Remember the emergency bolero?

It got done — in time even.

Last weekend I went to what I knew would be a stylish and lovely wedding in Tribeca, at the Tribeca Rooftop. I bought an interesting dress that I was relatively excited to wear given the fact that I had literally not bought a formal-ish dress since 1999 and had not worn one since 2004. In between then and now there have been a few saris and one bridesmaid dress. This was an occasion.

After I bought the dress I immediately realized I would need some sort of a cover-up since it was at night and was supposed to be outside (though it rained and it was moved inside). Given the color of the dress and some lovely silver shoes, I wanted something armor-like, quick to make since I only had about 10 days, and very lightweight since it is July afterall.

I found the Shetland Shorty from this summer’s new Knitty. With some modifications, I think it all turned out pretty top-notch.

I used Habu Textiles bamboo XS-45 in charcoal and silk stainless steel in gray for the body and the bamboo and wool stainless steel in wine for the neckline and part of the right front..
I ran out of the silk stainless with about 10 rows to go, so there’s an awkward/artistic stripe at the right shoulder…but I think it was fine. I actually wish I had had the foresight to know that would look nice so I could’ve done it on the other side for some symmetry.

Given the threadlike weight of the yarn I used, the net-like shetland lace pattern wasn’t really going to work, so I went with classic stockinette, which produced the chainmaille effect I was going for (especially with the incorporation of the stainless steel).

The fabric the yarn produced was absolutely perfect for what I wanted and was really just beautiful. The bamboo was shiny and the silvery steel gave it more dimension and an airiness. The garter stitch border using the steel was also three-dimensional in a way that “came alive” when the whole piece was done. I say that because it kind of looked ugly when I first started.

My only complaint with the whole project was picking up stitches with this yarn, weight and needle size used. It was messy. I will definitely be making other things with this yarn combination again — but I will be knitting neckbands separately and sewing them on. Thank you Phildar for letting me know that’s perfectly acceptable.

For the record, I decided as alternative fibers (steel and bamboo) they still met my “green” criteria for the year — (the wool was used sparingly and I don’t have much of an issue with silk at this point). This is despite my issues with the production of alternative fibers. I think there are better green choices, but the Habu yarns are not a bad once-in-a-while choice. Habu also has quite a few choices using vegetable and other natural dyes. Though I have not seen anything organic from them, which is more important to me.

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3 Responses to “Remember the emergency bolero?”

  1. Aleksandra Says:

    Wow! I love the shrug, that Habu combination is something I want to try out one day for sure.

    But what’s more important, your dress is STUNNING. Absolutely love it. You look great!

  2. becca Says:

    Your shetland shorty is gorgeous…and…i LOVE LOVE LOVE that dress! it looks très jolie on you 🙂

  3. Anne Says:

    Hey – we think the same way! I feel like I have been “consciousness-raised” and I no longer want to buy any more cheap clothing from China, or from any other near-slave-labor with pesticide-laden materials. I have just taken up knitting!

    Maybe I can just make my own clothes with organic and locally spun yarns. It’ll probably take me a year or more to learn knitting, though. Well I do have a closet full of clothes already, so I don’t need anything any time soon. People in centuries past lived with only a few outfits per year at most…

    Anyway – it’s worth the experiment and fun, too!

    I love your blog!

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