A quick update on how far I got with the wrap top from the Rebecca magazine.
I had motored through the back at such speed, I was quite sure that this would be a quick project! I just love knitting this even though the needles are tiny and the yarn pretty darn thin. I just love it: the stitches seem to firmly flow off the needles. I think it may have to do with the yumminess of the JC Rennie lambswool - it feels very nice on your hands as you knit. I'm sure you could take it double and get through it much quicker, but hey.
There is a bit of a hold-up on this. I have already blogged about the three sleeves I produced to make sure they're both the same - these two are still at the same stage: just at the point where the side seams go into the armhole seams. I need to see what shape my back and front pieces are before I continue.
It is the front piece that's giving me the most trouble.
I am on version 2. I had to rip one of them down quite a bit too, so this is really version 2.5, or higher!
The problem is that my yarn and therefore gauge is so very different to the pattern instructions. I also seem to be quite a different shape to the young, svelte slip of a girl model in the magazine - that might have even more to do with it!
The front piece is knit from the top down: you start making the two shoulder pieces and then join them together with newly cast-on stitches for the bottom of the neckline. Then it should be full steam ahead in more stocking stitch until you start to introduce the ribbing from both sides - slanting inwards so the ribbing meets in the centre a bit further down. The ribbing does not just run in one direction - there are increases alongside what would be a seamline on a sewn dress: this should run across the bust point and then straight down.
This is not what was happening with my first version. The ribbing and the 'seamline' unfortunately didn't hit the right spots but ran down the sides of my boobs, rather emphasising them in the process. This is completely the opposite effect of what you would ever want to achieve! It just looked really horrid and dilettante.
So I ripped and re-knit. I started the ribbing higher up and introduced the line of increases further in towards the middle. This adjustment made it necessary to make a further change. Either side of that 'seamline' the instructions called for one portion of the ribbing (the outer one) to run downwards in parallel ribs and all the increases to occur on the inner side where increasingly more ribs would run down at a slant -if that makes sense.
Exactly that wasn't working for me - so I switched it round. Unfortunetely that in turn means (it never ends, does it!) that the ribbing wouldn't look right once the seamline reached the bust point, the slanted line would carry on slanted whereas I wanted it to run straight down. So I reversed direction: now the increases occur on the outer ribbing side of the 'seamline'.
And do you know what? I think it works!
I was really nervous that all these changes wouldn't work out. I am still not completely convinced that this top will work as it should, but I can't see any obvious error so I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.
I got to the stage where the ribbing meets in the middle. I did another slight adjustment here by twisting the central two ribs (like a cable) for further interest. I like it!
Then shortly below this point the front piece is split into two halves. I am chosing to knit both at the same time on one needle with obviously two balls of yarn. I like circular needles but you could use straight needles just as well. I knit two rows on the right half and then two on the left half - this way I can increase in the same places and I did end up with the same number of stitches for both without having to put in lots of effort of counting and checking. Much easier!
I also decided that I would gradually increase the ribbing further at the side seams - stocking stitch and ribbing obviously gives you quite different widths. I don't want the ribbing to flatten out too much because I don't think this will look good. But because ribbing pulls the material together quite a bit more I need more stitches and that's the reason why I decided on increases at the side seams. It might look a bit odd.
Like I said: I am not at all convinced that all these adjustments will result in a good look. It might come out rather strange looking. On the other hand: I will have learnt a lot about shaping and what things look like when you use ribbing. That's a new learning experience.
I can't say that the top will look terribly similar to the photo in the magazine though... Story of my life.
I got to the point where I need to cast off some stitches for the bottom hem of the front. I am a little unsure how many - the remaining stitches will continue on into long ties to wrap round for a knot at the back. I think that I need to cast off more than the outer ribbing stitches, that will look a bit odd but it would be worse if I tried to make the ties too wide. They are bound to bunch up at the hem and that would draw attention to my tummy. Again a look I am exceedingly keen to avoid!
Once I decide how much to cast off it will be a case of some anxiety until I can see how it works and what it will look like! It's all very exciting but also induces some nail-biting!
I guess I like challenges, this sure is one.