I can tell you that, when I first saw a photo of a knitted bikini, I was aghast. Not only would any yarn one could use to knit such a tawdry waste of fiber lose, when wet, whatever stitch structure kitting gave it, but my God, would a knit bikini be ITCHY. While I still think knitted swimwear is utterly retarded and obviously the product of some silly little skinny dilettante knitter who wanted to give the needles a go because Vogue said it was in but didn't want to invest the time to knit anything larger than your average pocket square, I now find myself adoring the idea of knitted lingerie. Same shapes, more understandable function and less water-induced droop.
There are a couple of recently published books on lingerie and related scandalous underthings, but when I looked at them, I noticed a real lack of any delicacy and, well, cleverness in the stitches used and in the weights and textures. Everything seemed to be in stockinette stitch, which is the average stitch used in a sweater, and were made with mid-weight yarn and large needles. Now, pardon me, but, while I adore my concealing yet fashionable warm outerwear, I don't wear it to feel particularly slutty or exhibitionistic. When thinking about knitted lingerie, I imagined mysterious and complicated lace patterns that allow one to catch forbidden glimpses of skin underneath before the fabric shifts, making one wonder if one saw anything at all, all knit on tiny needles using thin, seemingly fragile yarn that is deceptively strong engough to withstand some good use. It would have to drape and have enough structure to stay put without having too much heft. In one particular book, the items depicted all looked as though they were made for Soviet brides before the Cold War ended and all the yarn anyone could get was wool from the Steppes and so the bra sets and peignoirs look as though they could be used as body armor in case the wearer got got in a stray gun fight with NATO forces. I know the authors were going for garments in the STYLE of lingerie, but the camisoles that "could be worn under a suit or nothing at all!" look as though they'd keep you warm through the cold, New England winter, with their ribbed edges and obvious lack of any kind of lingerie-like elements. Where's the lace? Where's the sense that the garment could be ripped off at any second? Sheesh, folks, I understand that we all like to think that we own pieces of clothing we can wear with everything, but a nightie that looks like the sweater I'm knitting for Christian isn't lingerie, no matter how low you make the back.
I only found one piece in a magazine aimed at the young, hip knitting audience that will work for the intended purpose. It's a knitted lace sheath that looks like a flapper dress and will be given to my friend who recently completed her Burlesque course. I did have this glorious notion of knitting delicious and inspiring underthings for all my friends' birthdays and such, but to do so, I'll now have to turn my hand to designing, as well. The stuff I've seen wouldn't inspire anything but a cross-country snowshoeing jaunt.