Monday, March 10, 2014

Robin's Egg Top

This is the Chloe's Vest pattern, designed by Josie Mercier, and I've had it in my favourites on Ravelry since I reviewed the Spring 2013 issue of Interweave Knits for The Knitting Needle and the Damage Done.

And this is my version of the Chloe's Vest design. The colour is less electric blue that it looks here and more of a robin's egg blue. The pattern called for a 4-ply fingering cotton wool yarn. I used El. D. Mouzakis Butterfly Super 10, a 100% mercerized cotton DK, because I already had it on hand, or should I say on body. Perhaps five or six years ago I had knitted myself a sleeveless top out of this cotton yarn. I designed it myself, or more accurately, made up the pattern as I went along. It didn't turn out badly but I wasn't thrilled with it. It wasn't unattractive in itself, but it wasn't flattering to me because of all the horizontal garter and lace lines on it, and because I made it before I clued in that all my sweaters ought to have waist shaping. I don't think I ever wore it more than half a dozen times. Eventually I just took the top out of my dresser drawer and put it into the chest that holds my yarn stash to be taken apart and reknitted.

This seemed like a good pattern for it. It did have to be rejigged for the substitute yarn. The pattern calls for two strand knitting through the body and one strand in the lace panel. Because I was using DK yarn rather than fingering, I knitted the body single strand, and chose 2.5 mm needles because I wanted as fine a gauge as possible. It turned out that the 2.5 mm needles gave me just the right gauge for the lace panel as well. The increases in the lace panel are worked as yarn overs instead of by another method, which made the diagonal lines in this version lacy instead of solid as they are in the sample shot. As you can see, my substitutions have made very little difference to the overall look.

There was one problem... I did not have enough yarn. I'd thought the yarn that made one sleeveless top would make another of the same size, especially when I also had a extra small ball of the yarn left, but no. I was able to finish the front, back, and lace panel, but the tiny ball I had left at that point was not going to be enough for the ribbing around the neck and sleeves. I had to go downtown to Romni Wools where I had bought the yarn to see if I could get another skein. They still carried the yarn and the same colour, but (naturally) it was in a different dye lot and was one shade lighter than the original yarn. Because it was to be used for the ribbing, I thought I could get away with using that slightly lighter new yarn. The result was livable. Although I notice the difference I don't think anyone else ever will, and once the old yarn was knitted and blocked it looked just as good as new.

It did make me a little cross that the new skein turned out to be very expensive. It had felt satisfyingly frugal and stone soup-ish to be making something nice out of an old, unsatisfactory item at no cost... and then I wound up having to pay $16.94 for a skein of yarn in order to finish it. The yarn was priced at $10.99 a skein when I first bought it. Cotton commodities have gone way up, it seems. I do have 100g or so of the yarn left that can be put into another project sometime.

I made the skirt seen here as well, about seven years ago. This top should also work well with my denim and khaki skirts, pants, and shorts.

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