Friday, June 29, 2012


©2012 Blue Bee Studio

When I discovered the peacock lace pattern that became the starting point for Coleridge, I was instantly smitten. The wonderful combination of knits and purls in the lace, plus tiny bobbles, adds up to a gorgeous fabric with a lot of dimension. But the symmetry of the motif has a certain formality to it, and I generally prefer patterns that have more movement and flow.

At first I tried to fight it. I worked out a couple versions of a crescent-shaped shawl using the peacock feather motif as an edging. But glomming it on to a curved shape seemed to undermine the strength of the pattern. Eventually I just gave in and and let the design be the rectangular shape it always wanted to be. Once I embraced the symmetry, I saw that by taking the original motif through several iterations, simplifying it until all that remains is a chevron-shaped pattern of eyelets traveling up wide ribs, a different type of rhythm and flow came about.

Coleridge is knit in two pieces, worked from each end and joined in the center. Instructions are given for two sizes – a single-skein scarf and a wider rectangular shawl. The pattern is written for fingering-weight yarn, but would work well with lace-weight, too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Photos: ©2012 Carrie Bostick Hoge

I love top-down sweater construction. It’s the best way to ensure that the garment you are putting so much work into is really going to fit. Most top-down sweaters are made using either the raglan method or the circular yoke. Both of these are easy and intuitive construction styles: You cast on the number of stitches you want for the neck, then increase quickly until the work is large enough to fit around your shoulders, and carry on from there. The drawback to these methods is that their shaping does not flatter all body types.

Because its increases happen at just 4 points, raglan shaping creates diagonal style lines that run from underarm to neckline. If you happen to have wide shoulders (like me), these diagonals can really enhance the linebacker look.

In a circular yoke design, the increases are worked evenly across the round or row. This creates something of a conical shape that can make the shoulders appear rounded. And, unless short rows are worked to raise the back of the neck (not always possible in a patterned design), a yoked sweater tends to slip backwards on the body.

For overall looks and wearability, I prefer the styling of a classic, bottom-up, set-in sleeve design. This type of sweater looks great on most people because it emphasizes the lines of the wearer’s body, rather than creating style lines that run counter to the human form. But getting the right fit when working from the bottom up is not always easy.

In designing Meris, I’ve used classic set-in sleeve styling — but turned it on it’s head — creating a seamless cardigan with a clean, tailored look that can be customized as you knit. And by first fitting the sweater to the frame of your shoulders you can see immediately where adjustments need to be made for your own shape.

The cardigan begins with two separate shoulder pieces that are shaped with simple short rows, then joined to form the upper back. The fronts are picked up from the back’s cast-on edges and worked to the underarms. Fronts and back are then joined and worked in one piece to the hem. The sleeves are set in seamlessly from the top, their caps shaped with short rows for a great fit.

Meris is intended to have a close fit through the shoulders and bust and a bit of figure-skimming ease through the waist and hips, making for a streamlined, flattering shape. Simple, modern lace details add interest to the design, a fair bit of stretch to the fitted shape, and a lot of entertainment value for the knitter.

And then there’s the Finch.

This is the second design I’ve done using Quince & Co.’s yummy fingering weight yarn, and I’m just as enamored of it as I was the first time. Soft and smooth, Finch is a joy to knit with. It renders details crisply, and makes a lovely and even stockinette fabric.

Meris KAL

A knitalong for Meris will be starting July 9th in the Quince & Co. Ravelry group. Come join in!