Mar 15, 2007

Dayflower Lace top

Well, I'm still waiting for the Premiere yarn I ordered, but there's been a change of plan: the pictured project, which I was hoping to complete in time to submit to Knitty--by today!-- has given me no end of headaches. It is far from being completed, as ripping is unfortunately required. And what do you know, it's in Premiere, color #5248. In short, the perfect project to post about here. (And hey, if this CAL does indeed go to September, I should have time to do another one--if my other yarn ever arrives.) I hope y'all don't mind that the first few posts about this sleeveless top won't be real-time; I started the actual knitting about the time the CAL started up, in mid-February.

However, the original idea germinated awhile ago, almost a year, in fact. I loved the Dayflower Lace stitch pattern in Barbara Walker's 2nd Treasury, and when I decided to design something using it, the first thing I did was Google to see if there were any other patterns out there--first, to see how others might have utilized it, and second, to avoid duplicating someone else's work. I found a scarf, a skirt, and a sweater, and I was interested to note that the latter, a V-neck cardigan with dropped shoulders, avoided any shaping, and thus kept the lace motifs intact (as did the scarf and skirt patterns).

It has been my experience with other curvy lace stitch patterns that mixing them with different stitch patterns must be done judiciously: part of their beauty comes from the undulations caused by the pull of the increase and decreases, and these are affected by adjacent stitches--or by trying to add shaping. So last spring, when I submitted a pattern idea for an empire waist top incorporating Dayflower Lace to Interweave Knits, I limited the lace mostly to the "skirt" portion of the top, thinking to tie the bodice thematically into the skirt by using faggoting--like that within the lace pattern-- to trim the neckline and armholes.

Needless to say, the pattern was not accepted, but I still wanted to pursue the idea, so a little over a month ago, I got out the sketch I had submitted, and started to think about how I might actually execute what I had drawn. By the way, this was one of my earlier sketches using Adobe Illustrator, and while my skills are still fairly rudimentary, one thing this program makes very easy is copying and pasting design motifs--such as if you want to communicate how a lace pattern stitch might appear across an entire garment.

So. Some of the considerations with this top were:
1. How to create the empire waist shaping. Decreases on several rows, like waist shaping but more drastic? Or decreases all at once, creating a gathered effect?
2. What to do for the band under the bust. Simple stockinette or other pattern stitch? Bind off( or not) and attach to band, perhaps knitted horizontally to decrease stretch? I wanted this part of the top to have zero to slightly negative ease, to avoid that tent look! Use a ribbon or twisted cord to make sure the top fits closely here? And if so, incorporate eyelet holes into the band, for threading the ribbon or cord?
3. Bust shaping. If the underbust band was to have no ease, then there would have to be quite sudden increases for the bust, either along the sides, or using short rows, or using increases only in the front, to form a subtle gathered effect (which is pictured in the sketch).
4. Neckline. I wanted to use some sort of self-finishing for the armhole and neck edges, but what then to do about the center neck, which is drawn showing a single lace panel which is bound off horizontally? I didn't think the plain bound-off edge would look finished enough, but if I was going to add an edge finishing, I figured I would probably have to do it to the whole neck edge, and maybe the armhole edges, for design cohesion. Applied I-cord? Crochet? The Dayflower Lace pattern has no purl stitches on the right side, so I was reluctant to introduce ribbing or garter or seed stitch as an edge treatment.

Gah! What to do when faced with so many decisions?! START KNITTING! Luckily the lower part of this top is simply rounds of lace. I made a gauge swatch, calculated 14 repeats for a lower circumference of 40-ish inches, and I was off.

P.S. Um, Julia, why doesn't Team Premiere have a button?


Marnie said...

I really love your sketch, Angela. You have a really nice eye for detail and I think your piece will be beautiful. I'm sorry it wasn't accepted for publication, but I hope you won't let that deter you. I think all of us who have designed have been rejected.

If I were going to make a suggestion, I would say that picot or self facing might be ideal for finishing the arm and neck. I also used a modified icord finish on a piece where I wanted something a little daintier. In this case, I came back after the piece was finished, and I made a two stitch i-cord in which the second stitch was knit with the loop from the edge of the garment. It gave an almost crochet like edge, but a little more substantial. I did it in a contrasting color and thought it looked quite nice. You'd have to play around with the corners in the neckline to get the right effect there, but the curves shouldn't be a problem.

Anne-Caroline said...

I can't believe they rejected your pattern idea - I think it is beautiful. Perhaps you could write up the pattern using this CAL, and then sell it on your blog...

Emily said...

I've had patterns rejected before too - it's all the more reason to move on and keep working on those designs, or try to submit your design somewhere else.

Anyway, I like your sketch. Perhaps the design for this top could be submitted somewhere(?) once you finish.

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

Um, Angela, as Team Captain of Team Premiere, I nominate you to make us a button! And make it good! Love, J

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

Angela - I had to make that smarty-pants comment before reading all of your post, and I'm going to have to read the post again to think more about options for the design so far, but I wanted to let you know that as soon as I saw the dayflower motif I knew the post was yours. I think our lace preferences overlap almost completely. I've been eyeing that one for a while. It looks gorgeous, and the sketch is awesome (thanks for the info on illustrator, too). This is going to be a great piece. Team Premiere rocks!

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

Last comment to those shocked that this beautiful design got dinged - it happens constantly. About 50-60% of design ideas don't make it. Angela has publications all over already, so don't cry for her - she knows this one is good!

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

This REALLY will be my LAST CCOMMENT. I just bought this at J. Jill today - on sale and it uses the dayflower pattern. Love it.

Ruinwen said...

It really is a lovely lace pattern and I'm going to enjoy watching your top evolve.


Anonymous said...

I like your sketch very much and don't ever give up--keep submitting your designs, if that is what you want. Never give up!

Joanna said...

Angela, I really like your idea so far - the lace pattern is so pretty! When I first saw your photo, I thought it looked familiar but I couldn't figure out from where. Then my roommate put on a hat that she made herself, and I realized it was the same pattern! So, if you do want to incorporate shaping into the lace pattern (or at least see how someone else did so), you might be able to get ideas from this Dayflower Hat pattern.