Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sontag, 1860

Whew. Some of my winter projects are finally starting to wind down. Here's the first: a knitted sontag from Godey's. 

Godey's 1860 sontag.
Finished sontag, front view.

I used Colleen Formby's suggestions for sizing it up (which worked perfectly for the back and shoulders). For better fit over a generous bust, I extended the front portion by 12 rows of blocks after the 'decrease every four rows' point. If making it again for myself, I would have decreased the width a bit more at that point, as I hadn't accounted for the trim and could have used a little more length.

The main body of the sontag is worked in a basket weave (alternating 5 knit, 5 purl). I knit it on size 2 needles, and used exactly 3 skeins of Cascade sport-weight wool (as in, there was literally no yarn left when this was done: even the tiny scraps went into the seams). The trim was done the same, but in plain knitting. I scaled it down to 6 stitches wide, from 12, as it was coming out disproportionately wider than the main piece---I had also tried to do 9 stitches, but ran out of yarn 3/4 of the way through. The neck area is 4 stitches wide. I tried knitting one continous piece of trim, but the front and neck corners were too curved for it to lie nicely; instead, I knit 6 separate pieces (outer and inner edges for each side, neck, and back waist) and sewed them in place.

Knit gauge for sontag trim, 1860.
Twelve stitches was way too wide for the trim.

For the cord, I used a lucet.  It's my new favorite commute craft: emminently portable, easy to set down, and no one has mistaken it for knitting (yet).

Bone lucet with blue wool cord.
Lucet with cord.

The skein of dark blue wool made the trim, cords, and tassels (no leftovers--a side effect of making tassels, sure, but it was nerve-wracking while I tried to work out if there would be enough yarn!).

Handmade blue wool tassels for 1860 sontag.

The other change I made was to the buttons. Instead of putting one on a front corner and a loop on the other, I put a loop on each front corner and two shell buttons on the back corners (this gives a little more room through the front, since I couldn't make it longer).

Godey's 1860 sontag or bosom friend, back view.
I like this picture best,
and am now tempted to wear it backwards.

And here it is laid out:
Godey's 1860 sontag or bosom friend, dull view.
Yes, that was a lot of knitting.

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