Autumn leaf top

I’ve always fretted about not being good at coming up with lace patterns. Cables were something that I managed to get better at with practice, and with practice, I managed to turn out good stranded knitting projects too. Lace patterns were somehow, incomprehensibly, not speaking to me at all. Regardless of what I tried, I would come up with something dumb. Most of my learning so far had comprised of eyelets and simple lace patterns. They taught me decreases and yarn-over basics, but they weren’t enough to come up with patterns that bring the lace concepts in my mind to life. I needed more to understand lace at deeper, stare-into-its-soul level. It was when I made the Ashton shawlette for my mom that I came across different lace stitch nuances, and how different stitches work together to give the look one is aiming for.

Yes, yes, I’m getting to the autumn leaf top…

My sister had wanted a loose lace top, and I’d bought some yarn in a color she liked. I decided to put my lace learning to the test, and though I had to experiment quite a bit, I finally managed to come up with a pattern that I’m proud of. Now I’m out of my very own lace box of shame! ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Well, I’m actually a bit scared, wondering if I can ever outdo this one, hehe…)

Autumn leaf top

Autumn leaf top

The pattern has some nice texture to it too, which reminds me of leaves in autumn. (Coincidentally, the yarn is yellow as well! ๐Ÿ˜› )

Autumn leaf top

The top is knit top-down in two pieces — front and back, and is exclusively composed of the lace pattern, except near the seams (shoulders and sides.) Seams have a few rows / columns of stockinette stitch to give some stability to the structure of the garment. I’ve used grafting (shoulders) and mattress stitch (sides) for the seaming; the neck, sleeve and bottom is 1×1 ribbing in a larger needle size.

Here’s my sister wearing the top —

Autumn leaf top

This top has given me a firm push into the ‘I should write a pattern’ zone. It’s mind-boggling how much good patterns need to include these days — right from the gauge to schematics with measurements. I mean, if the gauge and the number of rows and stitches are provided, it’s not difficult to figure out how much the piece measures. ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, that’s for me to figure out when I finish writing the rest of the stuff in the pattern, and I haven’t even started… ๐Ÿ˜›

Vintage vest

Vintage vest

Vintage vest

Whenever I see this vest, I think it looks like it’s about 50 years too late in the making ๐Ÿ™‚ but I love it! It’s something that I started quite a while back, and with leftover yarn from not one, not two, but three projects! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I’m just really happy with how it turned out. ๐Ÿ™‚

At first, I’d picked only the pink and brown yarn, and I wanted the patterned part to be all over the vest, but from my swatches, I knew the yarn I had would not be enough for that. So I picked additional leftover yarn, choosing to only use it for the sides. In a moment of recklessness ๐Ÿ˜› I started bottom-up though there was the chance that I would run out of yarn before I finish the project… [fingers crossed]

I made the front and back pieces separately, and it was fun moving between four balls of yarn for every row — two for the two sides, and two for the stranded pattern. The pattern itself is pretty simple, as you can see.

That I decided on a closed vest made neck shaping easier. I’m improving with neck shaping, but I’m still not there — there’re always bulges at certain points along the neck no matter how carefully I calculate. Not for garments with a closed front; the necks in these come up pretty nice, regardless of what design I shape them in. When it comes to necks in open fronts that are meant to be buttoned up, though, no amount of modifications to my calculations seems to work… [Scream of fury! Then quite a few slow, deep, calming breaths.]ย  I’ve to research and think a bit more the next time I decide on an open, to-be-buttoned-up garment, and try to figure out what’s going wrong.

Anyway, after all that silent screaming, I should really finish what I started talking about — the neck shaping was a simple gently curving one, and obviously, was joined by armhole shaping after a few rows. I worked each side with three balls, one for the side and two for the pattern, and made an extra stitch along the neck — I would pick up this stitch later for the ribbing.

The back was a similar affair, with a shaping of the neck in the final few rows.

I joined the two pieces using grafting at the shoulders and mattress stitch at the sides. I experimented with adding sleeves to make it a top, but I didn’t like how it looked. So decided to keep it a vest / sleeveless top, and added ribbing at the neck and armholes.

My sister said that it’ll go well with a white shirt. (Now when I mention this vest to her, I say “the one that goes with a white shirt.”) I must say I like the combination! ๐Ÿ™‚

Vintage vest

I still have scraps of yarn left from this project, and they will go into a tiny project, or maybe something with crocheted squares.

Tiny triangles top

Hurrah! The top with triangles is officially done; I just finished weaving in the ends a few days ago. I’d kept thinking of this as my first multicolor project, but I realized when I saw an old, old tote bag that I’d knit — that was my first multicolor, stranded-knitting project. Of course, I didn’t know much about knitting then, let alone stranded knitting, and my now-‘experienced’ eyes see a few mistakes, but it’s still a beautiful bag, and kudos to younger me for experimenting so successfully. ๐Ÿ™‚

But I digress. That tote bag deserves a post of its own. (Add to things-to-post-about list — check.) Back to the tiny triangles top. Just in case you’re wondering — it’s the triangles that are tiny, not the top. Here’s a picture to prove that it’s human-sized.

Tiny triangles top

Tiny triangles top

Things looked fine while I knit the front and back pieces. I sewed them together using grafting at the shoulders and mattress stitch at the sides. Then, after repeated failed attempts with different bottom edgings,ย I realized that the edging just won’t sit well with this yarn, even if I made it longer. So I’ve just let the current short 1×1 rib be. It folds up but looks okay(ish), and I can always tuck it in.ย The compromises one makes, huh… And nope, the yarn doesn’t play well with blocking either. ๐Ÿ˜€

I still have a lot of the yarn left. I can’t think of any knitting or crochet project I’d want to use it for, since I don’t wear lacy stuff much (nor does my immediate family), and it’s too much work to make a non-lacy project with this thin yarn. So I’m making a different needlework project — a cross stitch one — from it. I still feel bad for the yarn that it’s not gonna turn into a clothing item. Any ideas for a quick-but-not-lacy project?

Lacy Hearts cardigan — the back

I’m done with the back of the lacy hearts cardigan, and just like I mentioned in my previous post of the series, I added a small lacy pattern detail at the top of the back. A wise creative decision ๐Ÿ˜‰ since it makes the piece look not-so-plain. Check for yourself —

Lacy Hearts cardigan -- back

Lacy Hearts cardigan — back

I’m going to sew up the three front and back pieces at the top by making knit stitches with the sewing yarn. I’ve bound off all of the topmost stitches in all the pieces, but if I didn’t bind off the stitches that will need to be sewn up, it’ll probably make the sewed edge look a bit nicer. I’m not going to undo the bind-off this time, but this is something I’ll remember for my next knit-in-pieces project.

To join the pieces at the sides, I’ve decided to use the mattress stitch — I’ve never used it before, and all my sewed edges so far have been very visible. That’s one of the reasons I don’t like knitting bottom to top in pieces.

The other reason I’m not too fond of knitting in pieces is the sleeve shaping, which I’ll have to embark on next. It goes great from the cuffs till the armholes. Then comes the tough part of knitting the sleeve to fit the sleeve hole correctly. I did the calculations by myself for just one project, and I was not pleased. That was for a super-lacy project, though, so the holes in the lacy pattern kinda masked the results of incorrect measurements. I can tell you that the calculations seem easy in theory / in my head, but for an amateur knitter trying to create her own pattern, it does get messy at times.

A simpler method, of course, would be picking up stitches around the armhole and knitting from top to bottom, but I want to figure out those sleeve-shaping calculations, so the difficult way is probably what I’ll go with. One has to keep trying and learning from past mistakes, or how will great things come about, right? ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, wish me luck for the sleeve shaping, and as always, I’ll let you know how that (mis?)adventure goes.