Get ready to learn more information about the construction of a mini clown sweater than any one human should know.
You might be wondering, "Why, Alice?" Sure, Think Geek asked for the sweater, but why did I make it? Why this sweater? I'll tell you the truth, I asked myself the same question about halfway through making it.
I'd seen the photo around the interwebs once or twice, but I didn't know the story behind it until I looked it up after seeing the Think Geek costume wish list
. So it wasn't out of being a part of some in-joke.
And then, while I was writing an update posts about the sweater, I clicked over to the wish list and this caught my eye ...
... and I realized I was making a mini clown sweater ON A DARE. I had read, "can this be done!?" and before I did the google search to find out what the hell they were talking about, I'd already answered, "Of course it can be done, and I'm gonna do it!"
Please don't dare me to do anything truly awful, because apparently I can't back down from a good challenge. :) Especially if you question my ability to successfully complete said challenge.
After scoping out the sweater, I took a quick peek in my stash and, to my delight, realized I had all the colors needed ... even an already-been-chewed-gum pink for the lips ... all thanks go to the awesome Linda Permann
Linda and I did a crafty swap a while back. Part of what I asked for was yarn to use in color work projects ... single balls, bits and bobs. Every bit of yarn in this sweater came from our swap. Having the yarn already made it feel like I was *meant* to make this sweater. It was my destiny.
None of the yarn I used had ball bands, but I think it was around DK weight. I used super small needles, 2.75 mm, so I would have the most stitches per inch possible. I wanted as many "knit pixels" as possible to create the face.
I started knitting the sweater body flat at the bottom. When I got to the underarms, I split the piece into front and back and knit straight up. This is a photo of the seam at center back. I'd planned ahead and had a couple extra stitches to make the seam, so you can't really see the seam from the outside. Mattress stitch FTW!
There are three rows of 2x2 ribbing at the hem and neck. To match the original, I sewed the edges of the top together as a boat neck opening.
I did the nose eyes and mouth using intarsia. Yes. Even the six-stitch eyes are intarsia. It was tricky, but satisfying.
In the original sweater, the mouth is purled. I compromised on this point because I knew I was planning to outline the color with back-stitched black yarn. On a purl background, the back stitching would have disappeared in the grooves between rows.
I'm not 100% satisfied with the nose shape. It's much better than the my first attempt, but I think I could have shaved stitches off the left and right and been OK.
The eyebrows are duplicate stitch, which means I sewed the red to mimic the real white stitches after I was done knitting.
Because I didn't have a lot of face real estate on the front of the sweater, I decided to outline the face shapes with black yarn. At first I tried making my back stitches as long as I could, but ultimately I found that doing single stitch long back stitches looked best. They matched up to each other better than longer stitches and they didn't move around as much. And ...
... they s t r e t c h nicely without buckling the knitting fabric.
Here's the inside. Since Timmy isn't a real person that moves around and might catch his fingers on the loose yarns and this sweater isn't going in the washing machine I just tied off the ends and secured them.
For the arms, I knit them flat starting at the armpits so the edge was the same size as the arm hole (aka armscye) in the sweater. Then I decreased a stitch on each side every-other row until I had the stitches I needed for the cuff diameter. Here I did three rows of 2x2 ribbing at the cuff.
This is the seam under the arm. You'd never want to make arms on an actual sweater like this, but it worked perfectly for the monkey. After sewing the seam, I sewed the arms into the sweater.
Here you can see the armscye seam from the inside. The red is where I sewed on the clown hair over-sleeves.
Oh, the glorious clown hair over-sleeves! I made them separately and then sewed them to the sweater at the shoulder.
They are crocheted:
odd number of fsc (25 is what I used)
sc in the top of the first fsc BLO (back loop only) and each around (you'recrocheting in a spiral) for 4 rows total
then, working back down the spiral, sc in the front loop, *chain 5, sc in the front loop two times* repeat between * until you get back to the beginning of the spiral.
Since I started with an odd number of stitches, the "hair clumps" are staggered each row resulting in the wonderful lumpy hair you see here.
Here's a peek under the over-sleeve.
Here's a couple more pix of the arm hair. It's like mini scales of fluffy clowny goodness.
Cute enough to pinch!
I was lucky that I got one of the Timmy dolls to use as a model because I was able to make the sweater to fit him exactly. As you can see here, he's got a weird shaped neck hump which required width of the sweater back to be about a third longer than the front. Nothing like a bespoke mini clown sweater ... that's what I always say.
This photo makes me think of Peter Gabriel's inverted mohawk
from the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway days. That hair cut freaks me out every time I see it. Did you know there's a tribute band
touring doing the whole LLDOB show with many of the original costumes and the full blessing of Genesis? The world is a crazy place.
The night before I was going to ship out the sweater, I thought I should mark mine since I imagined they were going to get a closet full of clown sweaters, so I quickly sewed up this tag on white felt with a single black sewing thread.
I started by putting horizontal guidelines so all the letters would be mostly lined up and the same height. Well, actually I started off freehand and it looked like a drunk person stitching. I picked that out and THEN I did the guidelines, which worked out nicely.
I really think it would be amazing to have mini clown fingerless gloves, don't you!? The hair might make digging in your pockets a pain, but holy crap, making people shake your clown hands would be a special kind of joy.
Think Geek ended up getting three clown sweaters
. Are they amazing all together, or what!?
So, that's everything I can think of to tell you. Have any other questions?