I did a fair amount of work on Rainbow's Magnolia in Bloom over the weekend, and as a result, it's actually starting to look like the finished thing. After posting on Thursday, I worked the rest of the yoke that needed to get done before moving on to the next step. The construction at that point is actually quite clever. Once you've knit about an inch below where you joined the underarms, you put the body stitches on hold (conveniently, you can even leave them on the needles you were using to knit). Then, with a smaller set of needles and a new skein of yarn, you pick up for and work the ribbed neckline and then the two button bands, both of which are worked in 1x1 rib. Then you return back to the body and join for working in the round by overlapping the button bands and picking up stitches through both layers of fabric.
My join was a little sloppy, but it's nothing I can't fix with a little duplicate stitch and some strategic weaving in of ends behind the join.
After about eight rounds of garter stitch, there's a whole bunch of increases for fullness of the "skirt" portion of the tunic, and then it's nothing but stockinette in the round for quite some time. Eventually there will be some more of the lace at the bottom, but for now, it's just mindless knit knit knit knit.
I must admit that as much as I was enjoying this project, I have been cheating on it a little the past couple of days. A couple of weeks ago, Rainbow had asked me to make her a new hat, and she'd indicated a skein of Knit Picks Palette that she really liked. (Strangely enough, it's a very similar shade of blue. I'm sensing a new trend in her color preferences!) I was planning on making a fingering version of my new hat design anyway, so on Sunday night I cast on for it with the intention of having it do double duty as a pattern sample and a hat for her.
This was meant to be my lunchtime knitting, but I got to the joining round of the brim last night and couldn't put it down until I got the lace established. Then, once I got going, I didn't want to stop. So now I have several inches of hat done -- and I'm not complaining. I'm planning on giving her top more attention later in the week (we'll be off together on Thursday and Friday, and stockinette in the round is ideal when I'm sitting around with her). On top of that, there's a long weekend coming up, which means more knitting time. Stockinette, here I come!