On Form

I finished knitting my “form” pullover and I love it!  It is fantastic!

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I love everything about this sweater.  It is comfortable, wearable, light as a feather, RED, stylish, shapely, and, oh yes, RED!  What is not to love?

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The pattern, designed by Lori Versaci, is beautiful.  I had some trouble at the start figuring out how to put together the neck bands (which I blogged about here).  Lori very kindly responded to my email with a couple of photos, which helped explain the process.  Once I got that sorted out, however, and got on my way, this sweater practically knitted itself.  I am a pretty slow knitter, and this took me just under 4 weeks – and for two of those, I was practically catatonic with flu and didn’t manage to knit much at all.

The pattern has two length options and two sleeve length options.  I choose the longer length and the longer sleeve length.  I think the look is very 1960s. I have a collection of Vogue Knitting magazines from the 1960s and many of the sweaters had this kind of a feel to them.

The boat neck collar is one of the cool features of this sweater.  Here is a peak at the shoulder:

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Other things I love about this are the compound raglan sleeves which are perfectly formed; the armhole depth is perfect, allowing me to move comfortably and naturally and without feeling constricted.  The sleeves are roomy but in a way which I think looks chic rather than loose.  The A-line shaping in the body is lovely; and the positioning of the increases makes it drape so nicely.  Really, I love everything about this pullover.

I don’t have a lot of detail shots, because I am recovering from a bad flu; I gave Doug just 5 minutes to take some photos before I came back inside and collapsed by the fire.  It is, however, lovely in every way.  (It is also unblocked!  And I don’t think it needs any blocking.)

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I followed the pattern, EXACTLY, except for two small details: I used German short rows, and I did not do the tubular cast-on or cast-off.  I used my standard, every day cast-on and cast-off.  Why?  Three reasons:

  1. I am lazy.
  2. I didn’t think it would really matter much given the mohair which makes for a fuzzy edge in any case.
  3. I am lazy.

I knit this holding two strands of yarn together.  The first is Isager Spinni, a light fingeringweight 100% wool in Red, and the second is Shibui Silk Cloud, a laceweight mohair and silk blend in the colour Tango.  I used less than 3.5 skeins of each, which means the whole sweater weighs about 270 grams.  Like wearing a cloud!

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I knit it with a US7 needle, which resulted in a gauge of 21×30.  The pattern calls for 20×32.  Lori has two samples on the pattern page – one is knit with 4″ of positive ease and the other with no ease.  I was hoping for something in the middle, around 2″ of ease.  I could knit a size 42, giving me 1/2″ of ease, or a 46, giving me 4 1/2″ inches.  Given that my gauge was a bit off, I knit the size 46 and ended up with 44″ across the chest, a perfect 2 1/2″ of ease.

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Because I am sick, I haven’t taken the time to dress it up for the photos, but this will be a fantastic work garment, and will also dress up nicely.  (The best I could manage today  was a pop of red lipstick and a fantastic coat!)

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It has been a long time since I have knit the same sweater twice, but I am already dreaming of another “form”!

A baker’s dozen of men’s knitted vest patterns

My last post was a whimsical look at men’s sweater patterns from the early 70s including some wild vests. I have been wanting to knit a vest for Doug for some time now, but find that I can never find the perfect pattern. (Note that I am using “vest” in the American sense here. I will continue to spell colour with a “u” thus confusing those who want to categorize me.) While there are some fabulous patterns out there, I find that most of them fall short on one dimension or another.  In particular, they are (1) designed for someone considerably thinner, considerably younger (or both) than Doug, (2) they are made with a thicker weight wool, such as worsted or aran, and/or (3) they are boring. This last must be commented on:  I am told time and time again that men want boring. My man doesn’t.  As evidence of this, have a look at the last sweater I knit for him.

Doug wants a vest that he can wear to work with a shirt and tie, that he can put a sports jacket over comfortably, that has color and ‘pops’.  He also says he wants it to have buttons so that he can take it on or off during the day (but he could overcome this for the right pattern).  I want a vest which is fun to knit, which is challenging but not scary, and preferably not with steeks (but I can overcome this for the right pattern).  I also think that it would be better in fingering weight yarn to cut down on bulk.  Here are a baker’s dozen of great men’s vest patterns.  None of them seems to hit all of the requirements.  But they come pretty close.

We’ll start with a few vests knit in aran or worsted weight wool, move on to some fancy colourwork projects and end with some fantastic fairisle. (All links are to the Ravelry page.)

1. Laredo by Angela Hahn

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© Jamie Dixon

I seriously love this vest.   Angela is a great technical designer and she charts this out in three lengths so that the pattern starts and ends on appropriate rows.  I keep seeing it in a rich colour, perhaps a strong gold or deep purple.  But it is made with an aran weight wool and isn’t the office-appropriate vest I am searching for.  When Doug needs a vest to go on safari, however, this one is so there.

2. Dr. G’s Memory vest by Kirsten Kapur

Dr G's memory vest

by throughtheloops

This is a fantastic vest.  It is knit in a worsted weight wool, but I also think it would look great with a sports coat. I love how the ribbing on the sleeves matches the pattern running up the side of the fronts, and how the two patterns come together and then separate at the shoulder to provide shaping.  Oh, the technical deliciousness of this pattern is so appealing! Every feature is so beautifully thought out. Kirsten designed this in memory of her father, Dr. G, who suffered from vascular dementia.  In order to receive the pattern, one must donate to dementia research, as detailed on Kirsten’s blog here. So, a gorgeous design and a good cause.  (I already have the pattern and it is definitely in my queue.)

3. Argyle Vest by Veronik Avery

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by Veronik

This is an old one from Veronik, dating from 2007, well before her Brooklyn Tweed collaboration. It is found in her book, Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion’s Archives.  I already own the book, which puts it in the plus column.  I love argyle, and I think this design uses it to its best – it is a strong motif, but doesn’t overpower the vest.  I love these colours but can imagine all sorts of options from subdued to wild.  The problem once again is the yarn weight – it’s knit in aran.  Plus – intarsia – not quite in my comfort zone. But it’s pretty huh?  Especially when worn with a pout, like the model kindly demonstrates.

4. Drew’s sweater vest by Marly Bird

Drew's sweater vest

© Marly Bird

I love this vest! First of all, it buttons, unlike most of those I am reviewing here.  But it also has great features: the shawl collar, the twisted garter rib stitch, the beautiful fan pattern that goes up the middle fronts and around the collar.  It also is charted in a huge range of sizes – from 36.5″ to 60.5″!  You would be astonished (or maybe not) at how many vest patterns end at a size 48″.   Not only that, but it looks like a vest which would actually look good on big men.  I think this one will end up in my queue.  The problems – it’s knit in aran wool, and the shawl collar means no jacket.

5. #19 Men’s Houndstooth Vest by Josh Bennet

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© Vogue Knitting, Winter 2009/10 Photo by Rose Callahan

I love houndstooth, and this one is scrumptious! Really, this is a lovely vest, elegant and totally office-worthy (especially if not paired with this shirt).  However, it is knit in DK weight wool, STRANDED, which means this has some serious weight to it. Only a guy with rock solid abs and a tendency to be cold all of the time could get away with this one.  (Imagine trying to pull it off when the office heater was set too high.) If you look like the model, I urge you to knit this vest! I wouldn’t steer you wrong. Otherwise, I would suggest that a pair of houndstooth mittens might help ease the pain.

6. #8 Fitted Waistcoat by Franklin Habit

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© Soho Publishing

I’ve featured this waistcoat on the blog before.  I think it is totally beautiful.  It is definitely on my radar, but I am waiting to see a few more projects pop on on Ravelry. I want to see what it looks like in real life on people who don’t wear a size small like this model.  I am worried that its cut, not only the trim waist, but also the deep arm scythe and the narrow shoulders, won’t suit Doug’s shape.  But someday, maybe….

7. Estefan by Brandon Mably

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© Rowan Yarns, 2014

This is another vest that I’ve featured before on the blog.  (Oh no! Have I become hopelessly repetitive and redundant?)  Abstract away from the fantastic tile background, and from the attractive model staring at you with smouldering eyes and come-hither look, and ….you still have a great vest. Brandon Mably is a colour wizard.  This is knit in cotton, in a sport weight.  I don’t really see myself doing this kind of colourwork in cotton, but I can imagine knitting it in wool.

8. Lean on me by Anna Maltz

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© Anna Maltz

This is a pretty pattern published in the Winter 2014 edition of Knitty magazine (this means it is free as well!). I love its use of colour and pattern, particularly paired with this shirt! Like the Houndstooth vest above, however, it is knit stranded with DK yarn, which will produce a heavy fabric.  That, and the way the stitch pattern biases, leads me to suspect that if you are carrying some extra weight around your middle, this vest will highlight it.  On the other hand, it is awfully pretty and there are endless options for playing with colour.

9. Order of the Phoenix Winged Vest by Kyle Kunnecke

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© Interweave & ©Harper Point Photography

I think Kyle Kunnecke is a great designer; he is so clever and has such a sense of fun in his designs.  You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to think this is one seriously cool design.  One of the best things about it is that from the front it looks like a completely straight, classic v-neck vest that would like right at home with a jacket and tie; then you turn around and kazaam! I’m not sure this has “Doug” written on it, but if he has a (late) mid-life crisis and buys a Harley, this is going on the needles.

10. Carraig Fhada by Kate Davies

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© Kate Davies Designs

Kate’s recent collection, Inspired by Islay, contains a few very nice pieces for men.  This vest can be made with either a crew or v-neck style (it is designed as a unisex piece and has directions for both men’s and women’s versions).  There is a huge range of sizes, from 32 to 60 inches.  It is knit up in her new signature yarn, Buachaille, a sport-weight wool.  I love this yarn, which feels good on the hands and takes to cables or colourwork really well.  If you follow the link, you can see one done in shades of grey with a very thin green stripe (in place of the yellow here) that is equally lovely.  I think that single row of a bright, contrast colour really makes this pattern pop.

11. Fall River Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone

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© Interweave Knits

I love this Fairisle Vest designed in natural shades by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  This is the first vest in this post that is knit in fingering weight wool.  (I can see why you might think that fingering weight would be a slog for a man’s sweater; but for a vest – no sleeves!  A vest seems like a reasonably-sized canvas for some fingering weight colourwork with no chance to get marooned on sleeve island.)  This is a fairly standard Fairisle man’s vest, but an especially lovely one I think.  This uses seven gorgeous muted shades that really work together to add richness.

12. Luke’s Diced Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone

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© caroline bergeron

This is a great vest.  I am clearly attracted to designs in which different patterns play off against each other.  And it buttons down the front.  But it is knit in sportsweight wool. And it looks hard to me.  (And the model looks to be about 15 to me.  I know this is a very nit-picky complaint; I am showing my age.)

13. Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover by Susan Crawford

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© Susan Crawford

This vest has an interesting story.  From the pattern description: “In the wake of the popular Wartime Farm BBC TV series, you can now knit your very own authentic Fair Isle Sleeveless Pullover, modelled on a 1938 original and as worn by Alex Langlands no less!  For each pattern sold, a £2.50 donation will be made to the Women’s Land Army Tribute Campaign to help raise money for a permanent memorial to these forgotten ladies and their untold toil during the World Wars.”  This is knit in fingering weight wool, and is not steeked (it is knit in one piece to the arms and then knit back and forth). I think that it is fantastic.

These are all great vests, but I am still wavering.  I have three other options to consider.  I can (1) design my own, (2) modify a women’s vest pattern, or (3) modify a men’s sweater pattern and knit it as a vest.  I have lots of ideas about each of these, and may blog about them soon.

 

Vintage knitting patterns: the men’s edition

I have been thinking for a long time about knitting a vest or waistcoat for Doug.  This is for two reasons.  First, Doug keeps asking me to knit him a vest or waistcoat.  Second, and this should be obvious – no sleeves.  (I once wrote a post called “Do you love your husband enough to knit the sleeves?”) As a result, I have been keeping a close eye on men’s knitting patterns and specifically on vests.  I will write more about this in a future post.

Today, however, the subject of men’s vests came to mind (for all of the wrong reasons) while I was perusing through some of my rather large collection of knitting pattern books.  I stumbled upon this:

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It is vol. 713 of brunswick mostly male.  I cannot believe that these pamphlets were released without dates, but I would guess this one was produced sometime around 1972. In it, one can find some wonders, like this knitted 2-piece pantsuit:

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Or this amazing purple ribbed pullover (paired with spectacular swim trunks!):

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The photos often include drinking (anyone venture to guess what this manly drink is?):

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And smoking:

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And smoking and drinking at the same time:

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And yes, there are also vests.  I love this blue one.  The pose just cracks me up: look at that hair!  The scarf!  The pine tree he is mysteriously hovering over!

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Then there is this tiger-striped vest with the belt loops.  How suave!

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My favorite is this one:

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“What,” I asked Doug, “is that belt made of?”  “Those are bullet casings,” Doug replies “with one bullet pointing at his d*ick.”  Hmm…..perhaps my long search for a pattern to knit for Doug is over.

Cold shoulders

Hadley Freeman writes a wonderfully snarky fashion column for the Guardian. Today’s column is called “How to navigate the new era of coat-wearing” and is accompanied by this photo:

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Photograph: Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock

It must be said that the photo certainly captured my attention.  After I recovered from my giggling, I went on to read about the trend, which Hadley calls “shoulder disrobing”. Hysterical!  (We won’t even get into the giant safety pin earrings.)  The above photo is from the Autumn/Winter 2016 Balenciaga show in Paris; the designer is Demna Gvasalia. A little quick googling (and associated goggling) led to even more examples from the show. Here is one more for good measure:

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(According to Hadley “this month Vogue has decreed it the only acceptable way to wear one’s parka”!)

I must admit this cracks me up, which just goes to show that I have absolutely no sense of style or fashion whatsoever.  Even funnier is Hadley’s commentary, from which:

“So what can we make of this? On the one hand, this trend is free, so yay. On the other, you will probably lose your coat within a day, so boo. Thus, you don’t need to spend any money to look a darn fool in fashion. Which is some form of democracy, I guess.”

from The Guardian, Ask Hadley, 5th Sept, 2016

Pattern Radar – August 2016

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a Pattern Radar post.  Mostly this is because the last stages of finishing the MBA exhausted me and I’ve been recovering slowly.  The second, and perhaps related, issue is that I have a bit of knitting burn-out.  This means that patterns just aren’t reaching out to grab me – there seem to be too many patterns coming out all of the time, and my knitting mojo is low (see my post on Pattern Bombardment Syndrome here).

That is not to say that there have not been some lovely patterns out lately.  Here is my selection of the ones which really caught my eye.  We will start with publications, both books and knitting magazines.  The one which blew me away is Kyle Kunnecke’s Urban Knit Collection.  I don’t believe it has been released yet in print, though Kyle has put up all of the pattern pages on Ravelry in order to whet our appetites. I pre-ordered the book instantly; something I rarely do these days. There are so many great patterns that it is hard to choose, but my favorite of the collection is Savoy.  Here are front and back views. This one is definitely on my to-do list.

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© 2016 Interweave

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© 2016 Interweave

I think that Kyle is an incredibly inventive designer.  Here is another one from this collection, the men’s pullover Brandt, which is knit in one of my favorite yarns, Rowan Felted Tweed:

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© 2016 Interweave

Kate Davies also published her book on Haps.  As usual, I like Kate’s writing and historical research as much as the patterns.  In this book, unlike her earlier ones, she has collaborated with a number of designers.  My favorite is the Nut-Hap, designed by Jen Arnall-Culliford; I think it is a really clever design:

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© Kate Davies Designs

The Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2016 edition came out a few weeks ago, and I really loved two of the patterns.  First, the #3 Mock Turtleneck Shell by Melissa Leapman.  What is not to like about this?  I would make it in red – really rich red.

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© SoHo Publishing

The #22 Hooded Cable Vest by Yoko Hatta also appeals.  This has really classy lines but still a touch of fun.  I can imagine wearing this all the time:

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© SoHo Publishing

 

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© SoHo Publishing

I used to have a subscription to Interweave Knits, but for a long time it went downhill (so I thought) and I cancelled my subscription.  Lately, it seems to be getting stronger. I tried to pick just one favorite from this edition, but couldn’t do it, so will show you two.  I am always interested in men’s patterns, and I have been searching for good men’s vest patterns (more on this in a later post), so I was extremely pleased to see the Fall River Vest by Mary Jane Mucklestone.  I love it!

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© Interweave Knits 2016

I have featured Linda Marveng in a previous Pattern Radar post.  She continues to churn out some impressive patterns.  Her contribution to Interweave Knits is a very chic piece, the Kathe Cardigan.  I like it more every time I look at it.

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© Interweave Knits 2016

(I was planning on also featuring another Linda Marveng design, a gorgeous reversible tunic called Hel, but just realised that it is still being test knit and hasn’t been released yet. This means that there is lots of good stuff still to come from Linda’s desk, so stay tuned.)

I had never heard of Gudrun Georges when I saw her design, the Amy Polo.  I will certainly put her on radar now.  I love this sport-weight polo, which is both classic and cute and has great details:

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© Gudrun Georges

Baby sweaters don’t normally catch my eye; perhaps now that I’ve knit one again, they have been raised a bit in my consciousness.  I really like Conifer, by Ella Austin, otherwise known as BomBella:

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© Emma Solley

I have been noticing many beautiful Nordic designs and designers lately.  I was struck by the design, Superfritt etter Fana by Sidsel J. Høivik.  This pattern is apparently available in kit form from her website.  I was not familiar with Sidsel’s work, but will keep an eye on her.  Oslo seems to be a very happening place for knitting design.

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© Sidsel J. Høivik

This seems like a very short Pattern Radar post to me.   I think once my knitting mojo comes back full force, and the fall sets in, I will once again get overwhelmed by new patterns.  In the meantime, these gorgeous designs are enough to keep your needles busy for a long time.

 

Pattern Radar – August 2014

Let’s look at the facts: (1) I have no new knitting to show you, and (2) I really, really should be writing a paper for business school right this minute.  What does this mean?  Well, in the procrastinator’s universe it means that it is time to bring you a new Pattern Radar post!  This is where I show you which patterns have caught my eye over the past month or two.

Linda Marveng has been getting lots of notice in knitting circles lately.  This popped up on my screen just this week:

© Eivind Røhne

© Eivind Røhne

This is the Cable Round Sweater.  The  cables are framed by rib which gives it more shape than a traditional cabled garment, and the cowl is a separate piece which adds flexibility.  It is one of four beautiful sweaters that Linda designed for the September edition of Made by Me, a Norwegian-language knitting magazine.  The other three are much more tailored and striking, but this one appeals to me.   If you don’t read Norwegian, don’t fret; she will release the English-language patterns in the Fall.

Alexis Winslow has a new book out called Graphic Knits.  I love the Laszlo Cardigan (Ravelry link is here):

© Joe Hancock

© Joe Hancock

I love the bold lines, the graphic pop of black-on-white, and the slightly-oversized coziness of it.  I’m particularly fond of the sleeves – those long rows of buttons on rib really grabbed my attention.

A number of years ago, I took a course from Shirley Paden on Sweater Design (at Knit Nation in London).  It was a small class, with only a handful of students.  One of them was Signe Strømgaard who designs beautiful garments for children.  Check out Signe’s work at Strik til Banditter  – the designs are amazing; she is doing some of the most creative work in children’s design right now. I really love this new pattern:

© Signe Strømgaard

© Signe Strømgaard

This is called Sesse and I think it’s pretty much perfect.  Signe has this pattern, along with 10 others, available in English in an e-book which can be purchased on the Ravelry link here.

Jasna Kaludjerovic is a new-to-me designer, who really grabbed my attention this month with this number:

© Jasmin Knits

© Jasmin Knits

This is the Lilynet dress and matching hat.  I absolutely love this retro 60s/70s look.  In fact, this dress reminds me very much of a dress my mother knit in the 1960s which I reported on in this blog post.  I will definitely be keeping my eye on Jana’s designs.

As you may know, I always keep my eye out for great menswear patterns.  The latest one to capture my attention is Tilt, by Lisa Richardson.  I love Lisa’s work (though we shall not mention the Richardson-designed wrap-that-never-ends that has been on my needles for a year now).

© Rowan Yarns, 2014

© Rowan Yarns, 2014

I love that the incredibly rich colourwork is made by knitting fairisle with just two different yarns, one of them variegated; thus it looks more complicated than it actually is.  Doug really likes this one, too, so it has definitely made its way into my queue.

I absolutely should not be looking at patterns for endless long wraps with tons of intricate colourwork (see above reference to unmentionable wrap).  I cannot deny being very attracted to this one however:

© Marie Wallin, 2014

© Marie Wallin, 2014

The photo is atmospheric and only gives a hint of the fabulousness of this Mint Wrap, designed by Marie Wallin and published by Rowan in Windswept: Collection One.  Repeat after me:  I will resist; I will resist.

However, I may be unable to resist another Marie Wallin pattern, Parsley,  from the same publication:

© Marie Wallin, 2014

© Marie Wallin, 2014

Again, the photo is a bit dark and atmospheric and doesn’t capture all of the colour and beauty of this design.  I absolutely adore the contrast of the fairisle patterned bands with the plaid bands, and the unusual, almost jarring, colour choices.  Love, love, love!

I have a particular fondness for garments, but sometimes accessories catch my eye.  I love this cowl pattern, Fusuma, designed by Kirsten Johnstone:

© Kirsten Johnstone

© Kirsten Johnstone

Kirsten was inspired by Japanese sliding screens and I think she nailed it.  I love the spare, stark lines.

Akebia is sweet:

© Twist Collective

© Twist Collective

I love Kate Gilbert’s designs, and this one, from the Twist Collective, hits all of the right buttons for me.  It is charming and looks so wearable – I can really see myself  wearing this one everywhere.  And that little peek of vibrant colour at the hems gives it just enough of an edge to keep it from being too sweet, if you know what I mean.

And to end with a bit of fun, here is Big Red:

© Rowan Yarns, 2014

© Rowan Yarns, 2014

This super chunky cardigan is designed by Josh Bennett for his Rowan Designer Collection: What do you become at night?  The collection is based on a Little Red Riding Hood theme, heavy on the wolf motif.  This is knit with Rowan Cocoon held double, which rules it out for me: if I were to wear it I’d end up like the witch in Hansel and Gretel instead (roasted, that is).  I love Josh Bennett, who is equally at ease designing classics and over-the-top pieces, and clearly has a sense of fun.

That’s it for Pattern Radar!  Even the best procrastination must come to an end.

Design wrapped up in a bow

The Skirt Project Chronicles, part 1

A few weeks ago, Emma had her 21st birthday.  I thought long and hard about what to get her.  I wanted it to be special.  I wanted it to be personal.  One night, the idea came to me, fully formed: For her birthday, I would give her a design collaboration.

Let’s step back for some background.  Emma and I have been thinking about knitting and design for a long time.  We spend hours pouring over patterns, discussing fashion trends, techniques, styling, yarn, texture, colour.  Emma would frequently say “Mom, you should write a knitting blog.”  I would procrastinate.  In the meantime, I began to modify patterns more and more, concentrating on fit, learning new techniques.  Emma took a course in fashion drawing at Central St Martins and we thought about collaborating on a design project.  I would procrastinate some more; life was busy, I had too little time to knit.

In late 2011, we started this blog.  I did the knitting, and most of the writing, but Emma was very active behind the scenes.  She set the blog up, did all of the styling, photography, layout; furthermore she was the person I bounced ideas off.  Sometimes, we would have a design idea and Emma would sketch it, we would discuss it and tear it apart on every level – looking at every aspect of the design and implementation.  Despite my best intentions, however, these designs never made it to my needles.

Then, Emma flew off to Canada for university.  She could no longer do the styling and layout and photos for the blog.  I had to figure it out on my own.  I thought about stopping the blog, but I found something about it intrinsically satisfying.  I kept it up, I learned how to do things, Doug and Leah stepped up to help out.  Emma was busy at university, and I started business school (in addition to a full-time job) but this didn’t stop the long discussions of design and knitting.  Sometimes, Emma and I will spend hours on Skype, sitting thousands of miles apart, each of us online, sending links back and forth, discussing projects, patterns, yarn.

I have not had much time for knitting lately, but hoped that when my business school Stage 1 exams were done that I would be able to knit a project for each girl.  When Emma came home in May, just before her birthday, I asked her what she wanted me to knit for her this summer.  “Skirts,” she said. “all I want are more skirts.”  I began to think about skirt designs.

All of this history must have been bubbling away in the back of my mind, because one evening when I sat and thought “What will I give Emma for her 21st birthday?” – there it was:  The Skirt Project.  I would give Emma a design collaboration.  The idea was simple:  I would design a prototype skirt – a template.  It would be simple, short and snug.  We would then use the template as a blank canvas and design a set of skirts, each of them having the same shape and structure, using the same yarns, but going wild on colour and design.

Emma, needless to say, was all over it.  When I approached her with the idea, I was thinking we would create four skirts.  I suggested a few ideas for patterns, she took them and flew with them, adding more and more, bouncing them to me.  I bounced back.  Things got out of control.  A few nights ago, during our late-night Skype marathon, Emma told me that she has now conceptualized three distinct themes, with 4 skirts in each theme.  She sent me a sketch of one of them.  It blew my mind.  Seriously, this is going to be amazing.

Emma and I will chronicle the Skirt Project here on this blog.  You can watch it unfold, from knitting the template and getting the fit right, through the design project itself, with all of the sketches, knitting, discussions, tears (hopefully not many), smiles, photos, ideas, ups and downs.  We will do some collaborative writing as well as designing.  (Who knows, I might get Emma doing some collaborative knitting as well.  Emma, by the way, could be a fabulous knitter, her stitches are so neat and beautiful it is unbelievable and her instincts are perfect.  She suffers from startitis, however, and rarely finishes any of her projects.  That’s why this collaboration is so cool; it plays to both our strengths.)

I will continue, of course, with my normal (if slightly more infrequent) posting.  The posts in this design collaboration will be labelled and tagged The Skirt Project Chronicles.  I hope that you enjoy them.