narrowing down for Wintertrui 2014

I made some choices:

  1. It’s going to be the minty smurf blue handspun and I don’t have enough of it to make something with sleeves so it’ll be accompagnied by the white Donegal Heather. (I can buy new. I can buy new.)
  2. I want it to be winterfairytaley. Gletsjer magic.
  3. I don’t want it frilly. It needs to be a bit plain because this garment will be supporting other focus points such as a shawl or jewellery.
  4. good wearability by choosing wearing ease. Must be wearable over a longsleev.

I’ve looked at patterns and zoomed in on these:

  • Buttercup by Heidi Kirrmaier, to be knitted with long sleeves and less bell shaping. I made this one before, it’s a good pattern.
  • Drops’ Eskimo Shrug. To be knitted with stockinette stitch back panel and elongated into a hip long vest. I’ve done this before and love the result. Could do that again, with the blue in the main body and the white in a big collar. And add sleeves.
  • Askew by Cheryl Kemp. This would be nice in blue with thin white stripes in garter stitch. Fairy tale ahoy!

All three have their challenges.

Buttercup demands a bit of lace knitting and I’m not very fond of lace knitting in big needles. It often looks bumpy and unsophisticated.

But I love that neckline! It’s so feminine and fairy tale. I made it before and took care to position the neckline lace precisely, making it into some sort of a sweet heart neckline:

I’ve made it before and it looks smashing on me. I don’t have a picture of me wearing it but this picture gives some idea of the shaping I’d put into it again, both at the bust and at the waist. and you can imagine how it would look. Smashing!

But how to incorporate both yarns? I don’t like stripes very much. I think I’d go for colour blocks. The top in blue. The bottom half in white.

Or the top in white since the lace will look good in the round 3 ply Donegal Heather.

Eskimo Shrug wants you to know the gauge up front. And I don’t know it. But I guess I could find my way around this. It starts with a panel for the back and I could make that to size by starting in the middle and just knitting until I reach the desired width, just like Concrete Shrug does:

pattern: Concrete by Nicole Feller-Johnson

But not exactly like Concrete does because these squares don’t say “Snow Princess Fairy Tale knitted pullover” to me. More “Urban chick”.
There are other options though, to knit a panel to size, such as a flower. Or even a snowflake design:

A hat with a crocheted snow flake that I made for my brother. The pattern is Let it Snow Snowflake Hat by Alison Shuman

But here you see my objection to lace in big needles illustrated. It’s bumpy. And not very warm with all those big holes. (Oh! I could make it a double layer of fabric: one snow flake on one plain block. That would be warm! Would it be too bumpy? would I still sit comfortably against a chair with snow flake bumps on my back?)

Askew has been made by quite a few people who report problems with the sizing. It runs too small and relies too heavy on severe blocking. So I need to swatch and find out my gauge and then interpret the pattern so I can guess which size is best…

But you’ve got to be careful. You can’t just go and enlarge a design in bias. It will result in a big flappy point in the front and still not enough fabric in the back to cover the top and the bottom (which is where I feel the cold). I’ve experienced this in Petra, which I do not wear for warmth (or pleasure). Bias knitwear keeps creeping up. You can’t block it to shape.

pattern: Petra by Julie Weisenberger

Askew relies heavily on blocking as negative ease is needed for a form hugging shape. The design itself also relies on certain proportions. The front piece has vertical on the sides: these are sideseams. But at the top it curves to the front to make for the arm hole (without shaping I’m guessing). If you enlarge it without planning these points will come higher, throwing off the overall design. You’d have too high side seams in your arm pits and too much fabric folding over the breasts.

And I’d need adjustments at the back to make sure that’s wide enough and meets the side seams at both ends. And high enough because people wearing it show it doesn’t cover the back very much.

Besides, the efficiënt knitter in me would want to knit the front in one piece. Preferably with the back attached immediately. That’s a lot of knitting gamble in one chunk. Chances of having to frog and restart are high. And I’d have to know gauge for that one…. gauge is tricky in bias design… Chances of frogging increased.

I love bias. I love the point at the front and the neckline it brings at the top. It would make a marvellous fairy tale like garment. But I’m a bit weary of all the variables… I just want to knit, I don’t want to knit and learn and frog and reknit.


* Eskimo Shrug would knit the easiest, as you can add fabric as you go.
The vest I made from this pattern before is very much a Frankenstein-knit-as-you-go garment. The armholes were too big in the back and I had to “shortrow” them closed. The vest didn’t close in the front so I just kept adding borders to the collar. In elongated stitches because I was running out of yarn. In the end these big yarny holes turned out to be very good button holes so that was nice.

It’s a great vest. I wear it with pleasure. I handspun the yarn myself, from an organic fleece from a very nice farmer, Francis. The wool is very soft.

Knitting Police haven’t bonked on my door, demanding answers. I could do this again I guess.

Issues to ponder:

  • how to insure a Princess Snowy image in this vest? (embellish the white collar with cable thingies? Snowdrops perhaps?)
  • how to make that back panel? (snowflake?)
  • is the Donegal soft enough to be made into the collar and be worn next to the skin in the neck?  (not really…)
  • how to colour the sleeves? will there be enough yarn left from the body to have some mint in the sleeves?
  • what border to choose at the bottom, to prevent flipping up? (it should be in accordance with the border of the collar)
  • button holes?

I’m sitting here writing, with one of the balls of Donegar tucked into the neckband of the sweater I’m wearing at the moment. To check for next-to-skin-softness.

It’s not. Not really.

  • give the collar a soft lining?



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