Went off and started a project I've been planning! Elfin
from Rowan 34, using Felted Tweed, Kidsilk Haze, and teeny bamboo needles. Knitting this version of Elfin means that I'll be subjecting myself to the torture of creating mohair R-U-F-F-L-E-S, which will probably take about a million stitches considering the gauge on the yarn. Let's hope I don't have to rip out at any point. (I'm sure others who are doing Elfin in the CurlsandPurls knitalong will agree. At least I know I'm not alone!)
So far I like the project. Felted Tweed is scratchy and nubbly, and creates a lovely tweedy fabric that screams, "I am British! Good day to you!" I feel like I should be knitting it while sitting in a leather chair before a roaring fire, cute little dachsund snoozing at my feet and a cup of tea in a pretty floral teacup on a side table. Cheerio! Send scones.
Now for some notes re pattern:
Elfin is lovely, but the pattern could be written a little more clearly. The gauge for the Felted Tweed version is not included in the pattern, only the needle size is mentioned. Moreover, the yarn label on Felted Tweed does not have a specific gauge. Using a measurement on the schematic and some quick division, I discovered that the gauge required for doing the cardi in Felted Tweed is the gauge stated for the sweater done in Kidsilk Haze DOUBLED (23 sts 32 rows = 10cm), but using size 3 1/4mm needles. I got gauge using 3.5 bamboo circs.
As for shaping, one needs to pay attention when decreasing and increasing. There are shapings near the selvedges, and also towards the middle. The shapings near the selvedges are paired to create the curves at the sides, and the shapings in the middle create vertical darts; this will reduce bagginess at the lower back and waist.
When working shapings on Elfin, here is a rough sketch of the direction the shapings should take:
As mentioned, the curves are created by the paired shapings near the selvedges, and the shapings in the middle create the vertical darts in a straight line. The pattern calls for markers to be placed to determine where the middle shapings should be made. If the markers are not repositioned correctly after each shaping in the middle, the darts will NOT be in a straight line. Here is a rough sketch of the way the shapings in the middle are supposed to be aligned:
The straight line in the middle represents the marked stitch. But which is the stitch that should always be marked? You will be able to identify it right after you do the first decreases. However, the pattern isn't clear as to how markers are to be repositioned after these first decreases are made.
This could be confusing, because the decreases used for the darts in the middle are straight
decreases. Unlike the slanting decreases used near the edge stitches, there is no "right" or "left" slanting version of it; it is a decrease that creates a straight line. To ensure that these decreases remain aligned, make sure that you have the same number of stitches from the edge to the middle shaping on both ends AFTER doing the first decreases. Use the right end as a guide (i.e., if there are 26 sts from the edge stitch at the right end to the marked stitch on the right side, there should be 26 sts from the edge stitch at the left end to the marked stitch on the left side AFTER the decrease is made). You can see the "straight line" created by the center (which should be the marked) stitches in the photo of my own Elfin decreases below. The arrows indicate the marked stitch that was used to show me where the decrease was to take place.
I always remove the markers right before I do the middle shapings, and when the shapings are done I reposition the markers to the right of the center stitch. Right before you do these shapings, always ensure that the center stitch (or marked stitch) is going to be in the same line as the ones in the previous rows. After doing shapings, reposition markers accordingly. The markers should be used to indicate where the center stitch is, not where the shapings should be done.
And that is how the Elfin goes :-)