you can imagine how excited i was for today to get here—finally a chance to share the big secret project we worked on all summer for the winter issue of twist collective—the leaving sweater, to knit as a pullover or cardigan.
when i say “we” i mean lots of people—my friend kim, the brilliant dyer, AKA the woolen rabbit, my friend karolyn whose knitting you marvel over here and on ravelry, my husband david, whose photography and filmmaking we enjoy so much, my friend tana, our inveterate tech editor and mistress of sizing, my friends ronni and anne marie who work so hard to dot the Ts and cross the Is (yes, i really did type that, which is why i don’t do proofreading . . .), and the editors at twist collective, who have shown great faith in my designs by publishing them frequently.
the story of this sweater goes back a ways (as my stories tend to do . . .), but is typical of my more complex designs. last november after the frost, while walking around my yard, i saw that the leaves of the hostas dying back had formed a really interesting arrangement and had taken on a beautiful coloring. i took a photo.
i loved it so much and wondered if it could become a yarn color (i didn’t know what for, just that i liked the color). let’s face it, there are very few people you can go to and say, hey can you make yarn that looks like these dead leaves??
fortunately, i do know a couple of dyers who would not think me completely off my gourd to ask, and i know at least one dyer who seems to thrive on just this kind of opportunity.
kim loves to create colors and she’s a spectacular collaborator. within a day or two of seeing my photo, she sent an email with a yarn picture. and within a week or so, actual dead hosta leaf yarn arrived at my house.
she dyed up a sock yarn to start, but then we started talking about creating a sweater in her oasis camel/silk blend, new to her shop at the time. i thought that yarn would be awesome in this new colorway, which she named birch beer. before long, a sweater-sized batch was in my hands.
it’s such a soft, comfy yarn that my first inclination was to design some sort of sweatshirt with it—casual, but elegant. but i couldn’t pull that together somehow. i wanted a big, bold, organic thing to happen with this yarn.
and i really don’t remember when it hit me, but i think it may have been the twist collective winter boards that nudged my designer focus into place, with their little pictures of victorian and edwardian skating costumes, stylized with swirls of braid. eureka—this was a way to use a large, voluptuous stitch pattern in a very structured garment shape. i loved the contrast. i started swatching and before i knew it, i had a sweater back, which i photographed for my submission materials.
at this point, i didn’t even care if it got into the magazine; i just wanted to make this sweater. i thought you would like it, even if it didn’t get in.
so i rallied karolyn and together we worked in secret on the cardigan— we wanted to be ready with a pattern either way. she knit her first one in woolen rabbit opulence, which she had on hand (it worked a treat BTW, in case you prefer a silk/wool blend).
ETA: whoa, kim ran out of oasis yarn yesterday (she says thanks, you guys!), but more supplies are on the way and she can take orders for batches to knit this sweater if you email her with a request. this is a great way to get exactly the color you want in the quantity you need. let her know it’s for a sweater and she will make sure the skeins are dyed as closely as possible.
then twist said they wanted the sweater for the winter issue—AND they wanted it as both a cardigan and a pullover, yippee!
we all got busy once again; kim generously supplied yarn for the pullover in moroccan spice, which karolyn offered to knit
and a batch of chocolate chambord for a second cardigan, one knit exactly to the pattern specs (the birch beer prototype has tiny variations; this is normal when developing a design). this is the copy i kept here at home, to wear to my winter and spring teaching gigs.
for buttons, i wanted something truly special, that looked almost like drops of dew or nectar down the front of the sweater
and my favorite button source, moving mud, more than came through with these incredible round glass buttons, sooo beautiful.
each set is very different but perfect for the sweater. sarina is another artist i am very lucky to know.
things were pulling together nicely and we were doing well on time; knitting this sweater was the most fun and relaxing thing i’d had on the needles in a long time. the only thing that slowed me down was stopping to admire the buttery hand of this lovely yarn. sooo luxurious.
as if all that wasn’t enough, kate asked if she could include this sweater in a layout about designers knitting for themselves—one that would require david and i to do the photoshoot here in my studio (which wasn’t even done yet, hee-hee!). well, of course i said yes; we were thrilled to do it.
david busted a move during august to get my study finished and during a very hot week in early september, we took photos. lots and lots of them.
some were obviously posed as usual, but some were relaxed pictures of me performing normal tasks at my desk and in my workrooms
and there was knitting, too
we just played around and got whatever we could that we thought everyone might like.
it was truly stifling, haha; i’m always surprised it doesn’t show more
so there you have it—our big secret. to purchase the pattern or see more information about the sweater details, please visit the pattern page in the twist collective shop.
ok, time for me to go teach a class . .
I just downloaded this beauty, Anne. One of those secret projects (heheheh) that was soooo worth the wait. Your creativity is boundless…as is my appreciation!
What a beautiful design! Are you aware that the maker of the yarn has already run out? I’d say your design is a hit! Can’t wait for payday:)!!!
Congratulations, but I’m not surprised!
Joan in Ellicott City, “Merlin”
Oh, Anne, another beauty. Truly a standout in an already lovely issue of Twist. And your collaboration with Kim on the yarn is wonderful… and such a pleasure to read about the creative process!
Absolutely gorgeous, Anne. Really fantastic. I don’t know which colorway I’d want to knit it up in….I just might have to have two!
It’s a gorgeous sweater – I mean, they all are!
Beautiful sweater, Anne. Absolutely stunning! I’ll have to move this one up in my queue.
Love, love, love it. Can’t decide which one is the most beautiful!!! Kind of thinking pullover!
I just love it! i saw it first thing this morning when the twist email came through, and am tickled to find the story linked from facebook tonight. I always admire and am inspired by your creativity. Thanks for another goody.
You have every right to be proud – it’s the standout piece in this issue of Twist Collective! I’m just not sure if mine will be the cardigan or the pullover. They’re both so beautiful!
This is a nice tight design, very elegant, with interest in all aspects, front and back. I believe this will be the next sweater in the lineup. Thank you for a beautiful design.
By the way my book arrived today, the Vogue Mitten and Glove book and it is on my front desk in my chiropractic office. My patients are having a ball with this one, all hoping I will knit them something. I suggested that taking up knitting would be good for them. Thanks again.
I sort of have to laugh — about 24 hours after the Twist issue went “live” someone above says that Kim is totally out of yarn LOL — i imagine that she’ll be working her fingers off through the new year for yarn for this design. Congrats to you both! I was sweater SHOPPING today and found chunky or poorly made — your design is elegant, slimming and feminine. Very very nice! And a great back story, which we always love.
Gorgeous! I can’t decide which one I like most… Definitely want to make this though, soon.
That is one gorgeous sweater! I will knit it as soon as my Sprossling is done, sometime this spring probably. I can’t wait. Not sure if I want the cardigan or pullover. Maybe both!
Anne, this is such a winner! Kudos to you and to your test knitters and, of course, to David.
It’s in my queue, but I have to admit that I can’t keep up with your designing. The fun part is looking at what others do before I can get to this 🙂
I absolutely love the whole thing, form how you got the idea, to get the yarn dye, to the sweater, it is absolutely stunning. Ahhh you are making it really difficult for me to choose what sweater I will be doing for our guild class in January, never mind that I have not even done anything else with the one that I was planning to do after the class on River colors store ahhhh
That sweater is gorgeous! I saw it yesterday on Twist collective, and loved the fact that it could be made as either a cardigan or a pullover. You are one talented designer lady!
Beautiful, Anne. I really like the cardigan version. And Kim’s yarn is breathtaking, as usual.
Congradulations Anne – another lovely design, and you’ve inspired Kim to dye a wonderful colour as well. I’ve been looking for interesting gray toned yarn. Sometimes I get tired of all the bright colours out there and just want a ‘gray with a twist’ for something subtler. ‘Birch beer’ might just do it for me!
As Connie said, I just can’t keep up with your wonderful designs. I’ve just finally got time for the Pine and Ivy mini shawl. The Leaving Sweater will have to be added to the que for later.
Beautiful! and beautifully photographed. I almost feel like I can touch them. I want one–now.
absolutely gorgeous! i love every color you have of these sweaters. i would be hard-pressed to pick a fave. i think its wonderful that you have such a talented friend who can dye to your specs of dried leaves. ha ha, just kidding, i really liked those colors, too.
It’s absolutely beautiful, and I love hearing about how it all came together.
Another beautiful design Anne and it looks amazing both as a jumper and cardigan. I can’t wait to start on this pattern!
Oh my gosh – what a beautiful design. I LOVELOVELOVE the detailing on the sleeves. You’re right – the pattern is just elegant and the fact that it looks so wonderful in all the different colorways is an added bonus. I love your first choice – the “birch beer’ color – to match the hosta leaves. Isn’t it amazing how inspiration is just all around us?
Hooray for Team Hanson and all the work they and you have put into this. I’m off now to download!!!!
Of course you were right that we would like it! The Birch Beer color is very flattering on you too. Thanks for a beautiful design.
I never even made it to read the end of the post before I hit “buy” for this pattern. OMG…such a beautiful sweater and it’s exactly the style I have been wishing for, though I didn’t know it. Love the scoop neck and the A-Line. Cannot wait to get this on the needles. So beautiful…congrats to you!
Anne, This sweater is absolutely fabulous. So feminine, with such beautiful details. When I saw it in twist, I gasped and felt inexplicably proud. This is just wonderful. Congrats to you and all the folks that worked with you on this.
I have to say that this is my favorite piece from this Twist edition. Well done, you! Can’t wait to cast on 🙂
Congratulations! Kim is truly a dyeing genius. I have yarn for 2 projects that she has dyed for me – So, SO lovely.
Your sweater is beautiful – I can see the cardigan dressed up for the office with pearls and a pencil skirt, I can see it kicking back on the weekend in jeans and booties. Great design!
Oh, Anne! You’ve done it again. Such beautiful, exquisite details. I’ve been bogged down with work and have held off on looking at the new Twist Collective. But I’m headed over right now.
Congratulations! This looks like it might be my Christmas present to myself. Beautiful, just beautiful.
I LOVE it!! I’ve got the pattern, now to find the yarn 🙂
So fabulous! I gasped out loud when I saw it!!!
You just amaze me, Anne. Truly!
Lovely sweater. 🙂
Both are gorgeous and I really love the pullover.
Perfect, perfect, perfect.
A complete & total inspiration – beauty all around!!!
Beautiful! Your designs and blog are always a treat. Thank you!
– Denise (dlotter on ravelry & twitter)
Oh, I think I’m going to knit about 102 versions of this beauty!!! Just gorgeous!!!!
I’ve been wondering lately — do you ever sleep? This example of your fine, awesome, beautiful, totally inspiring work is driving me insane. Need to knit NOW.
Thanks for inspiring. Now to the downloading….
Wow!. Love it! So…graceful. Especially love the blue color. Haven’t had a chance open the issue yet, but am now REALLY looking forward to it.
I cast on the very same day you posted this. It’ll be in handspun that’s been languishing for about 4 years now; one ply light pink merino/tussah and one ply light gray cashmere/tussah. The swatch is just delicious!
Oooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh-la-la, I. LOVE. THIS!! I rarely make sweaters anymore, but I might just have to change my mind now. LOVELY!!!!
Anne, it is stunning,stunning. I may have to stop knitting the sweater I am knitting to start this one. Thanks so much. It is truly beautiful and classy.
Beautiful sweater. (What an understatement!)
what an incredibly flattering design!