I was smitten by Judith Bech’s halterneck dress, even though the first one I saw was a shop sample made in cotton, at the Made by Me planning meeting last July. Former editor Mary-Ann Astrup suggested grey silk to match my lace swatch and Judith obliged, with a stunning result. My swatch was made of a solid grey in a beautiful pure combed wool Huldra Kamgarn from Hifa combined with a tonal grey in a luscious alpaca mixture Dreamline Soul, from Du Store Alpakka knitted on a 4 mm/US 6. The name for the design had to be Bech after the dress. A shawl to cover the bare back together with loose sleeves to warm the arms, and a belt that could also be worn around your neck as a piece of knitted jewelry, tied or pinned together with a brooch was my design idea. But would the dress not look fabulous with a shawl collar too? Of course it would, hence the shawl must be given a collar.
The collar can be folded down when you wear the shawl around your shoulders or if you wear it close around your neck as a scarf. I decided to knit the collar in garter stitch as a contrast to the lace stitch with its parts of stockinette stitch, and to finish the collar with an i-cord bind off. As a divider between the stitch patterns I made a tuck and I prefer to make it using two circular knitting needles held parallel on the first row or round and then use the second needle as a stitch holder until the tuck is complete instead of picking up stitches on the wrong side afterwards.
The loose sleeves begin with five tucks that adorn the hands before you knit a purl band to add some texture before the lace pattern begins. On the inside of the sleeves is stockinette stitch so that you can easily increase to the full width. I did not want to end the loose sleeves with a rib and decided that a hem where I could insert a thin round elastic would be the best solution. The belt is all about tucks and related to the loose sleeves. I was so delighted that Grete Jenssen, aka ma9 on Ravelry, could assist and knit the belt since I had too many other parts to knit.
Above the shawl is worn with the collar hanging down. The hem is curved by the lace pattern and gives a dramatic wavy edge. As you can see in the photo above, I have pinned it quite loosely with a shawl pin.
The view from the back shows the shaping of the collar and the i-cord bind off. By wearing the shawl low on the shoulders the loose sleeves look attached to the shawl, making it appear as a bolero from a distance and not as several loose parts. You can also see how I just pulled the ties into the belt at the top. If you preferred you could easily add hooks instead of ties on the belt.
The shawl can also be worn as a top, wrapped around the body and pinned in place with the collar hanging down making a lovely curve. Then the belt can worn as a necklace, tied together. This is not my idea but given to me by redesign stylist Makeløs/Remarkable Kristin Elise Halkjelsvik who suggested it for the first belt I made in this style to the Lyre Bolero. The improvements I made on the Bech belt is that I designed it with even more tuck and made the last tuck which is the tie strings even longer.
Last view, is of the back with the shawl worn as a top with the collar down and the belt as a necklace. All these photos were as usual taken by my husband, while Eivind Røhne has taken brilliant professional ones of the gorgeous model Alexandria Eissinger from Pholk, see my blogpost: sneak-peak-of-made-by-me-designs and more photos will come. The Norwegian pattern was published on Monday as part of the series Nordic Vintage in Familien Trend, the magazine that takes over from Made by Me, and can be found in selected supermarkets and newsagents all over Norway. The English pattern will be released on Ravelry after it has been test knitted in my group.