Ahoy! It was my birthday recently and I got some birthday wool. Wouldn’t you? I decided to order from a place in Germany because 1. no brexit rubbish with customs and 2. anything I’ve ever ordered from Germany has arrived in about 2-3 days. I got 3 different yarns and I’ve already knit up one of them (I’ll show you the next time!). The yarn for this is linen from BC Garn in the Fuschia colourway. I was so happy with my experience with this yarn last summer (see here) that I couldn’t shake the desire to make something else in it.
The last… good while, a good long while really, I’ve been getting more and more knitting ideas. Some of them are just tiny elements, others are inspired by patterns that I want to make in a different way. This top is the latter. I was initially inspired by Leila Raven’s Deschain top (Ravelry link here) but it had two big drawbacks. Firstly, it was designed for a much heavier weight yarn, which didn’t appeal to me at all. Secondly, it is positively brobdingnagian. The smallest size is something like 54″ and the largest is 88″. I understand that it’s intended to be worn with a certain amount of positive ease, but I just don’t like that kind of look, even if I did knit it at a smaller gauge. Finally, I don’t like that square body, dropped shoulder construction. It doesn’t look very good on me. But I loved the old shale pattern down the front, and how it shaped the neckline and the hem.
I decided to use this as the impetus to finally try out a top-down contiguous construction, and incorporate an old shale pattern. I did the maths and casted on and, to be quite honest, I had no idea how it would go. The shoulder shaping in a contiguous construction is interesting to work: first you increase quickly to develop the sleeve cap, then more moderately to expand the sleeve, and lastly, increase on the side of the body to bring the shape of the sleeve in under the arm. This construction fits me very well – better than the Barbara Walker top-down set-in sleeve method – and is much less fiddly to work.
The yarn does not disappoint. I adore the crisp texture of the old shale pattern. I casted on 20 stitches at the centre front when I joined the work in the round, and just turned those 20 into the pattern. I found a very similar-looking pattern in the Drops catalogue (here), and I used the chart from there, minus the cables on either side.
I tried it on last night and to my delight (and frankly, astonishment), it fits pretty well! My main concern now is having enough yarn to finish. I only ordered 4 balls. Eeeeeek!