Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Psychedelic Sweater

I'd like to say here, at the outset, that I don't normally wear bright colors. I usually wear dark and muted-colored clothing and try to project a professional image in my work attire. I say this because my latest sartorial creation is uncharacteristically exuberant. The back story is that I've been quite taken with Kauni effektgarn in the rainbow colorway. At the same time, I found a beautiful brocade pattern by Kim Hargreaves and decided to combine the two. I'm still not sure if it was a completely compatible marriage of yarn and pattern.

The original pattern was for a vest and you can see that in the shaping, which I do like.

The process of putting together the sweater began with cutting the steek ...

... and then designing a sleeve pattern. Again, this was taken from a vest pattern, so I had to figure out what design to use for the sleeves. I decided to take a small motif from the pattern on the front of the body which you can see here:

However, making the rest of the sleeves all black did not work. I thought it would tone down the vivid colors of the sweater, but it just looked as though it was from a completely different sweater. So, after this false start, I decided to combine the flower motif from the front with the stripes from the back of the body. I also decided to use a "Siamese" or "twin steek" in order to keep the color changes as consistent as possible across the two sleeves.

Fraternal twins, separated at birth:

Here are some further project details if you're still with me:

The pretty leaf design in the front blended together too much and I don't really care for the combination of green and orange, so I used double-stitching to highlight the pattern in blue.

Meanwhile, the buttons bring out the red.

A bientot!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

So Far, So Good: Works in Progress

I've finished the back of Agnes/Joy and I'm really liking how it is turning out so far. I wasn't sure about the combination of tweed and beads, but the added sparkle seems pretty. I may skip the beads on the sleeves, however, to tone down the evening look so I can wear it to the office.

In the meantime, I was also inspired by a Jillian Lewis design to create an equestrian-style knit jacket. Here is her design as found on the Internet. Her version is rumoured to retail for $700.00!

My much less costly version is taking shape here:

A few mistakes have occurred during the course of the shaping, but rather than rip back and lose the creative momentum, I'm pushing forward.

The yarn, elsebeth lavold Classic AL baby alpaca and merino wool blend, is a dream to work with!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Agnes & Joy

I am becoming a huge fan of Kim Hargreaves' knitting designs. In perusing many of her books and designs in magazines, I've noticed that she frequently tweaks and modifies the same basic design for different yarns and seasons. I feel this frees me up from slavishly following any one of her particular patterns and gives me implicit permission to mix and match her ideas and design elements. Accordingly, I've taken two of her very similar designs and decided to combine and modify them to fit my particular preferences.

"Agnes" is an older design published in Rowan Magazine 35 (Spring/Summer 2004) made up in a cotton yarn with bracelet length sleeves. "Joy" is a newer design published in Vintage Knits and features a tweeded yarn with a chevron design done in beads knitted into the body of the cardigan. It's an interesting idea to pair beads with a tweeded yarn - evoking two different moods - so I thought I'd try it. However, Danish damask (knitting a pattern into stockinette stitch using purl stitches) drives me crazy! Although it looks pretty, I constantly lose my place and get frustrated. So, forget it. I will use a simple placement for the beads following the placement of French knots in the Agnes pattern. (I also could not bear the idea of making a zillion French knots.) So, to my mind this is a happy hybrid of two Hargreaves designs. We shall see how it turns out.

Yarn: Rowan Felted Tweed Sport 5 ply (12 wpi) in "watery" colorway