October 11, 2013

Lempicka – a new cardigan pattern on Twist Collective

Front view of Lempicka Cardigan shown on model

(All photos by Jane Heller – aren’t they lovely?!)

Lempicka has gone live over on Twist Collective, a late addition to the gorgeous Fall 2013 issue! I love this cardigan, and with one already on the needles for me I’m still also planning to use the design lines in some garment sewing (or bleaching/painting) in the near future.

I was inspired by the stained glass of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the fantastic architecture of South Beach in Miami that I got to see firsthand, thanks to a waterpolo tournament many years ago in Fort Lauderdale when the Seattle Otters team needed some extra players. An early prototype had lines that made me think of mid-century shiny chromed cars – you can see a photo on Ravelry here, but due to some unflattering placement of design lines on the chest, it has since been frogged so I could reuse the yarn. (Apparently I thought the fullest part of my bust was about three inches higher than it really is… whoops!)

The sample that I knit for Twist Collective used Elann.com’s Peruvian Sierra Aran yarn… and they’re having a Full Bag Blowout Sale! You can still buy single balls at the regular price here, and thanks to Elann’s great website, you can even check that you’re ordering the same dyelot in the full bag and the singles!

Here are the pattern details in case you want to shop right now:

Finished measurements:

Bust: 31 (33 ¾, 37 ¼, 40, 43 ½, 46 ½, 50, 52 ¾)” / 79 (86, 95, 101.5, 110.5, 118, 127, 134) cm
Length: 24 ¼ (25, 26, 26 ¼, 27, 27 ¼, 27 ½, 28 ¼)” / 61.5 (63.5, 66, 66.5, 68.5) cm
Intended to be worn with 0–2″ / 0–2.5 cm positive ease.

11 (13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24) balls elann.com Peruvian Sierra Aran

The pattern gauge is 18 sts to 24 rows, with a recommended starting point of a 5mm needle when you’re knitting a gauge swatch. You do that, right?

My personal version is close to being finished, just half a sleeve and the zipper to put in, then some blocking. I’m planning to try the no-sew method of zipper insertion recently featured on TECHknitting as I wasn’t super-happy with the way the zipper in my sample turned out. I’ll secretly share that the sample/prototype wound up with an extra stitch at each front, so it was turned into a “Oh, I meant to do it that way…” facing that sandwiched the zipper between the icord and the now-2 stitches of the selvedge. Don’t worry, this mistake didn’t get added to the written pattern, so you won’t face the same issue.

Another secret to share: I’m usually good at meeting deadlines, but this issue was a challenge. I had set aside all of my extra work during May to give me a month to work on Penta and Lempicka, which would usually be sufficient… then Kate wanted to see Penta as a shawl, not just a blanket, and had set me up with a wonderful knitter who would work up that sample. Sounds great, yes? But.. this is the part where I realize that my working style (knit sample while taking notes, then write pattern) doesn’t mesh well when there is another person on the same knitting and shipping deadline. Lempicka was already knit when I set it aside to work on Penta.. and Penta took up most of May. I was knitting a full-size adult blanket in worsted weight yarn, and Karen was knitting a full-size adult shawl in FINGERING… and we were emailing notes and photos and comments back and forth.. and then it was June.

Want to know what June contained? My regular part-time job and teaching knitting classes at Three Bags Full, plus teaching a 60-hour lifeguard course, plus all of the production meetings and then the actual event of a four-day juggling/hooping/circus festival I help produce, PLUS house hunting because I finally admitted I couldn’t live as a roommate with my ex-, and then packing the house and computers and internet and moving… … and it was a gong show.

Things I learned in June: trying to use my iPad to crunch spreadsheet numbers from my desktop computer wouldn’t work, because Numbers on iPad apparently doesn’t believe in fractions; saving files in multiple locations means that it gets really hard (er, impossible) to properly track the versions; and that it sucks to be struggling with pattern writing on Canada Day on your partner’s brother’s dinner table while everyone else is socializing and enjoying the family gathering. Oh, that? Yeah, Canada Day is July 1st. So, I was seriously past my deadline.

This is the part where I acknowledge the huge amount of work that the tech editing team at Twist Collective did on this pattern.

The tech editors take a pattern, check it for mistakes, make sure that it contains all of the information needed to complete the pattern, and then make it match the Twist Collective style guide so buyers get a consistent product. In Lempicka’s case, along with having to wait for the pattern to be delivered in full (” Here’s the body, but the hood isn’t done yet, sorry!” “Oh, whoops, I forgot the abbreviations list!” “Ack, that version I sent wasn’t the latest one…”) the TE had concerns about my grading for the larger sizes, an unusual increase that I was using but hadn’t explained fully, and the format I had used to lay out the different instruction sets for all of the moving design lines. So, Lempicka got a giant rewrite and a delayed release, but I’m happy with the final outcome.

Once I get photos uploaded, you’ll see that my version is a little different than the published version: three stitches in each design line instead of two, short row shaping in the bust, and the hips have more flare. I’ll have notes in my Ravelry project in case you’d like to modify your project similarly, and you’re welcome to ask questions over in the Christa Knits group.

Knitting Lempicka? Please share your progress and final photos! Let me know when you’ve posted them on Ravelry, and I’ll send you a coupon code for a free pattern from my Ravelry store.


Back view of Lempicka Cardigan shown on model