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Archive entry for June 2007

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June 2007

Cocktail top

Cocktail_top.jpg

A pretty, low-cut, jewelled cocktail jumper for evenings, dating from 1957. Originally knitted in Patons Beehive Fingering 3-ply, this version uses a fine vintage Phildar yarn in sunshine yellow. The original colour suggestion was pale pink, with black embroidery, (which I omitted altogether for my version to avoid looking like a bee as much as possible). I think it would be very pretty in pink.
My pose above is in imitation of the orginal model, which is in itself quite a challenge despite the air-brushing techniques available for digital photographs....

Lace Pattern

Row 1: (right side) k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * to last 4 sts: k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1.
Row 2: k1, p3, * p2, [k1, p1] into "made" loops of previous row, p2; repeat from * to last 4 sts: p3, k1.
Row 3: k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, * k2tog, wfwd, k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * to last 4 sts: k2tog, wfwd, k2.
Row 4: k1, purl to the last st, k1.
Row 5: k2, k2tog, * wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog; repeat from * to last 4 sts: wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2.
Row 6: k1, p2, [k1, p1] into made loops, * p4, [k1, p1] into made loops; repeat from * to last 3sts: p2, k1.
Row 7: k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, * k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, wfwd, k1; repeat from * to last 4 sts: k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1.
Row 8: k1, purl to the last st, k1.

Instructions

Back and front alike.

With No. 13 needles, cast on 114 (126) stitches, and work 4 inches in k1, p1 rib.
With right side facing, change to No. 11 needles, and commence working in stocking stitch (1 row knit, 1 row purl), starting with a knit row. Increase at each end of the 11th and every following 6th row, until there are 132 (144) sts. Then increase at each end of the following 4th row: 134 (146) sts. Next row: purl.

[Editor's note: I worked both sides together in the round, (so every round knit) up to the start of the armhole pattern, when I split the work, and continued each side separately. Mark the sides with st markers to aid placement of the increases.]

Introduce lace pattern at the centre:
Next row: k60 (66), pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern, k60 (66).
Next row: p60 (66), pattern 14sts as 2nd row of lace pattern, p60 (66).
Continue in lace pattern and stocking stitch thus for a further 6 rows, increasing 1 st at each end of the next and following 4th row, [138 (150) sts].

Next row: Inc in 1st st, k55 (61), pattern 26sts as 1st row of lace pattern, k55 (61), Inc in last st.
Work a further 7 rows in lace pattern and stocking stitch thus, increasing 1 st at each end of every alternate row, [146 (158) sts].

Introduce lace pattern at sleeve edges:
[Editor's note: If you are working in the round, then you need to split the work at this point and continue each side separately.]

Next row: pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern; k40 (46); pattern 38sts as 1st row of lace pattern; k40 (46); pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern.
Work a further 7 rows in lace pattern and stocking stitch.

Divide for neck as follows:

Row 1: pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern; k34 (40); k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more, k1, k2tog, turn, and leave remaining sts on a spare needle.
Row 2: k1, p3, * p2, [k1, p1] into "made" loops of previous row, p2; repeat from * twice more, p3, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 3: pattern 14sts, k34 (40); k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, * k2tog, wfwd, k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * to last 2 sts: k2tog.
Row 4: k1, p21, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 5: pattern 14sts, k34 (40); k2, k2tog, * wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog; repeat from * twice more: k1.
Row 6: k1, * p4, [k1, p1] into made loops; repeat from * twice more: p2, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 7: pattern 14sts, k34 (40); k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, * k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, wfwd, k1; repeat from * once more: k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k1.
Row 8: k1, p19, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 9: pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern, k28 (34); k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more, k1, k2tog, wfwd, k2tog.

Continue in pattern, decreasing 1st at neck edge on every alternate row, and at the same time, taking an extra 6 sts into lace pattern at neck edge on every following 1st pattern row until 49 (51) sts remain, ending with right side facing for next row. At this point 9 (10) complete patterns have been done from the start of the lace pattern.

Now work over all stitches in pattern, still decreasing 1 st at neck edge on next and following 3 alternate rows. [45 (47) sts]
Next row: in pattern.
[Editor's note: I lengthened the armhole here, kntting one further 8-row pattern to make the armhole measure 7 inches over my tension on the smaller size (actually I think I should have knitted the larger size); I did not decrease at the neck edge on these additional rows. Lengthening the armhole is fine but remember you are also lowering the V neck when you add rows here, and if you do it too much you may end up turning "pretty low-cut style for evenings" into something far more racy!.]

Shape shoulder as follows (right side facing):

Next row: Cast off 12 (14) sts, pattern to last 2 sts, K2tog.
Next row: in pattern.
Next row: Cast off 6 sts, pattern to last 2 sts, K2tog.
Next row: in pattern.
Repeat the last 2 rows once more.
Now, keeping the neck edge straight, continue to shape the shoulder by casting off 6 sts at the beginning of the next, and following 2 alternate rows. Fasten off.

With right side facing, rejoin the wool to the remaining sts and work the other side of the neck as follows:

Row 1: k2tog, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more; k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1; k34 (40); pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern.
Row 2: pattern 14sts, p34 (40); k1, p3, * p2, [k1, p1] into "made" loops of previous row, p2; repeat from * to last 2 sts: p1, k1.
Row 3: k2tog, * k2tog, wfwd, k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * twice more; k2tog, wfwd, k2; k34 (40); pattern 14.
Row 4: pattern 14, p34 (40), k1, p21, k1.
Row 5: k2tog, k3, k2tog, * wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog; repeat from * once more; wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2; k34 (40); pattern 14.
Row 6: pattern 14, p34 (40), k1, p2, [k1, p1] into made loops; * p4, [k1, p1] into made loops; repeat from * once more: p4, k1.
Row 7: k2tog, k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, * k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog,wfwd, k1; repeat from * once more; k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1; k34 (40); pattern 14.
Row 8: pattern 14, p34 (40), k1, p19, k1.
Row 9: k2tog, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more: k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, k28 (34), pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern.

Finish to correspond with the other side of the neck.

Making up - Press stocking stitch parts only on the wrong side under a damp cloth. Join shoulder and side seams. Press seams.

Crochet edging - Using the main colour, work a row of double crochet (US single crochet) all round neck and sleeve edges.

Embroidery - Using 2 strands of stranded cotton, embroider 4 petal loop stitch flowers in centre of diamonds round neck edge and sleeves, as shown in the photograph, then add a jewel or sequin to the centre of each flower.
[Editor's note: I omitted the embroidery and used 28 (a whole packet) of Gutermann beads distributed around the neck at the front.]

Materials

Original pattern calls for 5oz of 3-ply.
Example shown is knitted in 3 x 50g balls of vintage 3ply.
See "substituting the wool"

One pair each of numbers 13 and 11 needles. Number 12 crochet hook.

Jewels (5mm) or sequins and stranded cotton for embroidery.

Tension

32st and 40 rows to 4 inches (10cm) on No 11 (3mm) needles.

Size matters

Instructions for two slim fitting sizes: 33-35 (36-38) inch bust; length from top of shoulders 18½ (19¼) inches.

A word on the wool.

I used an old Phildar yarn (Loisirs) which knits 30st to 4inches; Phildar Luxe is a quality fine yarn in a fair range of colours - but both these yarns are mixed fibres with only 15% wool.
See "substituting the wool"

Disclaimer

(well...almost a disclaimer...)
In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this lace pattern, please and I will try and assist.

 

Substituting the wool
The recommended yarn is a 3-ply. Knitting these old patterns makes you think "gosh - I'd forgotten how fine 3-ply was" and "gosh - how small and dainty people were in the 1950s".

In addition to the issues with size and tension, 3-ply is a very fine (fingering) yarn which is now really restricted to baby wools, assuming you can find it at all. The baby ranges usually offer it in white only, and tend to be "easy care" - or as we know it: synthetic. I have not done exhaustive research, but there does not seem to be any of the standard bread-and-butter brands in this wool weight. I imagine that some of the heavier crochet cottons may knit up to these kinds of tensions, but the texture of the knitting may be a little stiff.
You can aquire some vintage 3-plys on eBay (for example, Jaeger 3ply Botany, or even Patons Nylox, which is 80% wool and not entirely restricted to mens sock colours). I notice also there are very fine yarns available in cones intended for use with knitting machines, but often content and weights are not clearly defined.

The good news is there has been quite an opening up of the 4-ply wool weights* which I think is due to the popularity of sock knitting now. There are some lovely colour ranges, and Rowan, for example, offer several 4-ply ranges including suitable cottons. This top has turned out to be very pretty, and I would have much preferred it in a cotton or soft woollen yarn.

Knitting in 4-ply will help you with producing a bigger size but check your tension carefully, experiment with smaller needles, and do your arithmetic. Changing from 8st per inch to 7st per inch makes a small 35 inch bust leap to 40. This style is meant to be tight, and don't necessarily be put off if you have an ample figure - as long as it goes in and out in the right proportion!
If you want to change the number of stitches to alter the size then you need to add or subtract 12 at a time. You can alter the length up to the arm easily enough, and also lengthen the armhole by simply knitting more of the lace pattern before you start shaping the shoulder, (as I did).

*The "quickerknit", or fine double knitting yarns, seem to be offered in many more ranges now as well ; at one time this too was relegated to the baby wool shelves only, and it is one of my favourite weights to knit with.

© Christina Coutts 2007

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