Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mind the Gap

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!

19 comments:

Sally said...

Go on with your bad-ass crocheting self! Behold, the power of the hook!

It looks great on you.

anne marie said...

loverly!

missed you tonight (sniff sniff).

LaurieM said...

Hooray for ingenuity and determination. It looks great on you, sweet without being "twee". I'm sure you'll get a lot of use and wear out of it.

Specs said...

It is indeed very sweet looking. There's even a little bit of a "Swedish milkmaid" look to it.

And I'm so impressed that you took the time to re-crochet the edging (and with great results)! I would have just gotten out some elastic and a sewing needle and been done with it.

Lindsey said...

Wow, I'm impressed. I probably would've given up!

Annie said...

that looks great! i never gave the pattern much thought, probably because it was pink. i really like how yours turned out. i just might add that to the queue! hooray!

Mighty Momogus said...

Wow - you are full of surprises! I applaud your tenacity with the crochet finishing - brilliant.

Christie said...

Great fix!

Rachel said...

Wow, your persistence with the neckline REALLY paid off -- it looks perfect! What a pretty yet functional garment. Do you think you'll get a lot of wear out of it? Are you, in fact, a vest person?

tiennie said...

It looks totally cute on you! Lovely job! You should totally make another.

Ann said...

Can you say perserverence? Excellent work! It really looks wonderful on you and is a fantastic use of the yarn. Did you notice a big change in the fit after blocking? I noticed major texture change after blocking the shawl and I wondered how it would affect the fit of a garment.

nova said...

I really like the corset. I am just going to call it a corset, it sounds sexy and fun and much more exciting than "vest." Good work fixing the gape, looks great!

pamela wynne said...

Go you, with your clever crocheting!! I'm very impressed.
With the vest.
It's the best.
And it looks very cute over the little blouse.

Mintyfresh said...

Brilliant use of technique to improve a knit! I'm impressed, impressed, impressed. Looks great.

savannahchik said...

it looks great, and i'm glad to see the crochet did the trick. i really like the little button down shirt you're wearing with it in that one pic.

oh, and thank you for taking the before pic -- i wouldn't have expected crochet to fix *that* much of a gap.

Jenna said...

I love that pattern and it looks great on you! I'm glad you found a good solution, although I'm worried about all that crochet if I made it.

At the very least, you can now rock a new fashion category.

iSeL said...

That is amazing, and if I've inspired you to make vests, and vests, and more vests...well, then, I am truly flattered because I think it is your true calling in life. Beautiful.

BTW, your Dashing are the reason I am currently making me a pair. :D

carrie said...

i definitely would have thrown in the towel - i'm impressed with your crocheting and stick-to-itive-ness, or however you spell it.

picperfic said...

I really like the look of this 'vest'....your tips are interesting too! I think am a bit too busty for one though, I prefer waistcoats!