Twist Collective Blog
Today's entry is brought to you by Ann-Marie Jackson, the designer of the delicately detailed Eira pullover. She shares her inspiration and design process that brought about this lovely garment. You can find this post (and more!) on Ann-Marie's website. This is also one of the garments that a certain fashion-obsessed bloglady has been playing with over on our Polyvore page.
It took a few months to get over the wonderful shock of having my first design for Twist Collective published. At Twist's invitation, I've put together a bit of information on Eira's design inspiration and features.
I woke up one morning, a week before the Twist Winter 2011 submission deadline, thinking I had to just try, even though it felt awfully ambitious. My thoughts kept returning to a sweater I'd had years ago, purchased in a second-hand clothing store in Vancouver. It was a plain knitted pullover with slightly puffed sleeves that I wore to tatters because it was so simple and comfortable and flattering.
So as I set out to design something similar, I worried that it might be a bit too boring, visually and technically. I thought about how to give the sweater some figurative festive sparkle by considering what makes winter so magical to me: the patterns of light and water - sparkly bits of ice and rain, the polka-dots of falling snow, and blurred twinkling lights. This is how the eyelet details at the neckline and cuffs came about, as well as the little glass buttons on the left shoulder.
I confess that Eira was designed for my body shape; I used slight puffed sleeve to exaggerate my small shoulders, and a longer length to skim over my wide hips. The final design however, looks beautiful on all sorts of body types. The body and sleeves are knit in the round because I feel seams are unnecessary for such a light and smooth garment, but the sleeves do have to be set in because of their gathered tops. The whole thing reaches towards a style that I've always liked, a slightly vintage and feminine look that isn't too fussy.
I imagine Eira knit in a soft and somewhat luxurious yarn, perhaps merino wool with a bit of cashmere or silk. I love the Elann Peruvian Baby Cashmere I used for the sample shown here. When I knit a second Eira, I'll be tempted to try Classic Elite Vail, one of Handmaiden's amazing fingering-weight yarns, or maybe the new Knit Picks Capretta.
The pattern itself is very straightforward, with the exception of the acrobatic neckline details. To create the starburst arrangement for this detail requires simultaneously creating pleats, making eyelets, and doing short row shaping along the neckline. Definitely best done in one sitting, if possible, but great fun for those who like their knitting to come together in one big final flourish. And, I'll be the first to admit, knitting an adult-size sweater in fingering weight yarn isn't for the faint of heart - it's a lot of knitting! But for all your hard work, if you choose to make Eira, you'll get a pretty sweater that looks great when worn unlayered, with just a skirt or some dressy pants. I hope you like it!