Well, it only took me one year and two Tops, Tanks and Tees Knit Alongs to do it, but I'm finally finished my linen Plum Blossom Tee!
I'm absolutely thrilled with how this turned out and so very glad I didn't give up and rip it all out like I briefly thought I should do figuring I'd never finish, it wouldn't fit anyways and I'd be wasting my time. I LOVE this top!
I had started with great gusto last year during the Very Shannon Kal, but quickly lost steam when I realized I'd made a terrible mistake in gauge. (Oh gauge. How many times you vex me.) I don't know how or why it happened, but I had got about 10 inches or so in when I realized my error. My top was huge (like fit two of me in it huge) and upon careful investigation of gauge swatch, which at that point I thought was bang on, and the pattern I noticed I had only seen the gauge listed for one needle instead of both and had smartly achieved the larger needle's gauge on the smaller needles. What is it about following simple directions that gives me such trouble???
The gauge issue had also come on the heels of a yarn winding mishap that led to a four hour linen rat's nest untangling marathon. Linen is a slippery little devil to contend with. It doesn't like to be wound on a ball winder, oh no, it prefers special treatment and likes to be wound by hand. For me, who can tangle a skein of yarn just by looking at it, the fact I was using Euroflax Linen at all was some sort of miracle. In the end a well worth it miracle, but at the time I wasn't as enthusiastic, that's for sure. Euroflax Linen really is a gorgeous yarn to work with (once it's wound that is!). It was a bit hard on my hands at times, but the fabric it creates is wonderful!
Between the wasted knitting time spent untangling and the gauge disaster requiring me to restart, I was about ready to throw in the towel on the project. However, Plum Blossom had been in my queue for quite some time and I had the yarn and since I knew what I was doing I figured I might as well try, try again. The fabric was definitely looking better at the right gauge and my short rows had vastly improved, but I was frustrated though for being so behind in the KAL and in the end I gave up around November, having not worked on the top in ages and threw it in the back of the closet in my knitting bag and ignored it. Come spring I thought I'd try again to see if I could get some motivation going, but I'd knit a row or two here or there and give it up again feeling like no matter how much I knit the darn thing didn't get any longer. 2 3/4mm needles and sport weight yarn will do that to a girl used to knitting sweaters and tops in worsted weight.
Then Shannon announced the TTTKAL and I figured in for a penny, in for a pound, pulled out my top, found some determination and got going again. I was going to finish it this time round come hell or high water. And oh my goodness there was a lot of hell going on once I got to the lace. Nothing to do with the pattern, I assure you. It was all on me. I couldn't keep straight what row I was doing, or what stitch I was on for love or money. It was knit three rows, rip two back, knit a row, rip it back halfway. On and on. But I plugged away at it and finally finished the front lace yoke. Thank goodness I had knit the top in the round up to the armholes, because if I'd had to start an entire back of the top at that point I really would have given up. With the lace done I was able to try it on and really get a good idea of fit and how I liked it. Motivation sky rocketed. I immediately dove into doing the back. Then had to rip it out. Then started again. GAH!!!! But I finished the lace on the weekend, tried it on again and set to work doing the applied i-cord edging. The neckline went beautifully. Can't say the same for the first armhole edging. It was a Goldilocks moment getting that sucker to fit. The first time was too small. The second time too big. Third time was the charm though and was just right! Phew.
What a crazy ordeal for one little summer tee, but so well worth it and I am so happy I persevered! I wanted to get some photos quickly today before it starts to rain again so I ran outside with my camera and tromped around the yard until I got a couple shots with the timer that I thought were decent enough. I will just say it's not easy getting photos of oneself. I had the camera precariously perched on the slanted roof of the shed behind the barn at one point as I twitched and flailed about smacking mosquitoes while waiting for the timer to go off. I'm pretty sure my neighbours, who are out planting their garden right now, wonder what on earth crazy and possibly evil antics I am up to, given the odd looks they were shooting at me from across the field. I'm sure it was a sight to behold. Ha ha!