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Tuscany Lace Tunic by Vicki Square from Light and Layered Knits; Interweave Press
My tool and yarn choices
Needles: 3.5 mm, 4.0 mm, 4.5 mm circular needles (one pair Karbons and one pair bamboo unknown brand.)
Yarn: Rowan Pure Life Revive, 35% recycled silk, 36% recycled cotton, 28% recycled viscose; 50 grams/125 meters; Shade: 00466 Marble; made in Italy
General Pattern Notes:
The pattern calls for bottom up construction with three different size needles creating the flared lace body. This technique should not require increases. However, of the six examples on Ravelry, some did not have the flared cone shape. There were no notes, so it is not possible to tell is this is due to size or the knitter’s choice. It makes sense that on larger sizes, the flare would need to be increased in order to balance with the size.
For this reason, I chose to knit the body top down; a daunting task for a new lace knitter. But this would allow me to see if the larger needles provided enough increase. And it would allow me to shorten the body to true tunic length. (The illustrations are knee length, which I consider a dress, not a tunic.) This would also allow for any stretch during blocking. I also wanted to use the medium size shoulders and a larger bust measurement, so I increased to larger needles after the armhole increase.
My needle changes: 3.5 mm Rows 1-20, 4.0 mm after armhole decrease. Life line every 6 rows until reaching the body. I’m no longer using the life line. I’m just counting stitches between pattern repeats before each knit row. I knit backwards to adjust, if necessary.
I am using circular needles because this is going to be a long term project and needs to be easy to store. I was also concerned that the weight of the garment would alter the gauge as it grew, if done on straight needles. I have use Korean circulars with no problem; the use a tubular cord, so your stitches remain the same size on the cord as they were on the needles. Both these pairs had the skinny cord, which caused the stitches to tighten up as they slid down onto the cord. I have finally adjusted to this by gradually loosening my tension.
I also had some difficulty adjusting to visualizing how to add additional pattern repeats on both sides. The center of the garment needed to be the center of the chart, so I couldn’t just add an extra repeat. The stitch count did not allow this to come out evenly. So, I had to distribute partial pattern repeats on either side once I finished the arm hole increases.
I also find that I have trouble remembering where I left off, if I don’t knit on it everyday. I use a book mark, but sometimes come back and am not sure if I completed the marked row or moved it up, thinking I would be knitting the next row later in the day.
I was in love with this pattern from the moment I saw the cover photo. But I had no idea how daunting a task it was going to be. I could have just followed the directions and knit it bottom up, but I think I would have been disappointed in the result. All in all, the learning curve is too steep. I had to deal with armhole increases and learning the pattern at the same time. It took me several inches to be able to read the lace and I did not adapt to using the circular needles until after the armholes. I do plan to complete the body before going on to another project because I am afraid I will forget what I have learned if I put it aside without finishing it. I may take a break from it before doing the yoke, just to do some easy knitting or crocheting for a change.