In the meantime, I've been working on a long-ignored WIP. Way back last year, I saw cmeknit's beautiful version of Bea, by Kim Hargreaves. For those of you not familiar with Kim's designs, they are done in Rowan yarns are are available in kits only. Patterns cannot be purchased separately.
Bea, from the Kim Hargreaves website.
Well, this got my creative juices flowing, because while I'd love to spend the $100 for the kit, I couldn't justify it. So I studied the pictures available online and started a knock-off version of Bea in February of this year. When spring arrived, I put it aside and ignored it. I was using Debbie Bliss Merino DK and liked the yarn just fine, but it wasn't thrilling me.
A few weeks ago, I saw knitterknatter's version of Bea on Ravelry. It is stunning and renewed my interest in this WIP. I decided to frog what I had started in the Merino DK and start from scratch using some Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton I had picked up at Black Sheep Knittery while on vacation. The original pattern uses Rowan Wool Cotton, so I thought this would make my knock-off even more like the real thing.
Here's how it's progressing. I know I'm not using the same exact stitch pattern (I'm just adding a purl stitch every 5 sts), but I think it's pretty close!
The faux-picot edging. I'm using knitterknatter's technique of doing a KFB on the last stitch and then casting off 1 on the next row, every other row.
The only issue so far with this knit is dye lots. I purchased 5 balls of the wool/cotton at Black Sheep Knittery and when I decided to make Bea, I knew I needed more. Because it is a discontinued yarn, I found what seemed like last 5 at Tropical Yarns's website. The batches of 5 and 5 are from different dye lots . . . you know where this is heading.
They are VERY different in shade. I know this because I started a new dye lot while still in stockinette - the effect was very obvious. To hide it, I knit from the beginning with 4 balls from 1 dyelot and reached the point when I would begin the garter stitch from the waist to the bottom hem. I switched to a new dye lot and garter stitch at the same time. The change from smooth stockinette to garter ridges really masks the shade change - see picture above.
But, I still have the sleeves to contend with. I have 1 ball of the original dye lot left and will probably alternate between dye lots while knitting the sleeves to gradually change, but I'll worry about that when I get there!