I started the bottom band for the Bella blouse yesterday. Did so with some trepidation as reviews of the Berocco cotton yarn made lots of noise about splitting. The needles I had handy were a pair of Clover 16" circs - the point is rather blunt on these and the wire is also a bit on the stiff side. Regardless, I figured that for this part, it'd be ok to start with a very short needle. Anyway, here's the yarn:
There are actually two different versions of the Berocco cotton - one is a the "Touche" standard cotton/rayon blend (that's the one on the right) and the other, "Cotton Twist" has a twist of rayon that adds a shine to the yarn. The colors for this pattern are Nectar (in Touche') for the bottom, neck and arm bands and Sensei (in Twist) for the body of the tank.
The border is a simple lace pattern with modified faggoting on either side of a leaf stitch. The leaf is formed by adding stitches in the first row, then doing two k3tog's to decrease back to a single stitch. However, with the thickness of this yarn and the small needle size, I knew I was going to have big trouble (read: splitting!) trying to execute that stitch. Look closely at the picture and see if you can tell what I did ...
Ok, I'll spoil. Since I picked up a copy of Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby, I knew there was an alternative to the k3tog. There's a centered decrease that's a combination of k1p2sso that yields a stitch in the middle and also only requires the equivalent of k2tog. I gave it a shot and it yielded a result that I'm actually quite happy with. The original stitch would have the leaf leaning to the right, but the centered stitch works for me - and I'm not splitting the yarn. All in all, a good compromise. Three out of 26 repeats done. Oh, and I'll be doing the entire tank in the round - it seems silly to knit the back and front separately since the bottom band is done in one piece and stitches are picked up to start the front and back. Wierd. Any thoughts as to why they'd piece it together like this?