Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Summer knitting

I somehow ended up knitting three tank tops this summer, all in various shades of green. I just finished two over the past week, but I'll be lucky if I finish the last one in time to wear even once before the weather turns.

Last year I pretty much gave up on summer knitting by the beginning of August because summer basically ended then, but this year summer finally arrived in late July, and I'm hoping the summery mood lasts until at least the end of August. I'll be in Paris for two weeks then, where the weather should be fine and lots of knitting should get done.

The first tank is Petal Halter by Olga Buraya-Kefelian. I've been fascinated by this pattern ever since I first saw it several years ago, and when my LYS stocked Louise Harding Mulberry silk in my very favourite chartreuse shade, I just had to take the plunge.

It is not a particularly difficult knit, though you do have to use the Eastern cast on, or magic cast on if you prefer. I got the hang of that pretty quickly; my problem was with the silk. I hadn't worked with 100% silk before, so forgot to wet block my swatch. What a mistake - my first 3 petals were enormous! So I started all over again on smaller needles.

The tricky part to this pattern is the seaming. The designer cleverly hides the seams in a garter stitch border, so you don't see the join, but there is an awful lot of sewing. Which I added to by double seaming the short ends of the petals with cotton thread (to prevent the wrapped stitches from gaping). I actually don't mind seaming - it reminds me of sewing doll clothes as a child. But to all those many knitters out there who dread seaming: you'll definitely want to avoid this pattern.

I'm really delighted with this top - it is so unusual and elegant.

Gold Leaf

My second top is rather less elegant, but quite funky. It is Liesl, a long sleeveless tunic with pockets from Cocoknits. I did mine in Katia lino (100% linen) and Habu wool/steel. I decided to branch out from the inevitable chartreuse, and went with a dusty sage colour. It is a bottom up pattern, knit in the round, starting very large and decreasing rapidly at the sides, creating an asymmetric drape on the hemline.

I bought a skirt with the same style of asymmetric hemline expressly to wear with this top, and I was delighted to see that it goes perfectly. And the colour matches my suede clogs, so it couldn't be more perfect.


The last top is also a Cocoknits design. I picked the pattern up at KnitNation - Cocoknits had a booth right next to Habu, and Gretel seemed the best pattern to make with only two skeins of Habu cotton gima. I chose chartreuse again, speckled with white. But in a matte cotton, loosely knit, it will look nothing like my Gold Leaf anyway. I've made almost no progress on this top so far, but I should be able to speed through it now that the other tops are finished.

Habu painted cotton gima (feels more like linen than cotton)

Gretel pattern

And that will probably be the end of my summer knitting, but it's been a good, productive season, and I'm actualy starting to look forward to working with wool again.