5/21/2014 – Breezy Project Particulars, Knits That Breathe

Worked in two pieces – front and back – Breezy is one of those summer projects that works up quickly but looks like you slaved over it. Its A-line shaping means that it epitomizes comfort, but those deep lace borders mean it looks smashing over a skirt as well as with jeans.

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Picot cast-on and the extravagant lace pattern are the special details that take a bit of time and thought, but give you the satisfaction of knowing you’ve earned those rows of easy Stockinette for the upper body. A centered chest pocket features the same lace motif as the deep borders, and adds interest to the swathe of Stockinette from the waist up.

On cooler days, pop this tunic over a lightweight tee shirt and you’ll be happily comfortable. On hot days, I’m happy to confirm that the absorbent organic cotton and sleeveless design combine forces to keep you cool.

And because the top is not at all sheer you needn’t worry about modesty. In fact, you won’t need to wear even a camisole underneath when a glance at the thermometer tells you it’s tropical outside.

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And maybe it’s just me, but one of the things I love about those deep lace panels is that I can reach my jeans pockets easily by sliding a hand in from the side.

Classic Elite Yarns Verde Collection is the company’s range of environmentally conscious fibers, which are all about natural comfort. Seedling is the smiling poster child for organic cotton; robust yet surprisingly lightweight, machine washable, and available in a lovely color palette. For our purposes, it’s important to note that it’s also highly absorbent, blissfully soft, wonderfully textured, and well-priced.

Seedling yarn Classic Elite


5/15/2014 – Pochette: Knits That Breathe Project Particulars

Pochette (poe – shėt, from the French for “little pocket”) has long, lean lines with gentle set-in waist shaping that accentuates, yet skims gently, over a woman’s curves. Its airy sheerness looks beautiful worn over a camisole, but maintains its cool breathability when knitted up on US Size 5 or 6 needles.

With elbow-length sleeves, a flattering V-neck and color-blocking to add visual interest, this tunic goes from the office to a night out with ease.

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Although it’s elegant enough to wear with a long, minimalist necklace as shown here, Pochette would also be spectacular with a patterned silk scarf draped around the neck.

Curved pockets grow out of the color blocking, and are achieved with Short-Row shaping. To my eye, the colors “Apple” and “Tar” sang in perfect harmony when combined. I love this serious shade of gray next to the chartreuse; each color becomes its best self when edged with the other.

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The lovely linen yarn used in this project is Shibui Linen. Softer than your average linen, it nonetheless has the lovely dry, crisp hand that we associate with linen fiber. Airy and light, this is a quintessential summer yarn, with a unique chain ply structure that is an absolute dream to work with. Never splitty or rough on the hands, it slides through the fingers and has just enough texture to stay put on the needles.

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While the tunic is a natural over leggings or jeans, it would dress up beautifully worn belted over a long, floaty skirt.

Knits That Breathe – Sirena Tunic Project Particulars

Silk, lace, and beading… a combination that automatically says “dressy” to me. As embodied in the Sirena tunic, this happy blend of elements results in a flowing top that thrills with understated elegance and special details.

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Hand Maiden Yarn’s Flaxen, a marriage of 65% silk and 35% linen, offers the knitter the delicious softness and color saturation of silk as well as the crisp stitch definition and subtle texture of linen, resulting in a yarn that glides dreamily through the fingers. The two fibers absorb dye differently, giving Flaxen a lovely semi-solid appearance with depth and quiet variegation. The tunic’s beautiful drape grows softer and more luscious with each washing, making Sirena a classic design that only gets better with time and wear.

The scoop neck and open sleeves (seamed only at the shoulders and at the edges) add as much to its cool appearance as the vertical allover lace.

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A lovely little vintage mother-of-pearl button closes the keyhole back at the neck.

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The beaded detail at the hem subtly accentuates the lace border. And if the beads seem like too much of a good thing, knitters should feel free to omit them – the lace points have sufficient appeal to stand on their own.

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Easing over the hips, Sirena can be worn a multitude of ways; belted or not, over a long floating skirt or sleek silk pants. With simple construction and just enough shaping to make the most of your assets, I hope this tunic will quickly become a staple in your wardrobe.

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Knits That Breathe – Pacific Coast Tunic Project Particulars

While I await this year’s minuscule (i.e. I could buy myself and a friend fancy coffee drinks, maybe) tax refund, let’s start our discussion of the Knits That Breathe Project Particulars with the Pacific Coast Tunic. This design not only made the cover of the book, but was the first one I designed for it.


I confess to being kind of a geek for garment construction techniques that look rather complicated, but are actually quite straightforward in execution. The Pacific Coast Tunic is a perfect example of this. It’s made of four pieces, but not in the way you might expect.

Raised seams certainly focus the eye on the tunic’s front and back center panels, but they also add wonderfully flattering vertical lines to this garment. That distinction is important because the tunic’s fabric is worked in a stitch pattern that includes subtle, graduated horizontal “stripes,” as you can see below:

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Short-Row shaping at the hem of the side panels serves two functions; while the curving hem gracefully covers what some wearers might consider a surplus of generous hip, it also provides soft drape and movement with every sway of those hips.

Pacific Coast Tunic Rear Smocking detail

Pacific Coast Tunic Rear Smocking detail

The smocking detail at the top of each center panel is both a stylish detail (and one that calls for some really special buttons!) and a subtle technique to accentuate the A-line shape of the tunic – another way for those important vertical seams to provide flattering lines where we need them the most.

The yarn used in this project is the wonderful Tencel Tape by Prism Yarn. 100% Tencel (a lovely fiber with origins in wood pulp, but definitely no splinters here!), it glides smoothly through the fingers and is a pleasure to work with. Easy to care for, it’s got plenty of shape-holding body AND a soft hand, and absorbs dye well for beautiful color saturation and retention. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Prism Yarn Tencel Tape

Prism Yarn Tencel Tape

I adore this tunic, and can’t wait to wear it this summer (although after last night’s snowfall and this morning’s temperature of 32 degrees, I’m seriously wondering if summer will ever come to Chicago this year!).

I’ll also wear it with a tissue-weight white tee shirt underneath. When I wore it that way to Chicago’s YarnCon, I couldn’t take ten steps without being stopped by someone asking where she could find the pattern. The good news is, the pattern is in Knits That Breathe, and the book is available for purchase now. Make one of your own and soon you, too, will be getting stopped everywhere you go by knitters wanting to make their own Pacific Coast Tunic.