Ogee Tunic from Knitting Nature – done!

§ November 16th, 2007 § Filed under sweaters § 41 Comments

After many false starts, gauge woes and visits to the frog pond, I finally present to you the delightful Ogee Tunic from Norah Gaughan’s Knitting Nature book:

ogeetunicdone1

I have much to say about this pattern, but before I do any of that, just look at the central motif – Gaughan adapted the Ogee fractal in ever increasing sizes from the centre bottom to the top shoulders. Quite apart from the ingenuity of the cables and openwork, which move almost snake-like across the fabric, I also like it because the motif resembles so many kurta yokes in Indian clothing. I feel like I knit myself a woollen kurti!

Ogeetunicmotif

Pattern Info:

Source: Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan, I made the 3rd size, 40 inches.
Yarn: Elann Highland Silk in Raspberry, just over 10 skeins, so approx. 1250-1300 yards?
Needles: Size 3 Susan Bates metal throughout.
Gauge: Spot on with the pattern, 23 stitches and 32 rows to 4 inches.

ogeebottommotif

Modifications:

1. I added extra waist shaping. The pattern is designed as an A-line tunic, with graduated decreases from the billowy bottom to the bust. I sped up the decreases to the waist, added a couple extra, then knit straight for two inches and increased back those extra stitches towards the bust.

2. I made the sleeves shorter. I wanted to make them 3/4 to make it more like a dressy top, but I think they grew a bit in the wash, and I might have made them unintentionally a bit longer than I’d wanted.

Additional Pattern Notes: The pattern is ingenious, but oddly worded. I don’t know if I’m the only one who misread some of it and ended up frogging a couple of times. But if you’re planning on making this, some of the following notes might be helpful.

1) Directions are given first for the back, but it recommends that you may want to knit the motif-heavy front first, to make sure the back length matches it. I did so, but it keeps referring to “work as for back” while detailing the front instructions, so you have to keep going back and forth. Writing out the exact instructions separately for the front might help, especially about the waist shaping, and the final length of the piece up to the armhole, and that of the armhole itself.

2) The reason for this is that the chart of the front motif does not indicate where you should stop for each size. It gives the exact start positions for each size, but not what the final row ought to be – you have to figure that out by looking at the inches measurement, which is given only in the instructions for the back. I did the front by doing the motif all the way to the last row of the chart, and then the back, thereby making the piece at least two inches too deep in the armhole. I figured this out only while setting in the sleeves (more on this below), and realised, that rather like yogurt in winter, the sleeves weren’t going to set. I frogged a couple of inches off both the front and back, reknit the shoulders and neck, and then all was fine.

3) The finishing instructions ask you to pick up and knit stitches for the neckband beginning at the “left shoulder seam”. That can’t be right, because the normal way to pick up and knit is to go clockwise – if that makes sense – and this means you have to begin at the right neck edge.

4) Setting in sleeves is a right royal pain in the ass – it is the knitting equivalent of grading. You spend a wonderful semester teaching and end up with the grief that is bluebooks; so it is that you knit these lovely pieces that you have to seam, and the trauma of getting a non-puckering, elegant seam at the sleeves is the most nerve-wracking. Do you think I managed, finally?

ogeesetinsleeve

Oh, and finally, a yarn review for Elann Highland Silk. I have to resort to a teaching simile for this too, because this yarn is like a lot of students: lots of promise, good early performance, you know they have it in them to take the pressure, but the final paper and overall grade leaves, um, lots of room for improvement.

- Stitch detail, check. Beware the split stitch, it will show!
- Price, ($4 for 122 yards), sweet. Even makes you overlook the obligatory knot in each and every skein.
- Range of colours, yeah! Lovely shades, actually.
- Softness, wait a minute. If many yarns improve after washing, this one is a rebel. Frogging and some rough handling make it angry and resentful.
- Silk blends shine, you say? This one gleams, a bit too much in photos, actually, but also tends to leave a fuzz on the fabric that is not entirely pleasing.
- Long term prognosis? Good, but could be much better. A final grade of B (but as all my evaluations say, I *am* a tough grader). The pattern, however, is top-notch. I might even consider an A for it!

ogeetunicfolded

41 Responses to “Ogee Tunic from Knitting Nature – done!”

  • Mary says:

    As I mentioned elsewhere — WOW. That is a stunner. A really beautiful piece. And the sleeve setting looks smooth and sleek. Congratulations. And happy wearing!

  • Mel says:

    Well, issues with the yarn aside, I have to say that you turned out a really nice final product there. It looks spectacular!

  • lobstah says:

    Truly fabulous! It is so elegant on you. And the set-in sleeves look perfect.

  • Michelle says:

    What a beautiful sweater, it looks lovely on you!

  • Swapna says:

    That is a gorgeous top (?)/sweater! Congratulations :)

  • Ruth says:

    That looks really excellent, and very flattering too! It makes me want to knit a tunic. And yes, I think you did a great job setting in that sleeve!

  • Dawn says:

    How beautiful is that! you wear it so well. Great job.

  • Amy says:

    It is so very, very stunning. I hated this sweater in the book, even moreso because the fractals were so beautiful and clever.

    But you’ve done a fantastic job of turning an unflattering silhouette into a truly gorgous sweater. I think I’ll need to knit this now! And you really did an excellent job with the sleeves, they look flawless.

  • Wendy says:

    Congratulations! It’s a lovely sweater, and it looks wonderful on you!

  • femiknitter says:

    It looks fantastic–you did a wonderful job! The set in sleeves look great, and I would not have guessed they gave you any trouble at all. I have to say, I love your discussion of finishing the sleeves, and I feel exact same way about it!

  • mazhalai says:

    I have been working on some programming assignments related to fractals and have been in love with them. This is even better – fractals and knitting :) :) . It looks good on you. and it does look like a kurti :)

  • Suz says:

    I saw you on Ravelry modeling this sweater. Beautiful! The color is perfect on you, even if the yarn was a little…difficult.

  • Opal says:

    Oh it’s just gorgeous. I have a serious case of sweater lust going on now.

  • wow, i like, like very much. I think that your yarn comments seem true of all silk blends or silk yarns.

  • Kimberly says:

    So pretty! It looks great on you!

  • Jill says:

    The tunic looks fantastic on you and I love the colour. Thanks for the pattern and yarn reviews!

  • stacey says:

    that is beautiful! even with the frustrations with the pattern and yarn, it looks like it fits perfect!

  • Janette says:

    You’ve made a fantastic job of Ogee Tunic!

    I’ve knit Ram’s Horn Jacket from the book and the pattern was challenging to say the least. The wording of the pattern was dreadful, but, all that aside, I was very happy with the end result.

    Love this sweater – congratulations!

  • Marie says:

    Wow! It’s beautiful! Well done.

  • Agnes says:

    This looks great! The yarn certainly looks beautiful in picture … the colour is superb! Maybe I would try it myself some time later. But the pattern is definitely an A! No doubt about that. Great job.

  • Deepa says:

    Bravo! Very nicely done, set in sleeves and all. It really is a knit kurti, I would have to agree.

    Looks wonderful on you…I’d give you an A. :)

  • Carrie says:

    Gorgeous! Thanks for the thorough yarn review, too–I’ve been wondering about that Elann, it sounds like it’s work a try.

  • mel says:

    Your tunic came out lovely! I’ve been looking forward to seeing it – I love Norah and this is one of my favorite patterns from the book. Thanks so much for sharing details of your mods and the pattern, very helpful. And I agree with your students – you are one tough grader. I’d give it an ‘A’ for sure!

  • kelp! says:

    I love the way your tunic turned out – it’s the perfect fit! And the color is fab, it really looks wonderful on you. The Elann yarn certainly looks beautiful, even if it’s a bit on the rebellious side.

  • Oooo, it’s lovely! Looks fantastic on you… I’ve got to knit this for myself sometime soon : )

  • Gabrielle says:

    thank you for your pattern notes.
    Fabulous Ogee.

  • Zaz says:

    hello,
    i read your comments on this one. you’re the one before last to have posted anything in the knitting nature KAL. i have been wanting so much to join to show my sideways buttoned cardigan, alas no answer…
    what i wanted to say with norah’s pattern that i knit is she proceeds in the same manner of thought as i did. i will explain why this was good for me. say you have your gauge exactly like the one she has ok? (which you did in this one), so instead of using a measuring tape for length, what i did was calculate how many rows that would be (algebra). i did just that and found out that norah goes by repeats of patterns (i am french an trying to be clear here i hope i manage …) so in fact say till the arms there were three repeats. i mean, she ends till under the sleeves at a point in the pattern where this part of the motif ends, then she’d have the decrease bind off then she’d start at another part of the motif…
    so, if you knit this one again, i suggest you try counting how many rows your inches count is and go by rows for the chart :)
    the picture with your room mates back in college is lovely, i wish you all the luck. i am a buddhist so i was very happy to find your hat pattern and will knit it. i am also looking for a tiny lotus design to have the ONLY tatoo of my life ever, so should you have a jpeg file, please let me know?! i am sure you’d be more resourceful than i on this one. please do email me about anything else or leave a comment or both. lovely seeing you here :) metta.
    Zaz

  • Beverly says:

    Wow! I’m convinced that I need at this to the short list. The color is gorgeous.

  • [...] blend better? 5) I already have a lot of stuff in this colourway, and is reminding me of my Ogee Tunic. Should I be selling or trading in this yarn for something else on [...]

  • [...] surprise we plunged right into chatting. A couple of people recognized me, and more importantly, my Ogee tunic from the blog, which was totally [...]

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