Monday, February 4, 2013

New Project

While I'm making good progress on the Lace Coat during my "at home" knitting, I have a lot of time away from home to knit with as well. One project I had been taking along is the second bias scarf I was working on for myself. It is now blocked and waiting for pictures to be taken. For a few days I worked on my Mock Monkey Socks, finishing the first one and getting the second one past the heel.

But then it occurred to me that I could be working on better things. (Plus it wasn't taking all that long to do the second sock so I would need a new project soon anyway.)

I had a long weekend with plenty of time at home to figure out something new. I've had this alpaca lace or fingering weight yarn since last April when I picked it up at Red Purl's last "Green Sale":
I had in mind to make a tank or camisole out of it, mostly to wear as an additional warm layer in the winter rather than as a summer top. I've been perusing patterns on Ravelry for a while, but when it finally came down to it, I picked one I hadn't seen before, Cotton Bam Boo Little Shell Top by Tonia Barry:

Things I like about it: real shoulders (not spaghetti straps), a deep V neck so it won't show no matter what I wear over it, and enough lace to make it pretty and interesting, but not too much.

The pattern is written bottom up, but I will be turning that around. For one thing, I'm starting to prefer it. For another, I probably won't have enough yarn to make it as long as I want. (That is, long enough to stay tucked in securely.) But at least working top-down, I can make it as long as possible. If I really run short, I'll have to add something different to the bottom, but I'll worry about that when I get there.

I printed the pattern, did some figuring and wrote out a bunch of notes. The first day I got the back started and the shoulder shaping done. It's the usual "cast off 7 sts the beginning of the next two rows, then cast off 8 sts the beginning of the next four rows..." (That's if you're working bottom up.)

One way to convert this is to cast on the number of stitches for the back neck and then cast on the right number of stitches at the beginning of all those rows. But casting on is kind of messy and your shoulder seam ends up with "steps" instead of a smooth line.

Another way to do it is to cast on the total number of stitches you're going to need. Then to work short rows from the center out to add the shoulder shaping. This is what I chose, and it's the same method I used on the Snowflake sweater. Worked great again.

By the third day I had this (it helped that I had to work on this during the Superbowl since I couldn't be looking at a lace pattern):
and tonight I actually finished this part of it. The back is now completed down to the underarm. The next time I have time to sit down, do some figuring, and write out a bunch of notes, I will convert the pattern for the front to top down. (Yes, this means I'm back to the socks for travel knitting right now--oh, the irony.)

The yarn is soft as alpaca should be, and I'm counting on it being warm, but I also have to say that it is "hairy." I'm hoping it will still be comfortable against my skin. I'm pretty tolerant so I think I'll be ok.

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