Pattern Post: Twinings

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m just so thrilled to be included in this fall’s issue of Twist Collective. My sweater, Twinings (rav link), is a pullover with detailing designed to evoke the look of a wrap sweater.

(Photo credits to Jamie Dixon (beach shots) and Caro Sheridan (studio shots); used with permission.) You can find all the tech specs either on the Twist Collective page linked above or on the design page here.

Twinings started out with a comment someone made about how wrap sweaters looked so flattering, but tended to feel really bulky over the stomach. My initial ideas involved trying to use a row of snaps to allow for just an inch or two of overlap, but I quickly realized such a sweater would simply be an asymmetrical cardigan. The nice thing about a true wrap sweater vs. a cardigan is that the fabric doesn’t pull open at many tension points down the front of the sweater.

So I started thinking about how I could spread the tension evenly, and sketching, and would up with the idea of a single cable panel traveling across the front of a sweater:

I knew I wouldn’t be able to make the cable panel move quite as severely as the sketch without some serious biasing in the fabric, but I started swatching to play around with the maximum movement rate:

And I was able to move a cable every other RS row without things getting too nasty. So when Kate told me she liked the sweater and wanted to include it the Fall issue, I calculated the different required cable positions at three points of the sweater and worked out the rate of decrease within each section.

I had lots of fun working with the other details of Twinings, too. The hem of the sweater body is trimmed with the same cables present in the panel; the sleeves are deeply cuffed with the same cables.

The back neck gave me a little bit of trouble: I started out wanting a wide, curved cable band on the back. But I quickly realized that working short rows on a back neck cable, combined with the complicated front of the sweater, would intimidate a lot of knitters. So instead, I charted out some attractive diminishing cables from the front neckline, moving into 1×1 rib. These extensions of the front cable panels are then sewn onto the back neckline. I wound up liking the effect far more than my original idea:

The merino-silk blend from Catherine Lowe Yarns was just great. I’d never worked with a yarn like this before (the individual plies are laid out parallel to one another and wound into a cake like that; CL says that they’re sprayed with sizing to keep them together but although they did stay together fine I couldn’t detect any stiffness or anything), and I don’t necessarily understand why it makes such a difference–but it does! The stitch definition is utterly fabulous and I have to say that the yarn produced the single best fabric that has ever come off my needles. It manages both a dense-looking, opaque fabric and an incredible lightness–the sample weighs far less than you’d expect. The silk adds a lovely drape and shine. And the ex-goth in me definitely appreciated the color, which was a lovely dark violet that looked black in some lights, stunning purple in others.

All in all, I’m really pleased with the way the sweater turned out, and hope you are too! If you’d like to knit Twinings, we’re having a knit-a-long for the sweater in my ravelry group and would love to have you join us.

11 thoughts on “Pattern Post: Twinings

  1. This is a GORGEOUS sweater – I’d already been admiring it on Twist, but I love knowing more about all the thoughts that went into it. Bravo!

  2. The whole sweater is clever, but the back neck is particularly impressive because you maintained the integrity of the design, kept the end user in mind, and I would not have thought of it 😉

  3. I’m really going to need to make this one for myself. I love it.

  4. Very cool sweater! Looks well thought out and executed.

  5. A beautiful sweater and a fascinating glimpse into how it came to be.

  6. Beautiful sweater, and I was thoroughly intrigued by the design process. Nice work!

  7. You are SUCH an amazing designer. I love your process. Very inspiring!

  8. It’s very beautiful. Is there a way to make the body length a little shorter without messing up the bend in the cable? It looks longer on the model than I usually wear my sweaters.

  9. This is a truly lovely sweater! I love how stylish it is without becoming too dated – this may indeed become a classic.

    About the yarn – you say it is sprayed with sizing. Does this get washed away when the knitted fabric is washed?

  10. I’m hooked on the shoulder (the rest is lovely, as always) – the sleeve cap looks like a hybrid of raglan and set-in. Brilliant, and I hope to see that method again!

  11. ooh, I LOVE this sweater but have two questions — what yarn would you suggests as a wool-free alternative and would this style work on a pear-shape with a tummy bulge?

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