Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wait for it...wait for it...

To folks coming over from Mason-Dixon Knitting--Welcome! Thanks for stopping by! To catch up on the back story on this sassy project, go HERE and HERE and HERE.

Please join me in a moment of silence. The daisy dukes...oh, the DUKES!...they're actually done. It's been a long and season-spanning journey. There were highs and lows, debates over pockets and waistbands, fears of binding off too soon and lily-white thighs. Progress was slow but inevitable and the siren call of knitted glory pushed me ever onward. My friends near and far, I give unto you The Daisy Dukes:

In the beginning, I kept careful notes on construction and method, diligently recorded stitch counts, and photographed the stages. In the end, though, I just started winging it. Willy nilly! Freestyle! Booty or bust! For interested knitting parties out there, the design was based on the Sweetheart Short, a free pattern over at, though I used their pattern more for method and construction than actual stitch counts. I did a swatch and worked out my gauge, sizing the dukes to fit yours truly. When I figured out how many stitches I needed to fit around my waist, I divided them in two and worked the front (with pockets) and back separately.

The pockets, oh, the pockets. Without a doubt, these pockets are my single proudest achievement as a knitter, mostly because it involved channeling my inner-nerd and figuring out slope. I debated whether to knit the pockets by hand or cut them out of an o
ld pair of jeans. I really really wanted that look of the pockets hanging out below the hemline, but the idea of knitting all that in sock yarn was a bit...daunting. In the end, I decided that cut-outs from real jeans would add a little je ne sais quoi touch of authenticity and also to reduce bulkiness in the final short. Plus I was already about on pace with the Big Dig in terms of project completion, so it was time to cut a few corners. Just like the Big Dig (oh! OUCH! BURN!).

I traced the contour of the pocket onto graph paper and compared it to my gauge-swatch to figure out number of stitches and where to increase. At this point, I realized that these dukes will be tough to duplicate because there's not a standard pocket size on jeans (or shape, for that matter). To any potential Daisy Dukers out there: It's totally worth
it to figure out how to shape those pockets. The rush when you finally get it is unbelievable. My personal Moment of Enlightenment occurred in the Logan International Airport in Boston. I believe I might have stood up with tears in my eyes and pumped my fist in the air a few times. I might have also tried to get my fellow travelers to high-five me, but since I was babbling about "Slope! And see! The pockets! The gauge! See! I used graph paper!" they kind of edged away quietly with excuses of connecting flights. Worth. It.There are some good shots of the pockets-in-progress in an earlier post HERE.

After the pocket shaping was done and I connected the front and the back, the rest of the body was worked in the round. When I got to the legs, I divided the stitches again and worked each leg separately. I did work in a few Raspy-esque rips and tears, but they didn't end up being big enough to be very noticeable. For those interested, I worked the 'rips' by increasing one and then dropping that increased stitch when I was binding off along the hem. The dropped stitch unravels and leaves a nice little rip. I considered bleaching the rips to make them more visible, but in the end I really liked the clean look of the hem.

For the waist band, I picked up stitches along the edge and increased stitches over the space where the pockets would go. I did about an inch and half of ribbing and bound off.

And last but not least, I stitched in those Pockets of Glory using a basic back stitch. All of the detailing--the faux fly and the faux back pockets--were also done in back stitch similar to the Blu pattern over on Knitty.

I feel a profound sense of satisfaction at having finished these--and finished them in time to wear at my Halloween party, none the less! I'm not sure how many occasions I will have in the future to sport these ladies, but you know? It just makes me happy to know that they exist.

Notes for Daisy Dukes: Take 2 (a.k.a Daisy Dukes: Oops I Did It Again) and/or the intrepid knitter:

*Worth it to figure out the gauge.

*Start the raspy rips and tears further up the legs
*Knit just a few more rows on the legs. I knit about an inch and I think I could have gone an inch and a half and still had the bottoms of the pockets showing. Yes, they are Daisy Dukes, but...let's just say there was a bit more of my badonkadonk showing that was strictly necessary.


Green Kitchen said...

You are soooooooooo funny. They turned out wonderful. I love the mixed media, too.

Angelina said...

This was totally worth the wait! I am so proud of your dukes and you know what? You look good in them!

I love the real jeans pockets hanging down, very good touch.

kelli ann said...

Hi-larious. what a feat!

Emma C said...

Ha ha ha! I had a lot of fun making these, but SO MUCH MORE FUN taking the pictures! I was so thankful that we had one lonely Bud Light leftover in the fridge. So appropriate. I also had a lovely platinum blond, lusciously curly wig that my roommate insisted I wear. It was perfect.

Thanks for stopping by, folks!

ljmax said...

Really funny...great job. Next you have to post pictures of you wearing them out in a few months!

Max said...

I think that was a whole horde of Campusious Hottii I just saw slinking away in defeat. You win! YOU are the WINNER! Because these are hilarious *and* amazing.

Meg said...

Oh, I just love it. I'd suggest a can of Natural Light instead, speaking as a resident of North Carolina and all. But the knitted Dukes are pure genius. You have to model these in a white Jeep. You just *have* to.