Here comes summer!

Hmmm, not exactly, but I did finally finish my summer top this week.

This was a much modified Sirdar pattern that I started back in August. Not modified in the sense of changing the shaping or design – as you can see from the original below it looks much the same – but the yarn I chose (Manos Serena) had a tension vastly different to the specified yarn (Sirdar Calico), which meant recalculating every last stitch and row count. Oh joy! Actually, this was easier than it sounds – a simple case of saying OK, this bit of the pattern calls for this many stitches, which according to the tension equals this length, so all I need to do is work out how many stitches will create that measurement in my yarn. And so on throughout.  I was particularly pleased to find that my sleeves fitted perfectly into my armhole shapings purely by following this formula!

Having said that, my version came out bigger than intended. I was hoping for something a bit closer fitting, a bit more clingy. It could be the drape of the yarn, or it could be my dodgy measuring. A bit of both I think. Despite this slight disappointment I shall certainly still wear it. Something I love to do whilst knitting an item is to visualise the perfect occasion when it might be worn, and in this case I see myself sat on some moonlit Mediterranean terrace, a cold beer before me, slipping on my lacy Manos cardigan as the sea air gets a bit nippy. Bring it on!

The other change I made to the original pattern was to knit the body all in one piece and the sleeves in the round. This is an excellent ploy if, like me, you take pains wherever possible to minimise making up. For the body, the right front, back and left front were simply cast on together in that order and then worked in one piece to the start of armhole shaping, at which point I divided and completed each bit separately. The advantages of doing this are manifold; as well as saving time by dispensing with the need to sew up, it’s nice to know that your knitted pieces are guaranteed to be the same size – no vagaries of measuring or tedious row counting required! However, I’m not suggesting that every garment body should be knitted like this, as I appreciate that seams can provide a certain structure and stability.

On the other hand, I can see no argument for not knitting sleeves in the round, always! Seams on sleeves are simply horrible and serve no purpose whatsoever. That’s my contention anyway. On lacy patterns like this, when sleeves are knitted flat it can be really tricky to incorporate all those increases neatly into the pattern. Now, I’m certainly not casting aspersions on Sirdar’s excellent knitters, at all, but here’s what can result when a lacy sleeve is knitted flat and then sewn up:

DSC_0346Given the technical proficiency of your average Sirdar knitter its unlikely that this flat-knitted sleeve could have been executed any better. Thankfully, knit the sleeve in the round and you can avoid that varicose vein of a seam completely!

DSC_0309Now, I don’t think my version is right, as I foolishly did both increases at the end of the round instead of doing one at the start and one at the end. I figured (and I can’t quite believe I was so stupid!) that the beginning and end of the round were both pretty much the same place so it wouldn’t make much difference but of course it does – my pattern, as you can see, slopes off at an angle. Doh! But that mistake aside, it still looks quite a bit neater.

Finally, I didn’t like the way the button pulled on the knitted fabric or how fiddly it was to do up so I replaced it with what is actually a hair clip!

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2 Responses to Here comes summer!

  1. Jane says:

    That is really pretty 🙂

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