how’s about a sweater parade?

Posted on Posted in designing, projects

mmmm, yummy fourth of july, one of my favorite sweater yarns—handpainted by my friend chris of briar rose fibers, in this delicious charred wood colorway (the blue is less prominant IRL), which i see she has well stocked in her online shop right now.

and just when i’m putting the finishing touches on the rené sweater pattern and samples, the weather here has turned obligingly chilly, even autumnal, if you will.

yes, we have sweaters galore coming off the needles this week—i am all set for rhinebeck now, baby. this brown one was knit by my friend barb a while back, but will be coming out for a photo shoot later this week as we prepare for the rené pattern debut coming up soon.

my dress form is bigger than i am; it has a 36-inch bust and mine is 33. here you can see how the medium (39-inch) size would fit with about three inches of ease. in this worsted weight yarn, the fabric has a respectable density but skims the body nicely and isn’t tight anywhere.

normally, i’d make a small size between 34 and 36 inches, but my samples are knit up in the 39-inch size because i wanted a more casual, looser fit (this size gives me 5-6 inches of ease). i adjusted the shoulders and armholes down for my smaller frame.

and here’s the cardigan in the same size, which i finished up last night. this one is knit in woolen rabbit grace in the fantastic scottish heather colorway.

again, the form is bigger than i am, so that neck is sitting a bit high and the shoulders are slightly too narrow

this will be SUCH a go-to sweater for me, i just know it—the density will make it cozy warm and the crisp texture is sure to be pleasing for years to come.

here is a totally craptastic picture of me (inside my closet, no less!) in the cardigan (david wasn’t up yet to snap photos). you can (sorta) see that the fit is better on me through the armholes, neck and shoulders, as well as looser in the body (but you could go either way with the body fit, depending on your taste).

a more streamlined fit makes it look dressier, so it could double as a jacket for work.

love these vintage horn buttons, which i found at as cute as a button in san diego, when kim, beckie, and i went button hunting together. they pick up the brown from the yarn and give the sweater a cozy, homey, grandpa look; just what i wanted.

after all, this sweater is sized for both men and women—it’s also got two neck choices as well as the cardigan/pullover option. that’s a lotta sweater.

detail of the button band, which was a bit time-consuming, since it’s all in one piece—it’s a good idea to test the gauge on your swatch before starting to get it just right.

speaking of buttons, i purposely chose a larger button to go with this heavier fabric; i don’t get to use them often, since i usually knit with lighter-weight yarns. you could go with something slightly smaller if you wanted; it wouldn’t hurt anything to do so. my usual eyelet buttonhole wasn’t quite big enough to handle this button, so i went to my second favorite, the one row buttonhole (that link will take you to my favorite instructions for this method).

see how neat and invisible this one is?? nice.
these take a little more planning, but are very sturdy and can be made to fit larger buttons without stretching over time.

we’ll be doing a photo shoot tomorrow with helena and kris—they are going to look adorable in these sweaters. in fact we are also going to be shooting the fallberry hat, scarf, and mitts sets, which means i better get a move on and finish up the last parts of my mitts.

i got a lot done on them over the weekend but i still have a few rows to finish them off and they do need thumbs, haha. i actually have the original pair on hand as well, but they are from a different dye lot of the roast carrots colorway, so if i can get these done, i’ll be very happy (and who doesn’t love another FO off the needles?).

meanwhile, the purple set in colorway from dusk til dawn arrived from agnes over the weekend. it was like getting a great big present in the mail, since i’ll be keeping these and sending her the roast carrot ones (our own private knit swap; i love it!).

susan at slackford studio now has plenty of these pathway sport colorways on hand—as well as a treasure trove of others. i highly recommend this cushy 8-ply merino yarn; it’s lovely to work with and to wear. two skeins will make any two pieces and three skeins is recommended for the whole set.

pattern should be ready sometime next week. on friday, i’m traveling to canada for a teaching trip; i’m not sure yet how next week will unfold exactly, but it’s on my agenda to release this pattern as well as the leaving sweaters for our shop. i’ll be at the knitters fair this saturday in the shall we knit? booth—please stop by to say hello.

the funny thing about sweater projects is that i work and work on them and it seems like not much happens for a long time. there are pieces to knit, patterns to write, and a production process that involves our whole team passing the pattern around and around for testing and proofing.

then suddenly—POOF!—it’s done, with buttons and everything, as if it happened overnight. the rene sweater is a good example. we’ve been working on it since late march, showing you what must look like the same progress photos over and over. but it’s just now becoming a real thing. huh.

and yet, there’s already another one in the pipeline, which is about halfway to final fruition.

before i left, i had the back of the blümchen cardigan nearly finished—so close in fact that i didn’t take it along on my trip, but opted instead to cast on a sleeve piece for travel knitting.

which i did work on over the weekend here and there (whenever it wasn’t convenient to work on the fallberry mitts). i’m doing long sleeves for my sample but the pattern will include an option for short sleeves. hopefully, one of the test knitters will choose to go with them and we’ll get some photos.

and last night i finished up that back piece, then joined it to the fronts, which i’d blocked last week. this morning i pinned and steam blocked it

so that while i was snapping photos of the rené sweaters, i could pin it on the form for a preliminary look-see

whaddaya think??
i know i’m happy—of course, this is not a final fitting, but i would say that things are progressing very nicely as planned.

because blümchen is also a v-neck cardigan, this try-on provides an interesting opportunity to talk about how the fabric density affects the fit. rené is a heavier sweater, knit of denser fabric and thus, needs a bit of extra room for the fabric itself. in addition, the extra ease i added is supported by the stiffer fabric and does not appear droopy.

blümchen, on the other hand is knit from a thinner, silkier fabric which A) does not support itself as well and B) is able to stretch more readily. therefore, i chose to knit the 36-inch size to best fit me as a sample; i do want some ease to accommodate wearing a top underneath, but i don’t want too much extra fabric that would end up drooping.

you can see though, that even with zero inches of ease on my 36-inch dress form, the sweater has a nice fit—still body skimming, not tight. with a cami underneath, you could wear this to the office and to dinner later on. the armholes and shoulders are a bit too narrow for this form as is, but will stretch to fit with the sleeves attached.

when i eventually can put it on, it will fit me well through the shoulders and provide enough room in the body to wear over a shirt or top. if i want, i could knit a second one in the next size down for a close fit sample (and i just might do that!).

i’ll never tire of photographing the shaping lines, haha.

where sprössling was sized for fingering and sock yarns that have more density and tension, this sweater is specifically sized for the type of yarn used here—silkier wool blends with a good measure of non-elastic fiber mixed in, such as silk, tencel, alpaca, or bamboo or a relaxed all-wool yarn. this fabric will stretch more easily; if you love the fit of your 38-inch sprossling, you’ll probably like the fit of the 36-inch blümchen, providing you use a yarn similar to those recommended.

speaking of little flowers, i received another treat in the mail while i was away—the kit for the frillibet shawl i recently designed for the woolgirl victorian authors club. i was honored to be asked to design for the virginia woolf segment—she is one of my all time literary heroes and was a seasoned knitter as well.

we went with a garden theme to celebrate both the fact that virginia was a gardener and that this would be one of the summer shipments. the bright pink yarn was not so virgina-like, but definitely fit the personality of her character, mrs. dalloway. i chose stitch patterns that mimic the tiny petals and large leaves of mophead hydrangeas—the frillibet cultivar produces a flower with extra-frilly petals that ranges from bright pink to blue in color.

haha, not to mention that name; once i read that i couldn’t walk away—it was too, too perfect for my needs.

this was a big secret project earlier this summer; i think i completed it just before i left for knit nation and it shipped to member is august. i’m especially happy with this shawl; it has a zesty movement within its stitch patterns that makes me smile.

though my own garden is something of a disappointment this year, we are managing to get a few meals here and there from it. when we got home the other night, i made a pasta dish with eggplant, peppers, and roasted tomatoes. we’re not getting enough tomatoes to freeze, so i’m using them up for dinners as we accumulate them.

the greens are starting to resurge, but are still plagued somewhat by bugs. maybe with this chilly, wet weather we will see that problem go by the wayside.

for now, we are eating around the holes, haha. beckie is eating with us tonight so i’ll bake a quiche with this handful of spinach chard and a few scallions, along with some mushrooms that need to be used up.

i’m really looking forward to spinning class tonight too; it’s been ages since i spun anything. and as for you; i’m not sure when i’ll be back to post—probably over the weekend on one of my days off. in the meantime, look for a pattern release this friday . . . see you in ontario!

28 thoughts on “how’s about a sweater parade?

  1. Gorgeous sweaters! I’ve been anxiously awaiting Rene, and she didn’t disappoint. Blumchen is exquisite too. Hmmmm…which to knit first?! And those yarns/colorways are TDF. Fallberry set is also stunning, as are those amazing SS sport colorways! Yum! (And thanks for your helpful commentary about sizing and yarn choices!)

  2. The sweaters are wonderful! I have a stash of Fourth of July just waiting for Rene. And Blumchen will be another one on my to-do list. You take such great care in your designs; thank you for explaining all the details that help us pick a perfect yarn and get a perfect fit!!

  3. Oh my goodness, what yumminess!! I adore both sweaters. I love the fact that I can knit a Rene pullover with a v-neck, thank you! Can’t wait to break into my WR Grace for this one. And both sweaters have a straight hem (as in not a ribbed one that pulls in), that’s very nice. The purple falberry is fantastic and the pink Frillibet shawl – gosh it’s great. (Love VW also).

    Thanks for all the detailed descriptions of yarn weight vs. fit. It’s so interesting and you teach us so much, Anne!

  4. all the pieces are wonderful anne. but ooooh how i love that frillibet shawl. what’s the time lag before it’s available to the public? you are right it has such lively movement!

  5. Beautiful designs thank you. So much thought to all the detail which gives us such great pieces. It is appreciated. All very exciting.

  6. I’m always so impressed by how smooth and finished your projects look. They are just beautiful. I love the yarn colors – that heathery look is perfect for these sweaters. Thank you again for the variety in sizes. Since I’m more fluffy than not – it’s nice to find patterns that take that into consideration.

  7. It’s so interesting to see the initial fitting of the blumchen cardigan. Your Rene cardigan looks so stylish. Do tell us what Helena’s been up to at spinning class!

  8. What gorgeous sweaters! so lovely to see all that progress. My blümchen yarn is tempting me so much – so excited to see how fantastic the pattern/sample looks so far, what kind of fastenings are you considering? Great buttons on the rené fab choice.

  9. Anne! Anne, these sweaters have me drooling. I want to make both the Rene and the Blumchen. I had rapid heartbeat just seeing the sweaters on the dress form!!!! Oh my!

    I’m so happy for the upcoming pattern releases. And Miss Agnes did a great job on the Fallberry project!

    Hope you have good weather for the photo shoot. We’ve got rain. But since we have electricity, I’m not complaining. Enjoy Canada.

  10. I received my Mrs. Dalloway kit and I love it. The pink is gorgeous and it looks like a fun knit.

  11. Oh Anne….gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Each one of these exquisite patterns is calling to me, especially Blumchen. Just what I need with the second Fall in Full Colours project on its way. I may be heard repeating myself (gorgeous patterns!) when I see you at the Knitters’ Fair on Saturday. Safe, happy trails.

  12. I never tire of looking at the shaping lines, so go ahead – post more pix. The “dawn to dusk” colorway is gorgeous, too; I could gaze at it for some time.

    Why is your dress form bigger than you are?

  13. What a great post Anne! I love the one you took in the bathroom mirror! The sweater looks great on you. Man! I can’t wait to make these. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the v-necks. You know what a weenie I am when it comes to cables. . . .does the Renee just have the two big cables in the front and back, and then down the arms? I see some Rhinebeck shopping inspiration in this post!

  14. I can’t wait for the patterns!

    Hopefully, they’ll be in larger sizes (hint, hint) or begging if you like. ;^D

  15. Oh, Anne, I have so thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful designs, and discussion on fit. I have been waiting for Rene to make a sweater for my son. Come on Friday! You do inspire me. I have been working in my garden the last few days doing maintenance, and wishing I were knitting. Then I see all that you accomplish, and it motivates me….I will get all these projects time. While I need to start on Rene asap (grumbling son tired of “everyone” else getting knitted gifts), I think I will wait for Rhinebeck to pick yarn for Blumchen (which of course will be for me). The falberry trio will make a wonderful holiday gift. Thank you so much for your beautiful designs, and always enjoyable posts. Have a great weekend in Canada!

  16. Just when you are about to publish these beauties, I found out, I am pregnant :))) so I have to stop the garment-knitting for myself…

  17. A stunning display of beautiful knitwear (as usual).
    I absolutely love the rené sweaters, and it looks like there will be a lot of yummy details to squeall about in the pattern too 😉

  18. Wow! Anne, I just love reading your blog! I feel your passion in the entire process of designing, knitting, fitting and finishing. It is very educational and extremely motivating and I am so glad that you share it with us.

    Both sweaters are stunningly beautiful and V-neck cardigans….yippee! With going to Rhinebeck, I thought I should go with a couple of projects in mine when looking at yarn. OK, on my list so far…Rene, blumchen, Fallberry set….

    What lucky club members of the woolgirl victorian authors club. I love the Frillibet shawl kit, it just makes me smile.

    Have safe travels to Canada and I am sure you really enjoyed spinning night with your girlfriends. I get to look forward to Friday….pattern release day!

  19. What a beautiful post filled with so much goodness!! I am so happy to see how lovely Rene came out in Grace and I LOVE Blumchen!!

  20. Ohh what a feast of sweaters and gorgeous knits! As soon as my current cardgian is off the needles, I’ll be casting on Rene (soon as it comes out). I even have a bag of yarn dyed up in a soft golden orange that would look fabulous for fall.

    And blümchen is getting an alpaca silk blend once I that comes out. Or maybe 50/50 silk merino… or one of each! Color to be decided on later.

  21. I am always amazed at how prolific you are- the design process revealed is so interesting, and underscores your passion and professionalism. Knit spot is a class act, from top to bottom. Thank you so much, Anne.

  22. Here’s how long it has been since you posted anything about spinning: my first thought was “Oh, won’t that be a nice complement to all her cycling! Spin class seems like a lot of hard work!”

  23. Thank you so much for the link to the one row buttonhole. Your sweaters are real works of art. Great lines, good tailoring. I fell in love with the bright pink shawl. It’s stunning, my favorite color. I love the Fallberry set that Agnes did in the purple/lavender colorway, and how changing the color gives the pattern another dimension. I’m excited about the pattern release for this set. I wish I could knit faster!

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