I really hated to give up the sample I knitted in Tahki Nova for my Leaf Yoke Top pattern, which appeared in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of knit.1. But much as I liked it, I couldn't get my original submission swatch (pictured at left) out of my mind: I had used Filatura di Crosa Brillante, a cotton/viscose blend in a pale golden beige, and even though I wasn't crazy about knitting with it, the finished fabric was just beautiful. Plus, because the Brillante is finer than the Nova, the lace yoke is narrower, and thus the neckline doesn't need to be quite so high; with the Nova, if the yoke started lower, it would have extended too far over the shoulders. And finally, what else was I going to do with all of that Brillante I had in my stash? This seemed like a perfect use for it.
I knew I was going to have to do some serious recalculating, because the gauge for the Tahki Nova was 19 sts and 26 rows to 4 inches on US #6 needles, while the Brillante knitted up at 26 sts and 38 rows to 4 inches on US#4 needles. But the changes turned out to be pretty straightforward, just a matter of plugging in the gauge numbers and the finished dimensions I wanted, and going from there. For instance, for the yoke, which is worked in the round from the top down, I cast on 132 instead of 88 sts, and did 12 reps of the leaf repeat instead of 8 for the yoke.
I picked up the stitches to knit the body from the yoke twice: the first time, as directed in my pattern, I used a smaller needle (US #3) to pick up and knit the stitches. But yikes, when it came time to knit those stitches with a US #4 needle, it was nearly impossible! Inserting the needle into each stitch tightened the next stitch on the needle so much that I was cursing the stupid designer (me) as I was trying to push those super-tight stitches along the needle! I finally gave up, ripped back to the bare yoke, and picked up and knit the stitches for the body again, using a bigger needle. Maybe if the yarn had been stretchier, using the smaller needle would have worked, but the Brillante is not one of those yarns that is a dream to knit: it's kind of harsh on your fingers, splitty, and it has no stretch whatsoever. (Come to think of it, the Nova didn't have much give, either....)
But once I got into the stockinette stitch body, I loved the Brillante again-- the fabric has such a lovely drape and weight and sheen to it. I lengthened the body a bit, but otherwise followed the pattern, making changes only to adjust for the different yarn gauge.
I had hoped to finish this top in time to wear it this summer, but it only just finished blocking yesterday. This morning there was actually frost on the ground, but by afternoon it was in the 60s! So I took the opportunity for a quick photo shoot; could be awhile before I'll get another chance to go sleeveless.