Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Roses and Butterflies

I love doing stranded work.  But, I've noticed how it takes a toll on my body.  My posture has never been good, but when I knit, it's extra bad.  Hunching over and paying close attention to changing colors is something I'm beginning to avoid doing a lot.  I'm currently taking a Pilate class, and totally love it. At our local community college it's about $36 for 12 weeks class (twice a week,) it will be a crime not to take it.  I'm just bummed that this semester my schedule only allows me to go in once a week.  It helps me not only get some exercises but it also helps my posture a little.

 Yarn: Elann Peruvian Baby Cashmere
single strand for motif panel and the sleeve mittens, 
and double strands for the body. 
(20 balls total in color pewter, and 1.5 in parchment for the tunic, 
and another 3.5 balls for the fingerless mitts)
Needles: US #2, US #5

I love the elegance of simple stockinette stitches.  I love the fact that I can watch movies when I knit. But every year when fall approaches, I get antsy about doing stranded work.  So I've decided to do a sweater that includes stranded work but more as adding flavor than to using it all over as fabric, just enough to satisfy my craving, but not too exhausting on my neck and shoulder.

The stitch design was actually made months ago for another sweater that I ended up letting go of the idea. With the vertical panel of this tunic I wasn't sure about the motifs lining up one on top of another (instead of diagonally), but I went with it anyway just to see if it does work.

The stranded work panel was knitted first in smaller needles (US #2) from top down.  I actually knitted back and forth in flat.  It wasn't really more difficult than in round.  I made myself a cheat-cheat of stitch numbers of alternating color of each row, so I just read out the numbers rather than reading the chart and it went fairly quickly. Then the body was knitted with yarn doubled (to match the thickness of the motif panel) and used larger needles (US #5). It was knitted flat in one piece with set-in sleeves knitted at the same time just to further test my formula.  Then the sleeves were finished from the stitches left on waste yarn at underarm area.  The motif panel was then sewn onto the body with pleats added in by the buttons and loops.  I wanted this sweater to be just black and white, but because the light color was actually more of a warm natural  than white, I paired it with a deep charcoal gray as the contrast color instead.

I  could not get enough of knitting tunic/dress, so another one here.  Going for short sleeves because I liked that proportion but I thought with the thickness of the yarn and its alpaca content it would be too warm to wear a long-sleeve tee underneath it. However, to keep the bare arms warm, I decided that long fingerless mittens could function as long sleeves and paired off with the tunic.  The fingerless mittens were knitted single strand using smaller needles (US #2.)  The Yarn was was also  Elann Peruvian Baby Cashmere, same as the tunic. I'd used this yarn for two other sweaters.  I loved it.  It was soft, and lovely, and great for colorwork too.   I actually had this yarn in mind when I made the design and I was pleased how it worked out.

Now I have few extra balls left of this yarn.  I may consider making more mittens with them, just shorter versions.


  1. Wow! So gorgeous, Connie! You are so very talented :) You need to quit your day job ;)

  2. It's stunning, Connie! I love everything about it. Beautiful work! :o)

  3. oh! That's so beautiful!

  4. Meg, don't tempt me like that. You have no idea how I wish I can just quit my day time job... especially this week.

  5. This is simply amazing. I don't suppose you'd be willing to write out a pattern for it? ;) If not, I'm curious to hear more details on just how the panel was attached to the sweater?? Just amazing.