Saturday, June 20, 2009

With apologies to Marion Foale

Last Fall I was thumbing through a back issue of Rowan magazine, Rowan 36 to be exact, and came across this beautiful cardigan.

Apparently, this was a Marion Foale design named "Betty" that was available in UK retail shops in the 1990's for about 250 pounds. I despaired of being able to "reverse-engineer" the design until I found this Marion Foale pattern published in Woman's Weekly (11/4/2008 issue) on eBay.

I decided to try and modify the pattern to approximate the "Betty." Six months later, here is my best attempt:

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome but it is now clear to me why Marion Foale is a talented knitwear designer and I am not.

First, I misplaced the pockets.

Rather than frog the whole thing (to which a collar was already attached) I decided to camouflage them with pocket-flaps (one of which I think is sewn on a little crooked).

Second, I had absolutely no idea how to turn a Revere collar into a shawl collar and, as it turns out, moss stitch does not look the same when turned on its side.

Third, I added a vent to the back just to be fancy.

After six months of slaving away at this, I have to admit it was not my best effort. Sigh.

Although I think I will be able to happily wear it to work, it does not warm my perfectionist heart. But, the great thing about knitting is there is always the next project!


Pattern: Modified "Neat Knit," by Marion Foale
Yarn: Rowan 4-ply soft in ecru (doubled throughout) - 20 balls
Needles: US0 and US1
Completed: January - June 20, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What I Learned about Moss Stitch

I like using moss (or seed) stitch in knitted garments. I like the nubby texture. I like it as an edge to stockinette stitch, and I like how it adds warmth without adding a lot of bulk.

What I don't like about moss stitch is that it takes so looooong to knit up. I think these sleeves are like Penelope's shroud...I knit them during the day and then they unravel at night (all on their own).

Here they are in March:

And here they are in April.

And here is one of them as of today:

Not much progress, huh? What I discovered on page 23 of that wonderful knitting reference book, The Principles of Knitting, by June Hemmons Hiatt, is that "Seed stitch is 30% shorter than stockinette and 18% wider." Aha! I knew something was up. I knit and knit and knit and have only an inch to show for it. I've also noticed that it tends to become somewhat misshapen. The sleeves I knit in stockinette stitch never look this "wonky." I hope the pieces even out with a good blocking.

Well, I have to admit that I'm being a little bit melodramatic because the delay is largely due to several other knitting projects that have intervened during the past several months. Projects that have been much more interesting to work on, so I've abandoned these poor sleeves time and time again.

One of my other projects is the Military Jacket by Veronika Avery.

I swatched in a WW Khroma from the Fibre Company in Plum, but it was too dark. Then I swatched in a DK Khroma in Aegean, but the yarn was too thin. Finally, I cannabalized my stash of Cascade 220 Tweed set aside for Stefanie Japel's texturized tweed jacket (which would never have flattered me anyway), and that was just right the right yarn.

I've started on the right sleeve (you may remember my vow to work the sleeves of my next garment first), and added a ruffled border as I felt strongly it needed an edging.

Here is a close-up of the ruffled edge.

I guess I'd better go knit some more on Penelope's sleeves ... ;-)