With each of my last few projects, the number of swatches I have done has steadily increased (I hope this trend doesn't continue!). I've done multiple swatches for different reasons; for my project for an upcoming issue of Vogue Knitting, it was to find different stitch patterns that played well together, while for Etrusca, it was to find an assortment of yarns in different gauges that could be substituted for the Karabella Empire Silk I used-- and to choose among several stitch patterns. The swatches pictured here are for the next project I hope to turn into a pattern for sale: a top-down* (my first!!) raglan pullover using Tilli Tomas Fil de la Mer, a lovely, lovely yarn. By the way, I'm NOT planning to incorporate all of these stitch patterns into one garment.
On a COMPLETELY different topic, I read in some trashy magazine at the gym that various actresses have "girl crushes" on Angelina Jolie, and I thought, "Hmm. To each her own, I guess." Then I wondered who my girl crush would be, and having recently seen A Bridge to Terabithia, Zooey Deschanel came to mind. Then I saw this article about her recent CD release; in the article she is called a "crafty girl" who knits and crochets. OK, found my girl crush. Who's yours?!
*Knitting From the Top by Barbara Walker is a great book, but I kinda wish they'd update that cover photo.
The intricate ornamentation of ancient Etruscan jewelry was the inspiration for this top, in which a lustrous gold-colored yarn and the varied surfaces of garter stitch, a simple lace border, and slipped stitches combine to create a richly textured fabric.
To keep the border stitch pattern complete, no partial repeats were used, limiting the number of sizes to four; to fit a wider range of measurements, dimensions are given below for these sizes worked in four different yarn gauges, and a number of yarn substitutions are suggested (some of which I have swatched). Knitting progress is given both in inches and in rows, so that a yarn of a different gauge than that pictured can be easily substituted. Note that if yarn is substituted, yarn requirements are a rough guide only!
The pictured top has staggered waist decreases and increases; all slipped stitch columns curve slightly in and then out at the waist. But since the decreases and increases show slightly (look closely at photos), directions are also given for working all waist shaping at the sides only, if desired. Front and back are worked flat to take advantage of the garter stitch base (knit every row!).
DIFFICULTY Intermediate: skills include reading chart, increases/decreases, three needle bindoff, and picking up stitches for neckband and armhole trim.
GAUGE 20 sts/26 rows to 4” in st st; 19 sts/30 rows to 4” in EG (Embellished Garter) and charted lace patterns. EG and lace patt row gauges are different from that of st st (st st gauge given mainly to make yarn substitution easier); to calculate garment length you will need your EG row gauge. Check gauge on blocked swatch.
SIZES & MEASUREMENTS for gauges 21 (20, 19, 18) sts to 4” in EG patt. Note that sizes S-XL do NOT necessarily correspond to the sizes given in the CYC standards. Bold #s are for gauge as given above; if only one # appears, it applies to all gauges. S M L XL Bust/ 31 (32½, 34, 36) 37 (39, 41, 43) 43 (45, 47½, 50) 49 (51 ½, 54½, 57)” Hem 79 (83, 86, 91) 94 (99, 104, 109) 109 (114, 121, 127) 124 (131, 138, 145)cm Waist 27 (28½, 30, 31½) 33 (35, 36½, 38 ) 39 (41, 43½, 45 ½) 45 ½ (47½, 50, 53)” 69 (72, 76, 80) 84 (89, 93, 98) 99 (104, 110, 116) 116 (121, 127, 135)cm Length 20 21 22 23” 51 53 56 58 cm Armhole depth 5½ 6 6½ 7” (approx) 14 15 17 18 cm Armhole circ 14 15½ 17 19” (approx) 36 39 43 48 cm Shown in size S and gauge 19 sts/4”, with bust circumference of 34” and 1” ease.
The top is shown with a deep scooped neck in front and medium scooped neck in back: it can also be worn backwards, OR worked as two “fronts” or two “backs.”
MATERIALS Karabella Empire Silk (100% silk), color 504 deep gold, 6 (7, 9, 10) skeins, or 540 (630, 810, 900) yds. US size 7/4.5 mm circular needle, 24” US size 7/4.5 mm straight knitting needles. Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain correct gauge. Stitch holders, tapestry needle
SUGGESTED YARN SUBSTITUTIONS (Same gauge/needle size as above): Berroco Touche’ (cotton/rayon), suggested color 7912 Dijon; Classic Elite Premiere (cotton/Tencel), suggested color 6212 Mimosa.
FOR OTHER GAUGES: Tilli Tomas Fil de la Mer (silk/seacell) on US size 6 needles for 21 sts to 4” in EG patt, suggested color Goldenrod; Berroco Touche’ on US size 8 needles for 18 sts to 4” in EG patt.
Or try these (not swatched by me): Louet Euroflax on US size 5-7 for 18-22 sts to 4” in st st, color Mustard; Berroco Ultra Silk (rayon/nylon/silk) on US size 10 for 19 sts to 4” in st st, suggested color 6113 Dijon.
Click here to purchase pattern pdf! Includes all written instructions, chart, schematic and photos.
I've finished the pattern for Etrusca, but in pursuit of perfection, I'm giving myself a few days to proofread it. Not that I mind giving out a few free patterns, but I do so hate to make mistakes (ask my husband!), and I hate even more to think of how annoying it is to have to troubleshoot a pattern you're in the midst of knitting.
Ho finito il modello per Etrusca, ma nella ricerca della perfezione, mi sto concedendo alcuni giorni per correggerlo. Sono disposto a dare alcuni modelli gratuiti, pero' odio di fare sbagli (chiedi mio marito!), e odio di piu di pensare come si da fastidio di dovere riparare il modello mentre si lavora a maglia.
By the way, the similarity in color between Etrusca and the No Gap Wrap is mostly coincidence; I sent the NGW sample off to the publisher of More Big Girl Knits back in August of 2006. (I say mostly because I do count among my long list of preferred colors that deep gold that almost shades into orange.)
When I started plotting Etrusca, I thought that I would hide the waist shaping decreases in the sections between two of the slip stitch columns, the ones closest to the sides, so that the adjacent slip stitch lines would curve in and then out at the waist. But I didn't like the way this looked, with some lines curving in and others staying straight, so what I ended up doing was staggering the decreases, one in each garter stitch section (between the slip stitch lines), starting at the sides and moving toward the center, and then staggering the increases in the opposite direction, from the center out.
The resulting curves in the slip stitch lines are very subtle (but nice, I think), but I find it slightly problematic that the decreases and increases are not invisible-- not completely. They show up in the photo as slight aberrations in the garter ridges. To a bothersome degree? Is it better to have the decreases (as in stockinette stitch) be plainly visible, rather than trying and failing to hide them completely? I can't answer that question for all knitters...which is why I'm also including directions in the pattern for doing all decreases and increases in the side garter sections only.
Well, I never again want to come this close to running out of yarn; as it was, I unraveled my gauge swatch, fished one foot-long strand out of the trash, re-sewed both side seams using different yarn so I could salvage those pieces-- and here is what remained (at left). But it was worth it: this golden yarn, Karabella Empire Silk, has been burning a hole in the pocket of my stash for months. I must have bought it in late 2005 or early 2006, because I went looking for it after seeing Gabrielle Hamill's short sleeved top, worked in the same color, in the Spring/Summer 2005 issue of Vogue Knitting. I could only find 5 skeins in this colorway--not quite enough for Ms. Hamill's pattern (of which photos can be found on Ravelry, but none in the color originally shown in the magazine).
I thought the combination of textures in the swatches I made for this top would be wonderful with this yarn; texture, sheen and color together reminded me of ancient gold jewelry, especially Etruscan pieces made with gold granulation, a technique in which tiny gold beads are fused to a gold surface. Still, I was a little torn once I started, because the smooth surface of lots of stockinette really would have played up the sheen of the silk. Plus, the garter stitch just seemed to gobble yardage; after getting halfway up the front, I gave up on the idea of a boat neck: this top wanted to have a scooped neckline, front and back! And sleeves? Even tiny cap sleeves? Forget it.
I persevered-- I just really liked the slip stitch columns against the garter, and I thought the slipped stitches would tie in perfectly with a simple narrow I-cord edge around the armholes and neck. I picture wearing this top on a sultry summer evening, with a flowing skirt, or with white jeans...and gold jewelry, of course. I think I'll name it "Etrusca," after the pre-Roman civilization that inspired it.