I’ve been so excited by the release of my Calais sweater in Twist Collective’s Fall 2014 issue that I’ve barely had time to write about it. Keeping the secret for nearly half the year has been a challenge– I found out the design was accepted in the winter, and had to refrain from shouting from the rooftops until now!
The sweater had less-than-auspicious beginnings. My original prototype, seen below, was made in Cascade 220 Superwash Sport:
I had purchased the yarn on Thanksgiving weekend 2012 at Windsor Button Shop (now sadly closed). It was my carefully-planned, annual “small business Saturday” purchase, which took advantage of a discount offered by American Express for items bought at qualifying small businesses. The goal was to obtain a sweater-quantity of yarn to make a demure, long-sleeved cardigan to layer over formal (or not-so-formal) dresses in winter. Unfortunately, my careful planning was foiled by the name of the yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport, unlike other Cascade yarns bearing the “220” designation, does not contain 220 yards per skein. I was short nearly 300 yards for a cardi! The yarn hibernated for about a year while I came to terms with the mistake.
Propelled in part by joining the “Stash Knitdown” group on Ravelry, I finally decided to take control of the situation and show my 680 yards of merino who was in charge. After some planning, I opted to reduce yardage requirements by making short sleeves. I’ve always found sleeves to be enormous yarn- and fabric-sucks. Determined not to make a plain stockinette T-shirt, I scoured my stitch pattern dictionaries for patterns that would not tighten the gauge a whole lot, or that could be applied sparingly like a spice. “Tudor Grillwork” from Barbara Walker’s second treasury fit the bill. The invisible increases prior to the cables solved the gauge-tightening issue inherent to most cable patterns. The slight drawing in of the cables was just the thing for the waistline, and I opted to make the waistline a generous 3″ in length in order to allow for some flexibility and variation in the back-waist length. I then echoed the cables at the neckline and sleeve bottoms. By the time I had finished the front and back sections, I had very little yarn left for the sleeves. In order to make the sleeves as long as possible (I prefer my short sleeves nearly to my elbow), I divided the yarn in half and kept ripping back and lengthening the first sleeve until every inch of yarn was consumed! I was shocked by how much I liked the result. It was very far from what I had originally pictured the yarn turning into. I submitted pictures of the prototype to the Twist Collective call for submissions, and the rest is history!
I’d love to see the yarns and colors you use for your Calais!