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The Vintage Pearl

I am soooo in love with the utterly gorgeous hand made jewelry at The Vintage Pearl. Please take the time to drool look!

Over the weekend, in fits and starts, I started the design for my new cardigan, String of Pearls. Since this is my first crack at designing a sweater, I’m taking it one step at a time with the expert guidance of Shirley Paden and her wonderful book “Knitwear Design Workshop”. This excellent book covers each step of the design process in detail, explaining heretofore esoteric ideas like calculating ease, determining yarn requirements and achieving smooth, even neck and sleeve openings. 

Knitwear Design Workshop

Preliminary SketchPer instructions, I began with a sketch of the ideal, a simple classic cardigan in stockinette stitch trimmed with Marjorie Dussaud‘s lovely “Winter Berries” stitch pattern. This is a very basic double-tapered silhouette worked from the bottom up. I thought that if I started with a basic sweater, I could use the measurements, ease, stitch and row counts as a baseline for future sweaters. I’m hoping that an easy stitch pattern will allow me to focus on mechanics. (We’ll see.)

Since Marjorie’s trim is worked vertically over 8 stitches, I’ll need to knit a length of trim equal to the length of the bottom edge, pick-up stitches along the edge, then work the main body of the sweater upward from there. Trim SwatchBecause I want a smooth lower edge,  (mostly because I HATE seaming) I’ll be knitting this cardigan all in one piece on a 32″ circular. Since my sweater has a fair amount of waistline shaping, I’ll place markers where the side seams would be so that I can position my shaping stitches appropriately. I’m going to knit the sleeves in the round using Magic Loop, once again placing markers where the sleeve seam ought to be in order to get correct placement on my shaping stitches.

Schematic and SwatchSurprise! I am actually enjoying the ‘knitting math’. Only a few simple calculations are required to translate measurements to stitch and row counts. These numbers are plotted on the simple schematic drawing from whence all good things come.

Needless to say, I’ve spent a good deal of time swatching which, another surprise, I’ve quite enjoyed. This yarn, Cascade UltraPima, has a very silky, shimmery hand that shows every stitch. Therefore, the stitches used for shaping must be carefully tested. I’ve also taken several shots at what might be the buttonband. I’m still working out how I will manage the trim at the neck band, but I’ve got a few ideas.


Other WIPs are not being neglected. I’ve gotta have TV knitting, right? I’m almost half way through the foot on the second Malabrigo sock. I’ve opted to go back to five needles because I’ve missed my Cubics.

Malabrigo Two

Lovely day! Soon we shall be knitting out-of-doors! (KOOD).