Introducing Pavonis

Sometimes things take a little while to come to fruition. But sometimes the wait is worth it.

I conceived of Pavonis more than a year ago, inspired by a simple shop-bought cardigan that's just a rectangle with sleeves inserted. I wanted beautiful lace, though, so first I footled around for ages to get the stitch pattern just right. Then I worked out how to do the sleeves. Then I chose the yarn (Dublin Dye's stunning Silken Lace, a bluefaced Leicester/silk blend – by the way, there's a discount code for that yarn in the pattern). Then I knit. And I knit. And I knit. (It's not so much that it's a lot of knitting – though it is – as that it's not the kind of knitting I could take to the playground, or even work on while childminding at home. Beads! Complicated lace! It needed my full attention.) 

So I've been dying to show you this for aaaages... and I finally can. I hope you like it.

Pavonis is a proper grown-up knit. It's something to indulge your love of lace and beads, and then show off on a glamorous night out (I wore it to a wedding). You might learn something new: the "afterthought sleeves" (well, forethought really, they are carefully planned for) are an unusual and fun trick, and I specify some nifty manoeuvres along the way. I'll talk more about those over the next week or so. 

The pattern is written in four sizes – which sounds pretty limited, but because of the sideways construction, it's highly adaptable. The most important measurement for fit in any top or sweater is cross-back/shoulder-to-shoulder, and with Pavonis, you can get that exactly right as you go. (Caveat: you MUST measure your swatch both before and after blocking to get a good fit.) You can also easily lengthen or shorten the fronts, by working more or fewer lace repeats.

The measurement to pay attention to, when it comes to choosing your size, is upper arm. (It ranges from 33.5cm/13.25in to 44.5cm/17.5in.) I modelled size L; I usually wear a UK size 16 (European size 44/US size 12)d. Here's a sizing tip: the instructions are for the body first, end to end, with sleeves added after. In practice, though, I recommend pausing halfway through the back section to knit the first sleeve. Try it on. See how it fits. If you want the sleeve to fit a bit tighter, make sure you don't add any ease to the cross-back measurement (before starting the placement for the second sleeve). Or if you'd like a little more ease on the sleeve, allow plenty of room across the back. I know it sounds odd – back width and upper arm circumference don't normally have much to do with each other! But in this case, it works out. 

I also suggest knitting the second sleeve after you've finished the right front, but before picking up for the lace border on the left front, so that you can try it on and decide on how deep to make the lace as you go. Plus, that gives you the fun of lace to look forward to while slogging through the sleeve... 

What can I say. I do love peacocks.

What can I say. I do love peacocks.