Pattern: Briar Rose Bolero by Ysolda
Yarn: Moda Dea Fashionista (tencel/acrylic) in Berry Red, 3.5 skeins
Size: 32-34 in (2nd smallest)
Needles: US 8
Notes: The key here, I think, is to just embrace the wideness of the bolero. Keep everything else you’re wearing muted and close fitting. Because seriously – no one is going to see anything but those shoulders. I’ve changed my mind about this one, with reservations. Only time will tell if I can wear it out of the house without feeling like I’m wearing a Joan Crawford costume. This is one of the few sweaters I have knit that provoked a spontaneous reaction from Marc -he loves the silhouette and the color. I love the color too, which somehow manages to be a bright true red, while at the same time being a deep berry (seriously – it’s all dependent on the light.) The color here is pretty true on my monitor, and it is an unusual red. I usually tend more towards the muted burgundies, so this is a departure for me. Fortunately, I feel pretty confident in my ability to wear all but the orangest red.
I knit the pattern pretty much as written, with my only real mod being to knit the sleeves from the XS size, and to knit them a bit longer (I knit them to 13″.) I used a 2×2 rib instead of the lacy edging, mostly because I felt like there was enough going on already, between the color and the shoulders, and I knit the border to 2″ instead of 4″, because I wanted to pull it tight in the front with a pin. This pin doesn’t match, but it’s all I could find on such short notice – I do not like the jacket open, because the fronts fall back and make the shoulders look even more broad.
I quite enjoyed working with this yarn. Part of the difficulty in photographing the sweater comes from the yarn’s velvety appearance, and the fact that it has a muted satin sheen that reflects the light. It isn’t like any yarn I’ve used before at all – it felt sort of like knitting with the furry part of pipe cleaners, as strange of an analogy as that may be, although the sweater itself is not at all furry, just very soft. There were a few times that I was irritated at the lack of elasticity, but it did not give me the wrist issues that working with pure acrylic does. It probably wouldn’t have the greatest stitch definition in cables, and I wouldn’t use it for lace, but for straight stockinette I thought it was very nice.
I still don’t enjoy working in one piece very much. The construction of this jacket is interesting, especially the shoulders, but I have to confess that half-way through I was wishing I could just seam it up! I found the decrease section (after attaching the sleeves) a little confusing, but I got through everything ok, only ripping once. This is not a beginner’s pattern – it uses short rows quite a bit, and some of the shoulder shaping is hard to grasp, although the pattern itself was pretty clear. I actually ended up with my stitch counts off in a few places, but I just fudged it and you can’t tell.
But I am not complaining. In the end I think it suits my personal sense of style quite well, but you should keep in mind that I’m the person who used to wear business suits every day in high school. I don’t really do casual very well. And as we have established, I love the bolero!