Annis in Silk

I made another Annis, in worsted weight silk, as a gift. I’ve already used this lace pattern a couple of times before and, with over 7000 projects on Ravelry, it remains a favourite with knitters! The lace section itself is easy, the crescent shape is pretty to wear; it took me just over a day to knit and a few hours to block.

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Blocking silk isn’t the brutal process it needs to be with woolens; I first rolled up the shawl in a very damp towel, then pinned it onto a dry surface, pressed the still damp towel on areas which felt dry, and then left it under a fan for a couple of hours.

I worked most of the pattern as written, except a few mods to the decreases, and changing to BO to prevent a rolling edge.

Details
Pattern: Annis
Yarn: Silk Petals Chunk; 2.6 skeins; “009 Caribbean”
Needles: 5.0mm for CO; 4.0mm for rest
Ravelled: here

Chevron Socks

Still not tired of knitting socks.

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I’m planning to  release these as a pattern for sale. The chevron pattern itself is dead simple and found across time and space, but the sock has some nice little features, like a reinforced heel bottom as well as reinforcing at the ball of the foot. Also, a more anatomically shaped toe than what I usually find.

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Also, testing on these is open! Sign up here if you’re interested!

Details
Pattern: My own, coming  soon eventually
Yarn: Madelinetosh Twist Light in “Thyme”
Needles: 2.25mm
Ravelled: here

Side Ruched Top

Here’s the second top I made using the sloper developed from a Craftsy class.

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I wrote previously what  a great moulage and sloper I derived from it, and my first garment. I used the same four classes:

1. The Bodice Sloper
2. Creative Darts and Seamlines
3. Creative Necklines
4. Creative Sleeves

Also, it’s amazing how Craftsy drops class prices to such fabulously low levels every few months!

It is a lightweight cotton (I think from one of the giant fabric shops in Nehru Place, New Delhi). I rotated the shoulder, half armscye and side dart into the waist dart, but didn’t use the waist dart since I have a tummy and don’t like to be fitted in that area. Then I split open the (unused) waist dart, and inserted wedges in the outer leg so that it could be gathered back to fit the central leg. I’m a bit bummed that the gathering is kind of invisible in this print, but at least I know it works!

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I also curved out the bottom to look more like a shirt hem. Also, since I didn’t want to bother with openings, I added 1/4 inch to each side (adding 1 inch ease overall) at the narrowest part of the waist so I can pull it over my head. Without closures, it feels a little snug to pull on, but once on the body correctly, it fits beautifully.

On the back I kept both, the shoulder dart and the waist darts, and extended the shoulder by 1/16 inch, easing it to fit the front shoulder. This provides a nice fit through the torso as well as leaving room for arm movement in a sleeved garment. Because this is a little more fitted than the previous one, I had to account for the horizontal waist shaping dart on both back and front. Since there is no waist seam, I compensated it at the neckline (the class explains how to do that).

The sleeves are short, almost cap sleeves, with gathering at the head to echo the side gathers and scooped at the bottom. Instructions on how to make them from here. I probably should have done facings, but loathe them, so simply added bias facing at the neck.

Now really, look at the fit on this one! I’m kind of stunned I made this, having been used to typical RTW fit, and lack of arm movement for so long! Even though it is a very simple top, it fits so beautifully! The only things I would change next time would be not to add a puff (in addition to the gathering) on top of the sleeve cap. And I should remember to centre prints.

Verdict: very happy! I think I’m actually gaining more confidence to use good fabrics from now on.

 

Scalloped Tunic

Here’s the first proper garment, made from my sloper! I used lessons from four Craftsy classes for this one:

1. The Bodice Sloper
2. Creative Darts and Seamlines
3. Creative Necklines
4. Creative Sleeves

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They are all by the super competent Suzy Furrer, and I’m pretty sure I got at least three of them at a 75% discount and one of them at a 50% discount. Excellent value for money!

The fabric is a thin summer cotton (probably from Nehru Place, New Delhi) and I followed  these instructions for the scallops. Seriously, the easiest scallops ever, without needing a million clips before turning.

In design choices, I rotated shoulder, half armscye and bust darts into a diagonal centre front dart (it’s a little invisible in this print, but you may be able to see an inverted V hanging off the neck at the centre front). I didn’t use the waist dart at all. It is fitted till just below the high figure point and then swings out. I calculated how much to add via insertions by seeing how wide the bottom needed to be, to fit in a whole number of scallops on the front and back. I think I went a little overboard though, and will take out two scallops from the whole circumference to recover it from maternity top territory. Luckily, this will be an easy adjustment, just a matter of bringing in side seams at the hem and blending to the existing seam at bust level.

The back has a shoulder dart (because it is sleeved), and the shoulder itself is extended by 1/16 inch and then eased to fit the front, to provide more room for movement in a sleeved garment. I omitted all other darts, and ignored the horizontal waist shaping on both front and back. I didn’t even compensate for ignoring it at the neckline, since it is a loose-fitting garment.

Guys, I am super pleased with this! I am planning to make a series of very simple tops, trying out a couple of new techniques in each. Nothing spectacular, but good enough to lounge at home or walk the dog. I kept this one deliberately loose at the bottom so I wouldn’t have to bother with closures, but it is intended to be well fitted from the full bust upwards. And it is! And look at that sleeve — it is the first draft, calculated off my garment sloper, but no drag lines! I think the sleeve cap could stand to be s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y less puffy, but that is the only fault I can find with it. Everything is well fitted, and yet arm movement is easy. I’m hooked!

I’m planning to make a few of these casual things to perfect the fit, trying new shaping methods and sleeves, before venturing into my expensive fabrics. For my next top, I’m going to keep the waist more fitted.

Verdict: very happy with this nice little tunic!

Selbu Modern Beret

Quick post for a quick project:

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I planned this to stashbust leftovers from my Natsumi and Arabella sweaters, and I still have some leftover yarn! What to do?

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I knit this exactly as written except for adding 10 extra rows (half a repeat) before beginning with decreases. I find that to get the kind of slouch I like,  I need to knit the hat straight till it is the length of my palm, from base to fingertips, before the decreases.

Details
Pattern: Selbu Modern
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino Light; Pecan Pie and Dusk
Needles: 2.5mm for ribbing; 2.75mm for colourwork
Ravelled: here

Breaking the Mould

I’ve been a busy little bee, sewing up a moulage for myself. And it worked!

Longtime readers may recall that ages ago, frustrated with sizing in commercial sewing patterns, I had applied the principles of knitting to sewing — draft a Back and do an FBA to get the Front. This actually worked surprisingly well, and I used this pattern to make quite a few pretty things.

But it was never quite right. Woven fabric behaves differently from hand knits, and there was always a little gaping here, a couple of diagonal drag lines there, some falling shoulder seams too, meaning the garments looked nice, but not stellar like some of my best hand knits (yes, modesty isn’t really my thing).

So finally I took a class on Craftsy, The Bodice Sloper, to draft my own sloper. People, it is a fabulous class, well worth the full price (and even better if you get it at a super discount like I did). The instructor, Suzy Furrer is very clear, articulate and competent, and the lessons are full of little nuggets of information: did you know, the front neck is 1/8 inches larger than the back to prevent gaping and pulling? And that if you’re over a C cup you should fold out half your armscye dart in a sleeved garment to have ease for sleeves and yet create additional cupping? That there is even a horizontal dart-like ‘waist shaping’ which needs to be dealt with to avoid wrinkling in the torso? That there are actually two points on the front, from which darts can radiate? I certainly didn’t, and I am so grateful I took this class.

You start off by measuring yourself and drafting a moulage which is a skin tight mould of the body in woven fabric. The theory is that once you draft a perfect moulage, you can then add ease to it to create a sloper, which is a basic template of a garment. So why not start with a sloper? Because the ease built into it will not allow you to correct fit problems. But by starting with a body mould (the moulage), you know that whatever slopers you create off it (with small positive ease for blouses, greater positive ease for jackets and coats, negative ease for knits) will fit exactly as intended.

I admit to having my reservations — I wondered if I should measure my front and back circumferences separately. But I followed instructions exactly, and yeah it all worked out! The only place where I went off script was to follow the instructor’s answer in reply to a question from a body type similar to mine. It was a minor adjustment to the side seam length, but it was necessary to get a good curve at the armhole.

Once my moulage was perfect (only took two tries, and the process was quick and exasperation-free), I drafted up a blouse sloper. What freedom that no further fitting was needed!

Here’s the Creature critically inspecting the moulage…

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I’ve already made a couple of blouses from the sloper, one sleeveless and the other with sleeves (which requires a further, small modification to the sloper), and will be posting about them soon.

Now, finally, I’m going to reanimate my plans for a Cambie and Parfait. I had dreaded the amount of adjustments required, but now I can just copy the style lines and draft to exactly my own shape!

 

As Beautiful As I Imagined It

 

It is done! I think this is my most well travelled knitting, started in London, knitted in Bangkok, finished in Johannesburg and photographed in Nairobi. It is everything I imagined it to be, elegant and casual, warm and light. And beautiful!

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I wanted a non-baggy drop shouldered pullover, with gentle side shaping and a hi-lo hem. With saddles starting at the  shoulder …

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…and running down the sleeves.

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I’m planning to write up a pattern eventually, so watch this space if you’re interested!

Details
Yarn: Lana Grossa Chiara, 7.5 skeins
Needles: 3.0mm for ribbing; 4.0mm for the rest (held lever style for effective needle size of 3.5mm)
Ravelled: here

In Colourwork this Time…

… Yes, I proudly present another pair of socks:

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But! This is the first time I’ve participated in the Ravellenic games. After the series of socks I’ve been churning out, this project might not be considered enough of a personal challenge; but I decided that all the travelling and meetings I had to do added a time challenge. And so they did, except that I was stuck in a metal tube for 12 hours; a metal tube, moreover, with an outdated and limited section of videos, and the long stretches of ribbing went very fast.

I also like how the eye of partridge stitch on the heels and balls of the foot look like jute sacking in this colour:

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I think I have one more pair in me for this year. And then back to sweaters!

Details
Pattern: Border Socks
Yarn: Too many to list, see project page on Ravelry. I tried to make this a stashbusting project, but I still have some yarn left in each colour.
Needles: 2.5mm dpns for the colourwork, 2.25mm for everything else
Ravelled: here