Finally! I started this blouse over two months ago, expecting it to go pretty fast. I had obviously never worked with Kidsilk Haze before, because "oh, a sweater out of laceweight mohair in a month, yeah, totally!" is a rather large and dumb assumption on my part.
The pattern is called, quite accurately, the Lace Blouse by Erika Knight, out of her book Glamour Knits. It's not shown on a body in the book, which is the only thing I'd love to see changed about the pattern. I loved the little romantic details in this blouse: the little keyhole at the back neck, the little ruffle down the front, the lacy-but-fluffy effect of the mohair. It screamed to be knit in pink.
I called it the Stella Blouse after my favorite vintage shop in Issaquah, Washington, which always has a fabulous selection of kicky little sweaters and gorgeous skirts and dresses. Please note that the skirt I'm wearing in these pictures was purchased at Stella for about $50 and has been worn many, many times.
I knit this version as a shop sample for Cultured Purls, the LYS where I currently work. I tried to keep my modifications down so that customers who want to make it don't have to wade through a bunch of notes! I still made a few, but hopefully they are minor enough that one can make his or her own call on whether or not to replicate them.
My little tweaks:
1. I added one stitch to each edge of the cast-on on the front and back so that the charts had an extra stockinette stitch on each side to help with seaming. When I hit the armholes, I cast off one more stitch than recommended on each side to get back to the right number, then continued exactly as written.
2. I knit the body to 14.5" instead of 13.5". I am large-busted and knit the 36" size to have about 2 inches of negative ease, which pulls the fabric horizontally and reduces the length, so the extra length is to compensate. I really wanted to go for that whole 50's sweatergirl aesthetic, so I wanted my version to be pretty fitted.
3. I omitted the knitted-on picots along the neckline and bottom, and replaced them with a crocheted picot. I can't crochet my way out of a paper bag, so this was super simple: pick up one stitch to start, chain 3, connect to hemline with single crochet once every 3-4 stitches of the hemline horizontally, or every 5 stitches vertically (to your taste), continue around. This created small, soft picots that are barely noticeable in the finished garment, but give it a bit of polish.
4. I also omitted the recommended organza ruffle on top of the knitted ruffle. I couldn't find a color of ribbon or silk that matched or complemented the color to my liking, so I left it off.
I seamed it up with a strand of wooly nylon. The idea of seaming with Kidsilk Haze gave me hives just thinking about it, and wooly nylon was easy to match colors, had a bit of stretch to prevent constricting seams, and was a breeze to take out if I wanted to make adjustments.
A word to any prospective mohair-lace-knitters out there: always tink one stitch at a time, never take it off the needles and frog this stuff. It snarls and breaks the moment you look at it sideways. It takes a little longer, but the headaches it prevents will be totally worth it. (Ask me how I know. Hahahah.)
Annnnd lastly, when you're knitting the cute little ruffle down the front, be sure to mark the right side of your work. The short-rows can get you a little turned around, especially if you look up for a minute, but marking with a split-ring marker or somesuch helps keep you oriented.
Overall, this was a fun little project that kept my attention fairly well. I was a little worried there for a minute about the wearability of it, but throwing a camisole or slip under it and cinching with a belt does wonders!
Pattern: Lace Top by Erika Knight, from the book Glamour Knits
Needles: Size 2.5 (3.0 mm) US for cast-on, size 3 (3.25 mm) US Addi Turbo Lace 24" circulars for body and sleeves, size 2.5 bamboo DPN's for ruffle
Yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze, color Blushes (583)
Yardage: 3.5 balls, or about 800 yards