Project Inspiration - Virgil in Autumn
I've long had Virgil by Caitlin Hunter in my list of favourites, but as much as I was attracted to the original I was also realistic about the fact that it wasn't quite right for my current body shape and style. I left it in my list on Ravelry, came back to it every so often, and then moved on to other projects. A couple of weeks ago when trying to decide on what to make with some lovely new yarn, (more on that below), an idea for how to make a version that was right for me suddenly clicked.
For this project I used the absolutely gorgeous Merino Linen Singles from Yama Fibre Arts, (90% merino, 10% linen). I recently purchased several skeins of this yarn in five colourways with no particular projects or colour combinations in mind. In fact, the combination I ended up with for this sweater, (Espresso, Champagne Blush, and Crushed Mustard), was probably the furthest away from my original thinking on pairings but after playing with them in person I just loved the three of them together.
Although the colours I've used are solid/semi-solids, the bits of linen give the yarn a rustic vibe which is fabulous. The yarn itself is soft with a wonderful drape, making it perfect for all manner of garments and accessories and a dream to knit with. I have enough of these colours left over that I'm thinking of trying them out in a brioche hat, but I digress!
So, back to the Virgil sweater. Although I would have totally rocked this sweater as is "back in the day", there were a few things about it that were problematic for me in the here and now:
- First and foremost, that colourwork right below the waist and above the hips was going to be a no-go because I'm carrying a little, um, "baggage" in that area that I don't want to call attention to.
- Second, the length of the sweater and the fact that it narrowed in that dreaded spot mentioned above were also not good for my current shape.
- Third, the sleeves as written were going to hit my arm at its widest point, so they would need to be longer.
- Finally, I found the colourwork in high contrast a bit angular and harsh for my personal taste.
With those four things in mind, I modified my sweater as follows:
- I used a size 3US to start, changed to 5US for the colourwork in the yoke, and then to 6US after the colourwork to add even more drape to the body.
- I used low-contrast bordering on no-contrast colours for the colourwork. From a distance this is just a lovely blend of colours, but up close you can just about make out the pattern.
- About 3" after the sleeve separation I added some shaping to the front only. I did this by dividing the front stitches into three even sections, (or as close as possible), using stitchmarkers. Right before the middle section marker I did a M1R, right after the middle section marker I did a M1L. I did this every 5th row four times for a total of eight stitches increased.
- I continued to knit until the body measured 13.5" from the underarm and then, using the same size needle, did one inch in 1x1 rib, (I'm not a fan of seed stitch edging). Then I changed back to Crushed Mustard and knit one round before casting off knitwise.
- I made the sleeves longer than the original, but did not taper them. I knit them 3" from the underarm, did one inch in 1x1 rib, and then finished them in the same way as the body hem with the Crushed Mustard. The result is a loose, but not too flouncy, short sleeve that I think compliments the relaxed fit of the body.
The only note I have about the pattern itself is that the instructions for the yoke seemed to make it a little too deep for me so I went with a measurement that made more sense for my body -- about 8.75" deep. I'd definitely try it on before completing all the rounds called for in the pattern.
After blocking my finished sweater has a fit and style that I feel very comfortable in -- loose but not baggy in the body, sleeves that hit about an inch above the elbow, and a nicely fitted yoke with an attractive boatneck collar. The textures and colourwork combine to add extra interest and the fabric is drapey and soft.
At the end of the day, these were all easy adjustments that anyone with the same concerns could incorporate to make this great pattern work for them. I intended this to be a transitional sweater for summer to autumn, but I'm not sure I can wait that long to wear it!
You can find more project inspiration on the blog here. You can also find me on Instagram @high.fibre.diet and @high.fibre.shop or on Ravelry as highfibrediet.