19 May 2010

Belacqua Cardigan

"I want to wear that!" is precisely what designers want to hear people saying about their work. This particular design came from thinking of what I hope women would like to wear, while adding a few design elements to make it more interesting to knit than one might think on first glance.

Pattern: Belacqua Cardigan (buy now)
Yarn: Universal Yarn Classic Worsted Holiday
Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars in sizes US5 & US7

I love Seamless Sweater Construction, & this cardigan definitely uses it! Knit from the bottom-up, the finished sweater is reverse-stockinette, acheived by knitting the sleeves in the round "inside-out", so the primary stitch used is still the knit stitch. The cable detail on the sleeves is worked across a band of purl stitches. When the finished sleeve & sweater are turned "right-side out", you see a lovely reverse-stockinette body with the knit-stitch cable detail centered on each arm.

The body, meanwhile, is knit flat, with simple decrease/increase shaping along the button band to create a gentle, asymmetric slope in the placket. The public side of the placket includes a baby-cable detail, for added interest, and to echo the cable detail in the sleeves.

When sleeves & body are joined, the knitting continues in the back-&-forth fashion (rather than in the round) with raglan-style decreases to create shoulder shaping. Once you've decreased to the flattering boat-neckline, you'll continue knitting to complete the asymmetric shawl collar, which mirrors the modern slope of the button band, while nodding to the long history of shawl-collared sweaters.

A note on the name: while I was working on the sample for this one, I had an (admittedly) hard time thinking of a name that matched the chic lines of the sweater & elegant sparkle of the yarn (which is eye-catching, but not "too much"). Then, one night I sat knitting while re-viewing The Golden Compass movie, and it came to me. It's a very pretty movie, & appeals to my quiet Steampunk leanings (& can we talk for a minute about how yummy Daniel Craig is in tweed & scruff?). The book, however is flat-out amazing! I remember very clearly reading it on MAX one night in Portland, Oregon on my way to Tuesday night knit night at Twisted. I was reading the bit--I believe I'm remembering this correctly--the bit about the battle as Lyra is leaving Bolvangar leading the Children's Emancipation Front away from Bolvangar, and I simultaneously almost had a panic attack (because it was just that good!) & considered--brace yourselves--I considered skipping knit night! YES! IT WAS THAT! FREAKING! GOOD!!!

Alas, I did not skip knit night that night, but I assure you I did read well into the night when I got home. But I digress... as I sat, knitting & watching The Golden Compass, it occurred to me that this was precisely the sort of thing that Ms. Coulter would want Lyra to wear (were she a few years older) to, perhaps, a casual dinner at the home of a well-to-do friend (because you know Ms. Coulter has more than a few of those!), or maybe as a wrap on a cool autumn evening.

As always, you can buy the pattern PDF in my Ravelry store, or you can buy it right here via PayPal, using the "buy it now" button below.

Belacqua Cardigan pattern PDF $7.00

01 May 2010

A Moment for Self-Appreciation

Last night, a friend of mine introduced me as a "fiber artist" and I immediately rolled my eyes, stammered, and said something to the effect of "well, I mean...I knit". It's not the first time I've pooh-poohed my own creativity, skills, goals, or self, but it was probably the first time that I immediately realised that I need to quit with the downplaying.

Jill's Raspberry Beret (Ravelry link)

Sometimes, when I need to figure out the next right thing for me to do, or if I need to assess a situation I'm in, I'll think of what I'd tell one of my friends if they were in that situation. The first thing I'd tell my friend would definitely be, "stop that! Ain't no-one gonna think you're awesome if you don't!"

I knitted Wolfgang's mini-'Cobblestone' sweater (R). His friend Jacob (L)
served as a fit model while I was working on it.

The funny thing is, though, that I do see the awesomeness in my knitting. Separate from the fact that it's just freaking amazing that a person can take some yarn & manipulate it into a Raspberry Beret, a sweater, mittens or whatever, well, that's kind of awesome in itself.

The (in-)'famous' Wild Thing hoodie

Aside from that, though, there are definitely a few pieces I've made give me little choice but to appreciate my own skill & creativity. Not in a narcissistic way, I think, more in a healthy, "hey! I'm really good at this!" kind of way. Don't we all need a little of that from time to time?  ;o)

The Viking Balaclava I made for Corey, way back when
I had time to knit for other people

So I'm posting pictures of some things I've made, most of them are 'old news', but all things I made. Almost all of them were made either with no pattern, or with a heavily-modified pattern.