Designing with panels

Having whined ad nauseam about my new grandmotherly weight class I thought it about time to share some solutions I’ve pondered (apart from eating less). There are wardrobe issues such as:

1139-2Winter warmth – just about the only menopause symptom I haven’t had is hot flashes. Oh no, I get all the obscure ones. Woollen sweaters sometimes take me years to finish, so imagine how long they can be worn if you grow 1-2 sizes per year. Oh and the mild weather sweaters take longer because thinner yarn = smaller stitches! So I’m going to reinvent my construction method, which usually means a fairly close knit or the wind just blows right through to my delicate skin. Even indoors believe it or not. Also, tighter knits and firmer yarns have better durability to wear and tear that the looser, more flattering drapy fabrics don’t. The problem being of course they don’t have as much give and leave you feeling like a sausage as soon as your planned ease turns negative.


Solution: larger needles for quicker knits or bigger sizes. Possibly both to be really certain your hips don’t break the seams next year. The question I’m going to investigate is, can I knit them so open and drapey that I can actually lightly felt them, keep the drape but lose the open stitches some? To find out, I need to knit some fairly large swatches which is where the panels come in, because then I get useful swatches. OMG you’re thinking, log cabin style sweaters or granny squares. Yeah, I know. Not where I hope to end up. Also, fluffy, warm, pilling yarns vs. smoother dense yarns. With such a long production time I can’t afford many mistakes.

Longevity – I usually wore my clothes until they were ratty looking and after that they worked perfectly for barn work or painting. Now I have sacks of tiny clothes too good to throw out, some even with price tags still on bought at the wrong end of a season. Some tell me this is a great excuse to go out and buy more! But my budget is not for the quality stuff, the cheap stuff we all know who’s paying for and it’s a crappy fit. Salvation Army you say? Well, for a while there I actually hoped to relocate these garments to my closet once more, seeing as I hadn’t worn them I’m still not tired of them. Now I’m considering cutting apart and creating larger sizes by combining 2 or more garments into one. I’ll be practising first with some of the rattier specimens such as the two halfway projects below: 4 t-shirts becoming 2. I’ll show you the finished items in a later post.


Learning to weave. So many patterns and colour combinations to try, fiber types – it’s really not time wise to be weaving a useful wad of yardage from each experimental pattern. So I’m going to turn that habit into sample weaving groups of long narrow warps, different pattern every 1-2 meters. If one turns out a huge succes, it can then be mass produced. The strips really shouldn’t just sit in storage however – can they be incorporated in the other projects? Around the globe fabric has been produced on narrow looms for millenia, for garments, bedsheets, sails, you name it.

Laverne makes gorgeous backstrap woven panels and today there’s a cute video at the end.

I’m going to write about this panel theme in various blog installments over the fall and winter for your entertainment, and I guarantee some of my results will be “interesting”.

And talking of finding a paid job doing some of these things that I blog about? What I really need is to hire staff to execute all of my ideas and THEN I’d have a ginormous body of work to show off (and possibly sell). It would be a full time job just describing everything, you guys have only seen one corner of my brain.

But we’ll just do it the usual way, slowly and in dribbles.











12 thoughts on “Designing with panels

  1. Looking forward to more on your t-shirts – I’ve been hanging on to a few with the hopes of combining them into something bigger and longer also, but haven’t tried it yet… And I’m with you on the sweaters – one I’ve been working on is seeming a bit too tight now – I think the next will be a cardigan with a double breast or wide button bands so the buttons could be later moved to allow for size changes.

    1. Well, I guess that could be another feature of panel knitting. If you always have some verticals and mind your seaming, you could exchange them for wider ones as you grow! šŸ˜‰ I saw an episode of Outlander and it appears in those days the sleeves were only attached with cords lashed on sparingly, perhaps we could bring that back to include whole garments.

      The t-shirts will be a while longer, I need to be doing other stuff for a bit.

      1. Once you have passed menopause you might find your weight settles a bit. Mine did, anyway, and though I’m 21 lbs heavier than I was originally, I’m a stone lighter then I was when my periods finally stopped.

        Btw have you tried taking an Omega 3 supplement? They have really helped me.

        1. I did try with fish oils for a while but I think I have too little stomach acid, I keep burping fish taste all day which is highly unpleasant. (no acid reflux) But you are right, I think I’ll have to learn to accept my new shape as it is. Like the brown “freckles” I discovered under one eye this very morning! I think I’m mostly annoyed about finally getting new lovely clothes a couple of years ago and then hardly wearing them because BOOM. Such a waste. But there is no shopping in my budget right now, so I’m having a go at working with all the raw materials I have in stock, yarn, old curtains, whatever! I may not look stylish but I’m having fun. Not half bad, really.

  2. I like the combined clothing idea, but seriously, the eating less and doing lots of physical activity works too…… šŸ™‚ Try the ‘just not’ method. I’ll ‘just not’ have that one piece of pie. I’ll ‘just not’ have that one extra spoonful of mashed potatoes. Then weight creeps off the same way it crept on with the ‘I’ll just have….’ concept….

    1. I actually eat less and move more than I did 3 years ago, but I’m nowhere near my “old speed”. No dogs to walk for one! I’ve made a rule of no prefabricated meals in this house, and since I have a tendency to procrastinate cooking (and shopping) that’s a great way to eat less, LOL. But also lard seems to distribute itself differently with age.

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