Tag Archives: Chamomile Top

Chamomile Top

In contrast with my last post, this post is certainly not about a dud.

This is one of my older projects, one that I blogged about a bit while it was still in progress, and I still contend that it’s yet another example of overambitiousness. Or lack of fear. Or both. But as I said with Captain America’s Shield and will most certainly say again in the future: go big or go home.

Chamomile Top

Pattern: Chamomile Tunic by Asami Kawa
Yarn: Baruffa Cashwool in color 19
Needles: US0 / 2.0mm Hiya Hiya metal circulars
Hook: US2 / 2.2mm Susan Bates Steelite crochet hook

Lots of firsts with this project! First garment made out of laceweight yarn, and a very fine laceweight at that. First project with yoke shaping. First serious bit of crochet.

Also, first time I made multiple major miscalculations, leading to the first time I’ve ever knit a sweater yoke twice, and the first time I frogged most of the (already attached) sleeves and then reattached them by grafting. (Note to future self: the yarn requirement calculations you use for set-in sleeve sweaters don’t quite work for yoke-shaped sweaters.)

Not only that, but I did several other modifications as well. Like I’ve mentioned before, I added a bit of waist shaping. I also shortened the whole thing from tunic length to mid-hip length.

And if that wasn’t enough math for me, I also had to account for a very different gauge, since the Cashwool I used is quite a bit finer than the Alpaca Cloud called for in the pattern.

Chamomile Top

Whew!

Needless to say, I learned a TON from all that, and I’m more than a little proud of how it all paid off. Seriously, I love Chamomile to bits! But goodness, the amount of work involved. Never doing that again, but it was totally worth it just this once.

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The perils of yarn substitution

Hi! Long time no blog, because [reasons]. But I’m back for the moment. I have several FOs to post about at some point, as well as a couple of WIPs to talk about. The latter have been, well, full of hiccups, but I think I’m finally ready to deal with all of those. So! Let talk about one of those troublesome WIPs today.

I had a little less than a full skein of Baruffa Cashwool when I started the Chamomile Tunic. Which is less yarn than the pattern calls for in my size. But I figured I’d be fine, since I often knit sweaters with significantly less yarn than called for.

Except this time around, I made a couple of fairly boneheaded mistakes. While my math did include calculations for a different gauge and for my desired waist shaping, I completely forgot to account for two things:

  1. I wanted LONGER sleeves than those of the pattern (as opposed to shorter, which is my usual modification).
  2. There’s crochet in this pattern. Which uses more yarn than knitting. How much more? I had no idea, because I had never seriously crocheted in my life, which meant I had no point of personal reference.

So, as you’ve probably figured out, I ran out of yarn. After I’d already attached the sleeves and knit 18 rows with 550+ stitches. And cannibalized my swatch. Whooooooops. What’s a knitter using a discontinued yarn to do?

Well, I figured I’d lower the neckline a bit, so I calculated how much more yarn I’d need to finish the shorter version (thank you, yarn scale!). And then I removed the sleeves and unravelled them (down to about as long as the original pattern called for!), before unkinking the frogged bits and winding them up for reknitting.

And now, here’s what it looks like, with the yoke but without any sleeves.

I haven’t reattached the sleeves yet because I wanted to wait until I was done with the neckline, just in case I needed to cannibalize even more yarn. As far as I can tell, I’ve got two options, neither of which I particularly like the prospect of:

  1. Graft the sleeves back on.
  2. Pick up stitches around the armhole and knit/crochet back down.

I’m actually leaning toward the first one, as daunting as that sounds, because I think it might take less time than unravelling the sleeves entirely, picking up stitches around the armhole, and then knitting and crocheting rounds and rounds of 150+ stitches. But we’ll see.

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Laceweight crochet solution

The sleeves for Chamomile start with a crochet band, the beginning of which were actually trickier for me than the flowers in the waistband.

Why was this so difficult? Well, it starts with a long chain, and I was having a really hard time crocheting into it because 1) the loops were tiny, despite my best efforts to keep them looser and 2) the yarn is really splitty. I may have had an easier time of it if I were a better crocheter, but as it was, I kept either working into the wrong loop (if I could get the hook in there at all) or splitting the yarn. I seriously started the first sleeve five times before I finally thought up a solution, based on a provisional cast on I’ve used a number of times for knitting. And that solution was:

1. Make a chain, using a smoother, slightly heavier crochet cotton.

2. Make a slip knot in the project yarn. Then with the laceweight, slip stitch into the back loops of the cotton chain.

3. Work the first pattern row into the top laceweight loops (the back loops should be on the other side of the cotton chain).

Then, work the rest of the band per the pattern. Pick up and knit around the top of the band.

4. Unzip the cotton chain.

Tada! The laceweight didn’t unravel at this point, because the slip stitch row is basically a chain itself.

This worked for me for two reasons. One is that, as noted above, crocheting the laceweight into the cotton chain actually separated the back loop from the rest, so it kept me from working into that loop. The other is simply that the contrast between the off-white crochet cotton and the brown laceweight made the loops easier to see.

Once I got the crochet bands done, the rest of the sleeves were easy peasy. Pictures of those to come!

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Moving on down

I finished the waistband for the Chamomile Tunic a couple of weeks ago:

I love love love it. It’s not perfect, by any means, but I totally don’t care. It’s close enough, right?

So I started the knitting portion. I ended up knitting down from the waistband to the hip first, instead of up from the waistband to the neckline like the pattern calls for:

This is mostly because I hadn’t made a decision on sleeve length yet, and I didn’t want to make that choice until I had a better idea of how much yarn I have left for them. I mean, I didn’t want to say “hey, I’ll do elbow length sleeves!”, knit those along with the rest of the upper torso, and then not have enough yarn for the bottom half. Oh, the joys of using stashed-five-years-ago yarn.

I’m making a few modifications beyond that, too. The pattern doesn’t have any waist shaping, but I added some to my version, in the interest of not looking completely boxy. I’m still aiming for a bit of positive ease in the bust, which is a bit of a departure for me, but I’d like to keep it a little looser without losing my shape entirely.

I’m also planning on doing yoke shaping rather than raglan. I thought about doing set-in sleeves, but I do those all the time and could use a change in construction techniques. Besides, it’ll be a good exercise, I think.

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Getting my crochet on

Crochet is probably my first real craft. My mom taught me when I was three or so, although I forgot about it sometime between then and college. (No wonder it came so easily to me when I tried it again at age 21!)

The only crochet project I’ve ever finished as an adult was a single scarf. I’ve done crochet bindoffs and the like for knitting projects since, but I’ve just never had much desire to go beyond that.

Until now.

This is the start of the waistband for the Chamomile Tunic (with an American quarter for scale). I have 26 more flowers to crochet. In laceweight.

I’m sure that sounds a little overly ambitious for someone who hasn’t seriously crocheted for… well… ever. And maybe it is, but it’s not actually beyond my skill set. It’s just a little rough on my hands and wrists because of the scale. So I’ve set an upper limit on the number of flowers I make per day, and as long as I crochet no more than that, I’m fine.

After I’m done with this waistband, the next step is to pick up stitches along the top and start knitting up. I won’t be done with crochet entirely – the sleeves and neckline have a crocheted edging as well – but this is by far the trickiest bit of the entire pattern. I’m having fun with it so far, at least!

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