gilet_lace_doneWhile I spent much of my time catching up at work after being on vacation for a week, I managed to complete Gilet Lace.

Unlike my last sweater project, I have no remorseful feelings about choosing this pattern. I found the pattern easy to follow and written with no mistakes. Well, actually there is one small mistake; I had to double the length of the crocheted cord. Bergereine yarn is easy to work as long as it isn’t ripped out too often. Best of all, the sweater fits well.

So what’s on the sweater project horizon? I’ll start to concentrate on spinning the fiber for the Spin-Off sweater but should also get more serious about making a sweater for my husband. I have a couple of Alice Starmore patterns that he’s approved and just need to choose one.


This week I came across Wendy’s post about Debbie Bliss’ Lara pattern and briefly toyed with the idea of making this sweater. It’s a simple but elegant design.

Tuesday night, I made a special trip to Hilltop to check out the pattern book, Silk Alpaca. After flipping through it, I began to realize that I shouldn’t waste $17 on this book since Lara is the only design that I liked. Besides, It’s such a simple design that it couldn’t be too difficult to knock off from the picture. Making my own version makes much more sense because I also wasn’t too thrilled with the thickness of Silk Alpaca ( 10 inches = 18 stitches). Despite only having one design that I liked, I might have purchased the book if it didn’t have one huge glaring problem – no schemas of the sweater pieces.

My Biggest Swatch Ever

Although Toby does not have front claws, he sure knows how to dig his back claws into any knitted piece that happens to be lying within his reach. Other then this little annoying habit, he tends to respect the fact that my knitting tools and yarn are not his toys.

This piece was suppose to be the back to the Gilet Lace sweater but after I spread it out using blocking wires and shooed the cat away, I realized it turned out too big. I tried incorporating a small deviated from the pattern by replacing two repeats of the lace pattern on the center back with stockinette stitch. Well my calculations for this change were wrong so I’ve ripped out a week’s worth of work and started again with more accurate calculations. I also plan to monitor the width as I knit so I don’t make the same mistake again.

Under the Mimosa Tree

gl_left_sleeve We have just enough green grass under our mimosa tree to spread out the left sleeve of gilet lace for a photograph. As usual, the rest of the grass is suffering through the summer waiting for rain.

This weekend I dropped by Full Circle to check out their current stock. I’m always amazed at the diverse range of yarns that this small traditional yarn store carries. While it’s not a trendy place, it’s certainly worth a trip if you’re looking for brands that you don’t see in other stores around Seattle. They even offer a couple of Phildar lines.

While examining each section of yarn in the shop, I came across Bomull by Marks & Kattens. It’s the long lost identical twin of Bergereine. This yarn would make a great substitute for Bergereine, especially since it comes in a slightly larger array of rich colors.

Odd Sleeve

gl_sleeve Finally, one sleeve is finished and yes it is suppose have that odd shape on the top. The square on the top right is one half of the shoulder back and the triangle on the top left is the front left shoulder.

Click on the photo for a closer view.

I would have gotten this done last week but upon finishing the last few rows I noticed that I had strayed from the stitch pattern just as I started the shoulder portion. Although most people wouldn’t have noticed the mistake, I couldn’t live with it. The whole shoulder piece was ripped out and reknitted.
I’ve learned that the most important thing to remember when knitting large lace pieces is to stop fairly frequently to inspect your work. Doing so might minimize the amount of time spent ripping out hours of hard work.

I feel like it’s all down hill from here, so hopefully I’ll get it done within the next couple of weeks.

Mindless Lace Knitting

I haven’t abandoned Gilet Lace; it has just slowed down a bit since the next two pieces (sleeves) are all lace. Progress has been slower than normal over the past few days due to bouts of mindless knitting, ending in several rows being ripped out because of forgotten yarn overs. This pattern is almost etched in my mind so; I’ve totally abandoned the chart. The other day a fellow bus rider complimented my work mentioning that it looked like a difficult lace pattern and was surprised that I wasn’t following a chart. I guess she didn’t realize that most of the knitting consisted of a stitch pattern repeated a zillion times.

gilet lace: sleeve & stitch pattern

If you click on the picture you’ll see a close-up of the rather simple lace pattern. In a previous post I mentioned it includes right and left crossed stitches and posted a few pictures on how to work them. I however neglected to add a photo of what the end results look like. Well here’s a “Where’s Waldo?” moment. The crossed stitches are on either side of the reverse stockinette triangle patterns, just after/ before the yarn overs (holes). I have a vague memory of doing crossed stitches while working on a Nancy Bush sock pattern.


(a) waistcoat, N Am: vest; (b) g. de sauvetage, life jacket; g. d’armes, fenching jacket; (c) g. (de corps, de peau de dessous), vest, singlet, N Am: undershirt; (d) (woman’s) cardigan. – Harrap’s New Collegiate French and English Dictionary

Oh, so that’s what gilet means in English. I translated the instructions but neglected to translate the title.

gilet lace: front pieces Yep, this one is turning out to be a quick one. The most challenging aspects have been acquiring the yarn, translating the pattern and dealing with the messy half used yarn balls.

Figuring out how to cross two stitches was a bit tricky. While I understood the word-for-word translation of this stitch, I wasn’t familiar with the technique. Here’s how I ended up working these stitches after referring to several English knitting books.

Crossing Stitches

(enlarge any photo by clicking on it)

2 maille croisées à droite / cross 2 stitches right –

Knit into the second stitch on the left needle but don’t slip it off the left needle.

Right Cross: Knit into second stitch.Right Cross: Knit into second stitch.

Knit into the first stitch on the left needle and then let both stitches slip off the left needle. In the photo on the bottom right, the two stitches on the left needle will be dropped off.

Right Cross: Knit into first stitch.Right Cross: Knit into first stitch.

2 maille croisées à gauche / cross 2 stitches left –

Knit into the back loop of the second stitch on the left needle but don’t slip it off the left needle.

Left Cross: Knit into back loop of second stitchLeft Cross: Knit into back loop of second stitchLeft Cross: Knit into back loop of second stitch

Knit into the back loop of the first stitch on the left needle and then let both stitches slip off the left needle. In the photo on the bottom right, the two stitches on the left needle will be dropped off.

Left Cross: Knit into back loop of first stitch.Left Cross: Knit into back loop of first stitch.


gl_left_front Here’s what I accomplished over the weekend while on a car trip to the other side of the mountains. Hopefully it will get more interesting when I start the sleeves. The main body pieces are simple rectangles, minus a small triangle on the upper edges. The sleeves are a little more complicated since they extend over the shoulders to form the collar and upper back.

The curled edges in the photo got me thinking about blocking. To be honest, I’m not serious about blocking. I usually just lightly steam any curled edges and move straight to sewing. However, this time I’m going to try using a set of blocking wires that I learned about a couple of months ago while reading Marilyn’s blog.

Yarn Construction

gilet lace

Bergereine is unlike any yarn that I’ve used.

Of course, being a new spinner, I took apart a piece to see how it was made. It’s constructed with 4-ply strands of 3-ply yarn. Each 3-ply yarn is made of two strands of cotton thread and one strand of wool.

It knits nicely but is not so easy to rip out since the small strands of cotton tend to get easily snagged by the needle. The fabric has the feel of soft cotton and the stretch of wool, so it should make a comfortable summer sweater.

I’ll be casting on a piece this week – probably a sleeve. Yep, I’m knitting this one in pieces instead of adjusting it to knit in the round. It will be so much easier to take along with me if I knit in pieces.

Another Seattle Store?

I’ve counted six yarn stores within the Seattle city limits and just spotted another one that will be opening downtown. Apparently the Belltown shop on First Avenue that recently housed the Italian pottery shop RiFlessi will be the new home of So Much Yarn. Wow, I’ll actually be able to buy yarn and supplies during my lunch break. Oh, it’s just too much.

Look what I picked up at the post office. Despite six yarn stores in the city I still order some yarn via mail.

gilet_lace_yarn Yep, it’s Bergereine yarn and the 2003/2004 instruction booklet from Club Direct Laine (the only place to get Bergere de France yarn in North America). This yarn is destin for Gilet Lace. I guess this will be the next sweater project since I haven’t yet found a men’s sweater to make for my husband. Oh yea, I also can’t forget to finish the Christmas stocking that I started last December. That will come out of hiding soon.