So maybe it looks like a red-and-white cow

I’ve started on the #16 Sleeveless Top from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2005. This may or may not be the first in a series of sweaters I’m crazy to make this year.

Retro Wild

The original yarn (Skacel Collection Samoa) does not appear to be available any more, and I can’t really find much information on it other than that it’s a DK cotton, so I’m using Garnstudio Safran, which is a lovely, soft, fingering/sport weight mercerized Egyptian cotton. It feels heavenly to work with. The pattern specified “red”, although in the magazine photo, the color looks pretty orangey. I’d hoped to find sort of a tomato-red to use, but the best I could do was pretty much a true red.

The stranded colorwork part is knitted with only the two main colors (red and off-white), then the black and gray are duplicate-stitched over the top. The pattern called for knitting the front and back pieces separately. I didn’t want to do the stranded knitting flat, so I’m knitting it in the round.

It’s a bit challenging to knit, not only because I’m using a soft, slippery cotton yarn instead of wool, but also because there are some fairly long stretches of a single color. I’ve been trying to weave the long strands in when working more than 5 stitches in a row, but am having trouble with the red strand showing through the white. I suspect it’s mostly how I’m twisting the yarns differently – but since I’m knitting it using a Norwegian thimble, I don’t want to have to keep taking the yarn out and twisting it manually every few stitches. So I’m just not worrying about the long red floats. Hopefully that won’t be a mistake. At least with wool you can sort of stretch the yarn out where necessary when blocking – that won’t work too well with the cotton. I’m planning to secure the loose floats when I do the duplicate stitching.

The green yarn at the bottom edge is a provisional cast-on. The pattern has you do a turned hem, but after knitting and ripping out the entire turned hem three times, I just couldn’t get it to look good. It wouldn’t lay right, and it looked like it was going to keep flipping up (or it was flaring like crazy). I tried different needle sizes, but couldn’t get it right and gave up. If the colorwork band seems to work out, I’ll just pick up the stitches and knit down, probably doing something other than a turned hem. Margene suggested a few rows of garter stitch, and I think that would be a good option.

Aside from the difficulty of knitting the colorwork piece, and not knowing if it’s going to look good or be all puckery, I don’t know if it’s even going to fit. I didn’t do a swatch, because I’d have had to do it in the round, and by then I might as well just do the actual top. It looks reasonably close, though.

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8 Responses to So maybe it looks like a red-and-white cow

  1. Chris says:

    I was relieved to see that the crazy colorwork isn’t for the entire top – THAT would be a bit much.

  2. Cookie says:

    Fingers crossed that it turns out well.

  3. Stacey says:

    I was wondering where the black was. It won’t look so “cow-ish” once you get the other colors in. I’m sure you’ll look fabulous in it – it’s not crazy.

  4. Anne says:

    Live on the edge, babe. Just keep on knitting…..

  5. Nora says:

    Wow. I can’t wait to see this project grow!

  6. margene says:

    You are very brave!

  7. Norma says:

    I think this is going to look awesome on you!!!

  8. elizabeth says:

    Your logic sounds perfectly reasonable to me!

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