Like any good (Edwardian) London home, there exists in my house a clear divide between Upstairs and Downstairs.
Downstairs is where I have my serious knittng projects. I sit in the comfy green chair in the corner and listen to the radio or an audiobook and knit away. (Just finished Tess of the D'Urbervilles - the sadness. Beautifully written - but oh the sadness.) Anyway - that's where most of my knitting gets done.
Upstairs is where the 'proper' tv is and I will sometimes have a smaller 'easier' project on the go up there - suitable for working on while watching a film. Now, if I've become obsessed with a series on DVD (Mad Men was the last one that hooked me) then a lot of upstairs knitting will happen - however - if like now it's only the occasional episode of Doctor Who or Glee then the upstairs project can take a long time!
This Summer Night Top took a long time (elapsed) to make - but it's actually a pretty quick project if you work on it for more than an hour a week!
I can see some great possibilities for modifications to this pattern - as I think the basic shape is quite versatile. For instance, I think it would look great in a silk yarn with a plain body and perhaps some beads along the yoke.
The body is a four row repeat - with one cable intensive row where pretty much every stitch is part of a cable. And for this it is definitely worth learning to cable without a cable needle -- as it speeds up the process (not least because it saves the inevitable "where is my cable needle, I just had it two seconds ago" faff).
I don't always find the no cable needle cabling a timesaver, and for occasional or large cables I generally still use a needle - but for these very frequent 3 stitch cables it made a big difference.
There are many good tutorials out there - Knitty has a good one, and here's a Youtube version. I use the method in the Youtube version - but the principles are the same - you rearrange the stitches on the needle (by slipping them off - eek) before you knit them. It can seem awkward (and scary when the stitches are off the needle!) but practise will take care of that. And in this project you'll get lots of practise!
The yoke of the top is knit separately, a simple 6 row lace pattern. To get the curve, two of the 6 rows are short rows (ie knit on only 13 stitches instead of 23).
I wasn't convinced that the square body pieces and the rounded yoke would join up in any way that made sense but somehow they did.
I used 4 mm needles and 6 skeins of Pima Tencel from Cascade Yarns (it was the recommended yarn, reasonably priced and has a great colour selection). It's a cotton and Tencel blend.
It's intended to be a birthday present for my best friend -- and amazingly that's not for another 3 weeks!
Downstairs knitting - where the wedding ring shawl work is happening - continues. As I expect it will for a loooooonnnnnnggggg time!