Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oh Rob... I mean Tom...

I loved Amy Herzog's Petrea the minute she posted it on Ravelry. I adore the Petrea's deep scoop neck, curvy shaping, short sleeves, and lace columns. But when I saw her friend Caro's version, I was sold. I thought this cardi would work for me - plus I saw an opportunity to quickly make a cute summer sweater that would teach me more about fitting and sweater length.

I know I'm dating myself here, but I'm calling my version Laura Petrea, named for Laura Petrie, the beloved housewife from my childhood played by Mary Tyler Moore.

You remember Laura. She the one who helps her husband up off the floor after he's - yet again! - tripped over the ottoman.

I started the Laura Petrea like I always do, with the schematic.

My plan:
  • Add shaping to from the hips to the waist using darts.
  • Work one inch of short rows at the top of my hips to keep the sweater from riding up in the back
  • Continue the shaping after the waist to the bust line.
I've done waist shaping on all my most recent sweaters but have always done the increases or decreases on the side seam. This time, I followed Amy's lead and created darts instead which gives a much better fit. The fabric naturally conforms to my form without leaving me with dumb little triangles that need to be chopped off like with the Waltham.

The short rows were a given given my previous sweaters, all of which ride up in the back because of my big butt and hyper-curved spine. I've always wanted to add short rows to the back, but the cables on all of these sweaters have precluded it.You can't add short rows without screwing up the cable stitch pattern.

The Petrea's mostly stockinette back offered the opportunity to try short rows - and from what I can tell thus far, they work. Look how straight this hem is! We'll see how it looks when the sweater is finished, but in the meantime, I'm praying. (By the way, I decided to skip the back lace pattern. It's beautiful, but it would emphasize the giant derriere, something I'm forever trying to avoid.)

I've gotten a few questions about how I figured out the short rows. I finished the hip darts, knitted a couple of rows, and then began the short rows 20 stitches in from each side. I knitted seven short rows (or one inch) before returning to knitting another few rows before starting the upper waist shaping. This resulted in a wedge about 18 inches wide and one inch deep. I decided to put the short rows in this location so I didn't mess up the darts. I also figured that the waist is where my body  curves outwards and that the short rows would be less noticeable there than if they sat at the widest part of the hips.

For better or worse, I'm making this sweater only 24-inches long. I get opposition every time I talk about making a shorter sweater, but the only way to tell whether this length will work for me is to make one. So that's just what I'm going to do. My reaction thus far is that it takes a heck of a lot less yarn, money, and time knitting 24 inches than 30! But the proof will be in the pudding. We'll see how it looks.

Finally, let me tell you about the yarn - and the color. I know the beloved bf loves me but after nearly four years together, we're more like old married people than teenaged love birds. Imagine my shock when Tom looked at me a couple of weeks ago, cocked his head, and said, "You look so pretty in pink." I did a doubletake and then celebrated the lovely compliment by going straight to the computer and buying seven skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in the color Molly Ringwald. The yarn is very pretty - but I can't help thinking that a little alpaca would really help. I'm just crazy about alpaca.

The moral of the story: dark-haired brunettes with brown eyes look pretty in pink. Just in case you need it, here's even more proof courtesy of Laura Petrie. :-)


  1. Petrea is just lovely--I had a mixed reaction when I first saw the design on Amy's blog. It might have been the yellow, though. I love it in red on Caro, though, and the pink you bought is beautiful. How nice of Tom to notice (and comment) that you look good in pink.

    We love the Dick Van Dyke show around here; my kids just laugh out loud at it, just as I remember doing as a child. Does anyone else think it's weird that Larry Matthews, the child that played Richie, gets billing before Mary Tyler Moore? Wonder why that is?

  2. Julie, this is looking fantastic and the dart shaping really does make such a difference. I like the short row positioning as that will work really well on your lovely curves.

    I'm with Tom on this, pink does suit you so well and this colour will be gorgeous on you!