Worsted is for winter

All of you long-time followers, brace yourselves: I’m long past due for a Wearability Wednesday post. This (for those who are new-ish readers) is a post where I look at a knitting project from some time back and check on its wearability.  Do I actually wear it? If not, why not? If yes, how do I wear it?  How do I style it?  How has it held up?  Would I knit it again?  The subject of today’s post is Arleen.  I knit Arleen in less than two weeks in March of 2013.  Here is a photo from back then:

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Since that photo was taken, four and a half years ago, I went through empty nest syndrome, gained a post-graduate degree in an entirely new field, and started a third (or is it a fourth?) career.  This has meant (among lots of other things) that I have done less and less knitting and gained more and more weight.  But my Arleen keeps looking good.  Here is a photo from Monday morning:

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And here is the back:

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As you can see, the fit is still good.  The yarn is Cascade 220, a workhouse worsted weight yarn which is not expensive, comes in lots of shades, and is virtually indestructible. This is not a yarn which is going to sag after a few washes.  It also won’t pill much and it won’t bleed.  It is a good, solid, dependable yarn.  I never thought of it as a next-to-the-skin yarn, but in fact I do not find Arleen to be at all itchy or uncomfortable to wear.

Arleen is an interesting example for a Wearability Wednesday post because it originated as the result of a sweater I frogged and detailed in one of my earliest WW posts, Goodbye Levenwick.  The new sweater was blogged in the follow-up post Hello, Arleen. The fact that the yarn was frogged, and then re-knit without steaming or straightening, and that it looks so good, is another testimony to the Cascade 220.

All of this is good, but I have to tell you there is one serious potential downside to this top: worsted is for winter!  Whenever I see a short-sleeved or sleeveless worsted weight sweater I always have the same thought:  If it is cold enough for a worsted weight sweater, then it too cold for sleeveless.  But herein lies an interesting fact: a sleeveless worsted weight top works really well on a cold day under a blazer.

I sometimes think that we women go through four stages in life: first, we are always cold (this stage begins in childhood and lasts a long time), then we are always hot (this comes with being ‘a woman of a certain age’ to speak euphemistically), then we are either very hot or very cold usually in quick succession, and finally, we end up being always cold.  In these middle two stages, where overheating happens frequently, it is very nice to have a sleeveless but warm top under a removable jacket or blazer.

On Monday, we woke up to weather that was just above freezing.  It was cold.  I was debating what to wear under a jacket: a sweater could lead to me roasting in the middle of a meeting but a blouse may be chilly.  What to do? While rummaging through a drawer, I came upon Arleen and an answer presented itself:  grab Arleen and top it with a jacket!  And just to show you that it works, here I am trying it with a number of jackets.  (Please note, I only changed the jackets, keeping my black jeans and boots on throughout, so I have not bothered to coordinate my whole look here.  Also, it was cold out, I had not put on makeup or otherwise gussied up, and Doug had about 2 minutes before he had to leave for work – thus, we took only a few shots instead of the 40 that I would normally take to get one good one.)

With a retro, 80s, black jacket complete with shoulder pads and gold buttons:

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With a rather boring, grey business suit jacket:

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With a cool, cropped jacket in an interesting geometric pattern:

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With a brown, flannel sporty jacket:

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With my Escher cardigan:

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I think they can all work pretty well, and give you an idea of Arleen’s versatility.  The neckline is a bit funny with the geometric jacket, although the colour works well.  I like it best with the Escher but think it works well with the blazers.  (If you are interested in my Escher cardigan and have the fortitude to read two very long and technical posts about knitting and modifying the pattern, you can check them out here and here.)  On Monday, I wore Arleen to work with the grey blazer, and sure enough, I took the blazer off when I got warm and put it on when I cooled off.  A good solution.  Clearly this is the exception that makes the Worsted is for Winter rule!

Sweet and Tart

Welcome to another Wearability Wednesday post, in which I re-visit a hand-knitted garment and discuss its wearability.  The garment in question today is the turtleneck which I finished in early February 2015 and blogged here; below is a photo taken just after finishing.

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The pattern, Lightweight Pullover, was designed by Hannah Fettig.  I took much inspiration from Hannah’s design and the many projects on Ravelry.  (This is a very popular design.)   Once I got going, however, I did my own thing as far as the numbers go – increasing and decreasing where needed, and not paying much attention to the pattern specs.   I took minimal notes, which you can find on my Ravelry project page, here.  I did change the waistband and the cuffs to seed stitch, which I think adds much to the look of the garment.

Of all of the hand-knitted garments in my wardrobe, this is probably the one that has been worn the most in the last year.  Partly, this is due to the fact that I knit it after I put on weight.  (I gained about 10 kilos during 2013-14; many of the knits I made before that are temporarily in storage.)  But mostly, its because it is a very serviceable pullover that fits well into my wardrobe and my lifestyle.

I frequently wear it with jeans.  It is easy to throw in a suitcase and thus it has been worn all over the globe in the last two years.  Below, I am wearing it while examining wool fleeces in the basement of a shop in Llandudno (blogged about here).

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I like that it is lightweight; it is knit in fingering weight wool and this makes it easy to wear and to layer.  I used Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in the fabulous colour Tart. Note that the pattern calls for sportweight wool, but after seeing dozens of Lightwieght Pullovers knit in Tosh Merino Light, I decided that it gave really nice drape.

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I also often wear this garment to the office.  It can be quite easily dressed up or down.  Usually, I will pair it with grey or black, as with these grey trousers:

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Or this black pencil skirt:

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These are all great features and means it gets worn a lot.  But, of course, there are some negatives as well.  This is the first garment I knit in Tosh Merino Light, and I find that it pills. A lot:

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While Tart is a gorgeous colour, I have found it to be a little bit less versatile than I originally thought.  I would normally pair a deep wine with black, grey, navy or brown.  In actual fact, I find that it works much better with blacks and greys than with browns and navys.  Here is a shot with navy; I’m not sure it comes through well in the photo, but the grey tones in the yarn cause it to clash just a bit with the navy (I know this is nit-picky, but it does make it less adaptable in my wardrobe).

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I also have concerns about the fit through the shoulders and arms.  I think it is about a good a fit as a raglan can be, but I am starting to think that a set-in shoulder has a much better fit.  And, it is perhaps a bit too tight (alsa, the weight gain!).  But what bothers me most is the slight felting under the arms:

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Surely, I can’t be the only person who sweats?  The only solution I see is a looser fit under the arms; perhaps more length in the armscythe?  (And a bit more width in the bicep?)

The verdict: this is a fabulous and versatile piece in my wardrobe that sees a lot of wear.  If I were to make it again, I think I would try a different yarn (one that would pill less), and I would add a bit of give to the upper arm.  I think I would also do something with the cowl – make it a bit longer or give it more volume, perhaps?

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Now, it is time to watch the Gilmore Girls (I had never even heard of the show before this summer and am now mid-way through season five – no spoilers please) and do some Christmas gift knitting.  Enjoy your Wednesday!

Viajante means traveller

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It has been a long time since I last wrote a Wearability Wednesday post.  For those of you who are new to the blog, this is a post in which I re-visit a hand-knitted garment and look at it from a wearability standpoint.  Does it get worn?  If yes, how do I style it?  Has the garment held up to time?

In this Wearability Wednesday post, I look at my Viajante, a sort of cross between a shawl, a cowl, and a poncho, designed by Martina Behm.  Here is me wearing it, just after finishing it, in 2013:

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It is a laceweight shawl, made with one skein of Wollmeise Lacegarn.  I knit it over a period of 5 months, which doesn’t seem so long now, but at the time I remember feeling it was endless.  The above photo is from my blog post about the finished garment, which you can find here.   In that post, I comment that it is actually not an easy garment to wear:

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I am extremely proud of this shawl, it is a beautiful piece of knitting, made with fabulous yarn, and it makes for a striking garment.  However, I wore it exactly three times.  I never received a single comment on it.  Not one.  I came to the conclusion that it looked silly on me.  (I think in the top photo of me it looks as if I have one arm and giant boobs and am wearing a voluminous purple cape. Maybe like a costume shoot for a new Wonder Woman movie? Showing off the purple Kevlar-like battle garments worn by her backup crew of middle-aged, ex-Amazonian battle advisors?)  Perhaps, more accurately, I decided that I obviously didn’t have the necessary panache to carry off this piece.  So what did I do?  I gave it to Emma, of course!

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Emma is tall and slim and extremely stylish and could carry off anything from haute couture to a potato sack.  If you put her and Wonder Woman in a photo shoot, no one would spare a glance for Wonder Woman.  Emma apparently wears this Viajante frequently, and enjoys it.  She brought it with her to Sicily in May, and I couldn’t resist taking some photos of her wearing it.  Viajante means traveller, and this knitted piece was started in Lebanon, finished in England, given to Emma who lives in Vancouver, and modelled in Sicily; traveller indeed!

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These photos are taken in the gorgeous villa we stayed in (see this post and this one for more details on Sicily and the villa).  You can see that Emma has styled it in a more casual way, and has bunched up the material more around her neck, making it have less of a fall. On her, it looks cute and pretty and natural.  She switched to a pair of heels in the evening and she wore it to cocktails and dinner, and looked elegant.

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This is not the first time I have solved a wearability issue by giving away a garment to my daughters.  In this previous post (which I must say is a very good post), I showcased a hand-knitted dress which I made for myself but gave to Leah, and it ended up suiting her far better.  Luckily, I have two daughters who love my handiwork and wear these garments with pride.  It means that if I make a stylistic error, I can always remedy it through the ‘daughter route’  (and earn mom points as well)!

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Klaralund

Wearability Wednesday is an occasional feature on this blog, in which I re-visit something I’ve knit in the past and discuss it from a wearability standpoint.  Do I still wear it?  Why?  Or why not?  Has it held up to time?  How do I style it?  Today’s post goes back to a pullover which I knit eight years ago, in the spring of 2006.  Unfortunately,  I can only find one photograph of it from that time, so please ignore the bewildered expression on my face and the washed-out colours (this was before we moved to a digital camera, so we were unable to take 40 photos to get one good shot):

2255927184_47bf365b98_zThis is the Klaralund sweater, designed by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton for Noro. It is knit in Noro Silk Garden.  The above photo was taken in October of 2006, shortly after we moved to England.  Here I am wearing it, eight years later and twenty pounds (egads!) heavier:

1-IMG_9670I have documented elsewhere on this blog my troubles with a repetitive stress injury (deQuervaine’s tenosynovitis) that led to me being unable to knit for more than a decade.  This was the second sweater I made after I was able to take up knitting again.  I wore this sweater to death!  For the first few years after I knit it, it was the go-to item in my wardrobe.  Jeans, check!  Klaralund, check!  Ready to go.  Why did I wear it so much?  I liked to wear hand-knit sweaters and I had very few to choose from at the time.  I loved the colours.  It was easy, un-fussy, but pretty.

At some point, however, I stopped wearing it.  Until Doug took these photos a few weeks ago, I hadn’t had it on in years.  Why did I stop wearing it?  First of all, I think I had worn it so often that I had become bored with it.  Second, as the years went on and I knit more and more, I had a growing pile of hand knits to wear, so it had some competition.  More importantly, however:  this sweater is shapeless.  It is four rectangles sewn together.  There is no shaping whatsoever.  The combination of dropped shoulders and no waist shaping means that it is baggy and shapeless.

2-IMG_9665There is nothing particularly wrong with shapeless sweaters.  In fact, over-sized sweaters without waist shaping and with dropped shoulders are right in style now.  The past few years, however, has had me knitting a succession of shapely, curvy sweaters for me and the girls (for example, Livvy for me, Venetian Audrey for Emma and Peloponnese for Leah).  Compared with them, my Klaralund felt sloppy.  Another reason may also have to do with ego – it is nice to wear a hand knit sweater that shows off your expertise.  Klaralund can be made by a total beginner.

Now that I’ve put it back on though, I think I might resurrect it.  It is still comfortable and easy.  The colours are still bright and interesting.  It has even held its shape (in a shapeless kind of way).  I can still fit into it, despite the extra weight!  Furthermore, it brought back a bit of nostalgia.  I knit this before Ravelry existed.  When I was considering making this sweater, I put ‘Klaralund’ into a search engine and discovered that other knitters were doing the same – this was how I discovered knitting blogs for the first time.  For me, this sweater marks the beginning of the internet in my knitting life.  Who could have guessed that the internet would have so totally changed the knitting community and the way I think about knitting?

So, perhaps the next time I go walk by the river on a windy day or sip my morning coffee in the back garden, I may just pull Klaralund out of the closet.

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Green, glorious green!

Today is Wednesday and it’s time for another Wearability Wednesday post.  For those not in the know, this is an occasional series on the blog where I look back at something I’ve knit and examine it from a Wearability standpoint: do I actually wear it?  How do I style it? Has it stood up to wear?  The focus of today’s WW post is the absolutely gorgeous cabled rib shawl:

5084935078_0e4f0c0bca_zThis shawl was designed by Lily M. Chin and published in the Winter 1999/2000 edition of Vogue Knitting (where it is called #02 Reversible Cabled-Rib Shawl); you can find the Ravelry link here.  I think it is likely that this is the single most-worn item of any I have ever knitted.  I love everything about it.

5084343247_710cb2e8ab_zIt is not a knit for the easily bored.  Knitting this takes endurance.  It is not a difficult or complicated knit.  It is, however, very long and repetitive.  This might be why the project took me so long to finish.  I fell in love with it when I first saw it.  (Thanks, Mom, for shipping copies of Vogue Knitting to me all over the world for so many years!)  I waited until October of 2008 to cast on, however.  This may have been aided by the fact that by then I lived in England and I could purchase Kidsilk Haze from my local department store.

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I didn’t finish knitting it until July 2010.  It of course does not take  22 months to knit this unless you keep throwing it into a box and letting it sit for months on end while working on other projects.  I did this at least three times due to extreme boredom and tedium.  If you plan on knitting this, do as I say not as I do:  This shawl will be one of the best things you ever knit!  DO NOT consign it to your WIP pile.  Plow ahead and finish it and you will never regret it.

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Why do I love this shawl?  I love its delicacy; if you hold it up to the light it is practically transparent.  It is surprisingly warm.  The cables give it a sense of movement and fluidity.  It is very long and can be worn in so many ways, draped over the arms, wrapped two to three times around the neck, tossed over your shoulder.  It looks great with jeans and a t-shirt, it looks fabulous and classy with a dress.  I wear it in all seasons, as a shawl and as a scarf.  I bundle up in it in the winter and wear it on a summer’s evening.

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What do I love most about this shawl?  It’s colour.  It is green, glorious green!  I never get tired of this colour.  It cheers me up on dreary days.  It adds impact to a simple outfit.  It stands out in a crowd.  It gets noticed.  It is uplifting.  As Kermit the Frog sings:

But green’s the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like a mountain
Or important like a river
Or tall like a tree

from “Bein’ green” by Joe Raposo

I frequently think about knitting another one.  Yes, it really is worth all of that effort.  My only hesitation is to find the perfect colour to knit it in.  I have seen beautiful examples of this knit in the palest of colours – pearl grey, ivory, soft pink.  It is truly lovely in these soft shades.  But I want something vibrant and alive – a rich, deep red, a gorgeous purple, even brilliant oranges and yellows (not my usual choices) appeal.  When I first saw this green sitting in with the Kidsilk Haze in the shop, I had to buy it.  My choice was made before I even was aware of it.  So, I suppose I am waiting for a colour to grab me by the throat and say “Knit me!  Knit ME!”

4-IMG_2638I have also seen many examples of this knit in different yarns including some worsted weight wools.  To me, however, this shawl demands a light, soft, beautiful mohair – it is made for Kidsilk Haze.  I think that if you are going to spend thousands of hours knitting in virtually endless ribbing (perhaps a slight exaggeration) to produce a garment that you will wear countless times, then you should splurge and buy the very best.

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Not a month goes by when I don’t wear this shawl.  The photos from my back garden (with me in a white t-shirt) where taken by Emma in October 2010.  The photos in Tucson (black dress) are from April 2012, while the one on the bridge (purple turtleneck) was taken on campus a few metres from my office, just last week.  Here is one taken yesterday (as you may be able to tell, we are having an unseasonably warm February):

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Well, dear readers, that’s it for this edition of Wearability Wednesday.   Lily Chin’s Reversible Cabled Rib Shawl is a completely successful knit in every way; one that is both beautifully wearable and that wears beautifully.

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Little red dress

It’s definitely past time for another Wearability Wednesday post, and as today is not only Wednesday but also cold and grey and very autumnal, I’ll take the time to write one.  For those of you new to this blog, Wearability Wednesday (WW) is a semi-regular series in which I look back at some item I have knitted and examine it in terms of its wearability (I use this term mostly in its stylistic sense and not in terms of durability).  I am interested in whether the item actually gets worn, and if so, how it gets styled.   I recently wrote a post about dresses, in which I highlighted lots of great new dress patterns, so I will use this post to examine my Folded Mini Dress:

6076063740_20cccbf81e_zI loved this pattern, designed by Lynne Barr for her book, Reversible Knitting: 50 Brand-new, Groundbreaking Stitch Patterns, as soon as I saw it.  I knit it in the late summer of 2011.  I finished it while on holiday in Umbria, Italy, to celebrate my 50th birthday and my 20th wedding anniversary.  My daughter Emma took the photo above and my friend, Mark, the one below.  We were experiencing a heat wave and it was nearly 40C when we took these pictures.  I am surprised I managed to smile.

6076061910_2bbe18cc1d_zWhen I was knitting this, I was having serious problems with the pattern running way too big.  You could have fit two of me in the first try; I had to rip the whole thing out and start again.  I switched to a smaller size, and also switched to smaller needles, and still had to add nearly twice as many decreases.  I documented it all on my Ravelry page which you can find here.  It looks a bit tight in the photos above, but mostly that is because I was sweating madly in the heat and the dress was plastered to my body.

So, here we have a gorgeous dress.  How often have I worn it?  Well….never.  Why?  Isn’t it obvious?  This dress is much too short.  Despite having gone to great lengths to make the dress more fitted, I didn’t shorten it, and in fact am pretty sure that I added some length to the pattern.  Perhaps I am very long in the torso.  Whatever the reason, this dress looks fabulous as long as I don’t move.  Heaven forbid, I should sit down!

At first, I consoled myself with the fact that this dress was not made to be worn by itself as in the above photos.  First of all it is wool; knit with the lovely Rowan Felted Tweed, one of my favorite yarns.  My plan was always to wear it with a T-shirt underneath, and tights and boots.  With tights on, I reasoned, it won’t really matter if it’s a bit short.  Earlier this spring, I grabbed Leah and pressed her into camera duty, and we had a photo style shoot for this dress.  This is how I envisioned wearing it:

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I really love it fashioned this way.  I think it looks fabulous.  I am wearing it with the leather jacket AnElissa bought me for my 30th birthday.  It is stylish but well-loved and worn-in.  The necklace was a gift from my Dad over 30 years ago and matches perfectly.  The boots are Valentino, and I splurged on them nearly 20 years ago, and love them to pieces.  But the fact remains that the dress only looks good here because I have tugged the skirt into place and then not moved until the photo was taken.  If I take a step, lift my arms, or sit down, this dress moves out of the “looking great” stage and into the “mom, you’re embarrasing me” stage.

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I have spent two years trying to decide whether to rip the dress out, all the way down to the top of the folded cables, add another four to six inches of cables, and then re-knit the bodice.  I actually have plenty of yarn left over in the same dye lot.  I also know it would go much faster the second time.  The pattern has a lot of fiddly bits along the armholes and neckline.  This is because the dress is designed so that it could be worn with either side in front, and also so that it can be worn inside out (the reverse side is equally cool).  This is one of the things that really attracted me to the pattern in the first place.  It is very, very clever. (In fact, the whole book is full of reversible designs, and is really great; I highly recommend it.)  I am pretty sure that I would always wear it this way, however, which means if I were to re-knit it, I could get rid of the fiddly bits, and just pick up around the arms and neckline for ribbing in the standard fashion.

Somehow, though, there is always something new to knit, and the thought of ripping and re-knitting this (yet again) just doesn’t appeal.  So what to do?  Is this beautiful dress destined for the frog pile?  Well, it should be noted that a dress which is too short on a 52 year old, looks pretty damned good on an 18 year old:

IMG_5997See!  She can jump in it!  She can walk in it!

IMG_5978She can even sit in it!

IMG_5968Clearly, the solution to this Wearability conundrum is to give the dress to Leah!  Way to go, Leah!  You lucked out big time!

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Ormolu

IMG_6668It’s been awhile since my last Wearability Wednesday post.  In that one, I discussed being so disillusioned with a garment, that I ripped it out and re-used the yarn.  This month, I will switch tables and show you one of my all-time favorite knits, something I wear ALL OF THE TIME and love to pieces.  This is the beautiful pullover, Ormolu, designed by Barbara Gregory for Twist Collective.

The photo above was taken by Emma when I finished knitting the pullover in February 2011.  I really think the fit is lovely.  These days, knitters tend to make fitted sweaters by knitting them in one piece and trying on constantly while knitting to fit; this one is knit the old fashioned way – in four pieces, which are then seamed together.  This means that fitting it properly entails taking very thorough measurements, taking your time to make and wash a proper sized gauge swatch, using a tape measure obsessively throughout, trusting in yourself, trusting the designer, and keeping your fingers crossed.

(I can tell that these photos were taken two years ago, because although I wear Ormolu constantly, I can no longer zip up the skirt in the above photo; alas!)  You can see in the above some of the lovely shaping details along the sides.  Many fitted  sweaters today I think look beautiful from the front and gap in the back; this one truly fits, from every angle.  The moral – Knitters, don’t be afraid to seam!

The pattern is very well written.  Barbara Gregory has done a lot to promote this slip stitch colourwork technique, in which only one colour is used on a row.  It produces intricate-looking mosaic colour patterns with considerably less work than Fair Isle.  This is the same knitting technique, by the way, used in the Brick sweater which I knit for Doug.  If you want to do colourwork but Fair Isle intimidates you, I would urge you to try this technique first.  My favorite part of the pattern is the neckline, in which a third colour is incorporated, to really great effect.

And, because we knitters always want to see the reverse side, here you go:

I used Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK in purple and navy.  I had a difficult time picking out a colour for the neck detail.  The yarn I ended up using (which unfortunately, I failed to either write down or keep the ball band) looked fairly brown and boring on its own.   I was aiming for gold, but all of the yellows looked too brass, and the browns looked too, well, brown.  So, I tried a lot of options: here are three of them:

I am glad that I went with the golden hue.  When knit with the navy and purple, it really looks like gold, and makes me think of fine metalwork.  This was obviously the inspiration for Barbara, as you can tell from the pattern’s name.  From Wikipedia:

Ormolu /ˈɔrməl/ (from French or moulu, signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.

IMG_6700It took me 11 months to knit this from cast on to cast off; quite a lot of time.  Despite this, it is not a difficult sweater to knit.  Much of this was due to emotional turbulence.  This is the sweater that I was knitting when my sister called me to tell me that my Dad was dying.   I sat by his bedside, alternately holding his hand and knitting this sweater.  Afterwards, I found it hard to work on, and put it away for a few months before pulling it out again.  This is one of the things that I like most about knitting, that each piece has memories attached to it, of where you were in life while knitting it.  I wear this sweater all of the time, and every time I pull it on, I think of my Dad.  I think that’s pretty cool.

I made a few minor modifications to the pattern, which I detailed on my Ravelry page, but I will copy them here, for those of you who may be interested:

  1. I knit all the right side stitches – no purl bumps.
  2. I added waist shaping. The pattern called for 6 waist decreases, followed by six increases for the bust. I made 8 pairs of decreases, followed by 10 pairs of increases. This means that I had 4 extra stitches on each side when I got to the bust, making it midway between the size 38 1/2 and the size 41 1/2. This gave the sweater zero ease.
  3. I loved the garter stitch ridges that Barbara designed; however, I found that they wouldn’t stop rolling. After knitting about 6 inches of the front, I decided that I wouldn’t be happy with the edges rolling up all of the time, and I ripped out and started again, this time using seed stitch instead of garter. I also used seed stitch for the neckband.
  4. I made it longer. I was aiming for an extra inch and a half, but somehow ended up with an extra 3 inches. I started the decrease pairs on row 24 instead of row 14 of Chart 2.

I fear that I have gotten carried away here.  This post is a Wearability Wednesday post, after all, and here I am blathering on about construction details.  However, this pullover pre-dates my blog so I thought it necessary to give a little background on the project itself before I move on to the important issue of Wearability.

IMG_6687As I stated above, I wear this a lot.  I dress it up; I dress it down.  I wear it to work; I wear it grocery shopping; I wear it to go on long walks.  This is fabulously easy one-stop dressing, and is the thing that I reach for when I want to look good but don’t have time to fuss.  I often wear it with jeans, or with a denim skirt.  I usually pair it with navy trousers and heels, as in the photo at the top of this post.

I have a necklace that looks perfect with it, as if they were designed to wear together.  Interestingly, this necklace is the first piece of jewelry I ever bought for myself.  I was a teenager when I bought it.  It is a reproduction of a piece from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  I used to live a block away from the museum and I had a yearly entry pass; I practically lived there.  I saw this piece in the museum shop and had to have it; at the time it was an expensive purchase.  That was over thirty years ago, and I still love this piece.  (I wish that all of my purchases were so timeless.)

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My only issue with the wear of this sweater is that it pills.  It is not an out of control pilling; but definitely there.  The yarn (which has been discontinued) is a blend of Merino, microfibre and cashmere.   I am not sure which yarn I would use if I were to knit it again, but I would definitely check on the pilling issue before I picked one.

IMG_6701IMG_6702If I had to choose the 5 most successful pieces in my knitted wardrobe, Ormolu would definitely be among them.  I think its success is due to the fact that it is comfortable and warm, easy to accessorize, and has a wow! factor while still being very un-fussy.  The photos in this post have been taken over three winters, and during that time I have never lost interest in this piece.

I once had a few sessions with a stylist about exploring my personal style.  I wore the Ormolu pullover to one of these sessions, and she told me that it would look fabulous with a camel skirt. I don’t know why this never occurred to me.   I have been looking for the perfect camel skirt to wear with it ever since.  In fact, I have put off doing a Wearability Wednesday post about Ormolu, in the hopes of finding the skirt first so I can show you what a brilliant combination it is.  I want a wool camel skirt that comes to just above the knee, with box pleats front and back.  Some day, I will find just the right skirt and maybe that will necessitate a further post, but until then, I will keep the navy vibe going.

We are about to depart on a family holiday, so I won’t post on the weekend, but will return soon after a week in the sun!

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