Mirth Tunic in Knitscene Winter 2016

I have a new design in the latest issue of Knitscene! Meet the Mirth Tunic.

Sleeveless seems kind of weird for a winter issue, doesn't it? I proposed this piece as a design in a winter issue that includes people knitting in warmer climates who don't need full ski sweaters. I'm also partial to tank top-y shells being worn as vests, and I think this one will look just dandy with a button-down beneath it, or a blazer layered over it.

It's hard to see in the photos, but all the waist shaping takes place on the back in the same formation as princess seam shaping. It helps bring a nice tailored shape to the tunic without distorting the edges of the front cable and lace pattern.

The lace and cable panel is simple to knit, yet it creates a big visual impact in worsted weight yarn (more on that later.) If you prefer a cowl neck with more drape, pick up more stitches or increase until the neck is the width you want. You can knit it shorter for a roll-neck look or go extra long for a really dramatic cowl!

So...about that yarn. It's Mountain Meadow Wool in Salem, a springy wool yarn wrapped in silk thread. As my sample knitter worded it, "In swatch form, the yarn looked rather rustic, but I was pleasantly surprised as well at how well it worked in the garment." If you choose to use Salem, have some faith! It does appear very wooly and naturally textured at first, but it relaxes gorgeously when blocked revealing a hidden elegance. However, Mountain Meadow Wool calls this a DK weight which I disagree with. Both my sample knitter and I were able to achieve a worsted weight gauge on a US 6 without any struggle. When compared next to other worsted weight yarns I had handy, you can see how the yarn works at such a gauge.

 From L to R: Salem; Valley Yarns Northampton; Fibre Company Cumbria

From L to R: Salem; Valley Yarns Northampton; Fibre Company Cumbria

I would suggest swatching with a light worsted, worsted or aran weight yarn for this project. Throw the label of 'DK weight' out of your mind and go with a yarn and needle combination that will give you the listed gauge without creating an overly loose or overly tight fabric. I held a small swatch of the lace panel up to the window so you can attempt to judge the tension of the fabric.

If the tunic was completely stockinette and didn't have the lace panel in front, I would feel comfortable wearing it without a layer underneath (ie, I don't find the stockinette fabric inherently open or revealing.) If I had a stockinette swatch to demonstrate this alongside the lace swatch I would have, but it's not anywhere I can easily find! What can I say, my office is not entirely as organized as it should be.

You can find the Mirth Tunic here on Ravelry to add to your queue, or to purchase the individual pattern from Interweave, a new option they've started offering for magazine patterns.