Monday, February 14, 2011
FO: Cafe Tunic
This is Cafe Tunic from Modern Top-down Knitting by Kristina McGowan. I used Fibranatura Heaven, which is a very soft and light merino/silk blend. It's great for wearing with leggings or thick tights. Anything else would be too bulky and show too many lumps and bumps under the skirt section. It's not tight at the bottom, but I find that knits just tend to show lumps and bumps unless they are much looser or much thicker. I made many little adjustments to the pattern to get the look I wanted.
I added the honeycomb stitch pattern to the top and the hem because I thought it looked just too boring with all that stockinette. All my edges are finished with a row of single crochet followed by a row of reverse single crochet -- I think that looks way more finished and less "homemade" that just a row of single crochet.
The part I fussed with most is that middle band. The pattern calls for binding off stitches, then picking up single crochet and skipping some knit stitches for the gathering, and then knitting after that. I knew that I needed that middle section to hug the torso in order not to look frumpy but it also had to pull over my shoulders. I ended up adding a dense row of half double crochets and using it to encase 1/4" elastic and then picking up the bottom knit stitches from that. This brings in the middle nicely. The neckline also took several tries with different hook sizes to pull the it in just so without puckering. Otherwise, it would fall off my shoulders too easily, and I was not interested in achieving the Flashdance look.
For the sleeves, I did not bother with elastic cord -- I just skipped stitches with the single crochet to get the right amount of gathering.
I did the more standard A-line increases on the bottom instead of doing concentrated increases at the top hip area. The bottom flares out a bit because the honeycomb pattern is a looser gauge, but I'm happy with look.
Finally, I added some short rows to the front to keep the gathering level from front to back.