Sunday, January 22, 2023

Lidia Tee

Last spring, I bought a strappy chambray dress (with pockets!) and I wanted to knit a short-sleeved cardigan to wear with it. I chose two skeins of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Lotus and, after hours looking over patterns on Pinterest and Ravelry, I set out to knit Fleurette, a bottom-up cardigan described as having a lace pattern. I wasn’t too far in when I realized that I really didn’t like the look of it! I think you’d need a solid color for proper stitch definition, but the variegated purple I had just wasn’t working.

 So I set it aside and made a few small items, one of which I’ll discuss later, and the others were two baby gifts: an Yngrid cardigan for a colleague’s baby boy and a hat with a wave pattern for the baby boy of someone I follow online. (Both were knit with yarn from my stash, and the first with buttons from my stash but originally from Etsy.) And then I made more ornaments for my shop because why not. 

Then I got back to my Lotus yarn, and while searching for a two-skein pattern on Ravelry, I was drawn to the Lidia tee. It is made to be worn two ways, with either the scoop neck or v-neck in front, and one version has a shallow v-neck while the other version has a very deep v-neck. I made the version with the shallow one, though I plan to wear a tank top or camisole under this anyway because of the eyelet pattern down the center. The shoulders are knit first; stitches are picked up from both to work the scoop-neck side down to the underarms; stitches are picked up from the other side of one shoulder at a time to work the v-neck side down to the underarms; finally, all pieces are joined and worked in the round down to the desired length, and the hem is worked on the sleeves and neck. 

At one point, I realized that my stitches looked crooked, and it turns out that my yarn was too tight and twisted from the previous knitting project to look right. So I frogged it and steamed it to relax the fibers again – this worked even better than I had hoped! I just got some steady steam going from my kettle and held a length of yarn in it; it wasn’t long before it visibly relaxed and I could move on to the next length of yarn. The knit tee looked much better after that! 

I recommend deviating from the pattern a bit: once you have finished your first skein (this took me to the end of a pattern repetition once I was working in the round), before joining the second skein, stop and work the hems. Finishing the sleeve and neckline ribbing will allow you to then focus only on the remaining body of the shirt, thus finishing your yarn cleanly. I ended up coming in a little short while knitting the bottom hem, but since that was the only thing I had left to do, I was able to just go back half a dozen rows or so and start my ribbing earlier, thus leaving me with less than a yard to spare. I mean, imagine how frustrating it would be otherwise to run out while you are hemming a very visible part! 

It's not warm enough yet to wear it, but I look forward to debuting it!

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