Nov 3, 2014

Meet the Liwi Top from Graphic Knits

The Liwi Top was the 13th pattern I wrote for my book, Graphic Knits. When I began in late April, 2013 I was really getting in the groove of writing my book, and relaxed a little about my "knitting schedule".

For the first half of the Graphic Knits patterns, I made a calendar to help me figure out my design pace. I had six months to finish half the book, or to put it another way, 180 days to create patterns and samples for 6 garments and 4 accessories. I figured I had about 24 days to design/knit each of the garments, and 8 days for each of the accessories.

This schedule was frightening, to say the least! Somehow I pulled it off for the first half, so I was confident I could do it again. I was so confident that I didn't even make a schedule for the second half. I just picked up whichever design sketch I felt like, and got to work at my usual pace. Also, I had come to realize that it's impractical to work on only one thing at a time, and working on several projects at once could be much more efficient.

When I began working on Liwi, I was still finishing Orly, and had already begun swatching for the next three patterns (Danae, Trilogy, and Sweetness). Even with all that multitasking, the pattern and sample only took about 3 weeks to complete.

This is the sketch I made for my book proposal. You might notice that the shoulder detail with the buttons looks a little different from the sample. I had planned all along to close the shoulders with a row of buttons on either side. When I finished knitting the sample, I pinned the shoulders into place with three sewing pins and slipped it on to see what I had wrought.

Of course sewing pins rarely stay-put in a hand knitted garment, and instantly one of the pins fell to the floor. My pointy freckled shoulder poked right through the gap in the middle of one of the shoulders. There was something delightful about the 'cut-out' effect this created so I decided to alter the design. If this isn't exactly your style, you could sew the shoulders shut as I had originally intended.

This was one of the few designs in the book that I had picked a yarn for before I began. I did a lot of my yarn research at my LYS, La Casita, and always had my eye on the delicious strawberry colored balls of Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK they had there. The yarn was really great to work with and was perfect for this tailored design. I loved how the stitches came out so smoothly and mesh looked so crisp.

The yarn has different colors twisted into it, giving it a slight heather effect which I love. The heather effect makes this design a little more casual, but if you used a solid with a bit of sheen this could really be a dressy piece. I also think it would be very cool to use two different contrasting colors of lace weight yarn held together for more of an interesting marled effect. What yarn would you use?


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