures before, but I can’t find one right now. I’m thinking of buying something to hold the book open at an angle though.

I’ve? started making a mind map and trying to actually start producing the dissertation so my progress on the reading hoodie will probably slow down now. I’m going to go to city knitty tonight though for a bit, so I might just take this with me. Mindless knitting with conversation sounds like an appealing break