Posted in Finished object, Knitting

Three summer top patterns, and what I did with them

I often see posts where people have combed through Ravelry and other websites for  patterns (free and otherwise) and then posted the links to them: voilà, a blog entry! And my brain said:

I Can Do That 2

But I want to put my own little twist on it, and feature patterns I’ve actually made. So I pulled out three favorite warm-weather projects and voilà, a blog entry!

© Schachenmayr

First up is this cute boatneck tank from Schachenmayr. Click here to go to the Ravelry pattern page.

The pattern calls for a 100% cotton sport-weight yarn. It’s knit from the bottom up and employs a unique double cast-on technique that lends a stabilizing heft and substance to the bottom edge.  The front and back pieces are identical and seamed along the sides and at the shoulders. That means there’s no front or back, and whichever way you put it on is the right way.

The lace pattern is charted only, so if you don’t read charts, you’ll have trouble. I should also mention that, although it was free, apparently Schachenmayr no longer supports this pattern and it can’t be found on their website. There are a couple of print magazines that published it (linked on the Ravelry page) if you are fortunate enough to locate one of them. Or if you are extraordinarily gifted with the Internet Archive, maybe you can find a cached page with the pattern.

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© Avantaknits

Anyway, here’s my version, finished in 2017. Click here to go to my Ravelry project page.

I knit this tank with 628 yards of a worsted weight cotton/acrylic blend that had a bit of lurex thrown in for sparkle. The larger yarn meant my gauge was different than the pattern gauge, requiring a little math to figure out the right size. Casting on for the small gave me the medium, and I began the armholes at row 120 instead of row 148.

I also knit 4 rows garter stitch at bottom edge before beginning the lace pattern, plus I used 4 rows garter stitch at the neck and armhole edges instead of stockinette. I didn’t turn over the arm and neck edges for a seamed edge.

I wear this tank a lot. It’s comfortable and cool, looks great with jeans, capris, or a floaty summer skirt, and it’s machine washable. To protect the lace from snags, it’s washed in a mesh bag. I usually lay it flat to dry so I can block the lace, although sometimes I hang it to dry, and then use a steam iron to open up the lace pattern.

LovePecan
© Karen Broz

Next up is the Love Pecan top by Karen Broz. Click here to go to the Ravelry page. You can download the free pattern from Karen’s blog, linked above. It’s available in English or Spanish.

This top is knit seamlessly from the top down. It’s designed for a 100% wool light fingering-weight yarn. The eyelet rows begin just under the bustline, so modesty is preserved. Those eyelet rows help keep the wearer cool despite the use of 100% wool, as does the looser-than-usual gauge for this weight of yarn.

Again, no difference between front and back, so no matter which way you put it on, you have the front in front and the back in back. That makes getting dressed easy, and heaven knows we need easy right now. Figuring out which way to put on one’s shirt takes brain power we might need for surviving the pandemic currently raging outside. Or maybe that’s just me.

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Tee shirt for me — ©Avantaknits

All right, here’s my 2020 version, with Covid hair and everything. Click here to go to my project page.

I knit size 1 (small) and used 740 yards of a fingering weight 70/30 wool/silk blend that had been sitting in stash for several years. I thought the colorway was perfect for this top.

After knitting 15 or so rows, I realized I hated the rolled neckline, so I ripped it all out and started over. Instead, using the same stitch count, I knit 2×2 ribbing for 8 rows, and then continued as written, mostly. A few further modifications: knit four rows in stockinette before starting ribbing on sleeves; offset every other eyelet row by two stitches so the eyelets didn’t stack up; added two extra eyelet rows at the bottom; knit two extra rows of stockinette after last eyelet row before starting ribbing at hem.

I love this top. I wear it a lot. In fact, I’m wearing it as I type this post. I wash it in a mesh bag in the machine on the gentlest cycle, using Woolite, and lay it flat to dry. (I should mention I have a front-load washing machine with no agitator. I wouldn’t dare put this top, or any other hand-knit item, in a machine with an agitator.)

© EweKnit Toronto

Finally, the Striped Tee from Eweknit Toronto. Click here to go to the Ravelry page.  You can purchase the pattern from the website linked above. Kits are also available if you like the pre-selected colors. Otherwise, choose your own and have fun with it! The pattern calls for a DK silk/merino blend.

(Another thing I should mention is I don’t get any kickback if you click these links. All the patterns linked here are patterns I made and loved, not patterns I’m getting paid to promote.)

Anyway, this is another top-down seamless tee, with a nifty wrap stitch detail at the hem and sleeve edges that gives just a bit of pizazz to an otherwise plain striped tee. The raglan sleeve makes a nice sharp corner when worked in the stripe pattern. There’s a small short row section near the hem on the back to help shape the top over the rump area.

Striped Top 1
© Avantaknits

Naturally, my 2020 version (this time with hair that had recently seen a stylist) has modifications. As usual, clicking here takes you to the project page.

The purpose of making this top was to use some single skeins of Rowan Cotton acquired several years ago through a subscription bonus, plus the remainder of some Mirasol T’ika that had been marinating in stash for, um, ten (!) years. So I didn’t follow the striped pattern of the original tee. Instead, because each skein was about the same yardage, I knit until each skein was gone (or I didn’t have enough left to finish a round), giving me stripes of equivalent width. The final skein of the T’ika was used to finish up the sleeves. I added a few extra rounds of stockinette on the sleeves before starting the edge pattern. I made the 39 1/2″ size, and used a total of 695 yards.

I love this top. It’s comfortable to wear, easy to wash (machine wash, lay flat to dry), a little heavy because it’s 100% cotton, but no matter. I pull it out to wear at least once every couple of weeks.

There you go: three summer tops and my personal experience with them. Now go try them for yourself.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Life in general

*pokes head in* “Hello?”

Good heavens, has it really been over four months since my last post? I’d add a “shaking my head” GIF if I knew how. But this twitter meme pretty much sums it up.

Have to vs Want to

All right, then. Obviously, the world turned itself upside down over the Covid-19 pandemic in the last several months. Life around here did pretty much the same thing.  I’ll catch you up briefly.  I won’t promise a more detailed post any time in the near future because … well, staying at home is harder and more tiring than one would think.

The most important thing: the spouse and I are healthy so far. We minimize going out as much as possible and wear masks when we do. We both carry little hand sanitizer bottles everywhere we go and refill them as needed from the ginormous container of Purell sitting on the kitchen counter.

Spouse’s work has dried up — all those voice actors that ordinarily record in studios with private clients are now competing with him for the few jobs that get posted to the industry websites so he hasn’t had a gig since late March/early April. We’re still waiting to hear if he will get any of the unemployment benefits supposedly available to gig workers like him. Fortunately, my job is ongoing. I have been working from home since March 18. We count ourselves extremely fortunate that my work can be done 100% online through a VPN connection to our office mainframe. We’re not hurting financially. Too many people we know are not as fortunate.

I’ve finished several projects. Here are a few quick pics:

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As you can see from the pics, I’ve got Covid Hair. Oy. I am in desperate need of seeing my hairdresser. And I’ve put on some lockdown weight. Apparently I got more exercise than I realized walking back and forth to the train and while in the office. I get NONE now. Time to find a yoga instructor on YouTube, I guess. Or get off my rear and take brisk walks every day. That’s hard to do…really, working from home and being in front of the computer ALL THE TIME is exhausting. By the time I log off each day, the only thing I want to do is eat popcorn, watch TV, and knit.

Okay, I have been doing a few other things. I planted an herb garden.

Herb Garden

I made banana bread — lots of it, and gave away most of it.

Banana Bread

I learned to make yogurt.

Yogurt

And I usually cook a nice dinner a couple of times a week.

It’s no wonder I’ve gained weight. All my extra activities involve food. Another batch of yogurt is working right now, and I’ve got the ingredients for lemon-blueberry cupcakes set out on the kitchen counter.

Lockdown reading: um, I’ve read 13 books, one of which was a “did not finish.” I’m also keeping up with the Shakespeare 2020 project, although I’ve skipped the poetry. Not big on poetry. So that’s six more Shakespeare plays down.

I’m involved in two other play-reading groups — one meets once a month to discuss a play we read on our own time; the other meets twice a week to read plays together. I don’t participate in all of the sessions for the second group because Zoom meetings are exhausting, but once a week, maybe once every couple of weeks, depending on the play. So with those two groups together, I’ve read five more plays.

And yesterday I shot a short scene for an episode of season 2 for the web series Black on Both Sides. That was a trip: hand sanitizer everywhere; cameraman, producer, sound guy, and five actors all masked except for the few minutes we were rolling. Then masked again while we set for the next shot. Masks off, roll, cut, masks on. Lather rinse repeat. It was a short shoot. I got there at 9:30 am, we started shooting at around 11, on my way home shortly after noon. Washed my hands thoroughly before getting in the car because I knew I’d be rubbing my nose or otherwise touching my face on the drive home.

We’re coping.

How are YOU doing?

 

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

WIP Wednesday: It’s purple

At either Thanksgiving or Christmas 2018, I told my mother and sister I would make them a sweater and asked them to choose a pattern.  I finished Mom’s pullover (blogged here) and gave it to her at Thanksgiving 2019.

I’ve been working on my sister’s cardigan ever since.  The pattern is See You There by Joji Locatelli.  It’s a top down design with lots of cabling, so it’s fun to knit.  It calls for a worsted weight, but I’m making it in a fingering weight held double because purple is the perfect color for my sister, and I had sooooo much of this Araucania Itata Solid that I wanted to use as much as possible. (Yes, gauge issues meant math was required.)

I See You Cardigan 6 (2)

I finished the body the other day.

I See You Cardigan 1 (2)

Do you see what I see?  Yes. I didn’t notice it until I took the photos.  Some of the skeins are a deeper purple color than the others.  And they’re all in the same dye lot.  *sigh* The subtle striping isn’t terrible, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I’m hoping a good soaking wet block will help even the coloring out.  Isn’t it awful to actually wish for the dye to run?

I’m working on the sleeves now. Then there’s the hood and the button band to make. The end is in sight. Sissy might even get her sweater before winter’s over.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting, Life in general, Yarn stash, Year in review

2019 in review: Yarn

2019 wasn’t a terrifically productive year for finished projects, probably due to the fact I did four plays. But I did get some things made.

100_5070 (2)First thing finished was the Lochlan Cardigan in February, briefly blogged here.  I wear this cardigan a lot.  It’s really warm; I often throw a sleeveless vest over it, and away we go on weekend errands. No heavy coat needed unless the wind is really sharp.  This was my first project with zipper installation, and it was easier than I expected.  Fear of zippers will no longer restrain me!  It’s also the first time I doubled a fingering weight yarn instead of using a DK as the pattern requires.  My gauge was a little off, but math fixed that, and the fit turned out great.

100_5139 (2)After getting home from Stitches United in June, also briefly blogged in the link above, I made a swimsuit coverup from a pattern I’d had in my queue forever.  The blog entry for this project is here.  As I suspected it would, the coverup shrank in the wash, and now fits much better through the neck and shoulders. When I wash it, I tumble it until it’s damp-dry and then lay it flat and block out the length.

MicheleMeAtAvilaI took the coverup to California with me in August, completely forgetting how cold Northern California beaches are.  I wore it with my swimsuit, shorts, and a denim jacket against the chilly shore breeze.  Although we didn’t get a picture of me wearing it, the coverup actually got used in the way it was intended when the spouse and I went to Sandestin (Florida) for Labor Day.

100_5168The Cabled Yoke Cardigan, finished in July, was part of a Vogue Knit #19 in 2019 Challenge. The Vogue Knitters group on Ravelry does this challenge every year: knit the corresponding pattern number for the last two digits of the year out of any Vogue Knitting magazine.  The blog entry for this project is here.  I was still mildly unhappy with the size after wearing the cardigan several times. So the other day I ran it through the washing machine in a mesh bag on the handwash cycle, and then laid it out flat to dry.  The sweater did exactly what I thought it would do: felted just the teensiest bit, just enough to make it fit better and not be so loose and long.  Yes, I was gambling.  Yes, I got lucky.  Don’t try this at home, kiddies.  Now I need to re-sew the buttons.

Mom'sPullover1 (2)My mother’s pullover was the final project for the year.  We picked out this yarn last Thanksgiving, and I gave her the finished sweater this Thanksgiving.  I haven’t blogged about it yet, so here are the details.

Pattern: Delsea Pullover by Lisa Shroyer (click here for link to project page)

Size: 56

Yarn: Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted Tweed Superwash, colorway 917 Steel Cut Oats, 1143 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size7

Mods: None, except for giving the bottom ribbing the same number of rows as the ribbing on the sleeves.

Satisfaction with end product:  My mother loves it.  She plans on wearing it over long-sleeved tees and turtlenecks to keep her toasty warm throughout the winter.

This pattern is easy television knitting, and I would have finished it much sooner had I not gotten bored with the endless endless stockinette and taken time out to make the swimsuit coverup and cabled cardigan mentioned above.  No matter: I always intended to give it to Mom around Thanksgiving and that deadline was met.

100_5146 (2)In the acquisitions department, 2019 was a year of extreme stash enhancement.  I’ve blogged about a lot of the new pretties, but not all of them, and I’m not going to take the time now to chronicle everything I skipped writing about.  Suffice to say, between January 2019 and December 2019, I added 86 new skeins, and a total of 23,468 yards, to stash.  A few (a very few) of those skeins were gifts or prizes, but most of it was purchased. I know I’m lucky and privileged that I can afford to buy yarn of such quality and in such quantities. Believe me, I’m grateful.  And I refuse to feel guilty, but dang, I really need to get to work on reducing this stash.  It’s damn near unmanageable. Especially considering this year I used only 7,122 yards in completed projects.

So, without making any resolutions, because those are doomed to fail, I’m going to set a 2020 goal of using two skeins of yarn for every skein I might buy in the coming year.  So far I have used four skeins (I’m making a cardigan for my sister), so that means I can buy up to two new skeins.  A secondary goal is that any skein I buy will be something really special — like cashmere or silk or some other luxury fiber.  The cost of such yarn will be a secondary deterrent to willy-nilly fiber acquisition.  We’ll see how it goes.  Wish me luck!

Posted in Knitting, Life in general, Movies and TV

Look, Mom, I’m on TV!

Well, actually, on Seeka.TV in a web series called “Black on Both Sides.” You can find it here.

BOBS
Blurb:  Anansi Moor looks like the poster child for a post-racial America. He is intelligent, witty, and well-spoken—and just black enough to fill a diversity quota without being threatening. Yet behind his carefully curated song and dance is a game that grows ever more dangerous as the quest for justice drives tactics that will either free the caged bird—or scorch its wings.

Before anyone gets too excited, I have to tell you, mine is a teeny-tiny-if-you-blink-you’ll-miss-it part, but the rest of the series is cool, so watch it anyway.

Posted in Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stop me before I buy more yarn

I’ve mentioned before that I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts.  Here’s another reason why that’s true.

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Resilient Superwash Merino Sock in the colorway “Herbalist.” I couldn’t resist this amazing handpainted work of art.  1200 yards should be enough to make a plain tee or simple cropped cardigan so the variegated dyework can stand out.  Hasina is a possibility. Or maybe Amya.

Then there’s the souvenir yarn from my recent trip to California.

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That’s Llama Lace by Queensland in the colorway Vanilla Cream.  It’s a lusciously soft sockweight (despite the name) with the faintest of halos; 1260 yards of decadence that is destined to be a lacy longsleeve cardigan, like Joy, maybe, or Balada.  I already have the perfect glass buttons for such a creation.  This heavenly stuff came from a tiny hole-in-the-wall LYS in San Luis Obispo called Yarns at the Adobe.

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Next, we have Mrs. Crosby’s Hat Box in the colorway Merida.  This is an incredibly soft superwash merino/silk/cashmere blend that says it’s DK, but in actuality it’s closer to a fingering weight.  This gorgeous stuff came from Ball & Skein, a wonderful LYS in downtown Cambria.  Eventually, this will become a tee: perhaps Miss Molly or Hemmed in Hollow.

And finally:  today I made a detour on my way home from a Pride event in North Georgia.

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Vocabulary Yarn’s Ethereal in the colorway Dia de los Muertos.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a working website, Facebook or Instagram page for this yarn company, so either they’re so new they don’t have anything set up (?) or, more likely, they’ve gone under.  Too bad, it’s lovely stuff — a 100% superwash merino single ply fingering — and I would like to have bought more.  But….here’s why I didn’t. Buy more, that is. This was purchased at Yarn Junkees in Hoschton, Georgia.  Apparently, according to the conversation I overheard while checking out, the owner and most of her clientele are unhappy about Ravelry’s recent banning of posts supporting Trump.  They failed to grasp the concept that Ravelry did not ban the people who support him, just banned posts supporting him and his administration.  (You can read the rationale for yourself by clicking the link above.)  So, at this store they’re either Trump supporters themselves or they’re stupid.  Either way, they’re off my list.

Okay, that’s it. I’m putting the credit card on ice for a while.

Posted in Knitting, Work in progress

Progress on Mom’s sweater

The Delsea Pullover is knit side to side, and will be grafted together in the center.  I finished the left half, and cast on for the right half.  Although it’s not pictured, I’m currently working on the increase section of the sleeve.

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I think it’s going to turn out well.  So much stockinette…I’m actually bored with it and itching to cast on something new. But I promised my mother I would have this done for her birthday.  That’s in November.  Since rehearsal for my next play starts in two days, my knitting time will soon be severely limited, so I must exercise (gasp!) self-discipline.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

Freshly finished: Cabled Yoke Cardigan

A few months back I committed to a mini-knit-along with another Ravelry member.  We both decided to knit the #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan from Vogue Holiday 2016 as part of the Vogue Knitting forum’s “Knit #19 in 2019” challenge.

Here’s my completed cardigan:

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Pattern: As mentioned above, #19 Cabled Yoke Cardigan by Kristen Ten Dyke, from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2016. Click here for my Ravelry project page.  This is knit from the top down, with no seaming at all.

Size: 38″

Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, colorway 79 Thundercloud (a deep deep gray) (discontinued), 1175 yards

Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, US size 4 and 5; Knitter’s Pride Nova Platina DPNs, US size 4

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Mods: Not many. The sleeves are an inch shorter than the pattern called for. I also used beads in the yoke instead of bobbles.  I wasn’t happy with how loose the seed stitch cuff turned out on the first sleeve, so when I knit the second sleeve, I went down a needle size when I got to the cuff. That was better, so I re-knit the first cuff.  Otherwise, knit as written.

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Beads: 32 Toho 6/0 glass seed beads, color Metallic.

Buttons: 7 vintage buttons from stash. Glass/metal/bakelite. Non-matching but similar. Purchased at a Stitches event some years ago.

Hair:  Courtesy of brutal Georgia humidity

We’re always our own worst critics, so when I look at it, I see all the flaws.  For example, the 38 turned out a trifle big, but it’s not so big that it’s unwearable. It’s too long for me because I didn’t shorten the waist shaping to accommodate my height — well, lack of height, to be precise.  And the button band and cuffs are still a little loose and gappy for my taste, despite using a smaller needle. I don’t care, not really. Still, if I ever knit this again, I’ll make it one size smaller, shorten the torso by about two inches, and knit all the seed stitch edgings with a size 2 or 3 needle instead of a 4.

Despite its imperfections, I’m happy with it overall. It’s comfortable, it’s cozy, and it looks pretty good.  The color will coordinate with multiple items in my wardrobe for work and casual wear.

Come on, autumn weather!

Posted in Book stash, Crochet, Knitting, Project planning, Yarn stash

Stash Enhancement Sunday: LYS closing, online madness, and visiting mom

So I may have gone a little overboard in the new acquisitions department recently.  Ever since I got home from Stitches United at the beginning of June, I haven’t been able to stop buying yarn for more than a week or so at a time.

Here’s the proof I should never open emails from Expression Fiber Arts:

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These two beauties (above and below) are Seacoast Fingering: mostly cotton, with a touch of alpaca and a hint of nylon. Two skeins each of Salt Water (the blue) and Sun Hat (the beigy-yellow). At 489 yards per skein, they are destined to become a striped pullover at some point in the future. The yarn is ripply and textured; I may knit it at a DK/sport gauge rather than a fingering gauge. We’ll see what happens when I swatch it.

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The sumptuous stuff below is Twisted Tweet Sport, all wool, in the colorway Mallard.  Four 384-yard skeins, meant to become a cardigan or pullover.  These skeins came with about a kajillion buttons as a bonus (one package of buttons per skein).  I didn’t shoot a pic of the buttons, but they’re really cute.

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When I visited my mother over Independence Day weekend, I had to stop in at the LYS near her, The Taming of the Ewe. I love that store.  Not only do they sell gorgeous yarn, they sell a wide variety of tea and will happily give you samples to taste.   I was in the mood for cotton while there, and picked up these cheerful skeins of Juniper Moon‘s Zooey, a 60% cotton/40% linen blend: two skeins of Aquamarine and one skein of Chartreuse. Each skein is 284 yards, so these are destined for a summertime tee.

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Sad news: Cast On Cottage, one of my favorite LYSs in the Atlanta metro, is closing.  This makes two Atlanta metro LYS closures that I know of so far this year.  Happy news: everything is on sale.  Everything.  So I went shopping yesterday and came home with more lovely stuff.

Below is Alpaca Silk from Blue Sky Fibers, a 50/50 blend, in the colorway Raisin. Five skeins at 146 yards per skein equals a luxurious future short sleeve tee.

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Next I discovered Mayu from Amano Yarns, a simply sinful alpaca/silk/cashmere blend that must be felt to be believed.  Three skeins of colorway Green Glass…

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Three skeins of the colorway Yellow Grass…

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And two skeins of the colorway Frost White. I see another striped pullover/cardigan in the making.

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I also bought a pattern book: Whisper by Kim Hargreaves. Simple and elegant designs, not fussy or overly ornate.  My kind of stuff.

Whisper

This seems to be a year for intense stash enhancement.  I haven’t blogged everything I’ve bought (and won’t because yipe!) but a look at Ravelry reveals there have been 33 different colorways (many of multiple skeins) added to my stash since January.  Yes, that last sentence was passive voice. On purpose. Because the yarn just magically appeared, you know?

Anyway, considering all the yarn already in stash, I think we can safely say I have achieved SABLE status (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy). Oh well. At least my heirs will have nice yarn.  Life’s too short to buy or use bad yarn.

Just don’t tell the spouse.

Posted in Finished object, Knitting

It’s A Blue, Blue Summer

I finished my beach tunic in plenty of time for the scheduled trip to California. Take a look!
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Pattern: Summer on You by Svetlana Volkova. Click here for my Ravelry project page.
Yarn: Isager Strik Japansk Bomuld, colorway 10. No actual color name, so I’m calling it Sea Glass. Used just under 2 skeins (630 meters/689 yards, total).  This is a 100% cotton laceweight tape that feels almost like paper.  It’s really cool and crisp and a little hard on the hands, but it has amazing texture.
Needles: US 6 and US 7, Addi nickel-plated circulars
Size: 41.3″ bust
Satisfaction with end product:  Mostly good.  It turned out larger than I expected, but I knit it three sizes larger than I usually wear, because I was using laceweight yarn rather than the sportweight the pattern calls for.  I also didn’t do a gauge swatch.  Oops.  So I’ll consider this my bi-annual reminder to NEVER SKIP THE GAUGE SWATCH, ANGELA!

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So, yes, it’s big, but big isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a beach cover-up, which should be loose and light and breezy. Achievement unlocked. Now, it may shrink some once I’ve run it through the washer and dryer, but if it doesn’t, I’m still okay with it.

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I added a few extra rows of stockinette and eyelets for length, since I was going for coverage to about mid-thigh.  Other than that, knit as written.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely do a gauge swatch and I’ll take a good hard look at that neckline, since it turned out so wide and deep (again, that may be due to the size I chose, but some mods may be in order).

I have two skeins of the yarn left, and the yarn store where I bought it is closing, so they’re not taking returns.  Thus, a summer tee or tank may be forthcoming to use up the rest of the yarn.

Okay, ready for my trip to California now!