Pattern: Winterberry, by Jennifer Wood of Woodhouse Knits.
Yarn: A gorgeous merino/silk/cashmere DK-weight yarn in colour clary sage, from Lambspun of Colorado. The yarn was hand-dyed, and there were some colour variations from skein to skein. I bought quite a bit of the yarn almost 10 years ago, and this is the second sweater from the stash.
Modifications: The pattern is beautiful, and I really like the winterberry cable design wrapping around the yoke and then descending down the front. The widest part of the chart pattern is at the bottom, and I did not think it would have been flattering on me to have the sweater be negative ease and end at the hips. So, I opted for a version somewhere between A-line (in front) and swing (in back), and turned the sweater into a tunic. Again.
I wasn’t clever enough to figure out how to extend the charts at the bottom, so I inserted an extra round every 8-10 rounds, which added a couple of inches to the over all length. I did not add the decorative inserts in the sleeves; I thought the design in the body was enough.
Thoughts: Jennifer Wood is such a talented designer. I love her aesthetics and the care she took in working out this pattern, and look forward to knitting more of her projects.
Pattern: Ondawa, by Michele Wang, from Brooklyn Tweed Fall 2014.
Yarn: The yarn is a dk/light worsted merino/silk/cashmere blend from Lambspun of Colorado. I had been hoarding it for many years, perhaps close to ten years.
Modifications: I knitted it top down, in the round, with decreased number of stitches to compensate for heavier yarn. I knew I was going to make the neck opening smaller, but if I did that, then the front was going to ride pretty high up. So, I shaped the front a bit to give it a shallow scoop. I also curved the back just a bit and made it tad longer because I knew it was going to ride up; in hindsight I should have made the back even longer, because it still looks a bit short to me.
Thoughts: Back in the 1980s, I made a few wide-and-cropped sweaters (hey, it was the era), and they did not ever look good on me. 30+ years later, here I am, with a wide-and-cropped cabled sweater. Well, I still don’t think it’s a great shape for me, because even though I am now 20 pounds lighter, I am still remarkably short. However, the slim-fitting sleeves and the designer’s usual close attention to details makes this sweater modern, stylish, and infinitely wearable.
St. Brigid tunic
Pattern: St. Brigid by Alice Starmore, from the original 1997 edition.
Yarn: Malabrigo, worsted weight, in “shocking pink.” I bought a 10-pack from a fellow Raveler, hoarded it for close to a decade, and finally decided that St. Brigid was a worthy project. Being kettle-dyed, there are colour variations that resulted in a band of darker pink across the lower chest. Oh well.
Modifications: The original pattern called for Alice Starmore’s Scottish Heather (a DK weight yarn) knitted up into a very generous 45 (or 48) inch pullover. So, modifications included decreasing the number of cable patterns across to finish at around 38 inches, but the same number of vertical repeats because I wanted to make a tunic. I didn’t use Chart A, but substituted 2 x 3 ribs at the sides of body and sleeves. I think the ribs made for easier and neater increases and decreases. The sleeves were meant to be 3/4, but stretched with blocking to wrist length. I didn’t want the original collar (I think it is overwhelming), so I made the neck opening square, framed with simple 3 x 3 cables. I made the body slightly A-line with increases “hidden” within the purl stitches between individual cables. Finally, I knitted the tunic top-down in-the-round.
Thoughts: My all-time favorite cable pattern! She-whose-name-must-not-be-spoken is THE master.
Rhapsody in Cables
Pattern: Rhapsody in Cables, by Joji Locatelli.
Yarn: Alice Starmore Scottish Fleet, in cream. I have never worked with this yarn before, and it surprised me by how nicely it bloomed and softened with washing.
Modifications: Scottish Fleet is a 5 ply gansey yarn, so I knew my gauge would be off. I guesstimated the third size to get the fit I wanted. I also wanted the sweater to be tunic length, so I added an extra band to the front bottom, a zigzag cable pattern that I think works well within the context of the over all design. I also have a fear of cling, so I added some shaping stitches in the back to give the tunic a slight A-line.
Thoughts: I love Joji Locatelli’s aesthetics. Many designers try new approaches to sweater construction that are intriguing on paper and interesting to knit, but the end product frequently have zero wearability (I am thinking in particular of this bolero by Norah Gaughan). This tunic has a very simple silhouette, and Joji Locatelli could have stuck to a fairly conventional construction method, but she chose to do something different — and it was a delightful knit.
I love the idea of a knitted skirt, but I don’t wear skirts: they don’t tend to sit in the correct place on my body, they creep up or down and end up everywhere except where they should be. On the other hand, I have an ongoing love affair with knitted dresses, so when I see interesting patterns, whether for tops or cardigans or skirts, I turn them into dresses. Hence, the Dickson Dress:
Pattern: Dickson, by the wonderful Norah Gaughan.
Yarn: Lambspun of Colorado DK-weight merino/silk/cashmere blend yarn, in the colour “black platinum.” At least I think that is the colour name. I bought the yarn about 15 years ago, and until two years ago, it was a sweater coat. I did not realize until I started working with the yarn that there were two distinct shades of black. I know that is the nature of hand-dyed yarn, but nevertheless I was surprised because the owner of Lambspun has always been amazingly careful with her quality control, and I have never had problems with variations within each dye lot. Anyway, when I frogged the coat I thought I had separated out the two shades, but I was wrong.
Modifications: This is a top-down dress knitted in the round. I improvised the V-necked bodice and did my usual knitted-on sleeves with short-row shaped caps. I didn’t feel like “finishing” the neckline, but I did do two rows of single chain crochet at the back neck (in a pink yarn!) to prevent the dreaded stockinette roll. The skirt portion is the actual Dickson pattern with not as many rows of ribbing at the top.
Thoughts: Another winner from Norah Gaughan! The problem with improvisation is that I never quite know what the garment will look like until I do the final blocking and get it on my body. I like how the neckline turned out, but the sleeves, which were meant to have a bit of puff, looks a bit wide. The skirt portion turned out great, pity about the line of color change. Sigh. But, I will wear it and I’m sure that shade change will be less obvious when the dress is in motion 🙂