Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rowan crocheted top: Les Lilas sont en fleur ("Blooming Lilacs")


For the first time, Rowan published a whole book devoted to crochet designs this year; usually, you can just find a couple of crocheted garments scattered amongst the knitted designs of the Rowan publications.
As usual with Rowan, the photography is wonderful, and makes this a truly special book to own and leaf through. A few designs made it straight to the top of my to-do list, starting with Santorini. I just loved the simple lines and discreet eyelet trims, and the ballerina, rolled-down neckline.


A few technical notes on the design:

Ease of execution: This top was rather easy to make. It is basically a tank top with attached collar. The instructions are crystal clear - do be aware though that the wording is British, and not US crochet lingo! (UK double crochet = US single crochet, UK treble = US double)
Dislikes: My only real complaint would be that the instructions ask for way more yarn than is really needed. I have almost 2 full skeins left out of 8, and because I had ordered it over the Internet, I cannot return them.
The body was rather quick to make, but I felt the collar took forever! Probably also because I was moving houses as I was crocheting it, and because you just want to be done at that point ;)
This was the first time I had to do seaming on a project. Not that tricky, but very time consuming. I think starting making garments with Doris Chan’s seamless designs has spoiled me a little for the more “traditional” designs.
Changes: I did make the back slightly smaller (just as I go down a size for the back in garment sewing!). I wish I’d make the whole top a little smaller as it is rather wide at the shoulders, and it will probably grow a bit more as I wear it.

The yarn I chose for this is French: Esterelle by Bergère de France, a mercerized cotton in the same weight as the recommended yarn (4-ply fingering). The colourway is named "Hibiscus", although this is undeniably lilac to me, all the more so as I crocheted this as the whole town centre of Montpellier was fragrant with lilacs blossoming everywhere - hence the top's name.
The yarn was a delight to crochet - shame it is being discontinued by Bergère de France, but hopefully it has been / is being replaced by a yarn in a similar weight and quality.

Aptly enough, I finished crocheting this in the Eurostar, right under the Channel.
To those of you friends expressing the wish they knew how to crochet... trust yourself, and give it a try! I thought for years that crochet just wasn't for me. I started teaching myself on my own, only six months ago. There are tons of tutorials out there, including very nifty YouTube videos.
Besides what you can find of the internet, a couple of books that I've found tremendously helpful are The Crochet Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden, and The Happy Hooker (where the cheesy taglines in the manual section - probably just right for teenagers, but just a bit... much for dear old me - are amply made up for by the ultra explicit drawings and explanations).

18 comments:

mermaids said...

gorgeous!!!! i am in a knitting mode these days, but this tempts me to pull out my crochet hooks again.

Lori said...

This is gorgeous. Beautiful job.

Amanda S. said...

How pretty you look in this color with the beautiful rolling collar. I love the lacey bits at the bottom and collar edge. Nicely done!

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Lovely top! I'm with mermaids, I need to pull out my hooks and make something-it's a much easier craft for me than knitting.

Miss Kittie is beautiful as always!

Lisette M said...

Really beautiful top and the color is gorgeous on you. I love crochet also and have made a few pieces I love. I have to look into the Rowan book!

Adrienne said...

Beautiful top!

Tini said...

Awesome top for you. Love your colour choice (and of course the kitty picture!)

Christine said...

That is so pretty! Perhaps you could crochet a matching headband with your extra yarn?

the_lazymilliner said...

Isabelle, I just friended you on Ravelry. I'm going to have to do that button thingy on my blog.

I app-solutely ♥
my ✄ Fabric U ✄
iPhone app!
http://tinyurl.com/242bua9

melissa said...

ooh I love that wide neckline. So pretty!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for your very informative and expert advice. It really is encouraging to know such details about a project, rather then just "I liked it." This inspires me to become more daring in my crochet. Right now it is only dish towels and cat toys. Of course you know the final photo of this post is my favorite! Guess why.........

Tracy said...

The top is BEAUTIFUL, Isabelle! Love that ultra-soft lilac color. That style of top suits you very well. I lately bought some new yarn and am going to give one of those Ripple crochet blankets a go--a small blanket... LOL! LOVE that parting photo of you & Miss Cutie. Happy Summer Days, my friend :o) ((HUGS))

Karoline said...

It's gorgeous Isabelle and I love the colour.

Lisbei said...

Hello ma chère amie !
Ton top lilas est magnifique, et je dois dire que j'admire aussi beaucoup tes boucles d'oreilles ... je recommence tout juste à en mettre, jusqu'à présent j'évitais pour que les gremlins ne m'arrachent pas le lobe pour jouer ...
Gros bisous et caresses à la minette !

Gina E. said...

Such a beautiful top - design and colour suits you perfectly. And of course Kitty fluff is the finishing touch!

valcatraz said...

I love your blog and your work - keep it up and "coraggio" as we say in Italian. I'll be visiting Paris this august and will follow your fabric store suggestions!
Finally- in your photo of collar closeup your mouth and chin look exactly like Catherine Zeta-Jones!

Yulwen said...

Très joli ! Je n'avais pas vu ce message l'autre jour, sinon je t'en aurais parlé. Il te va très bien :)
Bisous.

kristen said...

your kitty is fabulous! I am a serious t lover and have 3 black and white kitties.
I stumbles on your blog by accident. I am a seamstress by trade, but do love crocheted stuff. Learned how to do it as a child, but it goes to slow for my limited patience!
I just went on a week long backpacking trip and it was wonderful. I live in Washington state in th US and some of it was on the Pacific Crest Trail in the cascade mountains.What an adventure!