Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Vintage Lace Sweater

 I've written about this project before, but I've finally finished it and so here's a recap.  This pattern was from a 1940s book, and therefore gave a couple of problems.  Firstly, it was written in only one size, 34 inches. After a bit of experimentation I discovered that my gauge was off for this and using the needles specified it would turn out bigger anyway, which it needed to be for me.  Secondly, what did "M1" mean in the pattern?  Using the rather imprecise glossary in the book and my experience of lace knitting, I decided it meant YO and when I did that, hey presto, it looked the way it did in the photos.  The alternate semi-solid and open lace pattern runs 3/4 of the way up, and the yoke is done in openwork with a central semi-solid panel.
 When I was knitting it, it looked very short and wide.  I'm not fanatical about blocking, I rarely do it but I make an exception for lace knitting, especially this kind of project which I did in laceweight alpaca, a cone of which I had in my stash.  You can see the problem from the picture above, the patterning contracts the vertical stitch height.  This picture was taken after I had rinsed the sweater and before I blocked it.
 And here it is carefully pinned out to its full length.  There is no actual waist shaping, I created that purely by not pulling out the sides but instead pinning the bottom slightly wider.
The original pattern had a tight ribbing at the bottom of the body and sleeves, characteristic of the 1940s.  But they also showed a version knitted in fine cotton, which had a simple short ribbing the same width as the body, plus a crocheted collar.  I ditched the crochet but did the ribbing on all the ends after I had knitted each piece, as it took that long to decide what I was going to do!  I've just noticed that the sweater isn't hung quite straight in this picture so the pattern looks a little slanted across the chest, it isn't really.

Was it worth months of careful and slow work, plus the frustration of reconstructing the openwork lace on the three occasions I accidentally pulled some stitches off the needles?  Most definitely!