black and white

One of my birthday gifts was this lovely skirt designed by Rob Ryan for. . .yes, Clothkits. (I am so predictable). I made it up a few weeks ago — cutting and sewing it neatly and without hitches in (ahem) just three hours. (Sewing hubris? Wot? Me?)The facings and linings worked slightly differently in the pattern instructions than with the big birdie skirt. Not having to match up, pin and sew curves on the facings makes for a much speedier skirt. And what a skirt it is. Absolutely delicious.

I would show you some more pics of the process of making the skirt — but I can’t (missing computer issues continue, O, when will it end?). But one of my favourite things about this garment is its lovely scalloped edging. I obviously needed a top with scallops to match. So I knitted one up.

The top is a sort-of copy of one I saw sported by a knitting comrade at K1 yarns a few thursdays ago. Hers is a version of “Elf” in this Marie Wallin book for Rowan. It has lovely, elaborate crocheted scallops. Mine is a lo-fi seamless raglan, knit from the bottom up, at 5 stitches to the inch, using one strand of kidsilk haze. I just made it up as I went along and crocheted on the scalloped edging using two strands of yarn and a simple repeat. But this is merely because I’m not a very good, or very experienced, crocheter. The edging in the original pattern is much more impressive.

Now, a word about knitting black kidsilk haze: DON’T!. It was like dealing with a fractious, elusive, woolly creature. I couldn’t see my stitches. I couldn’t tell the right from wrong side. I couldn’t see a berloody thing. And that’s to say nothing about the prospect of pulling back stitches or frogging the stuff. The yarn is pure evil! At least the body and sleeves were mindless tubes of stockinette — I just went round and round — but imagine the horror of the crochet. Sheesh. Never again.

So this was not an enjoyable process at all, but the end result is fine, and precisely what I wanted.

We’ve been down in Lancashire for the weekend, and I had a nice walk to Lytham yesterday. I was wearing the top and skirt. It was very windy. I mention this so that you don’t think that I’ve suddenly gone all tufty, or turned into some kind of cone head. And the skirt just wouldn’t hang flat either. But this is simply the effect of a brisk north westerly coming at me head on down the Fylde Coast at 80 miles an hour. Bracing, as they say.

Anyway, here is the whole black and white outfit:


The building I am standing in front of, wearing its own black and white outfit, is, of course, the Lytham Windmill. Along with the Blackpool Tower, it is one of the Fylde’s iconic landmarks. You can go inside, peruse exhibits about milling and regional history, and chat to the nice folk from the Lytham Heritage Group, as we did yesterday. Here’s one more pic.

So:
Pattern: my own made-up seamless raglan tee with crocheted edging. See instructions for similar bottom-up seamless prototypes by EZ or Ann Budd.
Gauge: 5 sts to inch, 3.5 mm addis.
Yarn: Kidsilk haze, black, 2 x 25 g. Yes, this is a top you can make with just 50g of yarn.
Edging: two strands of yarn, 4.5 mm hook, working a repeat of 5 tr, skip 1, 1dc, skip 1 into a round of double crochet.
Ravelled here

10 responses

  1. Tried KSH one when I was a very new knitter and ended up returning it to John Lewis in frustration. It really is a beautiful bastard of a yarn. The top you’ve made, though, is just beautiful. And I love the skirt. And I love them both with the windmill! Maybe you could keep it with you as a kind of large-scale accessory?

  2. Am just reading Anne Tyler’s book ‘Digging to America’ in which an extremely anxious new mother dresses entirely in black and white as she believes this is important for her infant’s intellectual development. (I remember when mine were small we invested in a black and white mobile and black and white cloth books – the madness of parenthood!) Your outfit would be just perfect.

  3. Ooh, they’re both beautiful.

    I made a River shawl in KSH because I got the yarn free with my Rowan membership one year. It’s beautiful but it’s going to end up being a present for someone because I just can’t wear that yarn, it’s too itchy for me. Such a shame because so many of the Rowan patterns use it.

  4. Fabulous skirt, gorgeous top, and I agree with SRW, the windmill just sets them off perfectly. I love the kidsilk, but knitting with the black stuff is Very Impressive Indeed.

  5. The top is beautiful, but what you said about black KSH startled me: I just got in an order of 8 skeins for my very first (and already ambitious) lace project. I already thought it would be difficult and this isn’t making it any better, but I want that black lace stole!

  6. The top and skirt are gorgeous and I am in envy of your speedy crafting! I still haven’t started on my Big Birdie skirt (which your blog inspired me to buy) although I am halfway through a blue sweater to go with it…

    Would you recommend making a practice version of the skirt first (I’m a very novice seamstress)? I thought about tracing the pattern onto an old sheet. I’m impatient to get it done, but scared of mucking it up!

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