What: Allure / Kim Hargreaves
How: Circular needles 2.5 mm ja 3.0 mm
From: Drops Lace, 119 g
It feels like a life time ago when I found Kim Hargreaves' books and knitting in English. One alltime favorite I've made from her is been Allure. Even though I knitted it from mohair which I haven't been able to stand for years now. Yet, the mohair Allure is a staple piece in my wardrope.
I've been planning for ages to reknit Allure in some nicer material. A year ago I went a bit crazy and started three different projects in Drops Lace - two sweaters and one shawl that made me insane. Amazingly, I finished the shawl already last autumn and this is the first of the two sweaters. (Actually I'm well on my way on getting rid of all my wips and the second sweater is coming along nicely too.)
But let's get back to the important stuff. So, I took a rematch at the favorite sweater with alpaca lace yarn. This project had three things I wouldn't recomend to anyone who isn't as much of a crazy knitting lady as I am:
- A lace sweater in lace weight yarn.
- And not in just any lace weight yarn, but BLACK lace weight yarn.
- Modifying the pattern the whole time to not be knitted in pieces but seamlessly.
Yep, that's me. Just my kind of a project. Some say it's crazy. I say it's a challenge and boy, does it sound daunting and interesting.
The beginning was easy knitting. The front and back could easily be knitted in the round. All I had to do was to make sure my stitch count worked with the lace pattern. I knitted the body in one piece to underarms and then separated the front and the back. I could've used kitchener stitch to join the shoulders but it was way easier to just sew them together. With this light yarn, the seams are very slim.
Then came the interesting part. I modified the sleeves to be seamless as well and knitted them top down. First, I checked how many stitches there should be at the widest part of the sleeve and picked up that many stitches from the armholes. Then I needed to check how many stitches there should be at the highest point of the sleeve before starting short rows to shape the sleeve tops. After that it was just short rows taking in one more stitch at the end of each row until I had used all the stitches.
This would've been easy and a piece of a cake if the sweater wasn't black lace. And if I hadn't used smaller needles to make it easier to pick up the sleeve stitches and forgot to change back into the bigger needles. I managed to finish the first sleeve top just in time to realize I have to tink it all. Well, practice makes perfect, right?
One little problem was that I had no way of knowing, how long I should knit straight before starting sleeve decreases because the instructions only stated how long the sleeve should measure fromt the wrist, not the underarm. Oh well, I made a lucky guess and ended up being right.
Finally, all that was left was to pick up stitches from the neck opening to knit the turtle neck collar. I can't believe the pattern instructed to knit that in a separate piece as well and then sew on. Oh the times. You know, everything wasn't better in the golden olden days. Oh no, not at all!
The sweater turned out beautiful. I especially love the sleeves that are really wide and a bit too long just above the wrist. Black lace is always stylish and makes for a great outfit for more formal occations as well.
The yarn choice worked nicely to substitute the icky mohair. Except for the collar. The alpaca yarn is way too drapy to hold up the collar and it looks like there's just a pile of yarn where the collar should be. But you can't win every battle. Atleast the sweater isn't itchy.
We found this amazing back drop for the photoshoot and I'm pretty sure we will never be able to top this one. The pics are taken at Armadale caste ruins on the Isle of Skye. The lovely window shots aren't from the caste ruins but the old laundry ruins on the castle grounds