Finn, darling boy, please forgive me. I can't even begin to concoct an excuse as to why it's taken me so long to get you this sweater.
I set myself up when I cast-on for sz. 6mos.; I suppose it's a good thing I didn't knit smaller, because you're just about big enough to wear this. When did that happen?
If you promise to stop growing, I'll promise to be a more efficient and monogamous knitter. Deal?
I didn't think so, but you can' t blame a girl for trying...
There aren't many people I would knit a sweater for. It's a short list and highly exclusive. In fact, I can think of only three adults (1 & 2) who share the benefit of having received hand knitted sweaters from me. The third person on the list, is Mike.
Mike has been the recipient of several sweaters. For a long period of time, he was under the impression that receiving hand knitted sweaters came with the territory- that all husbands of knitters have drawers full... We cleared that one up.
But, in truth, if anyone in my life is deserving of a draw full of hand knitted sweaters, it's Mike. He's the best enabler a knitter could ask for. The man doesn't hesitate when I suggest we stop in a yarn shop. He doesn't question the size of my stash. He turns a blind eye to the pile of WIPs in the basket under the end table. And, if you've spent any time around these parts, you've seen how helpfully he documents my projects for me.
I'm pretty sure he never expected to be conversational on the topics of gauge, stitch patterns or fiber content. And, he likely never anticipated his role as resident photographer. But, Mike has willingly embraced these things, and more, for no other reason than seeing me smile.
It has been a long time since Mike added a sweater to his collection, so when I was given the opportunity to test knit Sezza Knits adult-sized adaptation of her popular pattern Alec, I immediately jumped on board!
This sweater is a top-down raglan. It's knit flat until the completion of the button band then joined for knitting in the round. The stitch pattern incorporated into the front yoke of the sweater is very easy to memorize. It adds a nice element of contrast to the stockinette used throughout the remainder of the garment without being overly aggressive. The sleeves, hemline and button band are knit in garter, which is a nice alternative to ribbing, especially given the existing striation in the yoke stitches.
Using Sarah's measurement chart as my guide, I chose to knit the size large. The sweater is shown here with three inches of positive ease. (Finished measurement "43, Chest measurement "41). My favorite element of this pattern is the taper between the chest and waist. I think all men's patterns should take this decrease into consideration. It makes for a more flattering fit, especially if the wearer is tall and thin, like Mike.
Mike requested a collarless version of the sweater. As it was knit, there were two garter stitch ridges following the cast on. The neckline would have been fine as it was knit, but I decided to use an applied i-cord to make it a bit sturdier and finished.. It's also worth mentioning that I used a stretchy bind-off at the cuffs to give them a little bit of room to fit over long sleeves or be pushed-up.
Pattern: Alec XL by Sarah Ronchetti of Sezza Knits (COMING SOON!!!!)
At long last, it's starting to feel like summer in the city. It's muggy and hot- exactly the way it should be. Nevermind that it's already the middle of July, and these temperatures should have arrived months ago. It worked out for me, because 'months ago' is when I should have started sewing summer staples. And, last weekend is when I finally got around to doing so.
What ultimately became a Datura Blouse started as a completely different project. It's a heartbreaking tragedy involving silk and snagging needles. I won't bore you with the details. There was yelling. There were tears. It was awful. But, as things tend to do, it worked out in the end. Following my debacle, I had EXACTLY enough untainted fabric to cut the bottom portion of this blouse. Happenstance.
After some hesitant test stitching on scrap fabric with a new needle, this top came together very easily. I paired the printed charmeuse with a black crepe for the yoke contrast. They're both silk and similar in weight, so they compliment each other well.
I'd read some reviews describing the pattern instructions as unclear and difficult to decipher, but I didn't run into any issues. I did, however, make a couple changes and sewed based primarily on intuition rather than a strict adherence to the directions. So, it's probably best not to use my experience as any indication as to their usability.
Most notably, I chose not to underline the yoke of my blouse. It didn't seem critical to the overall construction or fit of the garment. I also did not use any bias tape to finishes the edges. I replaced both these aspects with a rolled hem at the neckline, armscye, and hemline. Additionally, I used French seams throughout, so I can wear this top confidently without fear of fraying edges.
I already love it to pieces! I left the pattern out on my table so I can get to work making another ASAP. Really, I could use several of these in my closet. The positive ease and flattering curve over the hip makes this a really wearable blouse. In addition to the way I wore it here, I've already worn it tucked into a pencil skirt, and it looked great!
There are some pretty versatile options included with this pattern. I'm interested to see if I can tackle the cut-out neckline. And, I definitely want a PeterPan collared Datura. Ooo, and a lace one. And, I did buy some great silk prints while I was in New York last month that would be amazing tops as well...
I may be getting a little carried away. The gist is, I really love this pattern and the blouse it yielded.
Pattern: Datura Blouse by Deer and Doe
Fabric(s): Silk Charmeuse and Silk Crepe