Bella - or maybe, Bell-ish ...

Brief update on my work on the Bella Blouse from this month's Interweave Knits web-only pattern. I made good use of driving and lunch hours to finish all of non-body embellishments: specifically the bottom band, both sides of the v-neck and both sleeve caps. Overall, once I'd get started in the pattern, it was very simple to leave the chart behind and just knit away. That allowed me to finish this stuff in record time. Everything got blocked yesterday.

Some interesting things to note, however, that have made the pattern more challenging than I expected.

1. Very poor directions for blocking these pieces.

In almost all cases, I've had to infer the sizes of these pieces. Other than the sleeve caps, no dimensions are given to block these parts in to shape. By looking at the drawings and reading the pattern, I've decided that the bottom band should be 3" x 40" (relatively straightforward) but I've had to totally guess at the v-neck inserts. I settled on 4" x 12 3/4" - here's hoping that's ok.

2. The k3tog stitch is ridiculous.

Given this weight of yarn, and also the size of the needles, there's no way that this stitch would work. I happily settled on the s2k1psso alternative that gives me a centered decrease (thanks Jane Sowerby!) but to even imagine that this would work is amazing to me! I'd love to hear from the pattern editors how easy it was for them to complete this stitch - and what needles they were using.

3. There's no right and left sleeve cap.

The patters for the v-neck are different depending on which side you're knitting. Makes perfect sense. However, this reversal wasn't executed for the sleeve caps - and I wonder why. Is it because they're deemed less visible? It'll clearly have the leaves running the same way in on both sides as opposed to running opposite directions like the neck. There's enough yarn leftover so that I could knit another insert after trying to flip the pattern (the neck pattern would serve as an excellent guide) but I don't know if I want to go to the trouble yet.

Anyway, I'm currently knitting away on the body of the sweater and doing it in the round rather than as a front and back piece. Again, the recommended construction method just seems odd given that the bottom border is knit all in one piece ... that'd make for *really* wierd seaming. I'm going through the yarn for the body like no body's business - though I'm sure I'll have enough as gauge is right on and the requirements for the embellishments was also accurate. I don't think I like the body yarn as much (might be scratchy) but the colors are gorgeous. Pix later today when I have time.

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