Starting the Botanica Medallion

Sorry for being absent for so long — I had a huge project at work which ended up with me having to go on a two week business trip. It’s still not over which is frustrating for me, but at least I’m being given a little time to recover now — and finally get some posts up!

I subscribe to Vogue Knitting and when the Spring/Summer issue came out a few weeks ago I immediately fell in love with the cover “summer cardi”, the Botanica Medallion. I’ve been looking for a fun, more complex knit to do when I’m totally bored with the sweater (which is coming along nicely but slowly, I’ll probably put up a post on it next week), so I ran out and bought the materials for it right away so I’d have it for my business trip. As it turned out, it was about the only thing keeping me sane on the trip (that and web cam talks with my hubby) so I’m really glad I did.

My LYS (Cast On Cottage of Roswell, GA) doesn’t carry the recommended yarn, but it’s an easy substitute and I ended up using Sublime Organic Cotton, shade 95. It’s a wonderful yarn that I’m really loving working with — of course, with any cotton you don’t have that easy give that wool has, but it feels wonderful in your hands and is great for any kind of summer knitting. When I bought it the store had a sample tank top knitted up in it so you could see what it turned out as, and all I had to do was touch it to fall totally in love with the yarn as well. It’s so soft and breathable, like a sort of cotton silk, it made me want to rip the top off the hanger and put it on right away. (I noticed the lady helping me kept a closer eye on me after I said this, so maybe this is one of those things you’re not supposed to say aloud. Note to self.)

I’ve often found that Vogue patterns for some reason have technical errors — maybe it’s just me — and this one was no exception. At the very beginning they tell you to cast on with 6 stitches and then increase another 6…for a total of 18. Hmm. Looking at the rest of the pattern, the 18 seemed to be the correct number needed at that point, so I just cast on with 12 instead, which worked out pretty well I think. (I haven’t yet seen an errata for this pattern online, but I haven’t looked in the past week or so so if you’re going to attempt this, you might want to check for an “official” way to fix this first.)

Most of the center was fine after that – just keep an eye on the stitch count and that helps a lot in making sure the pattern is correct. Change to the circular needles as soon as you can – I waited a little long and ended up with a bunch of dropped stitches, and this is *not* a fun pattern to rip back if you have to (lifelines FTW!). Here’s how that turned out (note I obviously haven’t blocked this or made the bobble at this point):

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I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out so far, and I’m now into the band. There another error on the band in the third row — it says to k24 before you start slipping the extra-wrapped stitches, but it actually works out to be 26. No big deal, just continue to knit the extra two before slipping. It’ll be visually obvious that you shouldn’t be slipping those two stitches. The bad pattern seems really difficult but it’s only 4 rows repeated and after about 10 rows or so you can easily see what you’re needing to do for the pattern without referencing the actual instructions much, and you’ll probably find yourself knitting away without much thought about it pretty soon after that, at least that’s been my experience.

I’m about 6 inches into the band right now, but here’s a picture from earlier. I really like how the gauge changes for different stitch patterns even though you’re working the same amount of rows. There’s also a natural curve to it, which is cool when you start to see how it’s going to work. The Indian Cross Stitch is a pain at first but it gets easier, you just have to keep the stitches from getting away from you. I’m having a ton of fun with this!

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More close shots on the band in my Flickr set here: Botanica Medallion

Edit: Just found the errata on Ravelry at this link: here It includes a better way to deal with the round 2 missing stitch issue for the middle, so check it out before you start. –PJ

4 Comments

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  • http://www.google.com AndrewBoldman

    I really liked this post. Can I copy it to my site? Thank you in advance.

    • admin

      Everything on the site is Creative Commons – basically you can do whatever you want with it as long as it’s non-commercial and you let people know I wrote it. Click on the link at the bottom of the page for more information.

  • Keturah

    I need help trying to begin the medallion piece in the middle. can you point me to a tutorial or something. I saw that you use dpns to get it but how and the world do I start the first row? Thanks.

  • admin

    Unfortunately I’ve managed to lose the magazine (ooo, how I hate that!) and it’s been quite a while since I did that row so I don’t remember exactly how it starts. I’d recommend commenting on the pattern on Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/04-botanica-medallion-cardigan (which will message the designer, which might help) or posting at your favorite knitting site for help.