Sadly my life is not dressy and glamorous.  T-shirts and jeans are my normal workwear, I only have to put on a skirt for comments to be made on my appearance – not always a good thing!  Occasionally I’ll buy or make something for an event which sits at the back of the wardrobe until the next outing by which time it looks a bit dated.  What I really  should concentrate on are quality, wearable, everyday clothes, interesting to knit and with a detail or two to lift them out of the ordinary.

Working as a food stylist I see some beautiful props, but what I covet most are the vintage linens.  Soft, old cloths and tea-towels, embroidered with their history in the form of dates, initials and laundry marks.  No novelty tea-towels these, they were prized by the householder and she wasn’t going to lose them to the laundry!

These valued worn old fabrics were the inspiration for ‘Utility’ , something for everyday to be worn and re-worn, easy to wash and getting better with age.  We had the ideal yarn too.

Louise and I were really excited when we found Erika Knight’s Studio Linen.  We liked it’s re-cycled eco credentials but mostly we loved the colours, neutrals and rich tones with a fair bit of grey in them.  They all co-ordinate and will not date, essential if you hang on to your clothes as long as I do!

Utility starts with an i-cord cast-on then a deep band of super easy, slipped-stitch tea-towel stripes.

It is knit on circular needles then divided at the armholes and knit back and forth to the shoulders. Studio Linen gives a beautifully even, heavily textured stitch and the weight of the hem adds to the drape of the finished top.

It has a little gently waist shaping, not too much as I didn’t want the sausage skin look, then I worked in stocking stitch to the shoulders.  Some easy knitting in front of the TV or with a good book.  When I first started sampling I found the  splittynes of the yarn frustrating but I changed my normal super pointy metal needles for Chiagoo bamboo points and rhythm and speed improved.

The shoulders are joined with three needle cast-off and then the grown on sleeves and neck are finished with a neat i-cord.  Here is a hanger shot of the front.

And the back.

Finally I personalised the top with a bit of my own domestic embroidery.

Well okay a coronet is a little pretentious but a girl has got to have some aspirations!  The pattern includes embroidery charts for the crown and a full alphabet so you can personalise with your own initials should your ideas be equally grand.

Thank you to Tina for modelling and to her daughter Eliza for the photographs.  I think they look fantastic.

The pattern is available to buy on our Ravelry page.









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