Ann, your finished Leaf Lace Shawl inspired me to take another crack at my Sylvan Spirit yarn. You might remember it spent a good portion of the summer on my needles, only to be frogged after being made into a most unflattering Cropped Cardigan.
As you know from working with this yarn, it isn't exactly an against-the-skin yarn. Not scratchy so much as crunchy, it needs to be layered over something. That eliminated most winter-accessories, and my yardage eliminated any full sweaters. And then I saw this amazing FO of Isel's, and thought -- a vest? I don't think I've ever worn a vest. Well, I have vague memories of wearing suede vests or wool vests with knickers and a big pin at the center of the collar in the 80s, but I have no memory of every owning a sweater vest. Was I a Vest Person?
Molly Ringwald is a vest for people who aren't sure if they wear vests, because it is more corset-styled than a classic menswear-inspired vest (I am now so sick of the word vest. How 'bout you?). The ruched bodice and the round cap sleeves make it more feminine. In a softer, cooler yarn, you could wear it as a summer top, but in the Sylvan Spirit, it is the perfect fall layer. You know, if we ever get fall weather.
Pattern: Molly Ringwald, Knitscene, Fall 2006
Yarn and Needles/Hook: Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit, US 6 needle, B hook
Mods: I made a couple modifications as I knit this sweater. First, I knit the body in the round, and second, I eliminated the eyelet row at the bottom of the sweater.
The biggest issue I had with the sweater was once it was finished, the neckline gapped significantly, especially at the back. Despite having read on several blogs that the crochet edge would resolve it, my back still bagged, and the sleeves flopped off my shoulders, even after carefully applying a tedious crochet treatment to the edge with a teeny hook.
I knew that I could rip out to the back and decrease at the armhole edges on the back, but I was reluctant, as this would mean ripping out both sleeves and a significant amount of the the bodice. I've been learning to crochet a little lately, so I decided to try a crochet solution. I assumed that the designer called for such a small hook because the difference in gauge would draw the neckline in. So I decided to keep using the B hook, and instead started experimenting with skipping stitches along the neck. First, I tried crocheting into every other stitch. It worked, but a little too well, resulting in bunching.
I then crocheted by skipping every other stitch for one inch, skipping every fourth stitch for the next two inches, single crocheting into every stitch across the center of the back to keep things smooth and straight, then skipped the stitches at the same intervals for the last three inches. I also was sure to skip a few stitches where the sleeve caps joined the back to tighten the sleeves a bit. This was the way to go. It drew the top edge of the back in without bunching, and created a nice, smooth fit. I continued skipping stitches on the sleeves, but knit the front by crocheting into every stitch on the front.
I ended up eliminating the reverse single crochet row once I had resolved my gapping issue; the sweater looked and fit great as it was, and I did not want to mess with it. Also, I did not want to reverse single crochet.
The Sylvan Spirit is perfect for for this garment. The rustic feel sort of cuts the sweetness of the top, and it is the perfect weight for layering on a cool day. So, yes, I wear vests. I might even make another!