Project Journal: Deschain

The Deschain is a beautiful top designed by Leila Raabe in Quince & Co. Kestrel. It is wonderfully lady-like, but still a little sassy and has a whole heck of a lot of positive ease. Like, a lot. The smallest size is a 54″ bust circumference. It is cropped short, meant to be wide and have some flow.

It was an easy decision to knit the Deschain, but I knew I wanted to make a few tweaks. What I thought would be some simple adjustments, ultimately turned into a series of problems. This lovely thing has given me the run around. It has been quite a journey of seaming, trying it on, measuring, taking out the seam, frogging, knitting, and measuring some more. For the past few weeks the project has been on the verge of going to the time out closet. You know the one; the dark hole where your knitting goes to think about what it’s done. It got close, but I’m too stubborn to let my silly mistakes keep me from this gorgeous summertime top. 

So, if you have also fallen in love with the Deschain and plan to knit it, which I still recommend you do, here’s my advice:

Knit a gauge swatch AND block your swatch

Revolutionary, I know… but this was my biggest mistake. I was a little cocky and skipped swatching. In the end my top grew a lot. The Kestrel is 100% linen, spun in a knitted ribbon. Linen is well known for its supple and drapey characteristics, softening and wearing beautifully over time. My gauge was fine, but I knit each side to the length I wanted without factoring in how much it would block out. Once blocked, it grew significantly and no longer has that cropped fit that I love about the design. There is definitely a bit of frogging forecasted in my future.

Join the ends differently

That slick linen doesn’t take to weaving in ends very well. However, with an i-cord type yarn that has a hollow core, you can weave the ends into each other. Here’s a wonderful tutorial from Skacel:

Alternatively, you can tie the ends together with a double knot. I’m typically a strident believer that knots don’t belong in knitting, but this is the exception. When I do use them, I tie a double knot which allows you to cut the tails off right at the knot, making it look rather tidy. Here’s a great video from Jane Richmond:

Add short rows to the back

My last observation about the Deschain is that the back side tends to ride up just a bit on most people. To counter this, if you have the hutzpah, I recommend adding just a few short rows to make the back come down a bit further. Put your short rows at the end and beginning of the row, and work back and forth on the right side for a few extra rows. This will result in a bit longer fabric at the back while maintaining a nice shape and keeping the same number of rows to seam on the sides.


My Deschain looks fine as it is now, but it’s not quite right yet. I’m planning to pull out an inch or so from the bottom (re-knit those short rows) and re-bind off again.

Ultimately, my take aways from this project were two fold. First, the Quince & Co. Kestrel is a sturdy, soft, and wonderfully unusual yarn. Second, knitting is a journey. Although past experience and practical sense come into play, the project is still bound to take some twists and turns. That is the challenge and beauty of the craft that keeps me coming back time and again!