Knitting My Way to Canada: The Camisa

Hi everyone! I'm baaaack…

I'm slowly finding my way around this little corner of Canada–the people here in Canada are lovely, by the way. Thanks to all of you for welcoming me so warmly! But it's time for this gal to get back to our Knitting Daily adventures, so here we go…

You've heard me prattling on and on about the Camisa from Knitscene, so now that I am finally in a house with a functioning internet connection, let's take a peek at how my Camisa is coming along.

Knitting Across North America
I needed something simple to knit during the move–at the end of a long day in the car, I just couldn't follow anything too complex. The Camisa, with its easy (yet ingenious) construction and its no-fuss design, was perfect. I carried the Camisa-in-progress with me in the car all the way from Colorado to Canada. I was driving, so no car knitting, but I worked on it in bits and pieces at rest stops and in hotel rooms through Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and across the border into lower Ontario. It was the last knitting I did in the U.S., and is now the first knitting I have done in my new home in Canada.

Why the Camisa?
I know there are tons of pretty patterns out there. I hear them calling to me…c'mon. Don't you hear them calling to you, too? Sure you do. But how can anyone possibly choose which one to knit NOW?

I think the truth is that some patterns choose US. More often than not, a pattern we've seen will stick in our minds, haunting us. We'll go off and knit other things, but the patterns that choose us are rather insistent. They knock on our brains and constantly invite themselves in for tea. Then they say, "Hey! Remember me? I'm pretty and you really should knit me!"

That's how it was for me with Kat Coyle's Camisa. I first saw the sample garment for this little knitted top way back when our (now sold-out, I am sorry to say) Fall 2006 issue of Knitscene was being put together; I remember kind of cooing at it. I was hooked. Every time I looked at that issue, I'd stop at the Camisa page and say hello; I'd imagine it in different yarns, different colors. I'd picture myself wearing it with jeans, with a skirt; to work, out with friends. (You're really in trouble if you start thinking about matching shoes. That's when you know you're a goner.)

So I finally broke down and started knitting it. There were other things I ought to be knitting; but if I didn't knit the Camisa soon, I'd probably burst. (In fact, I loved that little top so much that the Camisa was the very first pattern from that issue of Knitscene that I put into the Knitting Daily pattern store.) It is a perfect travel knit and it would give me a nice little top to wear to "knit nights" in my new hometown–all good!

Which yarn?
After much thought, I realized that I wanted the exact yarn, in the exact color, in the magazine photo. This is unusual for me, free spirit that I am–I almost never knit something so that it looks just like the photo. But this time, well. I wanted THAT Camisa. The yarn, String of Pearls by Muench, is a rich teal blue cotton/rayon mix with a streak of shimmer through it so that the whole garment glitters slightly–just enough to be fun, not so much that you feel as though you're auditioning for American (or Canadian!) Idol. The yarn is a bit stretchy, but the fabric holds its shape; it isn't scratchy like some glittery yarns can be. It's a gorgeous, fun yarn. Nice!

What size? And am I making any adjustments?
I have a 39" bust, 36" waist, and 42" hip. I wanted some negative ease, so I chose the 38" size. As far as adjustments go, the problem is that the 38" size has a 34" hip dimension. Despite my new shape, I am still a rather hippy gal, with a bit of tummy in the front. The side vents will definitely help–I don't want the bottom clinging to my tummy! But I decided that I also needed some extra room in front for my little curvy belly, so I added four belly darts in front–two on each side of center.

Fearless Dart-Making
I was in a hotel room with no computer and no calculator when I planned those darts, so I eyeballed things and Just Did It. Whoo! (I am showing the front pinned to Bertha. She has absolutely no tummy and this is why the garment looks ill-fitting on her.) Each of the inner darts started 6 stitches away from the center (teal marker at the belly button); they are just over an inch away from center. Each side dart is 10 stitches away from the neighboring inner dart. Since that portion is top-down, the four darts are increases, beginning with the first knit row after picking up stitches at the waistband. I worked two more increase rows every sixth row, for a total of 3 increase rows. The shaping is very subtle; I didn't want it to look like a maternity top, but I did want to get rid of the cling possibility.

What type of increases did I use?
Knitters always want to know what kind of increases and decreases I use for my shaping, so: I used left-slanting and right-slanting M1s so that you can barely see the actual increase stitches on the right side.

And now I am working my way up to the bust and neck! How about bust darts? Not this time–I like the style of this top the way it is.

So that's where I am. Photos to come once it's finished!

–Glad to be back!

Note: The Camisa was originally published in our Fall 2006 issue of Knitscene magazine, which is out of print. Look for the issue at your local yarn shop (maybe they still have a copy or two). Or, you can purchase the Camisa pattern in our online store.

P. S. Don't forget to check out this week's free pattern, the Summer Shawlette. And due to popular demand, the corrected version of the free pattern for the Domino Potholder will be available until September 17.

Sandi's Picks

When one of our magazine issues goes out of print, I start choosing my favorites to include for sale in our online pattern store, hoping that you'll love them too! Here are a few more of my favorite patterns for sale from our sold-out Knitscene Fall 2006 issue:

Poinsettia by Michele Rose Orne.  A pretty red ballet-style wrap cardigan with belled cuffs and easy color accents.

Dog Walker by Teri Barr. Matching stuff for you and the dog in your life. C'mon, you know you want to…

Oscar Baby by Lisa Shroyer and Katie Himmelberg.  A hat and baby booties worthy of Sesame Street.

Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky (with new sizes and styling tips for plus-sizes!).  Our most popular pattern ever! A cabled hoodie for every figure.

Do you have a favorite pattern from a sold-out issue that isn't in our store? Let us know what it is, because we want to make sure that YOUR favorites are available, too!

Sandi Wiseheart is the editor of Knitting Daily. I'm sitting in my new light-filled studio, surrounded by boxes of yarn and fiber and books, oh my. This is the first Real Studio I've ever had! How will I arrange it? I have no idea, so I am poring over CPS Studios magazine for inspiration and advice. (Ahem. OK, that was an utterly shameless plug–but really, it's a great magazine, full of wonderful eye candy, and maybe I'll find some really good tips in there to help keep me organized. Who knows?)


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