Modern Medieval

This one has been a long time in the works!  Back in the winter of 2012 designer Becky Herrick (here are her blog and her Ravelry page) asked me to be a test-knitter for her new pattern, which would appear in the pattern book "What (Else) Would Madame Defarge Knit?"  The patterns are all inspired by literature or characters from legend.  Becky's design was the "Iseult Dress", about which she says "My Iseult sweater dress is designed to call to mind the strength, grace, and beauty of its medieval namesake. Drawing on historical and modern design elements it can be paired with leggings and a steaming cappuccino or with a chemise and a stone tower."

I went with a mixture of the two for my photoshoot - a more modern styling with tights, tall boots, and a leather jacket, but a woodland setting (and a pottery mug of tea.)  We were so fortunate to find exactly the setting and lighting I'd had in my mental picture of the shoot - during the half-hour window between Sunday dinner and driving my sister back to college after her fall break!

The dress itself is surprisingly simple and quick to knit.  It's worked up in a worsted/aran weight wool and since it's worked in the round, the stockinette stitch body is pretty mindless!  The cables are charted and easy to follow, and I found it simple to adapt slightly to suit my height.  I added several inches of length to the skirt to bring it just above my knees and an inch or so between the bust and waist shaping, but made no other modifications that I remember.  The pattern includes subtle but effective shaping, and ropes of cables follow "princess seam" lines down the front and back.

Easy cables on the dress, a slightly daft expression on me.
I knit almost all of this in January and February of 2012 - enough to try it on and tell Becky that it fit properly and the pattern was clear and error-free.  I left it for about 8 months with just the skirt border left to knit.  Then I finished that up in November and for some unaccountable reason never actually wove in the 6 loose ends and blocked it.  Well, I wasn't allowed to post anything about it until the book's publication the following April, so I figured there was no rush.  And then April in Tennessee is not the best time to be wearing wool sweater-dresses.

But October in Michigan is!  So finally, my Iseult dress is finished and photographed, and I look forward to getting a lot of wear out of it this autumn and winter.  I can picture it layered over a long-sleeved shirt (still with tights and the boots) for a warmer outfit in the dead of winter, or styled with patterned tights and heels for a more sophisticated look.  But it will definitely get plenty of wear - and I'll feel like a princess wearing it!

(Photos by my sister.  Dress explained above. Boots from Payless. Tights - who knows?)