Knitting in the Fall: Cascata

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Cascata

Pattern:  Cascata, by Filipa Carneiro, published in Rosarios4.

Yarn:  I believe the yarn is by Reynolds.  It is a light DK weight wool and acrylic blend yarn I bought sometime in the mid-1980s.  Mom loved mauve (and all its variations), so I knitted a lacy vest for her.  She did not wear it much because it was too nice for “everyday” wear, and she didn’t want to get it dirty.  I brought it back after she died and took it apart, and now it is Cascata.

Modifications:  I love the lace “cascade” on the left side, but did not like how rapidly the triangle grew because of the every 4th row increases.  So, I alternated the increases on both the lace panel as well as on the right (along the faux seam).  I like my sweaters to cover my hips, so I knitted all 138 rows of the lace charts.  I also started with 138 stitches at the top, as though knitting size XXS, and adjusted all the directions as needed to compensate.  Finally, I did not like how large the arm holes were on the original cap sleeves.  I had enough yarn, so I made the sleeves elbow length.

Thoughts:  I don’t usually like in-the-round yoke construction, but the designer took care to shape the neckline so that there were no “puffy” areas, and the front and the back sit properly on the neck and shoulders.  I also like the yo increases as a design element.  This was a fast knit, and a lovely pattern for Mom’s yarn.

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Bear

Bear is a sweet guinea pig we have been babysitting for almost a month while his family flit here and there all over the world.  We would keep him, but his mom probably misses him!

Knitting for the Winter: Ondawa

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Ondawa

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.

Knitting in the Spring: Freja

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Freja

Pattern:  Freja, from Brooklyn Tweed, designed by Jared Flood.

Yarn:  Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK.  I recycled the yarn from the Norah Gaughan Tweedy Aran Cardigan  I knitted about 10 years ago.  I loved the pattern, but I just didn’t wear the sweater enough to justify not reusing the yarn.

Modifications:  Because of the DK-weight yarn, I knitted somewhere between size 43 and 47 to have about 6″ ease, and made the jacket longer to cover my hips.  I didn’t see the point of the side shaping at the bottom (the increase, then the decrease), so I didn’t do them.

I didn’t like the collar seam at the back of the neck, so I reworked the pattern just to eliminate that one seam:

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Freja collar

I started with a provisional cast-on for one side of the collar extension, worked it long enough for 1/2 of required neck width, then worked the other side of the collar extension using the stitches from the provisional cast-on.  With the back neck now wide enough, the collar extensions were placed on hold, then I picked up the required number of stitches from the neck to work the back piece from top down, casting on the shoulder stitches as I went.  All neck and shoulder shaping were via short rows.  When the armscye depths were achieved, the back stitches were put on hold, and I started on the two front pieces.  I picked up the front panels from the back shoulders and joined the stitches to the collar extensions that were on hold, and knitted each front piece from top down.  When armscye depths were same as the back, I joined the fronts and back on a circular needle to eliminate the side seams.

I don’t like patch pockets, so the two pockets were knitted in, with the pocket lining stitches knitted together with the pocket fronts at the bottom, one row before start of bottom band.  I then had two seams per pocket to sew instead of three.  The pockets are deeper than specified so that whatever I put in them will actually stay in there.

Thoughts:  I enjoy the whole Brooklyn Tweed aesthetics, and this Jared Flood pattern is  the epitome of BT design:  pared down, stylish, and very wearable.  Perhaps I lose some “stability” with my modifications, but the truth is that I am a process knitter, and most of my finished sweaters never get more than two or three wearings per year.  I can almost imagine knitting this cardigan again, with elbow-length sleeves and openwork lapels.

Knitting for the Winter: St. Brigid

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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.

Knitting for the Spring: Gaia

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Gaia, version 2

Back in the days of print patterns, I used to collect knitting books.  I have original first editions of Alice Starmore books, including ones that have never gone back into print.  I did not realize how expensive those Starmore books were until I traded one for a couple thousand yards of her iconic Scottish Fleet yarn.  Anyway, in my knitting library I also had a couple of books by Jean Moss.  I remember buying Sculptured Knits because I loved the cover:

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This was back in 1999, and over the next few years I knitted (or rather, started) many patterns from the book, but never the Lautrec Bolero from the cover.  Gaia was one of three projects I managed to start AND finish, and I loved it.  I knitted it in a hand-spun undyed wool, and wore it for years before I decided I needed the yarn for something else.

About a month ago, as part of addressing the issue of overcrowding in my yarn cabinets, I found the Cable-Down Raglan by Stefanie Japel.  I must have knitted the pullover about 10 years ago, but I have no clear memory of this sweater.  Except for this one work, I can look at all my other projects and tell you about the pattern, the knitting process, the changes, and the yarn.  l don’t know what happened . . . .

Pattern:  Gaia, from Sculptured Knits: 48 Timely Designs Inspired by the Decorative Arts of the 20th Century.  

Yarn:  Unknown DK-weight tweedy merino wool yarn.

Modifications:  I modified the pattern to knit seamlessly from top down, with the sleeves picked up from the top and caps shaped via short rows.  The front bands were knitted on as I went, with regular short rows to make sure the bands didn’t flare.  The original cardigan had a soft point collar, but I don’t like collars in general, so no collar here.  The sleeves were supposed to be full-length, but since I did not have enough yarn, they became three-quarter.  The bottom band is knitted from leftover kid mohair/silk yarn from another project; I like the contrast of colours and texture.

Thoughts:  I love this version of Gaia!  One thing I did that I did not do on the first Gaia is keep the small pockets set into the bottom band.  I never understood the concept of teeny tiny non-functional pockets, but these days I think any pocket is a good pocket.  I made these bigger than the pattern pockets, and they will in fact fit my mobile phone, credit card, and some change.  Finally, about the Little Old Lady buttons: Mom, like Moms of her generation everywhere, left behind a big collection of buttons.  These buttons came from her hoard, and I love them on this cardigan.

Knitting in the Winter: Manzanilla

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Manzanilla

Pattern:   Manzanilla by Joji Locatelli, from her Authentic Collection.

Yarn: A merino/silk/cashmere blend yarn from Lambspun of Colorado.  This yarn has been many projects, including Rosamund’s Cardigan and Silver Belle.  I had hoarded so much of this yarn that I was able to make the Wisteria dress as well as this pullover.

Modifications:  I used a DK weight yarn because I find worsted weight to be too heavy for wear.  Since I am still on the tunic kick, I gave the body A-line shape and lengthened it a couple of inches.  I also made the back a tad longer and gave it a slight curve with short-row shaping.  Instead of grafting the sleeve seams, I used a three-needle bind off.  And, not obvious in the photo, I sewed a button at the top of each side hem to stabilize the split hem.  Finally, I widened the width between the garter ridges progressively from top to bottom.  

Thoughts:  I just love this sweater!  When it came off the needle, the sleeves were quite snug, but I was able to open things up with a bit of judicious blocking.  Joji Locatelli designs lovely, minimalistic sweaters, and her experiments in construction produce clothing that are actually wearable.

Knitting: Dresses for the Winter

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Wisteria dress

Years ago, I knitted the Wisteria in its original sweater form: https://opiegp.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/wisteria/

It was beautiful, but the yarn I used was wrong for the project.  It was too soft, the sweater grew, and I never wore it.  I finally frogged it this past spring, and a couple of weeks ago I decided to reknit Wisteria as a dress.

Pattern:  Wisteria, by Kate Gilbert, from Twist Collective Fall 2008.

Yarn:  A DK weight merino/cashmere/silk yarn from Lambspun of Colorado.  This yarn has been a few projects and has held up beautifully over the years.

Modifications:  The pattern converts into a dress without fuss.  I added some bodice darts at the back to prevent “poofing” under the yoke, added darts in front and back (along with those at the sides) for smoother skirt increases, and shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length.

Thoughts:  The yarn was perfect for this project; it is light, and the dress conforms without clinging.

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Bryn Mawr dress, version 2

I knitted my first Bryn Mawr dress also with the wrong sort of yarn: https://opiegp.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/knitting-for-the-fall-vortex-street-pullover-bryn-mawr-dress-halliard/

Again, the yarn was too soft, and the dress was incredibly clingy and picked up static like crazy.  But I loved the pattern, so I reknitted the sweater this past spring.

Pattern:  Bryn Mawr dress, by Alex Capshaw-Taylor, from Interweave Knits Fall 2013

Yarn:  Sport weight mule-spun Elsawool in undyed medium grey.  This is a cormo wool, and I love it as much (if not more) than merino wool.

Modifications:  I opened up the neckline, and did not bother with the skirt hem.  I knitted the sleeves on from the top using short rows to shape the caps.

Thoughts:  The pattern was as fun to knit this time around as last time.  More important, the dress fits well without cling, and the cables still show up even with the darker yarn.