Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leaf Lace Yokes

I loved the idea of a sweater called Leaf Yoke Top by Angela Hahn, which was published in Knit.1 magazine, spring 2009 after I saw it on a customer in my LYS, Sticks and Strings. I found the magazine and read over the pattern. It was a delightful concept, the lace yoke, and I'd always liked that idea,  but I wanted  a sweater with sleeves instead of a tank top, and I wanted to use a totally different yarn. I had lots of Sojabama, a soy and bamboo yarn which had marinated in my stash for a year, and I thought this might be a good choice. After using an I-cord cast-on, I knit the lace yoke and then made horizontal I-cord to transition to the stockinette portiion of the sweater. In order to raise the back neck, I used short rows to increase the length in the back, while maintaining yoke increases. This had to be done twice, as I tried to do it in a coffeeshop and got hopelessly confused and had to rip out a bunch! At home with my counter and a diagram, I could keep track and ended up figuring out an elegant way to hide the short rows at the base of the horizontal I cord. Once I had enough depth, I switched to raglan increases until I reached my target size. Then I put sleeve stitches on holders and continued body of sweater, adding 10 sts at underarms, adding bust darts and waist shaping. At the hem I repeated some of the leaf pattern and finished with I-cord bind-off using a size 7 needle to get the proper stretch.
Then I returned to the sleeves and added a small leaf edging at hem, and I-cord bind-off.

I love this sweater! And the yarn was great to work with. I was very pleased with the final result, and decided to immediately do a similar thing with some lovely alpaca I had stashed, as suddenly the weather turned colder and this sweater is for warm weather! In the meantime, I happened to see a beautiful shawl on a friend, and lusted after it. But it reminded me of something I'd seen before. In perusing my bookshelf, I found The First Book of Modern Lace Knitting, by Marianne Kinzell, and sure enough, her amazing charts ( published initially in 1954, then reprinted by Dover in 1972) included one very similar to the shawl and to the Leaf  Yoke Top laces. The "Primula Design" is fabulous, and to see the interpretations in today's knitting is very exciting.
Thus my next concoction took this a bit further, and here I used a worsted weight alpaca yarn, changed the lace a bit and added a peplum on the bottom, and 3/4 length sleeves. The lace is derived from the same  “Primula Design”  and I recharted it and added a tulip in the spaces between the leaves. I adored this yarn for the amazing color, wonderful softness and warmth, but hated the sparkles. I ended up picking out a lot of them, and wishing I had this yarn in a plain variety, as removing the Stellina fibers took a lot of time. I'm still waffling on the peplum idea, but for now I'm pleased with this sweater!