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Simple knitting for springtime

Apr 13, 2011

    
Mary Jane Mucklestone dressed up her simple Sweet Tee with a little flowery flair  at the yoke. This tee is a perfect easy knitting pattern for spring-summer.
Hannah Fettig's Whisper Cardigan was an instant classic almost the moment it was published. It's knit with lace-weight yarn on size 7 US needles, so it really is as light as a whisper, and perfect for this time of year.
In the Diminishing Rib Cardigan, designer Andrea Pomerantz uses three different ribbing patterns to accent the waist and sleeves. This is a really pretty cardigan that would look great over a springtime dress.
I'm still rolling along with my finishing mojo. Last night I finished a little bitty vest for my sister's nephew, who's a tiny 18-month-old. It's a good thing he's tiny, too, because I started this vest last summer. Lame.

I just have one more thing to finish (it's a fun story—look for it on Friday's blog) and I'll be ready for something new! This new thing will be knitting along with new knit-along, the Maple Street Cardigan. I can't just have one thing on the needles!

I'm also in the mood for something simple yet interesting; I'd like to go back to basics and add something to the queue that's classic.

What started me down this road was an article in the Spring 2009 Interweave Knits (the whole collections of 2009 issues, plus the 2009 Gifts issue, is now available on DVD!).

I love the idea of building on skills and using the beauty of simple stitches and designs to knit something beautiful. The photos at left show some of the patterns from that same issue of Knits, all of which fit perfectly into today's theme of classic simplicity.

Here are some tips from that Knits article, all about how to use simple knitting techniques to make a statement.

You have to know the rules before you can break them.
Or, more precisely, once you know the basic principles of your craft, it's simple to build with them. When you use those principles, both innovation and tradition can lead to beauty.

Before Pablo Picasso painted the Cubist paintings he's famous for, he was a trained realist painter. His early work's exquisite attention to detail, treatment of shadow and light, and use of color are reflected in surprising ways in his later paintings: Knowing his craft inside and out let Picasso move between styles to embody his vision.

An understanding of knitwear construction and the importance of basic principles can lead to simply designed yet stunning style. You need to know only the basics of knitting to create fantastic garments.

What you need to know for simple knitting:
Simple knitting is not just garter stitch back and forth on straight needles. Here are some knitting basics that—like Picasso's attention to detail, light, and color—you can use in all your work.

Rely on simple, dynamic stitches: Sometimes the best-looking garments are made with simple knit and purl techniques that showcase the inherent beauty of knitted fabric.

Knit in the round: This technique simplifies and speeds up knitting by keeping the right side of the fabric facing the knitter, and it can minimize finishing.

Let the yarn work for you: With variegated or highly textured yarn and colorful tweeds, complex stitch patterns can get lost. Show off a great yarn with a simple stitch and silhouette.

Choose one or two elements to increase impact: Although it can be tempting to show off your varied knitting skills by including cables, ribbing, and lace in one garment, rarely will that garment stand out from the crowd. Instead, selecting one or two stitch patterns that accentuate the parts of the garment where you want the eye to fall will make a more flattering garment—even without shaping.

Pay attention to detail: When knitting is simple, the quality of the stitches, finishing, and design become doubly important. A simple knit often requires the most attention to knit well, yet it results in great satisfaction with the work and the garment.

—Annie Hartman Bakken, Interweave Knits, Spring 2009

Join me in my quest for simplicity and get your 2009 Interweave Knits CD Collection today!

Cheers,


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Comments

sandyhoot wrote
on Oct 29, 2011 6:27 AM

I knit this, and maybe because I'm left-handed, (I don't know), one side came out significantly different than the other in terms of length and drape. Been trying to block it and get it to work, not great success. love the pattern and the way it's designed, but it didn't like me...

on Apr 13, 2011 3:47 PM

The magazine issue is no longer available for the Whisper Cardigan and the Diminishing Rib Cardigan.  Is there any way to get the patterns for these two great sweaters??  Thanks!