Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Have the camera back, so can actually show some pictures now.

The scoop neck Cathay top is finally done!

Scoop neck tee
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cathay, 5 balls
Needles: 2.5 mm circular (used as straights) and 2.5 dpn's (for the sleeves)
Pattern: my own

Before I go into the details of the knitting, let me tell you a little story about the evils of yarn acquisition. A year and a half ago, I went to Nottingham for the weekend. We were staying with friends in Beeston, who just happened to live right down the road from a lovely yarn shop called, fittingly, Yarn. So of course I went. Among some other things, I got three balls of Cathay in a lovely magenta-ish shade. I'd meant to get enough to make Grumperina's Tivoli/Picovoli, but for some reason, my brain refused to work that morning, and despite having the pattern with me, I only bought three balls. When I got back to Dublin, I smacked myself, and thought, well, there are some nice examples of striped Picovolis, I'll just get a few balls of a matching colour, and do that. At Springwools, there were only two colours, an icy blue-grey, and black. So black it was. The two colours sat there for a while, as I stewed over the stripey possibilities. After a bit, I started to fall out of love with the Picovoli. So then the six balls of Cathay sat in my modest stash for a year.

Fast forward to a few months ago, and I have an idea for a fitted, deeply scoop necked, cap-sleeved t-shirt. I thought through what I had, and decided the black Cathay would be perfect. As I started to knit it, I realized I wouldn't have enough yarn. I scaled it back to a sleeveless tank, but still had to face the truth- I was going to need an extra ball. I'd bought this yarn a year ago, so I had no hopes of finding the same dyelot. Around this time, my birthday came up, and The Limey took a day off work and surprised me with a trip out to Springwools. Well, just for yuks, I looked through their Cathay stash- they had black, still, and waaay in the back, one ball of the dyelot from my original yarn! I praised whoever is the patron saint of yarn (there must be one) and grabbed it. With this one extra ball, it was just enough to finish off the tank. But then I was left with a black tank top. Which...eh. I looked at my original design, and decided I really like the cap sleeves. In fact, I have a lot of cap-sleeved tops in my closet. So I thought, well, what the hell, I'll buy another ball and if I'm using them for the sleeves, a different dyelot won't be the end of the world. So I bought another ball at This Is Knit, and you see the finished product here.

Mind you, I still have the original three balls of the magenta. I'd only bought the first balls of the black to be able to use the magenta! But two extra balls, three yarn shops, and a year and a half later, here I am, still with the three balls of magenta I can't use! Aaargh!

Notes: Now, on to the actual top and the knitting. I knit the front and back separately, then washed and blocked the pieces before seaming them together. I then picked up stitches around the neckline for the ribbing and around the armscye for the sleeves. I really like the fabric I got with this yarn, but knitting with it is a pain in the ass. It's a cotton blend, and has no stretch, and to get gauge, I had to go down to 2.5 mm needles. The knitting actually hurt my hands. Plus, this is a multiple-plied yarn that isn't so much spun together as just sort of...put together into a single strand and then wound into a ball. So it's splitty. I was forever just knitting into part of a stitch with my pointy Pony's.

This top took way longer than it should have, because I hate -hate- picking up stitches. I did the sleeves and neckline twice, so in between, the project would just sit there for a week or so while I psyched myself up for the picking up of stitches. I just hate it so much. Even when I divided the armholes into sections where I'd only have to pick up 10 or 11 stitches, did I manage to? No, of course not. I'd always reach the end of the section with three stitches left to go, or use up my alloted stitches three-quarters of the way into the section. I hate picking up stitches. Did I mention that?

Having said all that, however, I'm really happy with the way this top turned out. I'm proud I figured out how to do the cap sleeves. They were done with short rows until I liked the length, then finished off with ribbing.

You can see how uneven the tension between my knit and purl rows are on the sleeve. I really have to work on that, but having no give in the yarn didn't help.

This was done early last week, so for the past few days, I've only had one project on the needles: Print O' The Wave. I just keep chugging along on it.


a simple yarn said...

I remember that project at one of the SnB gatherings. Was impressed by the 'it's my own pattern' part of the work! The outcome is quite lovely. Congratulations!

Sharon in Ireland/NZ said...

I think your top is really nice - especially the scoop neck line - very flattering. Hope you wear with pride!

Lumi said...

Looking lovely! Love the neckline. I'll add you to mu blog, ok?