Knitting for the Fall: Vortex Street Pullover, Bryn Mawr Dress, Halliard

A few knitting projects from the summer!

Vortex Street tunic dress
Vortex Street tunic dress

Pattern:  Vortex Street Pullover, from Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan.

Yarn:  In 2010, I made the uninspiringly named Drops 103-14 cardigan.  The sport weight yarn is from Marr Haven, in “burgundy heather.”  I thought the Drops sweater would be the final incarnation for the yarn, but of course I was wrong.  Even though the yarn came off a cone, you can see the distinct colour variation, quite obvious on the yoke.  Oh well.

Modifications:  Change the yarn weight, change the pattern!  I could not understand why Norah Gaughan knitted the pullover in pieces — if any pattern should be knit in the round, this is it!  So, I knitted the tunic from top down, in the round, got rid of the floppy turtleneck and changed the size of the neck opening, shaped the sleeves and body (because no one, including the skinny model, looks good in floppy tubes), and added an extra “vortex” cable at the hem end to compensate for the smaller gauge and the added length of the dress.  Also, the directions for shaping the yoke just did not work for me; as written, it resulted in a “pouch” at the upper back, which would have been great if I have a hump . . . .  Anyway, I fiddled around with the shaping for the back, and now it lies nice and flat.

Thoughts:  I love Norah Gaughan, but sometimes her designs just do not work.  The original pattern is, IMHO, one of those designs.  The neckline allowance was so big that no amount of ribbing was going to bring it in enough to make an attractive turtleneck; the armscye as written would have drooped lower than the bust; and of course, the aforementioned pieced construction for the pullover (and the excuse for that sounded pretty lame to boot) just made no sense. Having said all that, the vortex cable pattern was pure fabulous Norah!

Bryn Mawr Dress
Bryn Mawr Dress

Pattern:  From Interweave Knits Fall 2013, the Bryn Mawr Dress by Alex Capshaw Taylor.

Yarn:  Undyed light DK/sport weight Kiwi Wool yarn, left over from the Alpaka Tunic I knitted in 2010.  It was already a recycled yarn at that point . . . .  The yarn is very soft and wonderful next to the skin, but I am going to have to figure out what to wear underneath it, since the skirt clings terribly with tights.

Modifications:  Short woman = modifications!  I shortened the skirt by one pattern repeat, shortened the bodice, and did not do the sewn-down hem because I did not like how it looked.  The pink band at the bottom is just stockinette left to roll naturally.  I also did not like the original neckline — it seemed neither here nor there, not quite crew, not quite turtleneck, so I opened it up to suit my neck and face.  The sleeves were knitted on from top down, using short row shaping for the cap.

Thoughts:  I don’t like reverse stockinette — it always looks a bit unfinished on the “right” side, and seams always come out sloppy.  But, this design won me over, so I knitted it as written.  I’m still not crazy about the reverse stockinette, but the lovely twist stitch cables make the background recede, so I am very pleased with the over all “look” of the dress.  I also liked the clever shaping achieved within the cable pattern — subtle and well-done!  I also usually knit for positive ease; this dress is the lone exception in my hand-knit wardrobe.  I made the smallest size, and the bodice is just about an inch negative.  This is the “sexy secretary” sweater dress, but still appropriate for this 50-something woman 🙂

Halliard pullover
Halliard pullover
. . . . and Tula!
. . . . and Tula!

Pattern: From Twist Collective Winter 2010, Halliard by the talented Kate Gilbert.

Yarn:  Worsted weight Malabrigo yarn, in “glazed carrot.”  It will probably pill like crazy, but I don’t care 🙂

Modifications:  I like the idea of the knitted-on I-cord, but to me it just looked sloppy at the joins.  I substituted garter stitch for body and arm bands, and I like the results much better.  I did not do the kangaroo pocket: not many women can carry that off without looking distinctly paunchy.

Thoughts: I love the elegant design of the side cables running down from the neck and raglan sleeves and joining again into the sides of the body.  This is a simple but distinctive pullover, and was a joy to knit.

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