Hi lovelies! I'm back today with a look at one of my latest FOs which has quickly become an absolute favorite in my wardrobe: My Blossom T-Shirt!
Blossom is a pattern from our latest Issue 9, designed by Ayano Tanaka. It's a short-sleeved, drop-shoulder tee with a cropped, boxy shape and a really sweet V-neck.
I fell in love with it when I first saw Ayano's submission, and I am so glad that I made this tee - it kickstarted my roll of knitting on summer shirts, was delightful to knit and is a joy to wear.
The pattern: Just the right mix of engaging and soothing
First, let's dive into the pattern! Despite our best efforts in tech editing and test knitting, sometimes errors do slip through to the magazine, so I was delighted to discover that there was absolutely nothing wrong or weird with this pattern. (YAY!)
The shirt is knit in pieces and seamed, which is a good choice as the seams give the ultra-smooth yarn a bit of structure to hold on to. (Interestingly enough, all three summer tops I have / am knitting at the moment, are drop-shoulder tees, but with vastly differing construction methods.)
You start by casting on the back hem - there's a sweet, rhythmic lace rib that you work first, and then you transition to the two big lace panels at the side of the body and a sea of soothing stockinette in between.
Left: A new cast on! | Right: Lace hem of the back panel is done
I found the big lace panels intuitive to knit - even if you haven't knit a lot of lace (or maybe never?), you'll be totally fine with these. Yes, it's lace on the right and wrong sides of the shirt, but that only means that you make yarn overs and decreases on the wrong side too, and you can totally do that!
This is where I did my only modification: For some reason, my ssp decreases (slip slip purls) on the wrong side just never looked right. You want all the decreases to slant in the same direction, no matter whether you work them on the right or wrong side, and they just never did that. I switched them out for p2tog tbl - purling the two stitches together through the back loop - which looked much neater!
When you've worked the back piece to the length you want your body to be below the armholes, you cast on a few stitches on each side which will become the sleeves. Our rhythmic lace from the hem is reintroduced here, and you continue working your way up until it's time for the neck and shoulder shaping. Fear not, it's excellently described in the pattern - all you need to do is follow what Ayano has written, so that the short rows and decreases you work are over super soon.
Left: Big lace panel = joy! | Right: The first sleeve stitches
Next up: The front piece! Same story here - first the lace hem, then the big lace panels and stockinette, followed by the sleeves. (If you're me, you totally forget that you need to cast on sleeve stitches because you're so enthralled by Night Agent, so you need to rip back more than 5 cm / 2" of knitting, but oh well...)
For the front piece, you start the neck shaping a lot earlier as this is where you place your lovely V-neck, so there's quite a bit of decreaseing and short-row-ing going on, but fear not, Ayano has your back here as well! Follow the instructions, and you'll be just fine.
Left: Back piece before the start of the neck & shoulder shaping | Right: Front piece is almost done!
Once your front and back pieces are finished, you put the shoulder stitches from both back onto the needles and work a three-needle-bind off. See? Shoulder seams are done!
Lastly, set aside a good chunk of time, and a good lamp, and seam the sides of those babies up! Mattress stitch is your friend here, as is Ayano, as she's had you work edge stitches that make it really easy to match the rows perfectly.
You're almost there, friend! You now have something that very much resembles a finished tee, except for that there's no neckline yet. So that's what you'll be working on last: You pick up stitches around the neck and work that delightful rhythmic lace again, paired with some cleverly placed decreases at the center of the front neck for a really cool centered neckline. (Very, very well done, Ayano!)
Left: Seaming on the balcony | Right: Almost there - working on the neckline with my sweet Bobbles & Berries stitch marker
Also, the neckline goes approximately 1000 times faster than the seaming, so you'll be done in no time! (Yes, I would recommend to sew in those ends, but that's going to take 2 min, tops.) YAY!
The yarn: Smooth to the max
Ayano used Pascuali's Cumbria for her design, and that's what I knit my Blossom tee up in as well. Pascuali is a German yarn brand dedicated to sustainable production with a selection of beautiful yarns that are a little different to what you usually see out there.
Cumbria is a blend of 60% Pima Cotton and 40% Bamboo Viscose. The cotton is sourced in Peru, the bamboo in in China, and both of it is spun up and dyed into the blend in Peru. Yes, in terms of ecological footprint, that's not ideal - I try to select yarns with smaller transport routes, and cotton is really water-intensive in its production. That being said, this yarn is an excellent vegan alternative to silk blends, which is why I chose to use it for this design.
At 150 meters / 164 yards per 50g, it's a heavy fingering / sport-weight yarn. Most importantly, though, it knits up really, really beautifully. It has great stitch definition (which is really important for the lace bits of Blossom), but also looks good in stockinette.
It was also delightful to knit with, which, to be fair, cannot be said of all summer yarns. (I remember a cotton / linen blend that felt like rubber and twine...) It didn't split at all, and was gliding through my fingers like water.
Ayano's sample was knit up in Jademint; I chose to go with a color from the same family, but darker: Neptune. My finished tee came in at 264g, so I used just a little over 5 balls of it.
At 23 stitches and 36 rows, my swatch on 3.25 mm / US 3 (the one that I liked best), was almost on point when it came to rows, but significantly different to the pattern gauge (27 sts x 35 rows) in terms of stitch count.
I wanted a size 4 in terms of finished measurements - I'm a 98 - 100 cm / 38.5 - 39" bust, depending on the bra I wear, and so size 4 would have given me about 30 cm / 12" of positive ease, very close to what Ayano recommends in the pattern.
Size 1 ended up being an almost-perfect match at the gauge that I got, so that's what I cast on! The fabric of my t-shirt is quite a bit drapier than in Ayano's sample - that's a side-effect of my gauge being quite a lot looser than she recommends in the pattern. I really love this though, I just want you to be mindful of it when you decide to play with sizes and gauge as I did.
All in all, this project was such a treat! A beautiful pattern, a lovely yarn, a finished object that I can wear with almost everything in my wardrobe (ideas: the high-waisted cream denim jeans you see in these photos, but also my black cotton wide-legged culottes, a new-to-me-but-thrifted pair of light denim shorts, or even over a recently-acquired marbled jumpsuit). YAY!
One of my all-time favorite tasks when we get a new yarn in is to put together pattern and color combinations. And with Bérénice, De Rerum Natura's sustainably produced Mohair / Merino / Silk yarn (fluffy like a cloud!), the possibilities for patterns and colors are close to endless!
I'm thrilled to be back in this space, and with something really, really exciting at that! For the past year, I've been on the hunt for a sustainably-produced fluffy yarn - we used to carry Knitting for Olive's Soft Silk Mohair which is delightful, but also... everyone has it now? So I was looking for something that was a little out of the ordinary, but also responsibly sourced, and as it goes with anything that involves mohair and silk, that was really hard.
Cue De Rerum Natura, who secretly have been working behind the scenes at exactly that yarn I'd been looking for: An "as sustainably as it can get" fluff yarn that works perfectly for a broad range of projects, from whispers of lace shawls to holding it together with more substantial yarns.
Hi lovelies! A very, very warm welcome to our official pattern preview of Issue 10 – Heirloom. Our Fall & Winter 2023 issue is dedicated to pieces that we love to knit and wear for years, and years to come, and that then become true heirlooms. Passing them on to a beloved friend or family member or tucking them away for the next generation, or the right recipient to come along - these designs will truly stand the test of time.
We're a delightfully tiny team dedicated to all things sustainability in knitting. With our online shop filled with responsibly produced yarns, notions and patterns we're here to help you create a wardrobe filled with knits you'll love and wear for years to come.
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