Current knitting: I’m part way through knitting this summer top, which is really more like a vest that laces up the front. It’s a design by Ilga Leja, from Nova Scotia. I bought the pattern a few years ago in Halifax, at a nice yarn shop called The Loop Craft Cafe. The pattern calls for a dk or worsted weight yarn. For mine, I’ve picked a nice silk yarn called Estelle, in three colours: a natural cream, a heather green and a dark brown.
The stitch used is a simple slip stitch pattern that is really effective in blending the three colours. It’s easy, too, being mostly knits and slips, with a little bit of purl for good measure.
I love the way the slipped stitches pull the colours from one row to the next. I am currently working on the back (I decided for some reason to do back and sides separately (per the pattern), rather than all together without side seams. I’m not sure why, except that I haven’t knit a top for years, and thought I’d start slowly.) I recently finished the arm-hole shaping.
I think it’s looking quite nice, except that when I measure it, it’s about 2 inches smaller than it should be. I’m counting on the Goddess of Gauge to be good to me, and let the fabric grow during wet blocking like my gauge swatch did. I feel like I should be making some sort of offering at this point, to increase the odds of that happening.
One problem I had during the arm-hole shaping was keeping track of where in the stitch pattern I was on each row. I started out trying to figure it out in my head, then resorted to pencil and paper, writing out k k sl k sl k sl etc. and crossing out for each decreased stitch. It wasn’t until I’d finished that it dawned on me that I should have made a chart. I’m not used to knitting from charts yet, I’d always found them a little daunting until recently. So, it isn’t the first thing I think of doing for a pattern that comes as written out instructions. But this is definitely a place where a chart would have saved me from a lot of frustration. I am definitely going to make one for the neck shaping, and for the fronts.
As for the yarn, it’s pretty nice to work with, but it’s quite sticky on the needles. I started out using a bamboo circular needle and found it hard to move the stitches forward as I was knitting. I switched to an Addi Turbo circular and it made all the difference in the world. The yarn just moves along the needles like a charm, and the knitting has gone very smoothly ever since.
The pattern didn’t specify a circular needle for the straight stitching, but I found that the back was really too big to comfortably fit on straights. It also didn’t list the 3.5 mm needles for the garter stitch lace border. I didn’t know I needed them until I went to cast-on, when I was away in Florida and only carrying what I thought I needed. Oh well, I didn’t complain too much at having to find a yarn shop to buy needles. Lesson learned, though – it really does pay to actually skim through the pattern before starting (or packing the suitcase).