Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Coming out Vintage

I've been a closet vintage fan for a while. Although I am not crazy about the 80s hair or baggy clothes, the clothing worn during the mid 1900s are, in my opinion, underrated. The tailored lines, fitted waists, and hemlines are demurely sexy, never trampy or (dare I say) unattractive, as were some of the styles in the 80s and 70s. The clothing accentuated the female curves highly admired during the time, like those of Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Rita Hayworth, and Lana Turner. What I like the most is that even if you do not have a to-die for figure like these stars had, wearing similar (if not the same) clothing may make you feel like you do.

My habitual searches for free patterns on the internet (as well as discount knitting books on E-Bay) have led me to a few really good vintage knitting websites. Some are free, some cost money, but all of them contain almost-forgotten knitting patterns.

I happened upon one this past weekend called the Mimi top. It had almost everything that I look for in a pattern: lace details, waist shaping, v-neck, English instructions, picture, and it was free. I had to convert the needle sizes stated because the designer used UK needle sizes, but this was easily done by using a search engine on the web. I had the perfect weight yarn for it (fingering). I say almost because it was written to be knit in pieces (front, back, sleeves). However, my propensity to pass up projects that require seaming was surpassed by its eye-catching elements. I figured it would be my first seamed project...Wasn't that one of my new year's knitting resolutions?

I started it last night. It is one of the more challenging lace projects that I have ever done, even compared to the Nightsong Shawl that I completed last year. It is more difficult because the stitch number changes every row and every row is different from all the others in the pattern. In other words, you are instructed to add stitches, decreasing them in the following rows, and you are not purling every other row. Ugh, especially for one who is a systematic counter when lace knitting...

I started with the back and knit 12 rows. So far so good. I read the pattern (I know, I know, I should have done this first - I skimmed it at least!) and noted that the front and back are knit the same way until 19 rounds have been completed. I decided then to consider the current finished part as the front and CO for the back. I decided that I would omit the center lace panel. When I knit 12 rounds of this part, I would attach it to the first portion and knit it in the round.

Stay tuned...