How I came to design the Eleven Hundred Dollars Sweater in Hitch

Hello! And welcome to the Bonfire Night Stop on the Hitch Blog Tour! I live in London although I’m originally from Ireland. I’m not quite sure why the British celebrate Guy Fawkes nearly blowing up the House of Lords, but he’s the reason we English speakers use the word “guy” meaning a bloke, man or fella. In any event, tonight promises lots of bangs and explosions and sparklers and melting marshmallows with my over-excited kids.

These wee ones are the reason why I knit at all. I taught myself to knit when I first found out I was pregnant – I had previously been known to churn out the occasional bad oil painting, but oils and their associated chemicals are bad news for curious babies. Not to mention the clean-ups. So it was time to find a new hobby. Knitting is perfect because you can put it down and pick it up at a moment’s notice, there’s no mess and best of all, you can wear it to keep warm when you’re done. I made a LOT of hats that first year.

Then I joined a local group of knitters, The Harrow Knitters, and they were so supportive and sociable that I found myself trying out fabulous new yarns, newer techniques and more ambitious patterns. Around about when my eldest turned 3, it got to the point where I knew exactly what I wanted to make, but I couldn’t find the pattern for it… so I just wrote it myself. By March, I had read enough about swatching and blocking that I thought I was maybe ready to design a washcloth or something, and I tentatively started looking at the calls for submission on the Ravelry Designer’s Forum.

Which where I saw Stephannie Tallent’s post.

I was very excited by the call. I swear to high heaven, the design for “Eleven Hundred Dollars” popped straight into my head almost fully formed. Nothing like that’s happened since, so I can only take it as an explosion of pent-up creativity; and possibly a sign that knitwear design was something I should consider seriously. Was I crazy? For a first design? Well, let’s just call me naïve…

When I look at the proposal I drew up now, I cringe. This thing was 7 pages long. It had charts. It had schematics. It had a long-winded inspiration essay. I’m not sure why Stephannie picked it out, but I’m very glad she did!

Original sketch and schematic from the proposal:

pillow

Imagine my delight when Stephannie got in touch to say I was in! I danced around the dining room table and muffled the screams with a pillow so as not to wake the kids. I called my Mum and tried to explain all about it (much to her bemusement) and then I sat down with a thump as I realised now I really would have to design it!

I ran full-tilt into the world of designing and set about creating a jumper I am proud of. Eleven Hundred Dollars has a lot of details:

  1. Welted hem in 2 colours
  2. Deep mosaic chevron waistband with princess seams
  3. Cross-over top with slip-stitch edging in a contrasting colour
  4. Short-row shoulders and 3-needle cast off
  5. A simple lace pattern on the sleeves
  6. Highly shaped ¾-length sleeves, with shoulder puffs
  7. Applied I-cord cuffs with a contrasting trim
  8. Buttoned keyhole at cuffs

This is NOT a beginner’s knit. This is a treat for you or a loved one. I would LOVE to hear how you get on with it, so please get in touch!

Competition Time

Ah good, you’ve made it this far. If you’d like to be in with a chance to win a PDF copy of the book, please comment below with your favourite integer and why you like it!

E.g. I like the number 120 because it’s divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 20 and hence can be used for all sorts of knitting patterns!

Le Grand Tour

Watch out for the Fyberspates Blog Stop on the 9th! I used their scrumptious Scrumptious to make Eleven Hundred Dollars.

10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami
11/22013: A B-ewe-tiful Design

“Hitch” available for preorder next week!

Way back in March last year, I tentatively answered (for the first time) a call for submisssions. The project was a book to be “curated” by Stephannie Tallent, and the theme was “Patterns inspired by the films of Alfred Hitchcock”.

This was my initial sketch

Image

I wanted to create something sublimely feminine; echoing the graceful look of Grace Kelly as Lisa in Rear Window. This is a top that would really look sexy on a woman with curves. I used a whole bunch of tricks to enhance the hourglass look: a crossover top, ease difference between upper and lower body, deep waistband, geometric chevrons at the waist and some deep waist shaping. The sleeves are 3/4 length, coming to just below the elbow, with lots of curves to echo the body. Instead of chiffon, I made the sleeves loose, worked up with a mesh stitch so when the light’s right, you can see through them. I am VERY pleased with the result. It’s by no means an easy knit, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Image

This photo by Nick Murway.

 

Preordering will begin on September 5.

Zebra Chevrons in Slip-Stitch (or Mosaic) Colourwork

The Zebra Chevron Slip-Stitch Colourwork pattern is one of my favourite stitch patterns, and it’s surprisingly easy to work. I think you’ll agree it makes for a striking pattern, and all it is is stripes of knit sts with a few slip stitches thrown in.

Zebra Chevron Swatch
Zebra Chevron Swatch

To work this st, you work in stripes of colours, knitting 1 to 3 sts in the colour you are using this stripe, and slipping sts that you want to leave in the contrasting colour. Always slip purlwise, so no twist is introduced into the st.

Rnds 1 & 2: With colour A, [k2, sl1] 8 times.
Rnds 3 & 4: With colour B, [sl1, k2] 3 times, sl1, k3, [sl1, k2] 3 times, sl1, k1.
Rnds 5 & 6: With A, k1, sl1, [k2, sl1] 3 times, k1, sl1, [k2, sl1] 3 times, k2.
Rnds 7 & 8: With B, repeat Rows 1 & 2.
Rnds 9 & 10: With A, repeat Rows 3 & 4.
Rnds 11 & 12: With B, repeat Rows 5 & 6.

To knit it flat, work the odd rows as written, and then for the even rows, just slip (wyif) the slip sts and purl the knit sts of the previous row.

Here’s the chart:

Zebra Chevron Chart

zebrakey

The fabric produced when working a mosaic or slip-stitch pattern is much denser than plain stocking st. This is because you’re effectively working every row twice; once with each colour. The fabric is firmer, with less stretch, but it’s warmer too.

I have used this stitch pattern in an up-coming garment at the waistband. The geometric lines plus a little extra shaping draw the eye in at the waist, so if you’ve got curves, this is a great way to show ’em off. Sneaky peek:

Zebra Chevron Slip Stitch Colourwork

Hitch

I’m very excited that one of my designs (my very first, actually) is going to be published in a book. Stephannie Tallent is curating “Hitch”, and seeing as she’s linked back here in her 2013 Knitting and Design Plans post, I figure it’s safe to say as much!

The latest news is that it should be in print prior to Summer 2013 TNNA (June 20-24), with the PDF coming out sooner.

The design is a lovely top using gorgeous Fyberspates Scrumptious. And I’m pushing the envelope on what I’m allowed to say now, so I’ll hush up.

I’m so stoked!

But I’ll be in print sooner than that! I’ll tell you more in May. ;)