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Friday, February 20, 2009

Varese Hoodie - New PhysicsKnits pattern

I'm really excited to release my second independently published design, the Varese Hoodie. Varese (pronounced [vaˈreze] - with three syllables) is the birth town of my husband. It's a cute city about a half an hour north of Milan and the closest "urban" center near Tradate, where my husband's family lives. I've also been told it's a fairly chic and expensive place. I've only been there once, and that was not under the best of circumstances - rainy and cold - but if the stores in the town piazza are any indication, I can believe it.

The yarn for this pattern is the gorgeous, handdyed Woolie Silk from Fleece Artist, a worsted weight 65% wool/ 35% silk blend; and was generously donated by One Planet Yarn and Fiber, an online shop with a focus on indie yarn and designers. For my hoodie, I chose the color chocolate, a color family I find myself going back to again and again. The subtle changes in color are lovely and at times surprising; I think I detect notes of pink amidst the brown, a nice color combo in and of itself.

This is a simple, feminine hoodie with kangaroo pockets. A simple zigzag lace edges the pockets, hood, and low empire waist. The body is hemmed to give it a clean finish; and gentle princess line shaping flatters all body types. The model is my friend, Jess, and photographs are by her husband, Vitaly Fomin.

Finished Size: 31½ (34¾ 38, 41¼, 44½, 47½, 50¾)”/80 (88½, 96½, 105, 113, 120½, 129)cm bust circumference. Sample measures 34¾”/88½cm. Suggested ease: 0”/0 cm to 3”/7½cm positive ease.
Yarn: Fleece Artist Woolie Silk (65% wool, 35% silk) 100 grams/251 yards (230 meters) – 4 (4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6) skeins
Needles: Body – Size 6 circular needles. Lace Bands – Size 5 circular needles. Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.
Notions: Tapestry needle; stitch holders; stitch markers.
Gauge: 20 sts and 28 rows = 4”/10cm in St st using larger needles, 20 sts and 29 rows = 4”/10cm in lace st using smaller needles.

You can purchase the pattern here via the Ravelry:


Or to purchase the pattern through e-junkie, click on the button below. After payment, an email will be sent to you with a link to the pdf.
Buy Now

And a kit (with the pattern included) for all sizes is available at One Planet Yarn and Fiber in many gorgeous Woolie Silk colorways (for those of you who don't share my chocolate obsession).

Note: You don't need to be a Ravelry member to purchase downloads via the Ravelry shopping cart. Please email me at changcon_14850@yahoo-dot-com with any questions.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spring Interweave - Soap Bubble Wrap

The Spring Interweave preview is up and I have two designs in it.

My Soap Bubble Wrap is currently available at Knitting Daily as a free download until May 14.

For this design, I wanted to play around with the dolman sleeve shape. I also thought it would be fun to have a splash of lace asymmetrically placed at the hip and shoulder. The dolman sleeve made it possible to continue the lace uninterrupted from the front shoulder to the back. I didn't know much about the mechanics of dolman sweaters so I turned to Melissa and Angela, both of whom have designed brilliant dolman sweaters, for advice. Because the dolman sleeve doesn't start precisely at the top of the shoulder, it's sometimes difficult to determine where the sleeve hem will end. To prevent it from dragging too far down along the length of the arm as well as to minimize the heaviness of the sweater, I decided to make it a 3/4 sleeve rather than a full length sleeve. Here's my proposal sketch:

I love the choice of linen for this sweater. I've only recently discovered linen. My first project in it was the Versailles Shell, my first dip into the uncertain waters of independent design. And I completely fell in love with it. I like that it's machine washable and dryable. I like its rustic simplicity and how surprisingly comfortable and light it feels next to the skin.

Eunny was nice enough to let me choose between the sportweight linen and the worsted weight linen. I was so torn over what to use that I subjected poor Melissa (who incidentally, has a gorgeous tunic in the same issue) and many of her coworkers to my multiple multiple swatches:

In the end, since the consensus was split (for the record, Melissa voted for the worsted weight), I went with the sportweight linen. I had worked with it and loved the resulting fabric for the Versailles Shell and given a choice, I almost always choose the lighter gauge. After knitting almost the entire back in the sportweight linen, I realized that a oversized wrap sweater knit in sportweight yarn might not be the most feasible idea and I started over in the worsted.

I used a knitted at the same time garter stitch band to reference the rustic simplicity of the yarn and thought it was a nice contrast to the fussier daintiness of an open lace stitch at the shoulder and hip.

For me, this project was a departure (dolman vs. set in sleeve, oversized vs. fitted) and I really enjoyed it. Eunny asked me to make this garment in a slightly larger sample size, so it's a bit big for me, but I managed to take a quick snap of it before I sent it off to Interweave:

I kind of feel like I want to take up kung fu again when I wear this. Perhaps some day, I'll reknit this in the sportweight gauge. I think it would make a really lightweight and comfortable garment.

I hope people will enjoy making it and wearing it.

I'll talk about the Silk Cocoon Cardigan in a future post.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Nifty Nymph Tee

The new Knitscene is out and I have a design in it. The folks at Knitscene named it the Nymph Tee...maybe to evoke a free-spirited, bohemian vibe? In my files for it, I rather unimaginatively named it dolman. Thank goodness the good people at Knitscene/Interweave have a better imagination than me!

I don't think it's a secret that I love set in sleeves, but I thought I should try to branch out a little bit. This is my first dolman sleeved sweater and I liked the shape more than I thought I would. There's a bit of bunchiness under the arm because of the extra fabric, but it also offers a lot of design possibilities. Stitch patterns can be continued uninterrupted from the neckline to the shoulder to the sleeve. They can be very dramatic (see Melissa's Tatami or Angela's Wyvern Wrap). It's a shape I'll definitely revisit again.

The other challenge with this design is that it's intended for beginning knitters. Designing attractive sweaters that are accessible to beginners is definitely difficult. Katie Himmelberg has designed some lovely garments suitable for beginners, but which are nonetheless flattering and stylish. I have obviously have a lot to learn, but I can't wait to take another crack at it in the future.

This is also the first square neck sweater I've made and I completely miscalculated where to begin the neck shaping. Here is a first attempt:

I'm used to V-necks where the neck shaping typically starts at the same point where armhole shaping begins. But for a square neck and for a dolman sleeve, the situation is a little different. You can see that I began the neck shaping too early and the weight of the sleeves is dragging the neck opening too wide. Not good. So, I ripped back and started the shaping a little further up:

Ahhh...much better. Last note... I love the color of the yarn. It's not a color I would normally be drawn to, but I think I'll have to make a sweater in this color for myself at some point.