Anjou Lace Sweater

French Girl Knits Anjou Lace Sweater Back

Well, color me embarrassed. I finished assembling this gorgeous sweater (Anjou from French Girl Knits), wrangled Adam into taking some photos of it, and started processing the images so I could put together this blog post. And I just simply couldn’t find the photos I took of blocking the sweater. I really wanted to share them because I wanted to share a creative solution I came up with in the process, but they were nowhere to be found. Until I dug back a whole year! I have had this sweater knit, blocked, and just needing to attach the sleeves and hem band for a year. Talk about procrastination!

French Girl Knits Anjou Grey Lace Sweater

Well, now that we have that embarrassing fact behind us, lets take a look at this sweater! It’s a lace sweater that I knit in a 100% Alpaca lace yarn. The body is knit in the round. The hem bands and sleeves are knit separately and attached to the body. I think the major cause of my hardcore procrastination is that when I grafted the first sleeve to the body, I did it inside out. And ripped it off and started over, again inside out. So, I got frustrated and shoved it in the back of my knitting drawer for an embarrassingly long time.

Anjou Lace Sweater Gray Alpaca

I enjoyed this yarn, having used it in a different color on a sweater for my mom with another pattern from this same book, French Girl Knits. It’s a sturdy lace yarn with a soft shine and a nice halo. This is the fifth sweater that I’ve knit from the book (all of the others are pre-blog but follow their links to Ravelry if you want more info) – Sophia cardigan, Paloma blouse, Delphine top, and Celeste wrap.  I think I’ve finally exhausted the patterns I like from this book, but I definitely recommend the book, and I’m happy to share opinions on any of the other projects if anyone is interested.

Unblocked lace hem band

Blocking is super important when knitting lace, and this sweater is no exception. Looking at the hem band, you can see some stitch definition, but it’s not crisp at all before blocking.

Blocking Lace Hem Band

I laid the hem band out on my blocking mats. I ran a lace blocking wire through every stitch at the top of the band because I wanted it to stay perfectly flat. At the bottom, I ran it through only the very tip of the stitch so that I could pull it into sharp points. The red marks where the hem band mirrors pattern and was removed after I grafted the band to the sweater.

Blocked Lace Hem Band

After copious amounts of hot steam, I remove the wires and the band stays put! It softens a bit as you wear it, but the hot steam really locks it into position so it will always hold much of the block if your future washings are gentle.

Blocking Sweater on Dress Form

For the body, I was having a hard time getting it pinned out to block because it’s knit in the round. So, I came up with an ingenious solution (although I’m sure plenty of other people have thought of this before me). I put it on my dress form and steam blocked it there! I have a homemade duct tape dressform (that mostly sits high on a shelf), but it was perfect for this application. Before trying this on your dress form, make sure that high temperatures and a soaking of water (steam turns back to water when it cools, y’all) won’t hurt the dressform.

Anjou Lace Sweater Neck

The one vague direction in the pattern is to cast on loosely for the neck. I really hate that instruction because I never know if I’ve done it loosely enough. But it has to be tight enough that it holds shape. But it will stretch as the sweater is knit. But it can only stretch so far… Gah! I knit the whole rest of the sweater concerned that the neck wouldn’t be right when I was done. But, it was. So all that stress was for nothing. (Story of my life!).

French Girl Knits Anjoy Lace Sweater

Comments 17

  1. The result is gorgeous! I have the book and I love the patterns but have yet to try anything. I find the instructions a little intimidating!

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      I think the instructions are pretty well written, so even if they’re a bit above your knitting level, anyone that’s a confident knitter should be able to help you through them. I’m happy to give any help I can. Email me any time if there’s any way I can help!

  2. Better late than never! Especially when it’s something as lovely as that new sweater of yours! Speaking of projects that were started over a year ago, I finally finished September’s blocks. October is paper piecing! Crazy! I was thinking about diving straight into it so that I could be all caught up before the end of the month, but I think instead I’ll keep up my every other pattern. A shirt for my husband is up next, then those blocks. Also, I can’t believe we got a sneak peek of a skirt pattern of yours on JillyBeJoyful. I can’t even tell you how excited I was – and am! Eeep! You’re getting so close to finishing up your PhD and starting your full-time sewing career. So exciting!

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      Thanks for the sweet words and expressions of excitement! As you know, this whole Ph.D. thing is a bear of emotional ups and downs and my sewing career is feeling very far away at the moment, but it’s sure nice to have words of encouragement! Looking forward to seeing your husband’s shirt and then October quilt blocks. It’s looking less and less likely I’ll get mine done by the end of the month too!

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  3. This top turned out very pretty! I definitely have my share of costumes that have gotten cast aside due to sewing something on wrong a time or two too many, but it’s always nice when those projects eventually get finished. (Even if we are embarrassed by how long it took us.)

  4. That sweater is gorgeous! It must have taken ages in the lace weight at that fine gauge, but the result is absolutely fabulous.

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      The needles are relatively large (US 9, 5.5mm) and most of the body is stockinette. So, the knitting didn’t take all that long (I mean, relative to knitting other sweaters). It was mostly the period of time spent in a drawer that took so long!

  5. That is absolutely beautiful! the lacework is so cobwebby and fine! I don’t think I would have the patience! I take my hat off to you!

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      Thanks! If you have the patience to knit, you can have the patience to knit a lace sweater. It really knits up pretty quickly. And, although the yarn is fine, the needles themselves weren’t – US 9 (5.5mm).

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      Ha! I found a tutorial online forever ago, so I can’t link you to the exact instructions I followed. Basically, you put on an old t-shirt and have a friend help wrap you in duct tape completely, alternating vertical and horizontal strips for a few layers. Then they cut you out of it, you tape the cut, and stuff it. I put a hangar inside before stuffing so I could hang it. Voila!

  6. Wow, this is gorgeous! I just finished making a scarf with laceweight yarn (without any actual lace details) and I can’t imagine making an entire sweater out of the stuff, but yours looks fabulous!

  7. My goodness, this is a beautiful sweater! So delicate, I love it! I’ll have to check that book out. I can see why you would put this aside after grafting the sleeve inside out twice. I have a blouse around here somewhere that I put aside in disgust after setting in the sleeve wrong sides together, and that was… two years ago? I never loved the fabric, but still. Two years ago.

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