Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Simple Summer Tunic



Knitting does not have to be complicated to give dramatic results. You can achieve a designer look by simply using unique fibers in an unexpected way. The tunic that I'm wearing is a great example of a simple knit that creates a high impact look.



My tunic is knit with a unique fiber composed of stainless steel and cotton that is manufactured by Artfibers in San Fransisco, California. I first saw a shell top knit with this fiber by the other knitting Claudia (Claudia's Blog) and was inspired to give it a try myself. Parenthetically, besides a similar taste in knitting, the two of us share much in common including the profession of attorney at law.

The unique look to this tunic is achieved by knitting the yarn on larger needles than the recommended size to give it an open flowing look and keep the fabric lightweight. Due to the stainless steel content of this yarn I was concerned that a more dense fabric might prove uncomfortably heavy. As it is, I have a new appreciation for those medieval knights wearing metallic armor.


I love the way this tunic came out ~ it isn't really heavy ~ I was just kidding about that. In fact I feel rather swanky when wearing it. It puts me in mind of the time an opposing lawyer told me that she saw me sashaying about at the courthouse. Me? Sashay? Well, maybe once or twice. It's all about attitude, baby.



To knit yourself a simple summer tunic you simply have to find a beautiful yarn and swatch on over sized needles until you find a gauge that gives you the appearance you want. The tunic itself has only rudimentary shaping involved. The only knitting trick to working with an uneven yarn such as this is the need to iron the fabric pieces. Typically I just hand wash and flat block my knits. However, when using a yarn such as this, it is best to iron the pieces. Ironing will flattened out the fabric and gave it a nice, crisp, clean, finished look. When you use an iron don't forget to cover your knitting with a wet towel to protect the yarn and to first test a small scrap of yarn to make sure it won't felt with the heat.



By the by, these pictures were taken in Topanga, California. For those with an observing eye, the necklace and bracelet set I'm wearing is lapis lazuli which I purchased many years ago while visiting Santiago, Chile a region know for this stone which is mined in the Chilean Andes.

Particulars: 5 skeins Tesla (65% cotton/ 35% stainless steel) by Artfiber in San Franscisco; US 13 needles; Personal Tunic Pattern ~ details on my Ravelry page for those interested in the general construction and rough guidelines on how this is constructed.

Mr Puffy on the Importance of Relaxation

Last weekend we spent a few days in San Clemente, California. It was a little on the cool side but not too bad. I suggested to Mr Puffy that we ought to get out our boogie boards and go in the water. His response was "you're kidding, right? You know my nerves are still shot after the fire. I came down here to relax, not swim in shark infested waters."



I'm beginning to think he doesn't enjoy swimming in the ocean. He's always got an excuse. To put this in perspective, it's been over a year since the fatal shark attack in nearby Solano Beach. For myself, I hardly give it any thought at all. I would be perfectly happy to splash around in the water, dangle my legs over the edge of a boogie board, allow my legs to hang deep into the ocean's dark, murky, swirling and churning water. Besides, Solano beach is a vast distance away, all of 35 miles or so.

But, in the interest of being agreeable, I deferred to Mr Puffy's wishes. We sat out on the deck, relaxed, and just read and knit, or watched for shark fins in the water. I have to say, after a couple of days spent like this, we both felt much better for it.


The moral to this story is we all need to listen to Mr Puffy more. No, that's not it. The moral is that less really is more! This Summer don't over do it. Plan time just to relax with a book and soak in the sun. You, too, will feel better for it.

35 comments:

jillian said...

Your tunic is lovely! The color, fabric and fit are all so unique and flattering on you too.

Love that pic of you and Puffy. I shall heed your words, as I've been so busy the last few days. I hope to relax muchly today!

CelticCastOn said...

looooove your tunic, that colour is perfect on u.

amanda said...

Beautiful! The drape of the yarn and stitch pattern really do give it a glam look. The scenery behind you is also stunning!

Mr Puffy is right. I hope to take his advice and take it easy this summer. We've been busy busy busy around the house lately but am hoping to get those projects done soon so we can enjoy the summer!

t does wool said...

Mr puffy is right...more relaxation is in order...and with that tunic...well,you look relaxed...with an attitude...and so on sashay if you want!!gorgeous knit Claudia...gorgeous.

subliminalrabbit said...

love artfibers (miss the store) and love your tunic! fabulous!

mr puffy is right. rest & relaxation = bliss.

Trish - My Merino Mantra said...

Your pattern is the perfect compliment for that yarn. It's looks beautiful on you.

Monika said...

That tunic is a great summer knit! It suits you, as usual. Can't imagine how the knit fabric feels like.
I love the look on Mr. Puffy's face! He's so wise. I'm glad you could relax a little. My nerves would be frazzled as well, after a wild fire like that!

Bubblesknits said...

Beautiful tunic!

Hege said...

That's a beautiful tunic! And you have some great senary.

I hope you'll enjoy "The people's act of love" as much as I did - it's a great book!

Silvia said...

Lovely tunic! You and topanga look fabulous!

Bridget said...

What a beautiful tunic - and the fabric sounds fascinating!

I think Mr Puffy should write a book, as his thoughts are ones that remind us often what the things are that really matter.

Anonymous said...

What a gorgeous blog... inspiring tunic...beautifully modeled...well illustrated by Mr. Puffy's quizzical expression. Thanks for the exhortation for peace and calm -- just what I needed for a hectic day. Ursula

raining sheep said...

Beautiful tunic Claudia...so modern and an amazing structural look because of the make-up of the yarn. You know what....Mr. Puffy is an absolute genius...I bond with him.

sue said...

Claudia the tunic does look very elegant on you. Great job! Mr. Puffy is right, taking time to relax makes everyone feel better. He looks like he is thoroughly enjoying the lounge chair with you too.

Ginger said...

Mum's really inspired to finish her projects now that she saw this update. It's really beautiful.

I love MrPuffy's relaxation method, that agrees with our motto.

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Love the tunic! It is beautiful on you.

I am so envious of your relaxing beach pics. Personally I agree with Mr. Puffy :)

Channon said...

Impressive. Truly!

And good for Mr Puffy. I love the photo of the two of you in the chair.

Hilary said...

That's so pretty, Claudia, and the perfect summer knit! How interesting that there is stainless steel in the yarn -- it's so light, airy, and drapey from being knitted up on large needles that one would never guess. And thanks for the tips on ironing!

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Thank you Ursula ~ I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the post. Do chose a good book to read this Summer!

Willow said...

Lovely tunic! I'm thinking a linen yarn would be wonderful, drape well for sashaying anywhere, anytime.

I shall earnestly endeavor to focus ALL summer on Mr. Puffy's advice. Two more school days for me and then I shall begin focusing.

tiennie said...

The summer tunic is beautiful! I can't wait for summer and just being.

Murielle said...

Stunning!!!!:))))

KnittySue said...

Awesome tunic, it looks lovely on you.
You and Mr. Puffy appear to be enjoying your relaxation....get lots of it.
Take care and again love that tunic.

Windyridge said...

I didn't know they made stainless steel yarn!
Mr Puffy is right of course. That's pretty much we do at the cabin. Relax (after we have raked the leaves and put the boats in).
I am always amazed at how many garments you knit in a given month. Well.... I'm off to visit that ravelry link!

along2481 said...

wow its a really nice ficture,i like it>!!!

Renee said...

I am absolutely going to take Mr Puffy's advice this summer! He's definitely on to something. More time to sit, read, knit, drink tea and relax. :)

Claudia, as always you look stunning in your knit ~ the colour and simplistic style of the tunic are incredible on you!! I've not ironed a knit before, but would love to try something like your tunic and steel fibre. Thank you for the inpiration to both create and relax.

Brayton Homestead Interiors said...

love the tunic- i agree that the color and cut look great on you!

amanda said...

The neutral colour suits you so well. It's a really lovely knit. :)

Tracy said...

LOVE that tunic, Claudia! The lace-effect and color are lovely...And that stainless steel-cotton combo is very interesting and exciting yarn choice. I learned a lot from this post! Those views are heart-stopping...And such fun to see you & Mr. Puffy taking time time and enjoying summery days! We're just back ourselves from our trip. Great to catch up with you here at last. :o) Happy weekend ahead, my friend ((HUGS))

Soyun said...

Lovely tunic. Oh, I wish I could make something gorgeous like that. You have a talent~

Sherry said...

The tunic is beautiful on it's own, but on you it's simply stunning! The color of it is perfect for your coloring. BTW, I love the word swanky. My grandmother used to use that word.

Mr. Puffy has the best advice, we're so lucky to have him to provide the advice & for you to relay it to his readers:-). I have found over the past many years that absorbing the little, special times of summer is what gets me through the long winters. Here's to the simple things this summer!

knittingdragonflies said...

I love the tunic, and it looks great n you. Wow your knitting is always an inspiration!
Mr. Puffy as always is adorable.
Vicki

Yarn It said...

Gorgeous tunic! It fits you perfectly!

Marie said...

Beautiful! Gorgeous yarn typically needs very little help to look great.

Mr. Puffy is so wise ... and cute!

Kristen said...

This looks like an intricate lace pattern, very pretty! I have been interested in using steel fiber too....one of these days!

Thank you for the book suggestion. It is in my book queue and I have requested it from my library.

Beautiful pics too!