Right before I broke my foot, I had started daydreaming of knitting a vintage fingering weight colorwork sweater. Not the quickest of projects, to be sure, but it seemed like it would be a great way to get through the long winter evenings. And then I broke my foot and suddenly I was faced with a lot of sitting time and knitting a sweater went from good idea to great idea. I paged around Etsy and Ravelry for a while before settling on Montrose, and after a bit of searching found the pattern in this booklet on Etsy.
I wasn’t entirely sold on the irises across the yoke of the sweater, though. I couldn’t come up with a color combination that I loved and that would do them justice, and I couldn’t help feel like the flowers were hard to recognize in a limited color palette. So I started looking around the internet for other charts that were the same height. I was expecting to find some other sort of flower, perhaps a snowflake, or something nautical. Instead, I ended up with dragons.
I believe the dragon chart I found was originally intended for a Beekeeper’s Quilt, which made for some very long floats at the beginning and end of the chart. After a bit of fiddling around in Photoshop and consulting trustworthy and stylish friends, I decided that the dragons would march along from center back to center front, with no other adornment around them. I also decided to do mini-intarsias for the flames rather than stranding those all the way across, although in retrospect I probably could have just done duplicate stitch once the thing was all together.
I still haven’t properly wet-blocked the thing (you can tell, right?), having instead followed the pattern instructions to steam-block when sewing it together. Over all, I’m pretty happy with how the project came together – the fit is spot-on, and aside from one pattern repeat (center front, naturally) my tension was pretty good. If anything, the dragons on the sleeve heads may be a little on the loose side. The yarn was great to work with, I love the colors I chose, and the sweater is very cozy.
I did pick up a couple new tricks while working on this sweater – I did the sleeves two-at-a-time with the magic loop technique, a first, and I only accidentally knitted them together once. I also finally figured out how to do crochet edging when I had to do the back neck buttons. I couldn’t find buttons that seemed right anywhere, but when I was going to do the final finishing, I took one more look through my own button stash and found these four perfect vintage bakelite buttons. I couldn’t have found better buttons if I tried!
I kept the styling simple to wear my new sweater to the yarn store (as you do…) and paired it with a solid red skirt and my new Red Wing Heritage dream lace-up boots, which deserve a post of their own. The short version is that they were a major wishlist item and I decided it was worth coughing up the money since I’d be living in flat shoes while I recovered from the broken foot – and I love ‘em.
So that’s the tale of my very complicated sweater! The rest of the technical nitty-gritty is on my Ravelry here and even though it may not be perfect, I’m pretty darn proud of it!
- Colorwork dragon sweater: Vintage pattern – Patons “Montrose” knit in Knitpicks Palette in Asphalt Heather, Pimento, and Turmeric.
- Red 1940s A-line skirt: Purchased from Solanah
- Opaque white-girl colored tights: Capezio
- Knee-high lace-up boots: Red Wing Heritage “Gloria”