Bella is a pattern by one of my favorite knit designers, Lene Holme Samsøe, and - just as the name says - it's a beautiful pattern, bella. Or rather, very beautiful: bellissima.
It's a quintessential botanical knit, for all those who, like me, are in love with knitting nature: a top-down vest, with a pattern of cascading leaves, boughs and berries that begins at the neckline, unfolds lavishly across the yoke, and trickles down the body in small and simple ribbed garter stitching.
It isn't a difficult stitch pattern at all, but not one that can easily be memorized, and I had to look up and follow closely the sixty-four stitch row chart throughout. But, oh, what a gorgeous botanical knit!
I learned a few things while making it.
- Fuzzy yarns, such as the lovely Drops Alpaca I used, don't actually show off too well the complex stitch pattern, which remains a little undefined and blurred in that fluffy wool texture - a real shame after all that work! I think I can see a second version of Bella pattern on my needles in the future ...
- As the pattern suggested, I first blocked it, and then made the button bands. This, I discovered, is in fact the correct way of making button bands: you first take care of any eventual growth your garment might do whilst blocking. Only afterwards do you make button bands, which will now be just as long as they need to. (I wish I'd known this trick when I knitted my poppy red and my black Peasy cardigans!)
- I couldn't find buttons suited to an intricate pattern. I wanted something simple and inconspicuous that wouldn't detract from the leaf pattern, but my options at the street market were very limited. In the end, I found buttons that I feel compliment the leaf pattern quite well: little silver blossoms.
How much more botanical can a knit get?