I am once again flattered and humbled to be in the company of so many wonderful designers for the latest issue of Twist Collective. Please, take a few minutes to go, look, be inspired, get lost in the stunning collection of creativity and skill there. I am not sure how the team manages to get such massive collections out (31 patterns in this issue!) three times a year, but I’m sure glad they do.
My design, Greenaway, began with some reminiscing about a certain style of dress my grandmother often made me when I was a child. They had fully smocked bodices, slightly ballooned sleeves, and cuffs made elastic by more smocking. If you grew up in the 70s, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Of course, a fully-smocked bodice isn’t really wearable for me at work, which is where I wear most of my sweaters. So I played around with the idea a little bit, trying to come up with a sweater that would be at home in my work wardrobe while keeping some of the girly, dressy feel from my childhood dresses. Something that I could wear with a beautiful skirt.
Originally, I’d started sketching and swatching without beads in the slip-stitch pattern, but as I was thinking about jewelry, I wondered what beads would look like in the stitches that worked the slipped stitch back into the main body of the knitting. I still had some left over from knitting Lucette, so I grabbed them and worked them in.
I loved the sparkle they gave to the design, and I loved the drapey, silky feel of the Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk that I used for the swatch. I knew that in a pure merino, the beaded section would feel less flat and drapey and more puffy/quilty. So when Kate accepted the design for Winter, we searched out a similar yarn that I could work in a slightly larger gauge.
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Peru was the perfect choice and I highly recommend it. I didn’t find it to be an aran weight, and preferred the fabric I got at 5.5sts = 1”. It was smooth, soft, and wonderful to work with, and of course the color (“In the Navy”) is just a dream.
The design changed somewhat from my original sketch, which is often the case and a really good thing. My original idea for buttoning the tighter cuffs wound up looking too bulky, and we wanted a smaller balloon than I’d originally drawn–something more like the cuff of a button-down shirt. Once those ideas were out of the way, all there was left to do was knit! The knitting itself went quickly, especially since the sample size of the sweater was quite small. So small, in fact, that it wouldn’t come close to fitting me, so while we were out to lunch I asked Thea if she’d mind trying on the sweater and me snapping a few pictures. I’m including them here so that you can see the hem–it’s a plain faced treatment.
I chose beads that were a little more subtle for the finished sweater; the light has to catch them just right for the full effect, which I think is great for a garment one could wear every day.
The sweater itself includes lots of design elements that you’ll recognize if you’ve been here for awhile: vertical darts for waist shaping, a trim and tailored fit, a construction that allows for lots of modification based on personal preference. I love square-necked tops and had wanted to use a square neckline in a design for some time, and it seemed to fit very well with the diagonal slipped stitches. The cuffs and neckline are trimmed with a small band of applied i-cord to keep things tidy and provide stability to the neck.
Plain backs drive me a little nuts, so I knew I wanted to include the beading detail around the back neck as well. I wound up using another square neck, which I think is both attractive and a bit unexpected.
The design is offered in 10 sizes from 29.75”/75.5cm to 53.75/136.5cm in the bust; I recommend that for most figures you choose a size that gives you about an inch of positive ease in the bust. If you’re large-busted, choose a size that gives you an inch or two of positive ease over your torso measurement (to take, snug a tape measure up tight in your armpits and measure around your torso there, above the fullest part of your bust) and add short rows or additional vertical darts (or both, if you’re very large-busted) for the fullest part of the bust. The sweater body is stockinette there, which allows for easy customization.
I hope you enjoy the sweater, and all of the other fantastic sweaters in this issue! You can find the pattern page with purchase information here.