Sunday, July 17, 2016

Third Time's a Charm Cardigan

The plan for this project had its genesis in the fact that I had a turquoise cardigan in my sweater cupboard that I didn't like very much and wanted to reknit. I made it back in the day when I used to design by making things up as I went along. It didn't look bad, exactly, but I've spent the last 3.5 years as a knitwear design critic and it no longer met my standards for acceptable design. When I took it apart and was wondering why there were so many yarn joins, I remembered that the yarn had actually been reknitted once before, from a wrap cardigan that turned out not to sit right on me. I decided this third knitting had better be the last, for the poor yarn's sake. The yarn was Patons Kroy Sock yarn, a fingering weight. I decided I would like to make another cardigan with the yarn.

After the obligatory Ravelry search, I found this cardigan pattern, which is Matomoko, by Cheryl Chow. I liked the beautiful stitchwork around the bottom and the cuffs, the shape was good, and it called for the right amount of yarn. There was another sweater I liked better but that I had to pass up because it would have taken more yarn than I had.

Here's the finished project. I made just a few modifications. The stitchwork at the bottom was supposed to be 10.5" deep, which wasn't going to work with my figure (it would sit partly over my bustline rather than under it), so I decreased the depth to 8.5". I also didn't like the way the directions said to do the buttonholes, so I used a two-row buttonhole technique rather than in a single row. These are not the buttons that were on the old cardigan, as they were too small and there were only six of them. I bought a new set of buttons, and was very pleased that I only had to buy six new ones as I already had two identical ones sitting in my button tin -- I no longer remember what they were purchased for, which means it was quite some time ago. Button styles don't often stay in production for that long.

And I'm vowing to never reknit this beleaguered yarn again. But then there shouldn't be any reason to. It's a well-designed piece that suits me and that won't either go out of date or become too young for me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

You Can Tie It in a Knot; You Can Tie It in a Bow

Perhaps four or five years ago I realized that bow-tie blouses had come back in and that I wanted one. I spent quite a while looking for a suitable pattern for one, and even had to wait a few seasons for new designs to appear on the market, because most bow-tie blouses have bows that sit right at the throat. This is a look that may work on small-bosomed, willowy-necked types, but would make me look like a professionally and sexually frustrated secretary from 1983. I wanted a blouse that had a more open neckline and a much lower bow.

I'm a Vogue Patterns devotee and use their patterns for 90% of my projects, but they hadn't a suitable pattern for this project. I ended up going with Simplicity 1779, view C, in a single fabric.

And here's my finished version of Simplicity 1779, in a teal and olive green polyester satin print. And yes, after all my efforts to find a bow-tie blouse, I ended deciding that this blouse's tie looks better (less prissy and more elegantly understated) when done in a simple knot. I was very pleased with the contemporary-style teal and green buttons I bought for this item, and very grateful to the sales associate in the Queen Street button store who found them for me. There's nothing more helpful than a sales associate who knows the store's stock and has an eye for what works.

And how am I going to style the blouse? This blouse goes quite well with this thrift shop skirt of mine, and is also going to go perfectly with a teal suit that I plan to make before the end of the year -- I have the materials and pattern on hand for it. I have a pair of dark olive velvet trousers that will work with it too. Those are the only outfits I can make with it, as teal is a hard colour to match and this blouse is too dressy to be worn with jeans and khakis, but three options gives me plenty of versatility, especially when this is such a specific piece. I like this pattern and intend to use it again in the very near future because I have another printed fabric to make up.