Thursday, November 4, 2010

Detail Oriented: #64 Saone

There are so many wonderful patterns in this issue of Verena Knitting it's easy to miss some of the more subtle details of the designs. To highlight some of these potentially overlooked details I plan to write about them in this space, knitting up examples of interesting stitch patterns and treatments.

First up is #64 Saone, by Tina Hees from our "On The Street" collection of fall cardigans and jackets. It's a very versatile, wearable design in a lovely angora/silk yarn. The lines are clean and straightforward, with crisp narrow ribs adding interest. But what's easy to miss unless you really stop and examine the picture is the cabled button band, which frames the buttons and adds a feminine touch of curve to this crisp design. I knit up a swatch with button bands on either end to feature this lovely detail.

Another nice touch is the way the ribs along the bottom edge continue up into the body of the sweater, and then rejoin the ribbed edging of the collar. 

(The buttoned up photo looks like a sleeve, because I sewed the buttons on my swatch and buttoned it to show off the band in action. There are no buttons on the sleeves.)
 I couldn't get my hands on Julia, the recommended yarn for the project, but I did happen to have a skein of Valley Yarns' Deerfield in Sweet Pea, which has the same 80% angora/20% silk blend. This is a wonderful soft yarn that I really enjoyed knitting up. It has a subtle halo from the angora and a sheen from the silk. Stitch definition is excellent, I think it would make a good alternative for those in the US who don't have access to the recommended yarn.

While the pattern calls for 3mm needles, to achieve 6.25 stitches per inch, the ball band of Deerfield calls for 5-5.5 stitches on 4mm (#6 US) needles. I chose 3.25 mm needles and achieved a gauge of 8.1-7.8 stitches per inch. (As I grew more comfortable with the stitch patterns my gauge relaxed. This illustrates nicely the wisdom of knitting a large swatch. I would continue swatching and adjusting before settling on a needle to tackle the sweater with.

When it came time to bind off I decided to experiment with binding off in pattern part of the way to see what it would look like. The in-pattern bind off resulted in picot like bumps, and the flat bind off was neat and flat and more in keeping with the clean lines of the design.