Klaralund

Wearability Wednesday is an occasional feature on this blog, in which I re-visit something I’ve knit in the past and discuss it from a wearability standpoint.  Do I still wear it?  Why?  Or why not?  Has it held up to time?  How do I style it?  Today’s post goes back to a pullover which I knit eight years ago, in the spring of 2006.  Unfortunately,  I can only find one photograph of it from that time, so please ignore the bewildered expression on my face and the washed-out colours (this was before we moved to a digital camera, so we were unable to take 40 photos to get one good shot):

2255927184_47bf365b98_zThis is the Klaralund sweater, designed by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton for Noro. It is knit in Noro Silk Garden.  The above photo was taken in October of 2006, shortly after we moved to England.  Here I am wearing it, eight years later and twenty pounds (egads!) heavier:

1-IMG_9670I have documented elsewhere on this blog my troubles with a repetitive stress injury (deQuervaine’s tenosynovitis) that led to me being unable to knit for more than a decade.  This was the second sweater I made after I was able to take up knitting again.  I wore this sweater to death!  For the first few years after I knit it, it was the go-to item in my wardrobe.  Jeans, check!  Klaralund, check!  Ready to go.  Why did I wear it so much?  I liked to wear hand-knit sweaters and I had very few to choose from at the time.  I loved the colours.  It was easy, un-fussy, but pretty.

At some point, however, I stopped wearing it.  Until Doug took these photos a few weeks ago, I hadn’t had it on in years.  Why did I stop wearing it?  First of all, I think I had worn it so often that I had become bored with it.  Second, as the years went on and I knit more and more, I had a growing pile of hand knits to wear, so it had some competition.  More importantly, however:  this sweater is shapeless.  It is four rectangles sewn together.  There is no shaping whatsoever.  The combination of dropped shoulders and no waist shaping means that it is baggy and shapeless.

2-IMG_9665There is nothing particularly wrong with shapeless sweaters.  In fact, over-sized sweaters without waist shaping and with dropped shoulders are right in style now.  The past few years, however, has had me knitting a succession of shapely, curvy sweaters for me and the girls (for example, Livvy for me, Venetian Audrey for Emma and Peloponnese for Leah).  Compared with them, my Klaralund felt sloppy.  Another reason may also have to do with ego – it is nice to wear a hand knit sweater that shows off your expertise.  Klaralund can be made by a total beginner.

Now that I’ve put it back on though, I think I might resurrect it.  It is still comfortable and easy.  The colours are still bright and interesting.  It has even held its shape (in a shapeless kind of way).  I can still fit into it, despite the extra weight!  Furthermore, it brought back a bit of nostalgia.  I knit this before Ravelry existed.  When I was considering making this sweater, I put ‘Klaralund’ into a search engine and discovered that other knitters were doing the same – this was how I discovered knitting blogs for the first time.  For me, this sweater marks the beginning of the internet in my knitting life.  Who could have guessed that the internet would have so totally changed the knitting community and the way I think about knitting?

So, perhaps the next time I go walk by the river on a windy day or sip my morning coffee in the back garden, I may just pull Klaralund out of the closet.

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15 thoughts on “Klaralund

  1. I love your Klaralund, in fact, I think it was finding your project on Rav that put you on my virtual radar. You wear it well. I think you should put it back into rotation as well.

    Yes, the internet has been awesome for knitters, especially Ravelry and YouTube. It has radically changed the way I approach knitting. I don’t think I’d be as passionate about it if I were only inspired by printed knitting books, and the latest arrivals at the LYS. My heart skips a beat when the latest BT lookbook is posted, and when Knitty and Twist Collective bring out new issues. (Some people might think I need to get a life. Well, I think they need to get some yarn and get knitting).

    The only downside: it’s hard to juggle time spent on Rav versus time spent knitting! (And the time spent checking out knitting blogs and being inspired by what others are making!)

  2. I’ve had this on my “maybe someday” list for a while and I found your description of it very helpful. I hadn’t thought of the shapelessness before, just that I wasn’t sure the neckline was right for what I like on myself. But, even considering the shapelessness, seeing yours I’m kinda feeling the urge to move this to the “probably eventually” list at least!

    Also, I love your wearability posts! It’s so rare on a knitting blog to see the stuff after it’s knit and once it’s just part of the wardrobe.

    • Hi, thanks for commenting. I find that the problem area in the Klaralund is around the upper sleeves and upper chest. You can see that it is sort of bulky and wrinkly in the bottom photo of this post. On the other hand, the sleeve and top construction is really cool and is one of the things that attracted me to the pattern in the first place. (Most 4-rectangle sweaters have a front and back and two sleeves; but in this one, the sleeve pieces encompass the top front and back. It is quite clever.) Given that I wore this tons, I would say that overall it was a great project and very wearable.

      • Yeah, the sleeve/top construction is what really made this one stand out for me. I actually have kind of big shoulders proportional to the rest of me, so that might work out nicely. Hmm…I sense another afternoon of browsing Noro colorways in my future.

  3. I loved this post. Interesting to hear how a piece of clothing has survived and changed over the years and how you’re revisiting it again. And I have to say, maybe a beginner could make it, but it looks beautiful! I think you should still be proud of it 🙂

  4. Love your wearability Wednesday posts! I have a similar experience to yours, the shapeless sweaters I have made over the years tend to live at the back of my closet. There is nothing wrong with them, and some of them even have nice drape, I just always reach for the sweaters that are fitted because I feel more confident wearing them. However, your klaralund has stunning colors, and it does look nice on you. 🙂

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