Twist Collective Blog
New Hampshire Sheep and Wool: May 9th
Design Process: Primrose Path
by Angela Hahn
When designing a knitwear pattern, I often start with a stitch I really like, but in the case of Primrose Path, I first had the idea of creating a sleeveless tank, worked in the round, with a lace band winding diagonally around the body from the hem up. With this in mind, I searched through stitch dictionaries until I found a few different lace patterns I thought might work -- patterns in which the lace repeat had some sort of diagonal element.
I ended up using a stitch pattern from a Japanese book, #138 from Knitting Patterns 300. The angle of the diagonal seemed right-- it wasn't too steep nor too flat (I was trying to get the lace band to start somewhere on the front, curve around one side, across the upper back, and end on the top of the shoulder). I also realized that this pattern flowed perfectly into a k2, p3 rib, and I thought that using this rib for the body of the tank would be a great way to give it some shaping without using decreases and increases. After making a fairly large swatch, I wondered if the band might be too suggestive of a beauty contestant sash-- not good! So I added a few scattered lace flowers to soften the edges of the band. Finally, a wide U neck seemed a good choice-- I thought the lines of a V-neck might compete with the diagonal line of the lace band.
I have to be honest: the idea of adding optional sleeves came from Kate! Once we decided to do sleeves, it was time to fine-tune the placement of the lace band for all sizes, and to decide how to echo the lace band on the sleeves. Spiraling it up the sleeves didn't work because the sleeves are too narrow-- the band would have crossed the entire sleeve width well before reaching the top of the sleeve. Instead I decided to make the lace band on the sleeves into an upside down "V" which could be adapted for all sizes fairly easily.
Calculating the band placement on the body for all sizes was trickier; I didn't want the band to fall across the armhole edge, but continue unbroken to the shoulder. I realized that to do this, the band would need to start closer to the side seam in the larger sizes; unfortunately this means that as the sizes get larger, less of the lace accent is visible on the front of the sweater, but I think in all sizes, the lace really accents the back of the sweater nicely. I also decided that some knitters might prefer the clean look of the lace band without extra lace flowers, so I wrote that option into the pattern.
Finally, in keeping with the inherent asymmetry of the stitch pattern in this sweater, for the sample I decided to work the left sleeve with the optional scattered lace flowers, and the right sleeve without (with lace band only). I'm very happy with the overall effect, and with the fact that there are several options included in this pattern: with or without sleeves, with or without extra lace flowers on the body, and with or without extra lace flowers on one or both sleeves.
(The low camera angle in photos is due to the short stature of the 5-year-old photographer, not an artistic decision!)
Want to know more about Angela's design? Read her blog post about Primrose Path here.
More from Critter Comforts
Eloise Narrigan's Critter Comfort illustrations for Twist Collective's winter issue inspired a small frenzy when she opened an Etsy shop before Christmas, and she quickly sold out of the limited print run.
A little time has gone by, and Eloise recently restocked her shop with fresh prints of her snuggly sweet bunnies, blue jays, and friends, and has added some other things we love too.
She ships quickly and carefully, and ever one of them is sure to brighten your kitchen or studio space. Tell her we sent you.
What's a Poffertje?
As you might know by now, so baffled by the strange name of Megan Roger's blanket pattern that you went scrambling for the google button, Poffertjes are traditional Dutch cakes, a bit similar in texture to American pancakes. Cooked in a special cast-iron pan with several small shallow indentations in the bottom, poffertjes are usually served as an afternoon snack, not as a breakfast food, and often served with icing sugar. Megan likes hers with strawberries and whipped cream too.
If you so inclined to try them (I know I am) here's a recipe adapted for us non-American cooks from one I found on RecipeZaar (that's the link to the original metric version).
1 cup flour
3 tbsp butter
1 and 1/2 cups milk
2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp salt
A Poffertjes pan is helpful but not necessary: a large cast iron skillet will work too.
Heat the milk until lukewarm.
Mix the salt with the flour and make a well in the middle.
Mix the yeast with a little lukewarm milk and pour this into the well, together with 2/3 of the rest of the milk.
Stir to a thick, smooth batter. Add the rest of the lukewarm milk (keep stirring!).
Cover the batter with a dampened cloth and leave in a warm place for 1 hour.
Grease the pan with butter. If you have a special poffertjes pan, fill each of the ‘wells’ of the pan with some of the batter.
With a regular skillet, drop 2" diameter dollops. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning before completely set on the first side. Adjust heat accordingly.
Serve the poffertjes hot with butter and confectioner' sugar, whipped cream and strawberries, or maple sugar.
Crave Color for Spring? Poffertjes!
If you like to play with color, I think Poffertjes from the spring issue of Twist Collective is a terrific frolic. When designer Megan Rogers sent in the blanket for spring, we were immediately excited about how knitters could use color when they made their own version.
Her original proposal came with two versions. First, the one we used to choose yarn for her with ivory or white circles and lots of different greens for the diamonds,
and the other with taffy colored circles and white diamonds, which is my personal favorite.
This one could be a bit tricky to reproduce, but Megan writes that she was looking at Manos del Uruguay color cards when she did the proposal. We asked Megan to use Mission Falls Superwash for practical reasons in this baby blanket, and also because the Mission Falls comes in such an interesting palette, but there's no reason why a knitter couldn't use a untreated wool for a grown up version.
The trick is in making the color choices. Megan writes: "To help with schemes for the pattern, I looked at a lot of patchwork quilts, especially the quilts at the Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum, in Lancaster, PA. I tried to chose colors for the schemes that were either analagous, in the same color family, or colors that were all very different but the same value."
Whether you try white diamonds and colored wafers, or you put the color into the circles, have fun with it. The pattern is light-hearted and portable to knit, as spring knitting should be.