Sunday, May 12, 2013

Open Eye Tunic - Swatching

Have you seen the latest issue of Interweave Knits?  The picture above was taken from their web site.  When I saw this pattern I knew that I had to make it, and I knew that it would be stunning in a Unique Sheep Gradiance.  First I checked out the yarn called for - Anzula Luxury Fibers Breeze (65% silk, 35% linen; 750 yd [684 m]/4 oz [114 g]), worked with the yarn held double.  Ah ha, I said to myself, maybe I can substitute one of the Unique Sheep fingering weight yarns and then not have to work with the yarn held double, which frankly I just don't like to do.  At first I thought about using Luxe, because it is my favorite Unique Sheep fingering weight yarn, but then I was working on my Ardent Spring shawl and realized that Tinsel Toes would be a better choice.

Once I finished up my Ardent Spring shawl I had a little ball of Tinsel Toes left over from the border so after that shawl was blocked I started swatching.  First I swatched with size 5 needles, my default needles with fingering weight yarns.  The eyelet lace instructions were written only, no chart, and I am a chart knitter when it comes to lace so I charted the lace pattern as I knit it.  I tried charting it before I knit it, but it is one of those lace patterns that changes stitch counts on some of the rows so it was a bit tricky.  As I knit that first repeat of the pattern I realized that I wanted to make some modifications to it, so did a further two repeats with my modifications.  This resulted in the following swatch:
This swatch is a little smaller than the gauge called for in the pattern (5 stitches and 5.5 rows per inch) so I pulled out my size 7 needles, which are the size called for in the pattern and did two repeats of my modified chart.  This resulted in the following swatch:
Which is just about perfectly on gauge.

I also charted and knit a gauge swatch in the Cane Stitch that forms the side panels on the size 7 needles.
And once again had everything work out perfectly.

When things work out this perfectly, this easily, I take it as a sign from the universe that the project will go well so I went ahead and ordered my yarn.  Because I am not going to have to hold my yarn doubled I will need about half as much yarn as the pattern calls for, with some extra for buffer, so I decided to get 300 g, which will give me about 1200 yards.  It didn't take me long to settle on a color - Electric Blue Flame.  I am going to do the inserts in the light yellow, and then start the body with the dark skein.  I am also going to get some silk and sew a lining for the tunic so I don't have to worry about what to wear underneath it.

Pattern:  Open Eye Tunic by Deborah Helmke, Interweave Knits Summer 2013
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Tinsel Toes in Electric Blue Flame, swatches done in Rumpelstiltskin
Needle:  US 7 (4.5 mm)


  1. I was going to send this to you. You know I don't wear shawls, but this tunic caught my eye. And you wanted me to try lace! You beat me to it! What does the front look like??


    1. Basically the same as the back, the neck line is just a little lower.

    2. Decided to subscribe to the digital version of that mag. Lots of cool stuff. Only have the Spring version so far--I think the digital one is available May 21. If you have the Spring one, what do you think of the Marian tunic?

    3. That is a pattern that I marked as well.

  2. I checked out tinsel toes yarn but I'm not crazy about the colors. Is there another fingering weight yarn that would gauge just as well?

    1. In the end I adjusted the gauge because I wanted a tighter lace. I ended up using a size 5 needle and went up a size on the pattern as a result. I'm not sure what you mean by "not crazy about the colors". Tinsel Toes does not take dye as deeply as some other yarns, is that what you mean? Because with the variety of colors that The Unique Sheep create I find it hard to believe that you couldn't find something that you liked. All that being said, find a fingering weight yarn that you like and will enjoy working with, work swatches until you get a fabric that you like and go from there. When looking for a suitable substitute I looked for yarns that had about half the yardage for the same weight as the suggested yarn. I picked half the weight because the pattern calls for holding the yarn doubled. If I can be of further help, please ask.