In the dismal sleep-deprived afternoon of yesterday’s mourning, I appeared on Shelagh Fogarty’s LBC show, talking about why I’d chosen to address Trump’s victory in an open letter to my daughter, and what other parents should tell their children about his presidency. I didn’t mention the one piece of solid practical advice I’d urge, which is to move above sea level as quickly as you can, but I did say the election had been a “referendum on women’s role in public life”, which is quite a good line. (We lost.)
One of the strangest defences of Donald Trump’s 2005 comments (which I wrote about for the New Statesman over the weekend) is the claim that this is “just banter” and “what men do”. As Deborah Cameron explains in a typically excellent post, both those things can be true without diminishing the harm and the ugliness of the things Trump was recorded discussing. I joined Stig Abell on his LBC show yesterday to talk about what this incident tells us about rape culture, and how that affects all women.
Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic nomination so the glass ceiling is O-V-E-R – OR IS IT? I spent an hour yesterday evening fielding calls on Stig Abell’s LBC show about whether the wage gap exists (yes), whether women really are as good as men (yes), whether feminism should be renamed “equalism” (oh my God shut up), and whether it’s fair for women to be given the same opportunities for career advancement as men (uh, yes). Fun for me, and a treat for all fans of me telling men to stop talking because it’s my turn.
The story of the little black cardigan, interpreted through space-hopper racing:
I started strong…
but tripped up at the shoulder seams…
recovered my knitting poise…
and strode to the finish!
Full modelled pics coming soon…
The seamless set-in sleeves on this cardigan were a worrying prospect when I first picked up the big square of ribbing and decided to complete its transformation to cardigan. I considered other, less numerically taxing, sleeve shapes – but the deep V on the original LBC is one of the reasons I clamoured to test knit it, and a raglan sleeve would detract from the long diagonal swoop of the neck, while a yoked sweater would simply slope right off me with such a stingy allowance of fabric up front. So, set-in sleeves it would be.
In the end, the calculations were not so strenuous. I used Sweater Design In Plain English as a guide to the shaping of the sleeve and the armhole, and – much as one would for a seamless raglan – worked decreases for each section along four shoulder “seams”. Unlike a raglan, the decreases were worked at different rates: the sleeve is shaped to an arm-hugging curve, the armhole to a steep torso-skimming slope. At the top of the sleeve, I cast off stitches as usual on a sleeve cap, and then picked up stitches along the cast-off edge and knitted in the fronts and back as I completed them.
One nice thing about this approach is that it makes it very easy to put the shoulder seam where I like it (just over the shoulder, towards the back) by knitting the fronts along the top of the sleeve. Once fronts and back have been worked to their finished length, all that’s left to do is join the right shoulder seam with a three-needle bind-off, cast off all neck stitches, and use a three-needle bind-off again for the left shoulder. Simple!
About a year ago, I started test knitting something for someone who, being abnormally talented and busy, was never able to send me the rest of the pattern after the lower back. And so the little black cardigan was stuffed into a canvas bag to sit in the wardrobe, awaiting instructions – where it could have happily stayed, except I have this new job to start in four weeks’ time, and a little black cardigan would be exactly the thing to get me office-worthy (well, nearly).
So I got resourceful with tape-measure, pencil, and paper (also, a calculator: the atrophy of my maths skills is one of my rewards for throwing away the last decade of my life on humanities) and worked out my own pattern for the top half and the arms. Continue reading