Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Beloved (well, sort of...)

Have you ever thought about the reasons behind the patterns’ names?  I have a lot recently, because sometimes these reasons are hard to understand. My last pick from Kim Hargreaves’ book Wilder is called Beloved. And the previous one that I made is called Cloudy. Yet, in my opinion, Cloudy should have been called Beloved. Why? Because it is definitely one of Kim’s favorites right now: it is repeated several times in this book as well as in previous ones. On the contrary, the cardigan named Beloved should’ve been called Cloudy. Why? Well, because the lace pattern is not very clear and rather hard to understand.
Why did I pick Beloved in the first place? At the beginning I didn’t like it much. It looks a little bit old-lady-ish and reminded me of the 50s – short, sweet, and feminine. Normally I prefer simpler silhouettes without frills, no girly stuff. Yet, I liked how it looked on the model – with a modern dress. I could see myself wearing it. And as soon as I can visualize the future garment I am gone – I want it right now, yesterday, nothing can stop me. And in this particular case, nothing did.
In this book some patterns have charts, some – don’t. Yet, most lace patterns are recurrent and, if you look carefully, you’ll find them charted. The pattern for Beloved is just written row by row. I spent a whole evening trying to knit something at least remotely similar to the picture in the book without any success. My abstract-sequential brain freezes up when a pattern is not charted.
Then, I remembered about Barbara G. Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. A light-bulb moment! Soon I found Faggoting and Beehive Lace pattern which is the same one that Kim Hargreaves used for Beloved and, I believe, for Lake:
Row 1 (Right side) *K2, yo, ssk, yo, sl 1, 2 tog, psso, yo; rep from *, end k2, yo, ssk.
Row 2 *K2, yo, k2 tog, p3; rep from *, end k2, yo, k2 tog.
Row 3 *K2, yo, ssk, k3; rep from *, end k2, yo, ssk.
Row 4  Repeat row 2.
The only thing that I changed while knitting it was *k2 tog* in Row 2. I did *sl 1, k1, psso* instead, because it was easier for me. Somehow in Barbara G. Walker’s book the pattern looked logical and clear. I memorized it quickly, and from this moment on it was a pleasure to knit. The best part of this particular lace pattern is that you are bound to notice a mistake quickly, usually in the next row. No need to unravel half the garment.

Yet, after my initial failure with the lace pattern I decided to proceed carefully and recalculate everything.
The yarn - Debbie Bliss Cathay, 10 balls;
Needles 3.0 and 3.5 mm.
I'll try to explain my knitting process here as well as I can. If something is still not clear, or you have other questions – ask away!
The pattern itself is multiple of 7 sts plus 4. Plus 2 side sts for me (I do need side stitches for sewing). Back – 98 sts, ribbing 2x2 (I liked it better than 2x1 in the pattern) for 13 rows, in the last (14th) row 13 sts increased - 111 sts. Work in pattern for 80 rows. Begin casting off for shoulders in 130th row.
Left (and right) front – cast on 54 sts, ribbing 2x2 for 13 rows, increase 8 sts in 14th row. Work in pattern for 80 rows (I didn’t make the edge and knit all sts in lace pattern).
Sleeves – cast on 46 sts, ribbing 2x2 for 13 rows, increase 9 sts in 14th row. Continue in lace pattern increasing in every 11th and 12th rows (as recommended) to 77 sts, 102 rows till top shaping. I made sleeves’ tops shorter than the pattern asked for and, I think, they are still too long. And next time I will not increase in two consecutive rows, I’d rather space increases more evenly.
Since I didn’t make the borders while knitting the fronts, I picked up stitches afterwards and did them in ribs. I was afraid that if I did it in garter stitch as per the instructions they would stretch too much for my taste. Plus, in the book there is not one picture of the cardigan buttoned. This fact made me think that it might be because it looks good only unbuttoned.
The vintage black metal buttons are from my personal collection. I think they complement the garment nicely and heighten the metallic sheen of Cathay.
After sewing the whole thing together and trying it on before washing I absolutely loved the fit and look of it. A perfect little number to pair with a dress or pants, or even jeans and shorts. Extremely flattering and versatile – main requirements for an item of clothing for me. Unfortunately, after washing it stretched quite a bit. That happens often with Debbie Bliss yarns. Still, it is soft and light, and goes with everything, so I’ll wear it a lot.
Verdict: great cardigan, must be reworked in a better yarn.
Pictures were taken in Canada, in an adorable little town called Niagara-on-the-Lake, where we are staying now for the Shaw festival.

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