Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Zip Files

Do you know what this is?

pocket-wheel-blank

Time's up.

Who said pizza peel? Wrong. Cutting board? Nope. African lip plate? Biodegradable Frisbee? Avant garde sunhat? Uh uh.

It's the flywheel for one of these–a Pocket Wheel. It's propped up against four more of the same, still bubble-wrapped.

I didn't get any other bits of wheel, just five flywheels.

In a normal household, this would suggest a serious slip-up in the shipping department. At my house, however, "normal" is but an elusive butterfly. We accepted the delivery of five flywheels with great joy.

I've wanted a Pocket Wheel since my first test-drive at Madrona. As it happens, lots of people want Pocket Wheels, which is why the Pocket Wheel Waiting List is at present 67 people long (not including the folks already in various stages of production) and has its own Ravelry fan group.

The most prominent piece of the teeny-tiny apparatus is the flywheel. So round, so smooth, so perfectly blank.

It simply screams to be drawn upon, don't you think?

I thought so, so I asked Mr. Pocket Wheel*–Jon McCoy, the man who makes them–if I could do that. He said yes, and sent me five of them.
  • One is for practice.
  • One is for a Pocket Wheel for me.
  • Three are for other Pocket Wheels, to be owned by spinners as yet undetermined. That will be up to Mr. Pocket Wheel.
Heaven knows I do a great deal of drawing, but this is a novel challenge. The surface will be sometimes kinetic, sometimes static. I'm burning through pages in my sketchbook playing with ideas that will take that into account.

Just in Time for Summer

On the day it hit 92 degrees Farenheit in my neighborhood, I finished my Icelandic sweater.

We're friends, so let's not play games. The thing had been lying around, mostly complete, for months. I knit it, I cut the steek for the front opening, I bought the zipper, and then I turned into a big bowl of cowardy custard. I, who make such symphonic noises about what a cakewalk eleven-stitch Estonian nupps are If Only You Believe, was afraid of sewing in a stupid zipper.

Sweaters can sense fear. This one took to sneaking around the apartment. I'd turn around and there it would be–balled up in the corner, grinning, ready to spring. I'd back slowly away, brandishing the yardstick.

At length, I grew disgusted with myself and decided it was time to end the game of cat-and-mouse. After luring the sweater into the workroom with the new issue of Evil Fibers Quarterly, I surrounded it with dressmaker's pins, armed myself with Deborah Newton's Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters–and just #@$%* did it, already.

Nobody died. I also discovered, to my surprise, that a) putting a zipper in is not especially difficult and b) I liked doing it so much, and felt so omnipotent in the aftermath, that I'm going to work zippering into one of the new classes I'm planning.

Harry took a couple of snapshots. I've left out the third frame, in which I collapsed from the ninety-degree heat and wet myself, but you can probably find Dolores's video on YouTube.

vetur-finished-01

The pattern, as I've noted before, is "Vetur" from Lopi No. 28.

vetur-finished-02

All I changed was the yarn, the gauge, the direction (I worked top down), the colors, the collar, the cuff chart, the yoke chart, the shape (I tapered it from underarm to waist), the finished length, and the bind off (I used the incredible sewn method from Jean Wong's DVD). Other than that, it's exactly as written.

I've now made two whole sweaters for myself. Two! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Not just now, but eventually.

* Yes, Mr. Pocket Wheel has a lovely Mrs. Pocket Wheel. In fiber circles she elicits the sort of envy that would usually be reserved for, say, Mrs. James Bond or Mrs. Doctor Who. So fantasize, as you will, about life with a man who builds incredible spinning wheels–but it must ever remain only a fantasy.

93 comments:

Linda said...

Thank goodness you explained about the 95 degree heat; otherwise, I'd have had twisted thoughts about that glow you have...

Ruby said...

I love the idea of your drawings on those fly wheels - in motion. It will be awesome to see. I know you will treasure your Pocket Wheel when it all comes together.

The sweater is gorgeous. So is that model!

Steeking is scarier to me than the zipper. I think if I can 'cut' into my knitting, then putting in the zipper would NOT be so bad....so says the dudette that never did put in a zipper straight and had to rip and redo them over a few times for the OCD HomeEconomics teacher. She is well over 100 now, and we all remember those days too well.

Seanna Lea said...

The sweater looks awesome on you, and I really want one of those wheels. Hard to justify when I don't enjoy spindle spinning yet.

Rosemary Riveter said...

You look fantastic, I would never guess you're suffering through 90ºF+ heat.

My Mister does woodburning, he wants me to get an unfinished wheel someday so he can customize it. I can't wait to see what you come up with for the pocket wheels!

Merry Karma said...

The sweater is gorgeous, and I concur with Ruby (Is that my friend Ruby up there?)
- the steeks strike more terror in my heart than any old foofy zipper would...

You did a great job with both.

that clever clementine said...

So, when I read between the lines, I got this secret message:

"Yo! Girl! That "husbandly vest" that you finished weeks ago? That's sitting there in the corner, collecting dust? Waiting for you to put in the @*&^#$ zipper? Get the lead out! Just do eeeeeet!!"

I guess I should just put on my big girl panties and get with the program ...

knittedgems.com said...

The sweater looks great on you. Love the yoke. I have yet to knit myself a sweater as I am stuck in afghan mode.

The Foggy Knitter said...

I wonder how many husbands will this weekend be presented with a pile of wood and the library's copy of "how to build your own spinning wheel" as their wives seek to fulfil that fantasy?

Oh and nice sweater, it's suddenly got hot here too; our heating chose today to break its controls and refuse to turn off. Such fun!

shelly hancock said...

I have a Pocket Wheel and love it. Thinking how fun it would be to see little Harrys or Delores's jumping up and down as the wheel turns. Congrats on the zippering! I haven't tried that yet, but I suppose I'll have to one day.

kathy b said...

Heat SHMEET.. That's an awesome sweater.. Let the A/C run.......

Kayten said...

I have one of Doug Dodd's Pocket Wheels. Not as fancy as they are now, but I love it, especially since I got it at old school prices. It has a brass rod adaptor so I can use my gigantic Majacraft bobbins. It's not really fancy, though I did get cherry treadles. I told him to use what was on hand because I was itching to get the wheel. Can't wait to see you drawings. I've thought about wood burning mine. Perhaps you'll inspire me!
Beautiful sweater for a gorgeous man.

Angela said...

We should have a Pocket Wheel party sometime!

Lynn in Tucson said...

Just stunning!

Pretty Knitty said...

Oh...I LOVE that second photo of the sweater! You are amazing with your knitting and steeking and zippering...I am in awe. My first zipper required three attempts, and it wasn't even steeked... And now, now I can't wait to see those pocket wheels...

Jeanne B said...

Oh Em Gee. That is one GORGEOUS sweater. You are workin' it!

As far as steeks and zippers, I suspect I'll be more comfortable steeking a handknit sweater than I am with cutting into the nine yards of cloth I wove at 24 epi from which I intended to make a long fitted coat. It took so danged long to weave (and tediously boring after the first two feet or so) that I cannot bring myself to put it in the same room with a pair of scissors. Rolled up, it weighs a ton. SIGH

Looking forward to seeing the Pocket Wheel designs.

Lee Ann said...

Gosh, you're lovely.

Debbie Wilson said...

Your zipper doesn't even wobble like my first one did. I'm so jealous. A fine job, indeed.

Renee Anne said...

You are far better than I....I've only made one sweater and that bulky, heavy sweater is going to do me absolutely NO good in San Francisco. I've lived in southern Wisconsin my entire life and suddenly we're moving someplace where I won't have to own a winter coat, much less a bulky, heavy sweater.

I'm not giving it up, though. I figure that we'll be back sometime and I'll have to have something to wear.... :)

Krista said...

The sweater looks fantastic on you. I'm sure it will look even better when you're not sweltering to death.

Angi said...

Oooo are you going to have a fantastic winter!!! I Love the sweater!

Colleen said...

I like the "put yarn onto the zipper tape so it can be inserted like a yarn thing" method of zipper insertion, so I used to make a crochet chain, and sew that to the tape, then whip e chain to the sweater, but now I have a knitpicker tool to put loops on, like Techknitter suggests. Then they can be grafted or knitted in!

Looking forward to your wheel designs. I have a Roadbug, and I'm still debating wat to paint on her. The back of the frame has a hole that you can peek through and see the back of the flywheel, so that portion can have a flp book pattern, for a movie!

dclulu said...

It looks fabulous! Can't wait to see the drawn-on Pocket Wheels.

Ariana Brand said...

You are so amazing, Franklin. And the sweater is just lovely.

Linda said...

Hope we will get to see pictures of your work with the Pocket Wheel wheels! I have had my PW for about a year and am in love with it.
Your sweater is fantastic!

Sally said...

Fantastic!

CeltChick said...

Minor mods only -- just every other thing! All that counts is the terrific result. I'm taking up spindling, may move on to wheels later (if I live long enough!). I'll have to buy a spindle & some wool ASAP, as I've got a class Friday and I'm clueless!

katsheare said...

I must admit, my stomach clenched when I read that you steeked then left the sweater, but maybe that's because I have a small now walking bit of humanity who has discovered that there's nothing more fun than throwing fabric over his head and wandering around blind. Probably like Delores, only without the Cosmo stains.

And, Renee Anne, take the sweater with you. San Francisco evenings are no joke, and you'll be glad for the extra layer of warmth when the fog rolls in. Trust me. I moved there from Ohio thinking the same as you and had to have warm clothes shipped to me before the first summer was over.

Riin said...

Ok, I want a subscription to Evil Fibers Quarterly. Do you have a link?

Spiffy sweater. Steeks don't faze me, but I have yet to put in a zipper.

Bonnie said...

Do you see the comedy in the fact that you weren't afraid of a STEEK but you were afraid of a zipper? Steeks terrify me.

Knitting the Camino said...

Ok, how did you manage to look about 12 years old in these pictures? What cream are you using? Maybe it was the combination of wool and 92 degrees that is melting you into your youth. What a great sweater, and I'm so glad you got the zipper done - it isn't as hard as we think it might be, is it? You have done a beautiful job and I'm glad to know you stuck so closely to the pattern with only those few minor changes you mention. Congratulations.

Deborah C. said...

I'm #23 on the Waiting List of the Pocket Wheels, so I'm now desperately curious about what your flywheels will look like.

The sweater looks awesome, as does the model. I'm scared of steeks, but I'm going to have to suck it up, some of the patterns I love include them.

MissLettuce said...

I recently started reading your blog (and went through the whole history of postings!), and all your pieces are stunning.

You are my inspiration to keep knitting... and my crush, too!

woolyjooly said...

So lovely - anticipating the Chicago freezeup in about 5.5 months, are we? I want to learn the zipper-in-knitting strategy. When will you post a video??

Anonymous said...

Beautiful sweater! I love that you didn't make many changes to the pattern. Yeah right.:) I do it almost always! I'm envying you the Pocket Wheel. Can't wait to see how you illustrate the fly wheels! samm@rav

Natalie Servant said...

I'm sure I couldn't begin to afford the wheels, but I can't wait to see what you come up with. Very exciting.

Way to step up & put the zipper in. The sweater looks great.

I once dithered over seaming a baby sweater for multiple years. I believe it's not unnatural to avoid the last tiny but painful steps towards a garment.

Anonymous said...

Just be like Imelda, turn up the AC so she and her friends could wear her furs! :)

-Tom

anne marie in philly said...

so handsome in your new sweater! smooches! :)

Margaux said...

Love that sweater! If only my own demon sweater would stop lurking and be knit... I think... oh gods! It's behind me! Run!



Oh and before I'm consigned to a fibrey death: will we have youtube vids of your drawings in action once they're on a full wheel? or even a dowel being spun around?

witchboi said...

That sweater looks fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Wow Franklin,
That color suits you very well.

I too think it's a great to draw on the blank pocket wheels. There will be much angling to get one, although not from me
margie-knitter-onlyinmaryland

Atareen said...

I love the kinetic idea. Like a old school trick the eye movie reel zoetrope ....love it

Dragonstar said...

That sweater's great (if a tad warm for the season!) and it looks like a perfect fit. Well done.

Love the fly-wheel idea!

Tricia said...

Stunning sweater and I love those colors. I'm thinking a steek & zipper class or two to teach in New Zealand about now - plenty of cold there and you can wear your sweater too. It's nice to know even the masters are occasionally intimidated by their knitting so my phobias must be pretty normal as well. Off to clean out my corner too.

wool Free and Lovin Knit said...

Gorgeous sweater and great job on the zipper!

Denise said...

Franklin,
I wait so long for a new post from you and then you thrill me and annoy me. Thrilled to see the beautifully done sweater; not surprised at all that the zipper is expertly installed. Annoyed because now I have to go look at pocket wheels and I already own six wheels. I did correctly guess that the first photo was spinning wheel parts....

3goodrats said...

Fantastic job! I just finished a cardigan myself and I'm dreading modeling it for photos this weekend. I seem to do this ever year - finish a sweater just as it's too hot to wear it.

I'm a little afraid of zippers myself. Glad to hear they're not so bad!

Emily said...

You look quite handsome in your new sweater. Bravo!

Also, Pocket Wheel! Excitement!!

RachelG said...

Gorgeous sweater!! And it fits you perfectly!! Well done!

Summer said...

Most of my sweaters are done as close to the pattern as yours, lol.
I also got to try a pocket wheel at Madrona, helped by the lovely Mrs. Pocket Wheel. They are super cool!

Judith said...

Impressive! Looks toasty. :)

FiberQat said...

Sounds like you need a trip to Antarctica to deliver the emergency supplies of yarn and DVDs to the scientists.

Kathy DL said...

Oh my goodness, I think that the concept of you drawing on the fly wheel of the pocket wheel is a FABULOUS idea. I was thinking about ordering one, even though I already have two wheels, because the ability to carry a wheel around with me would be so much fun. I would seriously pay extra to have one that was decorated by you. You and Mr. PocketWheel should get together and market these. You could probably eventually just print the design on the fly wheel instead of hand drawing them.

Maureen said...

Tapered from underarm to waist: brilliant!

Anonymous, too said...

Love that second photo. Harry shows great promise as a portrait photographer who might one day rival Annie Liebovitz.

The sweater is very handsome, as is the model. I do have one question for the model: Is that a spindle in your pocket or are you just happy to see us?

Teri S. said...

Hmmm...I just happen to be on the wait list for a Pocket Wheel, to be delivered in about 13 months. That's a long gestation period, but well worth the wait, I think.

You might want to bring the sweater to Squam. Last year it was broiling on the first day but every day after that was cold. Like put-on-every-piece-of-clothing you-brought-with-you cold. I've signed up for two of your classes and am so looking forward to them!

Phoebe said...

Well, I've heard it said that "Normal is just a setting on your dryer". So there.

Unknown said...

You are an inspiration! Love the comment about how you used the pattern exactly as written except for a few changes :-)

K-Mac said...

So . . . are you thinking of teaching zippers at the MFKR???

Eileen said...

The only thing I've ever steeked was a mohair (!) lace collar (take that, Shetland!). Baby steps...

Glorious sweater. Funny, just today I was dreaming about making a Fair Isle vest. I think the Shetland stash is getting restless.

Eric said...

Sweater is lovely. Next time, do short row shaping at the neck for better fit on the body. XXOO

Torhild (in the NL) said...

finally! i was seriously wondering when or how i'd missed out the finishing product. at least you will b all ready for the snow and when the summer turns and the weather hits the lower temps :-)
enjoy the summer...

Rosi G. said...

I can haz a pocket wheel with a Franklin drawing doodled on it??? How much blood will you require in payment? Or maybe Tequila? I also have Brugal.

Beth said...

I read all the comments looking to see if there were any comments on the Mrs. Dr. Who reference. None! I'm shocked! I think I would learn how to use a pocket wheel if I knew it would have a Panopticon drawing on it- especially a Dr. Who drawing!

lopa said...

Fantastic sweater! Is this a store bought zipper? I made my husband a similar sweater and used a zipper from an old jacket which looked pretty tough but zipped up once and promptly broke. So, I need to put in another one and was wondering where to turn.

EmEm said...

Great sweater! Congrats on your first zipper! Looks like it is perfect. Can't wait to see the designs for the pocket wheels. Now is when it would pay to be Mrs. pocket wheel.

Kath's Yarns said...

I think I see Harry's reflection in your glasses!

You look very handsome in the sweater - congrats to you for finishing it. Very brave to do the zipper - I have not ventured that far yet!

Deb F. said...

Did Harry go to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee?

58Teresa said...

OMG - What about Dolores? - I did the search for the funny vid - but oh my - is Dolores missing - did you finally tame her?

Cat Ellen said...

OMG! I knew those were Pocket Wheels from the first glance! *squee* How exciting! Cannot wait to see what happens to them! *squee*

Kyle said...

...am I the first one to call dibs on the "practice" disc? I think that it could make a really interesting pocket wheel. (Something for you and Jon to think about!)

Anonymous said...

Not to nag, but, I was one of the 1,000 knitter's who worked on the scarf and I was just wondering: a) what happened to all the photos, and b) what happened to the scarf?

My daughter and I travelled to Toronto for the event and have been waiting to see what the results will be.

Just asking.

Michelle said...

Sweater looks smashing. I have a faux Cowichan hiding from me in my house, I can't seem to get to the sewing machine steek deal. Tried to fit it in the blasted machine, but no luck. I hope I don't have to turn it into a pullover...

anne marie in philly said...

handsome is as handsome does! smooches! :)

Cori in KS said...

Your sweater with zip looks Gorgeous, and most of all, quite handsome on! Feel free to snap more shots and share this winter, in action, as you go about the knitterly life...

Lorien said...

So does that mean you're naming Mrs Pocket Wheel River Song?

BEAUTIFUL sweater!

WonderMike said...

This sweater is so beautiful. I can't wait to see it and all its glory in PERSON!!!

Damselfly Studio said...

Ah, bald, Mediterranean - Middle Eastern gay men in Icelandic sweaters are so damn sexy!

Sahara said...

Wow Franklin, you're a brave man! Your sweater is FABU. You know, I don't understand why I can cut my machine knitting and sew it, but the word "steek" paralyses me. Huh?

I LOVE my 'Lil Louet. I carry it in a beach bag. You will LOVE your pocket wheel. Next,is to spin your own Icelandic.

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