You know how it is when you see a pattern and you fall in love with it and you simply must knit it, even down to using the actual yarn specified in the pattern? Except the pattern is hard to come by (not sold at all in Australia) and ditto for the yarn. So you file it away but never forget about it, hoping that one day you'll manage to find both and stump up for the postage from overseas.
Well, the fates aligned for me on this one - you know it, Olive, I've posted about it before. Ms Funky found the pattern book in the US (hurrah #1). And then Pru destashed the exact yarn in the colour I would have chosen if I was buying it myself (hurrah #2). Which also provided me with the perfect opportunity to meet her in person so I could collect the yarn (hurrah #3!). So of course it was meant to be. (Fortunately for you all, at some point after I got my hot little hands on the pattern book, it became available as an individual download...)
And it has been perfect knitting for me - stocking stitch, in the round, with a little easy shaping and then some colour on the striped garter edges. Oh yeah, and a heap of research and maths before and during the process, as I had to modify the pattern to fit me (upsizing) and to add waist shaping and remove the blouson effect of the original - which is lovely on the willowy stick-thin model, but not so much on stumpy log-large me.
But it was all worth it, I think:
Pattern: Olive by Helga Isager from Amimomo Knit Collection Autumn/Winter 2008 (and now individually). I don't know why exactly I fell in love with this, but I did. I suppose it was the simplicity of it as well as the gathering at neckline and the pouffy sleeves (I am a sucker for a slightly pouffed sleeve!) and the dash of colour provided by the stripes at each edge.
Yarn: Isager Strik Alpaca 2, a lovely fingering/4ply, 50/50 alpaca/merino, in a gorgeous blue/grey (011), approximately 4.5 skeins - the 50g skeins are a generous 250m each! And Noro Silk Garden Sock in S252 - a great colourway I must say - has black, grey, blues and a vivid lime green. I did have to butcher the Noro quite a bit - I cut out a lot of the black and grey, as well as the other colours, so that I'd get a variation of colours on each of the bands. Thank goodness it spit splices beautifully!
Sticks: 3mm KnitPicks Harmony Options for the garter bands, 4mm for the body and sleeves. The smaller needles are great for ensuring the garter doesn't ripple like it can with stocking stitch, and the larger needles make a beautiful drapey fabric.
Time: 1 October 2010 - 18 February 2011. Another of my pre-2011 projects bites the dust!
Modifications: I made extensive notes on my Rav project page, so you can have a looky there if you so desire! But I will say here that my modifications were helped immensely by the notes other Ravellers made on their own project pages for this pattern - so I encourage you all to add notes to your projects if you can - even if just about yarn substitution or needle size used - it really is very helpful and makes Ravelry an even better resource than it already is!
(one of the obvious modifications was to knit the garter bands flat and then close them with a button and crochet loop - no way am I doing garter stitch in the round unless I absolutely have to!)
I also couldn't have made such a good job of the fit if I hadn't done a big swatch and done the maths before I started knitting, and then keep measuring and trying it on as I knitted (a huge benefit of the seamless top down garment!). The maths alone wasn't enough, as I'd failed to include in my calculations various fit factors, so it was only by trying it on that I knew I'd (for example) reached my waist and so needed to stop decreasing, and start increasing!
I'm very happy with this project! I'm looking forward to some cooler weather now so I can wear it! I think the lightweight alpaca blend will be lovely for our climate - warm without being suffocating!