It’s a rare occurrence when I have time to knit other designers’ patterns, but it is a distinct joy. I love seeing where the patterns take me. Of course, I rarely make it easy on myself. I like to go a little (or a lot) off pattern to see what I can come up with. Two sweaters I started in the early days of lock down last year were no exception. In the midst of those first few, trying weeks, Andrea Rangel’s Dissent Cardigan and Maxim Cyr’s For Fox Sake provided a welcome distraction.
As soon as Andrea Rangel released the Dissent cardigan, I knew I wanted to knit it. It’s an absolutely beautiful colourwork pattern inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s iconic dissent collar. I had one perfect skein of Spincycle Dream State in ‘Melancholia’ just waiting for the right project to come along. I paired it with the soft grey ‘Pumice” from Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, and away I went! But instead of following the pattern, which is written in grown-up sizes, I decided to make it for little Bodhi, mashing up the chart from Andrea’s pattern with our Strange Brew recipe.
To make the cardigan kid-sized, I used Strange Brew for my cast-on and total yoke numbers. I shortened Andrea’s chart a little, so the yoke wouldn’t be too long. All was going smoothly (or so I thought) until I laid my sweater out, ready to be steeked. I realized the charts were off at the centre front…somewhere along the way, my math had gone awry! Off came the button bands, out came the steek reinforcements, and off came the yoke. I cut off the yoke, re-knit it with the correct patterning, joined the whole thing back together with a Kitchener stitch, and then steeked it. Despite all the bumps along the way, the final product turned out beautiful, and Bodhi just loves it!
For Fox Sake
When I first came across the wonderful work of Maxim Cyr (A.K.A. Max the Knitter), I was immediately smitten. Max is truly an artist, and it shows in this fabulous and fun, bespectacled, foxy character.
For Fox Sake is written in adult sizes, but I wanted to make it for young Jones. I decided to cast on the smallest size but use the sock weight Brooklyn Tweed Peerie, instead of the DK weight called for in the pattern. The funny thing is I cast on the sweater juuuust as Jones was starting a growth spurt, so I could have knit the smallest size as written, had I waited a few weeks. I ended up adding some length, so he could get a little more wear out of it.
The simple joys of just creating
In making this sweater, I had a lot of fun just knitting a pattern. I didn’t have to think about math, or fit, or how to scale a motif. I enjoyed the simple, soothing act of assembling stitch after stitch, creating something useful and seeing beautiful colours come together in an inspiring pattern. I mean…perhaps I should have paid a bit more attention to the math in Bodhi’s Dissent yoke, but that, too, is part of the joy of creating. Sometimes things go sideways, and you get to decide how to roll with it.