Thursday, March 16, 2017

Love at first sight

Do you believe in love at first sight? This question seemed to be of utmost importance to me and my friends when we were in high school. I remember one answer by a clever and prematurely wise guy who said: “I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I do believe in a new sight. When you look at someone for maybe a hundredth time and all of a sudden notice something that you’d never noticed before. And you fall in love with it.”
This, my friends, is the best definition of inspiration. At least from my point of view. I can go through my daily routine when all of a sudden my eye catches something unusual that I might have seen a hundred times but never noticed before and this new sight stirs something inside of me.  
For example, I had walked on the same road many times before I noticed these trees.

One day I looked at them and all I could see were cables, asymmetrical, lusty, sculptural cables… Immediately I had an idea of making something like this from tweed – white with grey and brown speckles. At home I went through my stash looking for the appropriate yarn and found 12 balls of Rowan Cashcotton DK that I bought many years ago in Edinburgh. My older daughter was studying at Edinburgh University then not so sure what to do with her life and where to go after finishing school. Obviously, it took her less time to make this important decision than me to choose a project for this yarn. It is not tweed, but still its color and structure give off a sort of organic, earthy vibe of growth and warmth. So it happened again – I looked at a very familiar object and saw it differently.
At the time I was making a sweater from an old Phildar magazine and kept looking at the magazine spread. Next to my chosen pattern was another sweater. At first I didn’t give it any attention – it seemed unusually ugly and overdesigned.
But after a while I looked at it again and imagined it in one color. Boom! It reminded me of the trees that I saw while walking. Or, maybe, the trees made me see this sweater differently. Anyway, I decided to try and make it.

I made some changes to the original pattern but not too many (besides the major change – making it in one color). All of them I described on my Ravelry page.J))). And since the yarn is smooth and silky, it is not too bulky. I made it longer and a little bit A-shaped, tunic-like.
My biggest worry was the sleeves. I was afraid that with all the cabling my arms would look huge and too muscular for my frame. So I picked stitches for the smallest size and changed the cable pattern a bit to preserve cables along the seam and raglan decreases.
I like the finished sweater very much. Even though it wasn’t a love at first sight, I definitely became very fond of this pattern.

 We didn’t have time to change clothes while photographing it so you have to believe me. It looks great with a skirt as well (with or without a belt). Kim Hargreaves would have approved:)))
While making this sweater I was watching Patriot (free streaming with Amazon Prime) and the main character was wearing a similar cabled sweater (made of dark green wool) in several episodes. Since I really enjoyed the show (and its soundtrack!), I decided to call this sweater Patriot.
As I said earlier, inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. Here are some other examples of things that inspired me to start my next project:

I had 5 balls of Rowan Pure Wool 4ply in yellow that I used for Juno and my Blue Improvisation sweater. I’ve been thinking about a whole sweater in this color but, obviously, I didn’t have enough yarn for it. To solve this problem I decided to add another color: mostly white, but I also interspersed it with dark and light blue (because – why not, if you go color, you might go all the way, right?). I really, truly didn’t want any flowers, snowflakes, deer, or other traditional fair isle patterns and was looking for something geometrical instead. I found the right design in this book (I gave it to myself as a Christmas present, because I am worth it!!!).
It is easy to remember, blends colors well, and works for the asymmetrical part of my garment. Since – again, no surprise here – I picked an asymmetrical pattern from a Phildar magazine. This time the pattern is made in one color and I decided to reinvent it with added color work.

I am making it flat which slows the process down significantly. Fair isle is much easier when done in the round with only knit stitches. Yet, when knitting it flat (like in the old times, when I had no idea about doing it in the round) it gives you much more freedom with the shape and form of a garment. For me shape is essential and more important than the easiness and speed of the process. But I’d better explain it all later when I finish this crazy difficult asymmetrical thing.


  1. Oh yes, I believe in love at first sight. Your sweater looks fantastic and I can imagine that you fell in love the moment you saw it :-) It suits you very well!

    1. Thank you, Anneli! I do like how it turned out. Totally worth the effort.