Thursday, April 19, 2012

A decision, finally (maybe)

Thank you to everyone for your kind words about my pink eyelet top, both here and on Ravelry.  A lot of you thought the finished top looked great, others supported my thoughts on frogging it and making something else.  After a couple of weeks of considering my options, I've (almost) decided to take it apart and make this beautful lace henley top from Knitty.  My plan is to change the neck to a crewneck and make the sleeves longer, maybe 3/4 length.

A couple of things have influenced my decision.  One, the eyelet top pattern called for way more yarn than I actually used, so I have 4 and half skeins of yarn left over. (I hate when a pattern calls for so much more yarn than you actually use - I mean, what's up with that?).  If I take apart the top and use the leftover yarn, I can knit up a full sweater with longer sleeves.

Two, the worsted weight yarn I used is very soft and comfortable, but still rather heavy for a sleeveless top.  It is unlikely that I could wear a heavy top in warmer weather, so a longer sleeved top for spring/fall might be a better use of this yarn.

from Banana Republic website
And three (most important), I've fallen in love with this sweater from Banana Republic.  I tried this sweater on in the store and loved it.  However, this pink color in person is more orangey (really, a bright coral color) and not great for my coloring.  Also the cotton of this sweater is a little scratchy on the skin.  If I change the Knitty lace henley to a crewneck and use my Knitpicks Comfy in that beautiful poesy color, I think I can create a very similar, if not more flattering, finished sweater.

So, that's the plan.  Maybe.  And unfortunately, my digital camera died just after I finished taking the photos of the eyelet top, so it might be a while until I can post any photos of this project.  If I decide to frog the eyelet top.  Which I think I will (probably) do.  Maybe.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Indecision and Disappointment (or Disappointment, then Indecision)

Sorry to be so long in posting, but I've been busy with my needles, knitting the Top-down Eyelet Top from Teva Durham's Loop-d-loop lace book

Although this might not be the most beautiful pattern in this book, it immediately caught my eye.  I love the simple pattern, and the easy and casual feel of the top in the photos in the book.  But my finished version of this top leaves me rather disappointed.  I love the neck and top part of the shirt, but from the armpits down, I think it's kind of a mess.  I have almost made up my mind to frog it and make something else instead.

For starters, I think there's a problem with the pattern as its been printed in the book.  The pattern says this top will fit up to a 40 inch bust, but as written, I found the shirt to be tight and uncomfortable even on my 34 inch chest.  And the eyelets in the picture in the book have this lovely rippling effect.  Alas, my finished top did not have the same open eyelets that should look as if they are dripping down the body.

I had made some modifications.  I chose to knit my top in Knitpick's Comfy, in a beautiful shade of rosy pink called Poesy.  Love it!  I wanted to make the top out of a yarn that would be good for warmer weather wear, and chose not to knit it in wool.  (This may have been part of my problem.)

After knitting down to the armpits and finding the top to be uncomfortably snug, I tore my knitting out and started again.  The top starts with the circular yoke, and I started the pattern after the first increase, making the top a bit bigger from the beginning.  To avoid have the neck opening be too large, I cast on with a #4 needle for a few rows, then switched to a #6 needle.  I knit with the #6 almost to the shoulders before switching to a #7 needle to complete the rest of the garment.

I think there's another problem with the pattern in knitting the yoke.  The pattern says to do 5 repeats for the smaller sizes and only 4 repeats for the larger sizes.  That doesn't make sense.  I did 5 repeats for mine.  Four repeats would not have been big enough or wide enough to reach my shoulders, which are somewhat narrow.

Once you bind off for the shoulders and cast on for the body, the pattern has you slipping and passing over stitches to maintain the same stitch count through the body.  This is where my top really became a mess.  To me, the passed-over stitches create this crab look, which I didn't notice in the photo in the book and that I really don't like.  I also think it makes the top look more bulky than I expected. 

I added a little shaping through the body and chose to add ribbing to the bottom edge.  The original top has a rolled edge on the bottom.  But in my experience, rolled edges always roll up to my belly button every time I sit down and I spend way too much time pulling down my shirt.  Ugh.  I didn't want my ribbing to be too distracting from the pattern of the top, so I chose a 4 knit, 2 purl rib.  I think it maintains the eyelet pattern of the top and yet still keeps the edge from rolling up.  It's one thing that seemed to work right.

Ultimately, my finished top doesn't really look like the one in the book, nor do I think it's very pretty.  Maybe if I hadn't increased the size, the shirt would have fit snugger and the eyelets would have opened more and created a ripple?  Maybe, but I think it would have been uncomfortably tight for me and I wouldn't have enjoyed wearing the shirt.  Or, maybe if I had used wool instead of cotton, the lace would have opened up more during the blocking process?  Who knows, but I think I will be frogging this top and making the Gemini top, which has a similar look and shape, from this month's Knitty instead. 

Stay tuned for more misadventures in knitting :)