July 27, 2015

17 Picture Perfect Purls -- The Byzantium Top by Irina Anikeeva

Let's take a moment to talk about dishcloths. Oh no, are you bored already? You've got that same glazed look I get when anyone talks about knitting dishcloths. Bear with me and blink that away because knitting dishcloths is astonishingly popular and there are 8,343 PATTERNS recorded on Ravelry!

Me?  I don't comply. To prove this to you, back in 2008 I joined the group called "i'd rather poke myself in the eye with a dpn than knit a dishcloth".

Truth be told, dishcloth patterns do something I really love: they make rather sophisticated pictures using just knit and purl stitches. Here are some whimsical examples:

Blubb Dishcloth by Barbara 8

Dishcloth Owl by Mamafri

Octopus Dishcloth by Mamafri

Happy August Everyone Dishcloth by Wineta

You'll see two things that all of these cloths have in common, 1) cotton yarns with excellent stitch definition, and 2) angled shots to successfully see the designs. While I was always tempted to join the fun -- I wanted to keep my eyeball intact too.

Mad Eye (crochet) by GothKnitty

So, of course, I jumped at the chance to test knit Irina Anikeeva's excellent new pattern "Byzantium Top".

Finally, purl pictures that are life size, geez! For those of you that don't know, Byzantium is the ancient Greek colony that They Might Be Giants forgot to mention in their famous song. (It was the predecessor of Constantinople and Istanbul). There are a lot of interesting Byzantine tile patterns, but I see a butterfly. Or an Aztec mask!

This is a top-down seamless tee that uses short rows to raise the neck and incorporate a dolman sleeve. It's very fun to make, especially when you get to the front to play with your purls. Of note, the purl pattern is used only every other row, so you get a break to zone out.

There's also a subtle scoop hem on the back that I really like.

To get my stitches to stand out, I dived into my stash of the classic yarn Rowan Cotton Glacé. This is a sport weight 100% mercerized cotton that is very tightly spun. You couldn't split this stuff if you tried! It was my first time using it and to be honest, it was a tad like knitting with rope. It's not very comfortable on the hands, but it still glides across the needles better than other cottons I have used (I'm just not a cotton fan, let's be honest). While it’s tough on my hands, it’s all for a good reason: the stitch definition is incredible and I can't see it ever wearing out, even on a swashbuckling Maine sailor!  Like me!  (okay, totally not me)

Take heed though: it wrinkles!!

Also, don't forget what we learned about dishcloths, that you can only really see the pattern in the right angle and shadow.


...versus this.

Before the hollyhock bloomed, with deer-chomped leaves!

This was really a good knit for the spring.  It's not an airy kind of tee, so it's suitable for the cooler weather we have in Maine.  Too cool for my taste... yesterday (July 26) was a high of 63F, ugh!

The only thing you can do in that weather is sweat work, so we stacked a cord of chopped wood.  It's my first time doing it, but I look forward to doing it again someday.  (A far enough away day, like, after my hamstrings stop self-combusting.)

It faces South (good) but there is no roof (bad).  We are trying a tarp roof method.  Check out our birch tree "paperweights"!

I am positive that you can look forward to some knitting pictures in front of this backdrop in the near future!

See my Byzantium on Ravelry


Before I go, I need to show you the 3rd of probably 4 waves of flowers in my garden.  We're getting to a point where everything that I showed you was unknown in the Spring has flowered, and tons of stuff that wasn't even there in the Spring is flowering now!

Please do feel free to ID in the comments, I am clueless!

My mystery hollyhock started as a merlot, but now is a deep pink, yum:

The "cherry" tree is so not a cherry tree:

Pale pink delicacies, like candied flowers:

Fuschia papery bouquets:

Yellow daisy like things but with dill-like leaves:

A totally different set of day lilies:

The russian sage is juuuuuust starting:

And so is this brushy thing:

Finally, my only addition, the Home Depot rose has 3 buds:

She should be a pretty one, do come visit again to see her in fully ladylike form!

Follow this blog:


  1. The pale pink delicacies could be "mallow". We had this years ago and it grows very well in my part of the world.

  2. Pale pink delicacies definitely malliow - are they on a bush/tree or herbaceous? If they are tree mallows the bush gets very 'leggy' and needs regular - i.e. annual, after flowering - cutting back, herbaceous ones [which this looks like] will die back naturally after first frost, and reappear next year.
    The next pink on is phlox. Another herbaceous perennial.
    Lovely colour your hollyhock has come out! So pleased it's not a wishy-washy shade!

    So great to see the progress ... and I do agree about dishcloths!

    1. The mallow seems herbaceous, thanks for the sleuthing!

  3. Interesting tee, I like the hem too. I do have a bunch of similar flowers in my garden but cannot remember their name at all, sorry! This stack of wood is impressive, and indeed, a perfect backdrop for FO pictures. If you miss the heat, you should visit Montreal these days, the heat wave finally arrived, not fot too long I hope.

  4. the lilac pink spikes are liatris/ gay feather, the pale yellow flower is coreopsis moonbeam, pretty plant that will flower its socks off and the fuchsia pink is a phlox..should be fragrant. The pink mallow plant is probably a Sidalcea 'Candy Girl'... Great Knit, I am with you on the Cotton though.

    1. Ugh and now I just started something in "Rowan Panama" a viscose linen cotton thing that is tortuous to knit. Gimme my wool back, any day!

  5. I loved looking at your garden pictures - I would agree with earlier poster that the pretty yellow flowers with the fern like leaves are coreopsis. 93 here in upper Manhattan, I am very jealous of your 63 degrees/

    1. Maybe we always want what we don't have, but I'd be delighted for some 93. I've got a whole half of a wardrobe I can't even contemplate!!

  6. Deb from KingstonJuly 29, 2015 at 10:02 AM

    I agree with the mallow (we call it rose mallow) and the coreopsis. Neither really require a cutback in the fall, since they kind of die off all by themselves. The spiky thing is probably liatris, if so, they need a bit of cutting back in the fall. The Russian sage may require a stake; as it warms, they tend to flop a bit. I usually put a tomato stake in at this stage, putting the spikes up through the ring. The sweater is very cute. I used cotton glace to make Annie (my daughter) some very cute sweaters as a baby and as a toddler. The stuff doesn't seem to stretch the way cotton does, which is good, and the colors? Wowza. One of the sweaters had squares with hearts in each square. Here it is on ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Malachite/hearts-sweater. I don't have a pic I can get to easily, unfortunately. So save all your bits of cotton glace! You never know when ya gotta knit a little sweater!(as soon as people know you knit, you get invited to lots of baby showers!)

    1. Nice sweater, wow! In the past, a lot of those crazy intarsia patterns were in Cotton Glace -- you couldn't beat the colors. But I do wonder how any of those 80s marvels kept their shape, they must have weighed 3 pounds. Gimme a baby sweater in it any day!

  7. Never could understand the dishcloth thing either. What a waste of precious knitting time! Cool sweater, very nice.

  8. Lovely sweater. Great flowers. Cool wall 'o logs. But, Dayana, dissing dishcloths? "Lordy, lordy, I need to go out and clear the back forty!" Those of us who knit dishcloths, ahem, http://longlakeyarns.net/amy-marie-invigorates-the-humble-dishcloth/,
    http://longlakeyarns.net/the-lowly-dishcloth/, http://longlakeyarns.net/dishcloths-are-us/, http://longlakeyarns.net/tons-o-dishcloths/,
    http://longlakeyarns.net/sweater-dishcloth/ knit them because: (1) they are fun, (2) they are quick and can break up the tedium of a big project, (3) they are useful, (4) they can help a knitter learn a new technique, and (5) when none of your relatives who come over for the holidays want to select lovely wool hats, slippers, cowls, scarves, fingerless mitts, or even SHAWLS from you "pick a gift" library ladder, for goodness sake, they will become actually quarrelsome with each other as they restock their dishcloth supply! Love your blog, by the way.

    1. Ok my dear, touché!!! I will have to play with a dishcloth someday. Actually, I just noticed this spa set, tempted? http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/spa-cloths-1-2-and-3

  9. The fruit on the "cherry" tree looks like a baby apple or persimmon to me ... but it's hard to tell without much scale. :-D

    1. It's probably a wild apple. They are getting awfully big... but very misshapen of course because no one takes care of it!

  10. Przepiekny sweter. Pozdrawiam serdecznie:-)


Thanks for your comment! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...