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Hilary Smith CallisToday's post comes to us from Hilary Smith Callis, designer of Caeles, a fitted summertime sweater with a beautiful scoop neck and detailed collar. She shares how this design went from idea to final product! You can also find this post (and much more) on her blog.




The idea for Caeles started, as many of my knits do, when I saw something pretty at Anthropologie. The item in question, I believe, was a slouchy jersey tank top with a knitted collar. I say "I believe" because I don't have a photo of it and, as many of my knits go, once the design seed is planted by the pretty thing at Anthropologie, it starts to take on a life of its own. Because after thinking it might be fun to try and knit a collar onto a tank top, I started thinking about how a similar collar would look on a knitted something, what shape that something would have, how it would fit, and suddenly I had a new summer top.

Here's my original sketch (this is kind of embarrassing -- my sketches and handwriting are awful):




Unlike the Anthro tank top, I wanted my top to be fitted through the waist and flare at the hips, which I thought would be nicely executed with body darts. Because my sketches are so much better in yarn, I didn't think about adding little sleeves until the prototype was finished.


Prototype Collar


I thought the collar had a little bit of a retro-modern, Judy Jetson-ish vibe and that the top could use one more dose of that quality. (By the way, that's where the name 'caeles' came from. It's Latin for 'heavenly' or 'celestial' and comes from the word for 'sky' -- I picked it to reflect the original space-y feel of those sleeves and collar.)




The prototype (modeled above with completely the wrong undergarment -- my apologies) was knit in Tess' Designer Yarns Linguini (the same yarn I used for Aurelia), which had been staring at me from my stash basket for quite some time. I like the drapiness of the silk in this top, but I really like how the Valley Yarns Goshen gives it more structure, especially the collar and sleeves.


Final Version


The finished version is a couple of inches larger than the prototype and you can see how it looks with a little bit of ease on me, above.  I didn't change anything in the final version, aside from making the sleeve caps just a smidgen longer.

Cales, in Twist

Ah, a much better fit. I love how the Twist styling team paired Caeles with this pretty printed skirt. I've been wearing my prototype with jeans and a blazer or white pants (last summer), but really want this outfit now.  (Maybe another trip to Anthropologie is in the cards?  Can I count it as a business expense if I end up getting another design idea?)
If you're thinking about casting on, WEBS is having a Caeles Knitalong over on their blog! You can read more about it here and pick up a copy of the pattern here. And even better, you can get Goshen on sale for $2.97 a skein (!!) right now here.