The title of this post sounds a bit lascivious, but the sweater pattern I have been knitting is called Livvy, and the yarn is called Lush Worsted. For those of you who have googled me, this is a knitting post and Lush Livvy is a sweater. This sweater:
I finished this a week ago, but it’s taken me a while to get some photos taken. Livvy is designed by Tori Gurbisz, a fairly new designer; you can find her website here. I really found this design appealing, but I have made quite a few modifications to make it suit me and my body type. Here is one of the pattern photos:
This photo shows up the design features that I really like. The collar can be worn up or down, and the cable pattern is reversible. The cables are slim and elegant, and are made by twisting stitches, thus no need for a cable needle. The cables run down the middle of the raglan increases and then join under the arm with three additional sets of cables, which then cascade down the sides of the pullover. I find this striking and elegant. It’s a very strong, simple statement. Another interesting feature is that the raglan increases are uneven, with the sleeves increasing more rapidly then the body, and this gives a really nice line along the shoulder. I think these details add up to a fantastic and intelligent design.
Here is another photo of the pattern:
While I love the pattern from the waist up, I had some issues with the pattern from the waist down. I think that Livvy, as written, looks great on the model. On me, not so much. First, I am a good 20 years older, and second, quite a bit curvier than the model. I was also looking for a more elegant pullover for office wear. I could instantly see the potential in this pattern for modifications that would suit me better.
I made mine alot curvier. The pattern calls for three gentle sets of waist decreases, followed by three gentle sets of hip increases. I made six sets of decreases, and seven sets of increases. This makes for a much more fitted and curvy silhouette. I also made each set of decreases and each set of increases on the same rows as the twisted cable crosses. This gives a lovely symmetry to the shaping, and meshes with the cables in an intrinsically pleasing way, as if the decreases and increases are merely extensions of the cascading cable panel. You can see this in the below photo (taken in the bright sunshine, so the colour is a bit washed out).
Note that the above photo also shows a slight colour gradation in the yarn. I used 5 skeins of The Uncommon Thread Lush Worsted, in the colour Pontus. This colour is gorgeous and the dye job is really great. One of the skeins was slightly lighter than the other four and had a bit more variegation; I used this one for the bottom portion of the pullover. Though it’s noticeable, I don’t think it distracts from the beauty of the finished piece. The richness of hand-dyed yarn compensates for the slight variegation.
I also made my Livvy shorter. I find this kind of strange, because I am forever adding inches to sweater patterns; at my age, I don’t want my belly hanging out between my trousers and my top. I think the length in the sweater pattern makes a bit more of a casual statement than I was looking for. I wanted a piece I could wear to the office with tailored trousers or a skirt and heels. I knit mine almost 3 inches shorter than called for. (This may also be why I was able to knit this with only five skeins of Lush, which has less yardage than called for.)
The biggest issue for me, however, was the ribbing on the cuffs and waistband of the pullover. To me, the most interesting feature of the sweater is the panels of twisted stitches running down the sides. It is elegant and architectural. I found that the 2×2 ribbing of the cuffs and waistband seriously detracted from this design element; it broke the line and made an otherwise gorgeous feature a little less striking. I was clear right from the start that I would use some other sort of edging, but I wasn’t quite sure which. Doug suggested I try an I-cord edging. This seemed like a good idea, so I originally knit the sleeves with an I-cord bind-off. This is the only photo I have of the I-cord before I frogged it:
See how it’s starting to roll a bit? Although it is a normally very elegant finish, I found it to still be just a bit too clunky for the look I wanted. In the end, I decided to do a hemmed finish for both the sleeves and waistband. I knit in pattern to the desired length, then purled a row (the turn row), knit 5 rows and cast off. I then turned the hem and sewed in place:
I really think that the hemmed edge gives a nice, simple finish to the garment and allows the beauty of the design to shine through.
I made a few other slight modifications to the pattern. I didn’t use short row shaping on the back neck. I will admit to you honestly that I left this out solely out of laziness. I also made fewer decreases on the sleeves. I can also admit to you honestly that this is due to a mistake. I made what I thought were 6 sets of decreases on the first sleeve, and then discovered that in two of the “sets” I only decreased on one side and not both. Thus I decreased from 60 stitches to 50 instead of 48. Did this make my perfectionist inner knitter leap to the fore and mercilessly rip out the sleeve? No, I merely repeated the mistakes on the other side to make the sleeves symmetrical. Sometimes, fudging is a perfectly acceptable response.
I should also point out that I haven’t yet sewn any buttons on. The collar is designed so that it can be worn down, as I do here, or can be buttoned up to make a turtleneck. I will eventually put on buttons, when I find just the right ones, but I do think that the collar is a bit tight to actually function as a turtleneck. It may be that I will need to block it out a bit wider before I can wear it up.
To sum up, Livvy is a great pattern by a new and talented designer; I have made some modifications to suit me and my body type, which I think enhance a lovely design. The pattern itself is well-written and tech-edited. The yarn, Lush Worsted, is lovely – incredibly soft with a beautiful rich tone. It’s also a really quick knit – this took me three weeks from start to finish. The only negative thing about this Lush Livvy, is that spring seems to have just now sprung, and I doubt I will get a chance to wear it before fall. (But I refuse to complain about spring!)