Montag, 25. Juni 2018

Bella Paquita

Bella Paquita is a beautiful free sweater pattern by Marnie MacLean - available via Ravelry or directly on her website. I discovered it in my early Ravelry days (in 2011) and wanted to knit it right then, even though I wasn't a good knitter back then and lacked some of the skills necessary for it.

I even bought a beautiful and quite expensive (at least I thought so at the time :) grey alpaca yarn for it, but I was a bit too afraid to use it. So I first tried the pattern with some really old old bordeaux red yarn from a sweater I had started in the 1980s and frogged (here's the Ravelry page of the project). I made quite a few mistakes when knitting it for the first time - some due to my lack of knitting experience other due to not reading the pattern :/

But I finished it and really liked the look of it - except for the curve of the lace collar. To make the lace collar fit, the pattern suggests: "to sew two small darts in the lace" and later after you've sewn it with your sewing machine to "clip the excess fabric about a quarter inch from the outer most seam line". Cutting into my knitting is something that I don't think I could ever do. So when I knitted the first one, I just sewed the collar to lay flat on my shoulders, but I didn't cut the excess. The picture on the right shows how that looked from the inside.

So I resolved to use to use short rows to shape the collar - when knitting it again with my beautiful alpaca yarn. A project that I started soon after finishing the first sweater. I quickly did the main pieces (front, back and sleeves) - and then started the lace. It took me a few attempts to get a) the short rows and b) the curve right, but I guess I got it right in December 2012. And I know I knitted a piece of the collar on the train home after New Year's Day of 2013.

And then it became a WIP - a hibernating WIP. For a loooong time ...

I don't even know why I abandoned it, but this year (more than 5 years later, when I was going through a bit of an inspirational crisis :) I finally picked it up again and
  • finished the lace collar (even though I had to try the lace pattern with the short rows a few times with scrap yarn)
  • sewed up the pieces and
  • inserted the lace collar.
It was finished (fireworks!), and I'm really happy with it ...

As it may help somebody else who also wants to knit this lovely sweater, here are the modifications I did. More photos can be seen on my Ravelry project page.

Firstly, I didn't knit the pieces in the order as given in the pattern. I started from the hip and knitted the front and back piece together in the round. After ribbing, I put 12 stitches (in the middle of the front part on a stitch holder (or rather scrap yarn) and started to knit in rows. When reaching the sleeves, I devided it into two front and one back part, that I finished seperately.

But the major modification was knitting the collar in short rows, which I did as follows:
  • Short row (ridge) for regular lace: (RS) k3, yo, p2tog, yo, p2tog, ktbl, turn (just a normal turn, no w+t), (WS) sl1, p1, k2, yo, p2tog, yo, p2tog, k1
    Since this increases the stitch count by 1, in the next row I did a k2tog just over the gap, i.e. the two stitches I knitted together were the last stitch of the short row (RS) and the next stitch. If that next stitch was to be a k2tog (as stated by the lace pattern), I did a k3tog.
  • Short row (ridge) for reverse lace: (WS), k1, p2tog, yo, p2tog, yo k2, p1, turn, (RS) sl1, yo, p2tog, yo, p2tog, k3
    As with the regular lace, this increases the stitch count by one, so I had to decrease by one in the following in row. And I did this also at the gap, where I did a p2tog instead of the normal p (as given in the lace pattern without short rows). 
On both sides (regular and reverse) I first knitted one normal repeat of the lace pattern (A in the picture below). Then 3 repeats with the short rows inserted every 2nd row (B, before rows 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 for the regular lace and before rows 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 for the reverse lace). Then one repeat with only two short rows (C, before the 3rd and 7th row for the regular lace, and before the 4th and 8th for the revers). Then I went on with normal pattern repeats (D).

Since I rarely knit sweaters that are sewn up (for my own stuff, I prefer top-down raglan constructions, e.g. this one), I had a hard time inserting the sleeves. On YouTube I found these helpful videos:
This was the first time I actually finished a long term WIP - usually, I tend to frog them.
Do you have a WIP that has been lying around for quite a while? If so, do you think you'll ever finish it?

By the way, the background picture of my blog (the grey knitted ribbing) is a photo of the ribbing of this project :) ... and it has been the background picture for more than five years.

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