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Queen to (mid)Knight 3

Queen to (mid)Knight 3

I have written before about a fabric for which a mere photograph could not tell its true glories. A picture may paint a thousand words, but I tell you honestly, when it comes to dark fabrics, a rectangle of illustration, however closely one peers at it, is a rectangle of darkness.

The deepest navy blues, the subtlest of charcoals, any near black colour, cannot show to advantage on a computer screen. So here am I again flagging up a fabric I bought on a hunch that it would be far more than the picture showed me and have been proved right. This is not just so I can feel smug.

Checkmate is a lovely worsted fabric, with a superb handle, and looks remarkably chic. It would make both very nice wide legged trousers, culottes or a dress, as I intend to make with it. Its weight means that although a wool, it is perfect for an English spring that does not go gently into summer.

As part of my wardrobe revamp, I am making dresses, which I have rather ignored over the last few years, having had a couple of successes with summer frocks last year. So I bought three metres of Checkmate, and crossed my fingers.

Oh, happy me, when Lee the Delivery Man handed me my parcel and I got the chance to examine my purchases. The drape is excellent for a soft fall into an A line shaped skirt, and I can tell it will hang well. The navy blue and black catch a certain light to nearly gleam, and then retreat into subtle darkness once more, which is particularly appealing.

Image 1

This is the best I can give with a photo, and even here the navy looks a shiny sort of black and the black a graphite grey, which is not as it looks for real. It is understated, but very classy. With my predilection for attributing fabric a ‘voice’ (see my feature on Bitter Chocolate Fountain) I would say this one would be Patrick Malahide’s Inspector Alleyn, if you can remember that classic series. It speaks softly, smoothly, but with presence; it has no need to shout or flounce because it can say all it needs quietly, and its aristocratic credentials need no calling card.

I have not yet washed the fabric, but I do not anticipate any problems with it, since it is closely woven and not too bulky to retain excess water. The only thing that I am not sure about is the lining, since part of me quite fancies going for a red to highlight the thin red overcheck, though I might play safe with navy or black. It is not the first in line for ‘next project’ but I expect to start on it fairly soon, so watch this space, and I will tell you how it goes.

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