Posts Tagged ‘fair isle’
Good morning, lovelies! I have been really busy, guys, but it all seems to be falling in place. I’m so excited to say that I have another pattern to share with you today! A little change of pace for me, this is an accessory. I seem to dream in sweaters but it’s a fun challenge, doing something that requires a little less labor that still packs a punch visually.
This one is called Sphinx and you can find it in the upcoming issue of Knitscene Accessories! Sphinx is a slouchy hat with colorwork and contrasting ribbing, perfect for anyone who’s intimidated by two-color knitting or anyone new to knitting in the round.
The theme for this part of the issue was all about mythology. (Have I ever mentioned that I love themes? I LOVE them. I love the problem-solving they require and I also love how much inspiration they can provide.) So I wanted to go with an Egyptian theme with these jewel tones and clay colors. I think that the Brooklyn Tweed Loft is perfect. Not only are the colors absolutely gorgeous, the heathered hues look really antique.
I’m so excited for this issue of Knitscene. Of course, the photos are just great. I love the styling. As always, I’m part of a great group of designers!
This issue of Knitscene Accessories featuring Sphinx is available for pre-order. But you can buy and download digital copy of the issue right now! So what are you waiting for?
I am obsessed with colorwork. I learned to knit when I was in the fourth grade but I didn’t really put my skills to work until I was a freshman in high school when I began to experiment with colorwork. It was so simple for me to draw up pictures and letters and transfer them into simple objects. I was hooked. A lot of significant knits in my life included intarsia and fair isle techniques including my first scarf and I could never forget about these pieces!
I’ve always collected stitch dictionaries. I love the inspiration I find in them. So when Interweave offered to giveaway a copy of Mary Jane Mucklestone’s book 150 Scandinavian Motifs, I was so excited to share! It’s so much more than just a stitch colorwork dictionary! Just flipping through the first few pages I was finding tips that improved my techniques after knitting probably hundreds of fair isle pieces.
Mary Jane was nice enough to do a little interview about herself and the book. I love the way that she thinks of those motifs in a versatile way, just changing colors to make something completely new.
How long have you been knitting?
30 years. I learned when I was four, but really didn’t pick it up in earnest until I was out of college.
What inspires you?
The world around me! People, places, sounds, smells…every wonderful thing!
Having published a few Fair Isle books, what is it about color work that you really love?
There is always something new with color. Color depends upon the world around it. Take a green, partner it with a blue, now place it next to a brilliant red…the green will look different by virtue of it’s interaction with the colors near it. It is always an adventure.
What do you love about the Scandinavian traditions in knitwear?
Well I grew up wishing my mom or grandma knit so that I could have all the cool sweaters many of my class mates had. I love the crisp color contrast and lots of the cheerful stitch patterns. I also love how much fun it is to mix the patterns together, turn them upside down or just take little elements of a motif and sprinkle them all around.
To enter to win, just leave a comment below! Make sure your email address is included so I can contact you if you’ve won. I’ll be drawing a winner next Tuesday. (Sorry, guys, this giveaway is for US addresses only!)
Why do you like colorwork? Or don’t you? I’d love to hear about it!
There are a lot of great menswear collections popping up this month. I’m heavily inspired by menswear. I definitely have tomboy style. I love the colors and textures and simple silhouettes. Men can look so handsome in just a simple crew neck sweater, I want to borrow from that minimalism when it comes to my own design.
Anyway, I was browsing the Valentino Fall 2014 Collection (which you can view in full here) and one piece really caught my eye. Of course, there were a ton of great knits under big wool jackets, most of which were very basic: heather grey sweaters, some with stripes and buttons, and a couple with Icelandic yokes. Like I said, boys look stylish in anything. But this piece was certainly my favorite.
So this sweater has really awesome colors but look closely. It’s a reverse fair isle. As in, take your favorite colorwork sweater and turn it inside out. My first thought is that I’m crazy about this concept because I love seeing the “behind the scenes” of knitwear, the knitty gritty seams and button bands and whatnot. Something about the thought process. But I also really love how bold the color work becomes. Instead of delicate dots and careful zig zags and whatnot, there are big, bright shapes.
Immediately when I saw this sweater, my brain travelled right to this cardigan, the Reverse Fair Isle Coat by Cheryl Murray which was featured in Vogue Knitting Fall 2012. (My mind palace is filled with back issues of knitting magazines, I swear!) I loved the coat when I picked up the magazine back then and for the same reasons I love this sweater.
Now, obviously reverse fair isle isn’t something unique to this year’s fashion. I actually saw an adorable chunky cardigan at The Gap last winter that was pink and white reverse fair isle that I was a little obsessed with. But I’m really excited about this technique as a new way to look at knitting. If you do want to emulate the runway, though, deconstruction is big right now. While I can’t see myself distressing things that I made by hand, this is a really fun way to be on trend.
What do you think? Would you knit colorwork just to show the wrong side? Are you intrigued?
It’s finally here. Let this be a disclaimer that I’m ridiculously excited about how this sweater turned out. I’ve spent so much time on it that I’ve gotten something of a Stockholm Syndrome towards it. I’m in love with it and I’m so proud and I just want to wear it all of the time. So now I’m going to talk about my deep love for this sweater which is totally weird and I apologize if it’s incoherent. Just look at the pretty pictures (thanks for taking them, as always, Jon!).
In case you’re just tuning in now, I’ll tell you a little bit about this sweater. I was really drawn to this pattern when I first saw it in Debbie Bliss magazine last summer. I don’t know why but I really felt like I wanted to challenge myself with some intense, detailed, and tiny fair isle. (Knit on size 3s, I must’ve been drunk when I used the word “challenge.”) And I knew it would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I was obsessed with doing a neutral/neon fair isle. This would be the one.
When I started knitting this, I had a whole week off of work (hurrication). I spent about 8 hours a day in front of the Netflix knitting, so the first sleeve was finished in three days. I guess that’s when the cabin fever started to set in. Everything near us had power but there really wasn’t much we wanted or needed to do. The park was closed so we just had to take walks around the block until we felt uncomfortable and ran back inside to hide on the couch. It was a weird week. But I got a huge chunk of this sweater finished and if I hadn’t, I probably would have been too discouraged to press on.
I made a lot of other things since I cast on in the end of October. A few Christmas presents, a few birthday presents, two new patterns. I even finished a second sock. I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I wrote a lot here. I think pacing myself with other projects kept me coming back to this guy.
Towards the end was when things got rough. There were a lot of ends to weave in. A LOT. There was a lot of seaming to be done (because, as I’ve mentioned a million times, it’s knit flat). And then, just as I was coming to the home stretch of being able to wear this damn sweater, I remembered that I had to tackle the embroidery. And I just really wanted to wear the freaking thing.
I finished a few days before our trip to Chicago. I could not be happier with how the blocking turned out. I know I’d expressed my nervousness regarding the fit before. Everything was super tight and small and weird when I was knitting but the blocking made all of the pieces fit perfectly and the colorwork sits so neatly. BLOCKING IS MAGIC, GUYS. The sweater is designed as a 3/4 sleeve that is a bit cropped. I knit it cropped but it lengthened during blocking which I’m pleased with. I’m not a big fan of 3/4 sleeves so I made them a bit longer and, again, blocking put them right into place.
Let me take a minute to talk about this yarn. (Are you tired of me obsessing over every detail on this sweater?) I’m devastated that St Denis has been discontinued. The Boreale yarn is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever worked with. It’s soft and delicate and every colorway is gorgeous. It’s warm but it’s not itchy and it has a great drape without being limp or droopy. But this is it. Whatever yarn is left over is going to sit in my stash, probably for the rest of my life, waiting for the PERFECT project that will never come because I will never think anything is perfect enough for it. You know that feeling? Until then, I will be scouring the internet, hoarding all of the St Denis yarn I can find. (Drop me a line if you have any leads or would like to tell me about a magical company that is rebooting the brand or if you’d like to just pour one out with me.)
Long story short, I’m very much a process knitter so long, drawn-out knits are not my thing. I’m constantly on the look out for new patterns and always planning the next project. I’ve knit plenty of sweaters and I can’t pick a favorite because they all mean something different to me. But this sweater is something special. I feel like I really conquered it. I don’t think I was ever afraid of the challenge, I was excited by it. It was kind of like the scene in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman has to battle the Crazy 88 and she knows that she has to do it and she kicks everyone’s ass but it’s totally exhausting and she’s bleeding and everything at the end of it all. Finishing this sweater gave me an immense feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s kind of the War and Peace of sweaters.
I’m also finding that with every piece that I knit, I see my evolution. And I don’t necessarily mean in skill level (although I’m constantly trying to choose patterns that challenge and teach me). Every piece that I make is more and more of me – better fit and colors, pieces that fit into my personal style better. I’m figuring out what my style is as a knitter and which patterns and yarns speak to me.
And that’s what it’s all about, right?
What’s the biggest knitting challenge you’ve given yourself? Do you find yourself evolving as a knitter?
ps. There’s still plenty of time to get in on the Craftsy giveaway. Check it out!
It’s been a long road but my fair isle sweater is pretty much finished. It feels like I’ve been working on this thing my whole life (since I started it while I was on my hurrication back in October), a lot of other pieces have been finished since I cast this thing on but it’s done.
Since I haven’t been able to take photos of the FO, I wanted to talk about the finishing of the garment and some of the cool details. One of the elements that really drew me in to this pattern were the embroidered parts on the front and back. I’ve never embroidered on a piece of knitting but I do like to do both things separately. The colorwork alone was full of little details but this part made it even more unique.
The purple/grey flowers and pink hearts (which are up near the neckline) are knit by intarsia which is why the pieces are worked flat. (At least the front and back. I wish I’d worked the sleeves in the round but that’s life.) Then embroidery is added over them to make it pop. It was pretty fun. My French knots always throw me for a loop when I’m rusty but I finally got them to work.
I can’t wait to show you more of this sweater. It’s definitely going to be my favorite thing to wear from now on.
Have you embroidered knitting?