amandine takes the cake

Posted on Posted in projects

thank you everyone who participated in the naming game for our new shade of cabécou brillant sport!

amandine took the prize for overall favorite, with crème brûlée and croquembouche tying for second place.

i guess we love our sweets around here, huh? and the winner of a trio of patterns is cynthia E; congratulations cynthia!

while i have knit quite a lot with our cabécou lace yarn, i have not knit a sizable project with the sport weight, which substitutes well for any of our DK weight yarns. because, while it has a slightly smaller diameter, once it blooms its gauge is similar to stone soup DK or better breakfast DK. it can be knit on needles of the size i would use for those yarns—as it is in the volta shawl or that luce stellare scarf i showed you the other day.

and as i was finishing up my birches cardigan, i got to thinking—i sure would love a copy of this sweater in that light and airy cabécou yarn. i can just imagine how soft and minky that shawl collar would feel around my neck and shoulders on a cold day. so as soon as our box of the sel gris shade was counted in and weighed up, i asked lillian to put aside a batch for me. i plan to cast on soon; i know barb is also anxious to knit one for herself in the amandine shade so we’ll have a little test knitting KAL while the pattern is prepared for publication.

meanwhile, i’ve got other projects brewing (always something new!). i had me a little swatching jam session to reset my brain after the ensemble rollout, in search of themes for summer and fall designs. this is the pile of unwashed swatches i ended up with, mostly revolving around two cable patterns.

absolutely loving this one in a variety of our fingering weight yarns. one of the things we strive to do with our yarn lines is to make them interchangeable in gauge so that several of the fingering weights can work in a single pattern; ditto for the sport, DK, and worsted weight choices. this allows our customer more latitude for expression and for using favorites in a variety of garments. it also makes our designs more versatile.

i’m not sure yet what kind of garment or series of pieces i’ll be designing with this cable, but over the next few months i’ll figure it out.

now i’ve been hankering to work with this cable ever since i spotted it in norah gaughan’s knitted cable sourcebook. such depth! such scale! so lush! i actually started out this whole effort in search of the perfect cable to knit a special fingering weight batch of our precious yarn blend (unfortunately, too small to even offer in our shop), but i could not resist trying it out in several fibers.

from left to right: the precious, then better breakfast fingering in the muesli shade (middle), and stone soup fingering in slate (right). i was hoping they would all knit to the same gauge but that precious blooms SO much, it’s more like a sport yarn. i just adore the cable in all three yarns, but i’m going to have to design with the two regular fingering yarns and then knit my precious version after the pattern is written, probably from a different size to compensate for the weight.

but wow, do i love them all—that stone soup version is killer, light, airy, and crisply defined, despite its tweediness.

and man oh man, do i love the drape and sheen of the better breakfast version too. it actually knits to the same gauge as the stone soup fingering, though the fabric is very different; silkier and more relaxed, very stretchy.

you know i love my stone soup fingering sweaters and i talk about it all the time. that said, i have to confess that lately, i’ve been wearing a better breakfast sample sweater (which i can’t show you right now, but trust me it’s just the bees knees) almost constantly. as in, even david is looking at it slightly askance when it appears my shoulders day after day. i can’t help it; i’m in love.

so i decided to start this mega cable design project with the better breakfast fingering and secured a SQ from the shop in the poppyseed shade (the swatch above was knit on a much larger needle; i was experimenting with pushing the gauge as far as i dared).

of course, i decided all of this sometime after midnight on the night before we left to visit my mom, haha. but i just HAD to wind my yarn, print out my working pattern, and pack my needles because i needed to have this sweater as soon as possible. i even started on the cuff that very night while watching TV before bed.

i got almost to the underarm on the first sleeve while david drove for his half of the trip; it knit up so fast.

i cast on right away for the second sleeve while at my mom’s and knit that one too during the trip. it was really nivce to arrive home with sleeves complete.

i cast on for the body the other night; i am knitting it all in one piece to the underarm because the big cables sit squarely on the side seams—in fact, they take the place of the side seams, providing some structure and support to an otherwise very soft frame.

working the body in the round makes for some longer rows, but once the ribbing is done, it begins to fly along faster with the body mostly in stockinette. i am just loving this—the large cables relax out a lot after soaking and washing so they take on the fluidity of the rest of the garment.

and who doesn’t love a good charcoal gray?

while i work away on the more or less mindless portion of the sweater, i’m swatching on the side to configure the neckline detail—i’m aiming for a v-neck that is framed in the mega cable, but still working out how it will grow from the body of the sweater.

there are some challenges. obviously, one of them is gauge—the cable squeezes a lot at the crossing row but not so much in between. this is one of my working swatches, where i was testing out and increase pattern and also which direction the cables should cross. i would like this just fine except that there is a lack of dimension right at the center front as it takes so many rows for the pattern to grow to a “crossable” size. the mega cable has such a long row repeat that there will be just a few twists alongside the neck—i think it will end up looking funny if there is no action at the center front. back to the drawing board; i know there is a solution.

it always amazes me how much thought and work go into designs that look carelessly simple.

but if this idiot squirrel can come back and try day after day to work on cracking the case of the ‘squirrel buster’ bird feeder, i can figure out a cabled neckline.

2 thoughts on “amandine takes the cake

  1. Just before you wrote it, I was thinking “this designing really takes a lot of work!” Beautiful swatches. I love that cable!

Comments are closed.