Sunday, September 25, 2011

Knitting Vintage by Claire Montgomerie - the Lacy Collar

At Windy Knitty, Chicago, the Lacy Collar from Knitting Vintage
Row upon Row of Yarn Overs Makes This Easy for Lace Lovers.
Paired with the matching High Society Hat Designed by Annie Modesitt
The ribbon and button are from Vogue Fabrics, Evanston, IL
 The lacy collar, designed by Claire Montgomerie

Tell us a little bit about this lacy collar. It looks a bit vintage.  You know, it does look vintage, although in all likelihood a collar of this kind back in the 1930s and 40s would have been done in a fingering weight yarn or a crochet thread of some sort. I did mine in a DK weight, which makes it look a lot less delicate, but heck, it was leftover from another project so I went with it.

Do you frequently use your leftover yarns for new projects? All the time. Actually I should do it more often. I looked in my yarn bag recently, and I've found at least two other yarns lurking in there that I could use for multiple versions of this collar. I will make this collar until I get tired of the pattern. I give that at least two or three more times. Actually, if I retire it if for a while, it's easy to return to the pattern like I've never looked it before.

What kind of yarns would you recommend for this pattern? Oh, just about any will do as I said before. The book suggests experimenting, even trying beaded yarn, which I think would look smashing for the holidays. I could see even dressing it up with a little holly pin.  It would be interesting to see this in a tonal yarn from Dreams Everlasting or Three Irish Girls. I'd imagine it would look especially retro and pretty in a crochet thread by DMC or Aunt Lydia's.

Anything else we should know? Try a rhinestone button for a little sparkle. I used a clear button because I wanted the pins I use to be the stars of the show. I can't wait to try out my vintage religious flower pin,  and some things I inherited from my grandmother. Also be sure to wear the collar so it doesn't get lost on your clothes. It would look terrific with an angora sweater, a stretch lace top or a little black dress. Oh, it would look really great with a LBD...especially if you make it in white.

But it looks a little girlish...can women wear this to the office? It depends on your office. I think creatives could get away with more than those in the banking or investment biz. The collar is a bit bulky so it doesn't play well with jackets. But to answer the other part of your question, yes, women can definitely wear this collar. It's not just for teens. It's all about attitude and how you wear it too. It's certainly romantic but I think it could be paired with a pair of jeans just as easily as a tiered cream skirt embellished with Cluny lace. 

Huh? Never mind. This collar is cute and washable, which necklaces aren't.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Annie Modesitt's Modern Cloche v2.0 - the Madison Square Garden

At Windy Knitty, Chicago
Another shot at Windy Knitty.
The Knitting Today pattern plus Classic Elite Classic Silk yarn.
What can I say? I can only recommend two-thirds of this hat, the Modern Cloche?

Yes, I think I can safely say that. I loved doing the leafy sideband pattern. I think I could have gone on forever doing that. It was so pretty. The sideband pattern alone I think I could do again and again. And I might in a different weight of yarn...I might even just do it as a lace trim in a lace weight yarn. After the disaster of my first Modern Cloche (which ended up shaped like a bucket so it would fit my 22-inch head),  I decided to drop down two sizes - to the 18" inch measuremen, figuring that my natural fiber yarn could stretch if I needed it.

That turned out to be a good call. I tried on the sideband after I formed a loop using the mattress stitch. It fit! So that would be recommendation to you if you're keen on making this hat. Drop a size or two unless you like bucket hats. I don't. I like hats with enough ease to get the thing on and off my hat. That's about it.

Oddly enough, the brim was the next thing to make on this hat. The brim is the last thing on the previous Annie Modesitt hats I've made. So I was a bit bewildered doing the brim before the crown. But I dutifully did I was told.

The seed stitch was easy enough...and I did it all on my circulars. I used my bamboo circs...and the size 5 Denise circular tips to do the I-cord Bind-Off. My yarn actually seemed to slip better on the Denises than my bamboo. I don't know why. Others who have made this hat complained that it was hard to do the seed-stitch with the doubled yarn, but that wasn't so difficult. The I-Cord Bind-Off was much trickier and seemed to go on forever...but I learned a new technique. I've never done the I-Cord Bind-Off. It's very pretty.

Now for some thoughts on the brim. I'm used to the 1930s-style short brims on Annie's other hats (The High Society hat comes to mind). It opens up a bit as it leaves the crown...but the brim on this cloche is very tight and completely covers the face, in fact you really can't see very well at all. It would be a traffic hazard to try crossing the street in this hat. The brim doesn't look that perilous on the model in *Knitting Today*, and I really can't figure out why. I also think the I-Cord Bind-Off makes for a very tight finish, it pulls the entire brim in, again making it hard to see.

Onto the crown. The hardest part is picking up the necessary amount of stitches. And that's always been the case on all my Annie hats (here's a link to her Gone with the Wind hat). It seems like I'm always desperate for stitches to pick up from the moment I dig in my circulars on the sideband.  The lace pattern is positively a piece of German Chocolate Cake after that...easy to follow...and I ended up using my Denise circs again as the stitches decreased because I really don't like using DPNs if I can help it. Yes, there were two sets of circulars in the last few rows of the crown.

Would I make this hat again? Maybe...I really do like the sideband and the crown, but I would switch off the brim...actually that was my original thought when I did the first version. I was going to use the High Society Hat brim but then I thought it would be fun to learn a new technique. So don't be surprised if you see me making this hat yet **again** but with a different brim. I really like to wire my hat brims, and it was virtually impossible to do that with this hat. Annie did say in her earlier notes on this hat pattern (you can see them with the original pattern here on Ravelry) that she had suggested a wire brim to her editors, but they thought it was too difficult. I don't think it's hard, but it might make this hat even harder to get on and off with the already tight fit.

Which brings me to the Classic Silk yarn (also listed in my iPhone app, Yarn U)...I've loved using this yarn for the past two years. It's pretty and the pastel hues are great (and there are some new colors in the latest batch. I'd love to try the green but it's gone from my LYS and I'm ready to move onto another fiber now). The Classic Silk can be a bit splitty and it really really **despises** being frogged. There have been times when I thought I've frogged too much with this yarn, it's going to fall apart before my eyes! That hasn't happened, thank God.

Ok. I think I'm done. Modern Cloche? You were fun. You're cute, but I think you're going to stay perched on my model display head where you're safe and I don't have to wear you on my work or play.  I like hats, but I don't want to my head crossing the street!