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Friday, July 29, 2016

Knitting: Shetland tunic

18 months or so ago I was inspired by a friend who had knitted herself a couple of lovely tunics to wear. I was staying with her when Bendigo Woollen Mill purchased a bale of Shetland wool to spin and offered the resulting Aran weight yarn to their regular customers. I bought what I hoped was enough to make myself a tunic. As I was travelling in the UK for much of the last Australian winter, I got going this Winter and knitted away for several weeks before my knee operation, trying to finish it.

The pattern I chose is great. It gives texture and interest but is predictable and memorable once you have worked a full sequence. I've been able to work without constantly consulting the pattern, and can tell very quickly if I have made an error. I would, however, have been better off allowing an extra ball of the yarn. The bale sold quickly and I have no chance at all of getting more. I want the tunic to be loose and comfortable, so it needs to be quite large.
This is the back - which would make a decent baby blanket!

It was lovely to knit - so soft on the hands.

The pattern is an easy one. It was easy to tell if I  had made a mistake and to retrieve it before I went too far. At the same time, there was sufficient need to concentrate to make it interesting to knit.

It took me about a month to knit the front and back, finishing the front while watching the long vote count on election night with friends. I knitted the first sleeve on my recent trip to NSW and the second on my return, finishing in time to go to hospital for my knee reconstruction!

Although I  had been worried that I had ordered enough wool, I did want this to be quite long and roomy, so made it to the prescribed body length. I rang Bendigo Woollen Mills and discussed substitutes, consequently ordering a couple of balls of 10ply merino. The match wasn't perfect but I thought I might be able to be creative with bands on the sleeves.
In the end I didn't need to supplement it and finished with a small amount left over.

It  could, I think, be a smidgen longer but, although it is clearly longer on the skinny pattern model, it is the length recommended in the pattern.  It is very warm and cosy - perhaps rather more than required in Adelaide but I have worn it all day a couple of times and found it comfortable - beautifully soft. It would go well with the alpaca hat I knitted a few years ago - if I could find it!

The imbecilic look in the photo is the result, not of the tunic, but of the need to focus on looking ahead rather than on the camera button on my phone.


margaret said...

this has knitted up beautifully, now you need somcold days so you can wear it!

Monica said...

You can't go wrong with a classic aran yarn, I think. This looks wonderful, and I think the length is good too. As Margaret said, I hope you get some chilly days to wear it!