This is the story of Hepworth, and how it came to be.
Hepworth's spikes are not symmetrical from top to bottom, but more thorn shaped. I designed this raglan to be knit from the top down so the spikes would curve upward, like thorns.
That meant I could try it on as I went . . . but that doesn't guarantee a good fit!
The shoulders looked great, the chest looked great, but then I knit the torso and found the weight of the fabric made the armholes stretch significantly.
Regrettably, I didn't photograph my new batwing sweater. The deadline was fast approaching, and I went into crisis-control mode. I don't remember exactly how I fixed it, but I did adjust the pattern so you will get it right the first time you knit it!
After performing surgery, I tried it on again and it was fine, so I added the zipper. It took 3 days instead of the 45 minutes the instructions promised, but then, not only do I sew slowly under normal circumstances but I was being extra careful because I was scared of bleeding on the beautiful white garment.
My swatch had taken forever to dry, so I had my heart set on steaming the finished jacket instead of washing it. I didn't carry the project around with me like I usually do, in order to keep it clean. But since the poor thing had been languishing and had had surgery and all, it really needed a bath. I spun it in the washing machine afterward, but that bulky yarn with cotton content . . .
Anyway, I tried it on again once it was dry, and found it needed even more surgery under the arms once zipped. When that was done, I was pleased with it and went to steam it with the iron. I was just thinking maybe I should get a pressing cloth when the iron spit brown stuff all over and it was back to the sink for Spike.
I only had to spot clean, but I was trying to avoid getting the cotton wet at all! Luckily, my editor was understanding and I was able to send the sweater in a little past the deadline. You would never know the trauma that sweater has been through unless you looked at the wrong side where I wove in all the ends. Certainly not by the calm, regal look on the model's face!
When I opened this box, I yelped with delight and trepidation. So much beautiful yarn . . .
. . . but it's white!
Those of you who know I drag my knitting everywhere with me will easily surmise from whence my trepidation sprang.
This project stayed at home in a valiant attempt to preserve its whiteness. I had planned to steam block the sweater (instead of my usual wash-blocking) because cotton takes so long to dry in our humid climate.
I ended up washing the finished garment after all, but that's a story for another day. . . .
I love what Hepworth's spikes do for my shoulders in this photo. They are adapted from Lynne Barr's "Fins" stitch pattern in Reversible Knitting.
Hepworth is knit from the top down with raglan sleeves. The sturdy yarn and texture seemed to call for a metal zipper, so that's what I used. The evolution of this sweater from yarn to finished project was quite interesting and will be the subject of future posts.
I'm very much looking forward to receiving the sample back because I really want to wear it! The cotton-wool blend will be just right for those in-between days we have so many of here.
The new Clotheshorse is out, and one of my designs, Hepworth, is featured in the Sculptural story. I really love this cardigan---the fit, the fun I had knitting it, the zipper, the shoulder detail. My daughter likes it too, but she wonders why it's named "Hepworth."
Like many magazines, Clotheshorse names every item in a story for that story's theme. I always enjoy seeing what they come up with for my designs because I often learn something in the process.
I knew the authors named in the Classic collection, and the Chunky titles are all about speed. But my favorite designs are in the Sculptural section, and that's where I had to do some research to discover what the editors had in mind.
Dame Barbara Hepworth was an abstract sculptor who (as it happens) died on my fourth birthday. Ovals and spheres dominated her work, so it might be surprising that a spiky sweater was named for her. The key is sometimes in her choice of materials (soft alabaster for the spikes of Two Forms) and sometimes inside the main shape of the work (as in Oval Sculpture). But the one that reminds me most of this jacket is Image II. From the Tate Gallery, "Even the substantial 'Image II' (weighing more than 400 kg) appears effortlessly lightened as a result of its undercutting, its concavities and the penetrating hole."
Click on the link to view the sculpture. It is truly beautiful.
In anticipation of the next issue of Clotheshorse magazine, I thought I'd post a tutorial from one of my designs that appeared in last winter's Clotheshorse.
This is Baroque, a double-breasted capelet with contrast color facings, done in stranded colorwork using steeks.
One way to prepare steeks involves a sewing machine. You can also sew them by hand or crochet them---or simply leave them to felt. For this design, I chose a knotted steek. The knots fill in the space between the facing and the colorwork, adding insulation.
Below is a photo of the back panel before cutting. The stripe running up the center is the steek itself---a bridge of stitches which will not appear in the garment itself. The narrow black line marks the center, and it is where I will cut.
Whew! Now for the knots. I gently unravel the stitches all the way to the solid white line. Then I choose one black strand and one white strand and knot them together. I pair a black strand with a white in hopes that I will get two strands from the same row. Perplexingly, it doesn't always work out this way and I end up with an extra white strand and have to knot three strands together, then root around for the black strand that escaped earlier.
I used an overhand knot---maybe a half-hitch?---for most of the knots. But in spite of my clever color-coding of the steek itself, some strands were too short and had to be tied in square knots. Below are action shots of the half-hitches in process . . .
. . . and the final fringe, which is to be tucked in neatly under orchid-colored facing.
The rights to sell my first Clotheshorse patterns, Hestia and San Graal, returned to me a while ago. I finally got around to proofreading the tech edited version (yes, I'm one of those) and posting it on Ravelry. So if you've been putting off buying this pattern, now would be an excellent time to take the plunge.
As I wrote before, San Graal looks amazing but is really a perfect first stranded colorwork project. Trust me. Just remember to admire your work frequently so you can catch any obvious mistakes.
Plus, the pattern includes instructions for lengthening the garment if you're a little shy. But look at the pictures below before you decide. The fuzzy-faced chick is me before I learned how to focus the camera when using the timer.
I'm well known for my generous hips and thighs, but this skirt makes me look downright slim. Maybe it's all the alligators. . . .
Heather Dixon's "Glastonbury"
This issue of Clotheshorse is so enticing, I just had to post about it. (All photos are by Peter Demuth and courtesy of/copyright Clotheshorse magazine.)
The collections are each introduced with a runway report by Creative Director Heather Dixon. In two pages, Heather conveys the essence of the story---the colors, shapes, patterns, and textures she and Editorial Director Mindy Brown were looking for as they put together each issue.
The reports are brief editorials followed by analysis of several designers' current lines along with inspiring and representative runway photos.
The first collection this season is Ice Cream, with "lighter than air fabrics." The Raspberry Ripple skirt, by Mindy Brown and Mari Chiba, is a quintessential example of this texture. Worked in cool linen with tiers of lace at the lower edge, this garment clings to the form without sticking. Linen actually wicks heat away from the body---a perfect choice for a story inspired by cool treats.
Also featured is Marika Simon's Peach Melba, a crochet confection with puffed sleeves. It's so cute, it makes me want to learn how to crochet! Other notable patterns in this collection are Lidia Tsymbal's Very Vanilla and of course my own Cherry Cheesecake.
The Tribal Sport collection is full of items that would be fun to knit as well as wear. I absolutely adore Rene Dickey's cardigan, Della (click on the photo at right for a larger view). The diagonal rib provides chevrons that fit your form as well as the theme. The buttons are also perfect.
Susanna Ferguson's Naana is a cool cotton dress that looks extremely comfortable. Mindy Brown's Ogo is a swingy purse with tassles, and Gyorgyi Suta's Sapelle, below right, is a work of art.
Skirts, a hoody vest, T-shirts, and a fringed clutch make up this issues Festival story, the next collection in this issue.
Mountain Jam is Jane Howorth's contribution---a crochet lace fringed top which looks great over a camisole. Clotheshorse provides no descriptive text to accompany the designs, putting pressure on the photographer to show crucial elements. In this case, you have to go to the magazine itself (not the pattern archive) to see a good view of the sleeves, which have shoulder slits in the tops.
I adore Elena Ferrari's Field Day skirt. I'm clearly going to have to learn to crochet.
Besides the pattern collections, Clotheshorse also runs personal interest stories, product features, yarn shop close-ups, and interviews.
The last collection in this issue was inspired by the art game Spirograph. Mindy Brown's Equation looks like it would be warm but soft next to the skin in a silk-cashmere blend. Modeled over a skin-colored camisole and black pants, the crossover stitch and attractive color pooling really make this top stand out.
My Transverse didn't fare quite as well over the same camisole---perhaps the celery green of the lovely ribbon yarn is too pale to make the pattern pop, but I was able to get some photos of my own before shipping it off, and I can assure you it's a cool and versatile garment.
The entire collection is noteworthy, but Melissa Lemmon's Tangent, with I-Cord loops, deserves special mention. A fun piece that would be a blast to knit!
Here's my other recently published design: the Cherry Cheesecake Purse in Triple Dip stitch, which is basically a rib interrupted by giant garter stitch ice cream scoops.
It's unlined, so there's no sewing involved, but it holds its shape well and objects don't tend to poke through because of the density of the knitted fabric. A removable frame allows you to make several different designs of the same size and use the same frame for each. The rods of the frame slide through channels knitted onto the purse body, then the end caps are secured.
My daughter has already claimed this sample, but she'll have to wait a year for Clotheshorse to finish showing it off. Suri Merino by Blue Sky Alpacas was a dream to work with, and the Dawn colorway is yummy and fat free.
I doubled the yarn for a denser fabric, and the purse holds its shape well. I couldn't find a chain I liked with lobster claws at the ends, so I tried connecting it to the frame with beads, wire and pliers. It was fun, but I'll need more practice before turning to professional jewelry making!
You can get the pattern directly from Clotheshorse here.
Hi! I'm Kangath---
knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
Click here to join the Kangath Knits email list
for insider updates and special deals.
Ruth Roland is a top Baton Rouge, LA music lesson instructor on TryMusicLessons.com!
Amy Herzog Designs
Knit and Tonic
The Sexy Knitter
Sheep to Shawl
Trappings and Trinkets
Two Sides of the Same Stitch