Monday, July 9, 2007

Bella, Bella, Bella.......

Finished the lovely Bella Blouse a few days ago and am quite pleased with it---the fabric has a wonderful drape, and it fits! I am a largely self-taught knitter (all right, I was taught by Dodie, as I talked about earlier on this blog, but she did not live nearby so I ended up just figuring out how to make a garment on my own) and fit has often been a matter of luck--mostly bad--for me. During the knitting surge of the 1980's, I knit many sweaters but at least half of them did not fit--usually way too big. Sometimes I used a yarn from my stash but often I used the yarn in the pattern. Whatever I used, size was a surprise element. Its only been through listening to podcasts over the past year that I have realized--duh!--the true importance of GAUGE! Yes, 21 years of school, decades of knitting experience, and I still used stretching, squishing, and hope to make a gauge swatch work.

A year of successful sock knitting (and, yes, gauging) helped me feel ready to take on a sweater again. Careful work with gauge earned me the reward of a sweater that I like and can wear! I even blocked it, and I'm embarrassed to admit that this is a first for this old knitter!

The details: the pattern is by Norah Gaughan and is available online and free from Interweave
Knits (Summer 2007). I used Berocco Cotton Twist (Sensai colorway) for the lace elements and Berocco Touche (Nectar colorway) for the body. I fell in love with it when I first saw it, and was particularly delighted that it gave me a chance to try a Norah Gaughan pattern. I used the colors called for in the pattern (though they look different than they did in the pattern photo), and made only a couple of changes: shortened the body to make it a "petite"; added a row of single crochet at the underarms to give them a more finished appearance; and fiddled with the YO in the lace when it appeared at the beginning of a wrong side row (I YO'ed from over and behind to make the loop tighter).

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