|Audrey Dhillon modeling her Al Fresco Camisole|
|Closeup of Audrey's faux cable|
|Sucia is becoming an expert on this pattern. Her first effort is on the bottom of the stack and her second try is on top. She switched from size 9 needles to size 6 needles and is much happier with the result.|
|Oops! Gauge issues on Sucia's first try made her tank top about two times too large!|
|Sucia tied a knot to help secure her shoulder straps, which adds a nice design feature.|
Al Fresco Camisole by Alice Tang, Interweave Knits Summer 2011), knitted by Audrey Dhillon
Yarn: Lion Brand LB Collection Cotton Bamboo (52% cotton, 48% rayon from bamboo; 245yd (224m/100g): #139 Hibiscus, 3 skeins
Needles: Pattern called for size 5 but I ended up on size 9s! (A bit too large, in hindsight)
Size knitted: 36½"
My measurements: 5' 2" tall, 39" bust, 37" waist
I was intrigued by the faux cables in this pattern and thought the moss stitch would be an opportunity to become more proficient at the Continental style of knitting.
I almost gave up during the gauge swatch phase as I had to keep changing my needle size in order to achieve gauge; usually I'm "right on" gauge.
When swatching for this pattern, I started on size 5s as recommended by the pattern, but I ended up going all the way up to a size 9 until I finally had gauge in the moss stitch pattern! In hindsight I would have used size 8 needles, the tank ended up being pretty loose on the size 9s.
The pattern was very easy to follow and I didn't make any modifications.
The directions were clear, and the photographs for the faux cables were very well laid out. I did rely on my weekly knit group for clarity when dropping the stitches during the bind off, so one more photograph after Photo 1 might have been helpful.
I had a thought when regarding the join of the straps. The instructions for the join say, "Using hook, pull fold of folded strands through loops on hook." I thought the straps looked a little flimsy, so I suggest pulling the strap through the first cable and then making a knot at the base of the strap.
What I loved about this pattern was how quickly it came together and how fancy the faux cables looked! I definitely want to make this again, but I think I'll use a non-bamboo yarn. While the LB Cotton Bamboo this looked very pretty, it felt quite flimsy, especially where the straps connected to the garment. (This probably had something to do with my gauge issue, though. If I'd used a smaller needle, the fabric would have been sturdier.)
My advice if you're knitting this in the LB Cotton Bamboo, is to block your swatch before changing needle size! The bamboo content of the yarn makes it really stretchy, so if you're getting a stitch or so more than you should when you're knitting the swatch, the gauge should be right on after you block it. This really will save you time in the long run.
Al Fresco Camisole by Alice Tang, Interweave Knits Summer 2011, knitted by Sucia Dhillon
Yarn: Lion Brand LB Collection Cotton Bamboo, 2 balls, in Persimmon
Needles: US size 9 (although the pattern called for size 5s)
Size knitted: 32½ “
My measurements: Height: 5’9”, Bust: 36”, Waist: 30”
The Al Fresco is a beautiful pattern. It’s simple and yet it has the appearance of complexity. Unfortunately, this was a tough one for me to knit.
The first problem I had was in gauging the right needle size for my project. The pattern says to knit on the needle that will get you the gauge of 22 stitches and 31 rows equaling 4 inches in moss stitch. After trying several times, I got this gauge on size 9s instead of the 5s that the pattern suggested. Then, as I knitted, my gauge grew and ended up being more like 18 stitches and 22 rows to 4 inches, which I didn’t notice and I just kept on knitting.
By the time I was finished I ended up with a 19-inch wide front and back panel instead of the 16¼ inch that the pattern called for. Why? It's all about gauge. I have a history of not being able to knit to gauge with bamboo yarn, and this was no different. While knitting the Al Fresco, I must have loosened up my knitting as I went, relaxing into the moss stitch.
I think I should have blocked my swatch before changing needle sizes. It would also have been a good idea to stretch the swatch a little bit when I was measuring for gauge. It might have been a little off when I first measured it, but I think it would have sorted itself out out during the final blocking. Also, I should have checked my gauge during the project, because it might have changed just a bit!
My second issue was the length. Being tall, I wanted to lengthen the piece, so instead of knitting the suggested 13¾ inches, I knitted to 15 inches. Somehow these didn’t show up in my finished piece. I was swimming in the final product, which was about two times too big!
I thought it might fit if it were half the size, and guess what? It kinda did! I seamed one of the pieces up the back thinking I could wear it as a halter. It was way stretched out and hit me at mid-belly, which I thought was unflattering. But, wow! Does this yarn stretch or what?
I love the pattern, though, and I’m determined to work out the kinks so I can have a cute little tank for the rest of the summer.
So far I’ve frogged my original, gaugeless try and I’m now knitting the Al Fresco again on size 6 needles. I’m almost done with the back and I have a piece measuring 13½ inches wide. The schematic when the pattern calling for 14¼ (I went down a size). I’m not worried that my measurement isn’t quite matching because I don’t mind negative ease. And because of the stretchiness of the bamboo yarn, I’m not worried.
I think I’m solving some of the issues I had with this pattern and I hope it turns out! I’ll post my finished project on Ravelry when I’m done. If you want to see it, I’m sdhillon on Ravelry.
|Dinah Demers modeling her Coral Cardigan|
|Dinah's random lace pattern is just beautiful!|
Coral Cardigan by Nancy Eiseman, Interweave Knits Summer 2011, knitted by Dinah Demers
Yarn: Classic Elite Classic Silk, #6979 Red Grape, 10 skeins
Needles: US size 6, although the pattern recommended size 7s
Size knitted: 41"
My measurements: 5' 11¾" tall, 35½" bust, 32" waist
I really enjoyed working with the recommended Classic Elite Classic Silk yarn. It was enjoyable to knit with, somehow combining both luscious softness and practical sturdiness at the same time. The yarn is very well suited for the coral inspired stitch pattern, and the resulting knit fabric has a wonderful drape. I choose a dark purple, one of my favorite colors, and am delighted with the result.
The random lace technique employed for the fabric of the cardigan was difficult for me at first, because when it comes to knitting, I tend to be very "pattern" oriented. As I read the stitch guide, my brow furrowed. "Work any combination of knit sts and yarnover-decrease pairs separated by 0-3 knit stitches, randomly across the row". Perhaps because of my background in the sciences, my first thought was to use a random number generator, and then I could randomly assign numbers corresponding to stitches, then to stitch combinations. . . Well, you get the picture. But I decided to be brave and forge ahead without the security of a set stitch pattern to follow.
After knitting a gauge swatch and determining that I needed to go down a needle size from that recommended in the pattern directions (down to a size 6), I cast on and started knitting. After working about an inch of the pattern stitch, I found that the stress of knitting random lace combos was causing me to knit with intense tension. My hands were cramped, and my "lace" puckered like little knots of wire. Frog time.
Attempt 2. Armed with my 110 line long list of randomly generated stitch combination sequences, and a glass of wine, I started again. Much Better!! Much to my delight, after an inch or two, though, I found myself referring to my chart less and less. Soon, I actually felt settled into a relaxed, organic process of knitting. As the published pattern advised, I did have to count stitches often, to ensure that my stitch count remained correct, but the stitches just seemed to flow, and the resulting pattern did in fact begin to resemble the graceful forms of a branching coral.
I've been knitting for about six years, but I must admit that I am not very adventurous when it comes to making major modifications to published patterns. However, I did choose to increase the overall length of the body from the cast on edge to the armholes by 2 inches (I'm just under 6 feet tall), and I increased the length of the sleeves similarly by 2.5 inches.
This is one pattern where reading it through from start to finish is extremely important, because the directions for a number of the shapings (neck band decreases, waist shaping, neck shaping, etc.) occur "at the same time," depending upon the overall length of the piece in progress. I did keep a row by row list, to keep track off the number of rows between each of the separate sets of shaping, decreases, cast offs.
Though I have enjoyed working this cardigan in the random lace stitch, and love the final result, I do think that it took me longer to complete the project than it would have if the stitch had been more repetitive. But, knitting is not a time trial, right? It's about that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment experienced the first time I slip my arms into a well-fitting garment, just off the needles and pieced together.
|Gerda Porter modeling her Coral Cardigan|
|Gerda's lovely random lace pattern|
Coral Cardigan by Nancy Eiseman, Summer 2011 Interweave Knits, knitted by Gerda Porter
Yarn: Classic Silk by Classic Elite, Pink Carnation # 6942, 9 skeins
Size knitted: 37"
Needles: US 6, 32" circular (the pattern called for a size 7, but I used a 6 because I'm a loose knitter.)
My measurements: 38" bust, 35" waist, 40" hips; arm length 16"
I looked forward to knitting this cardigan because the lace pattern is random, which gave me lots of freedom with few rules to follow. I consider the project challenging because there are a variety of instructions to be followed "AT THE SAME TIME." This meant that I had to be careful to keep track of when and where decreases were happening.
I liked that there was very little seaming at the end, but because the body is knitted in one piece incorporating the front bands, the rows are really long, and since I refuse to end in the midst of a row, I had to do some planning when I had just a little while to knit (such as not starting a new row even though I wanted to!)
The sleeves are also worked in the round until the caps are shaped then they are knitted back and forth in rows.
—I left out the buttonhole and I-cord ties. Instead I worked an applied I-cord around the entire band; I did not care for the stretchy, unfinished look of the garter band so this added a finished look and stability to the front.
—Because of my larger bust size, overlapping the front bands did not look as nice as just using a pin to keep it closed.
—In order to keep on track with all of the AT THE SAME TIME instructions I right out the rows numbers on down and make notations on the rows that need to have decreases or increases, checking these off as they are worked.
—When doing decreases, try placing a marker when a decrease or increase is made. You'll have a visual of where the last decrease took place in case you lose track of where you are.
—In this type of pattern it's important to read ahead to prepare yourself for all the different operations to come!
—The sleeves are worked in the round until the caps, which are shaped by knitting back and forth in rows. If I were to knit this again I would pick up the sleeve stitches directly from the armhole, work short rows until the cap was formed, and then sail through, reversing the order of the shaping as indicated by the pattern.
—I would also add several more rows of the garter stitch to the bottom in order to avoid the "flip up" that happens with only two ridges of garter stitch.
—Because of my larger bust line I could have added another inch or two in length.
I really enjoyed knitting this pattern. When I initially started working with this yarn I found it to be a little hard on my hands but I got used to it, and once blocked the resulting fabric is soft and light without losing its structure.
The pink color is a fun departure from my usual gray, black, and white wardrobe!