I began thinking about this design several months ago and it started with the stitch pattern, an open ’star’ lace pattern. In fact when I was working on the design I always called it ‘Starry Night ‘ when I referred to it! This is one of the original swatches I put together with this lace pattern using Malabrigo Lace in ‘Glazed Carrot’.
You can already see in this swatch how I was working on a decreasing/increasing the width of the lace pattern. In the final design I used this idea at the sleeve cuffs, along the sides of the hips and also around the neckline. I love the effect of lace worked across an otherwise simple fabric that moves across the material.
With the hood I wanted to create an allover lace material that expanded to fit the head without having to increase the stitches, by increasing the needle size and creating a more open lace at the top of the hood it fits without interrupting the flow of the lace.
As you can see when I was originally envisioning this piece I was thinking about using a laceweight yarn at a loose gauge. Although this would have produced a lovely fabric it does take an age to work and Kate from the Twist Collective got me thinking about using different weight yarns. I loved working with the yarn we finally choose, Southwick from Valley yarns. It is a dk weight yarn that is a mixture of both cotton and bamboo, so it creates a super drapey fabric. Although you do need to make sure to block your swatch to make sure that you take account of any stretch you will get after it is blocked.
This is a sketch of the final design idea, you can see that the end product looks pretty similar (I’m always amazed when that happens!!) please forgive the poorly drawn face, I just can’t resist drawing faces on my sketches – must be the child in me…
As with most of my designs, this sweater is made seamlessly. The body is knit in the round from the bottom up (with the shoulders joined using a 3-needle bind off). The sleeves are picked up from the armhole and worked down using short rows to create a set-in sleeve. In Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top she suggests not picking up the wraps when you work sleeves like this as the wraps create a neat ’seam’ at the top of the sleeve. I’ve been too much of a chicken to try this before but I gave it a shot and it really works beautifully. It has the added benefit that you don’t have to mess around with picking up any wraps!
There is gentle waist shaping created using dart lines on the front and the back and all edging is kept nice and simple with garter stitch. It was a pleasure as always to work with the Twist Collective (Carol also designed the child's Necco Wafer Hoodie in the Spring 2009 issue).