Dec 4, 2015

Meet The Mezzo Cardigan from Speckle & Stone

The marvelous Mezzo cardigan is the most fun-to-wear piece from my new collection, Speckle and Stone. Every time I put it on I feel a little bit fabulous, partly because it's a compliment-generating head-turner, but also because it's so cozy and comfortable that I feel like I'm getting away with something.

The back view is really the highlight of this design. Notice the subtle raglan shaping on the back of the shoulders—a wonderful little detail that helps keep this billowy garment from slipping off the shoulders.

I was inspired to design Mezzo shortly after releasing my Escher Cardigan. Escher has a similar silhouette, but a much more complicated design worked in fingering weight yarn, which means it took FOREVER to make. I wanted to take another stab at a garment like Escher, but this time make it more of a quick gratification project—and it sure was! While the Escher sample took a few months to make, the Mezzo cardigan only took 4 DAYS to knit. I know! I was pretty surprised too.

Mezzo might seem gigantic, but because it's worked in two pieces, the knitting is totally manageable. The cardigan has a seam that runs down the center of the back, and another seam from the cuffs to the lower hem. I absolutely loved this special construction, and wanted to highlight it with big bold blocks of color. All the blocks perfectly align from front to back, and over the shoulders, which makes my little designer heart sing. All this comes together to make Mezzo a really dynamic piece. It was so much fun picking out colors!

I love how much the sample reminds me of this little bowl I made around the same point in time. I wasn't trying to make a coordinating bowl to go with my sweater, but I guess I was just in a blue/cream/earthy/speckly kind of mood. You never know how inspiration will strike!

3 of the 5 designs from my Speckle and Stone collection feature a marled texture that comes from holding two strands of contrasting yarn together. The Mezzo cardigan was the first I designed with that texture and it really helped set the mood for the remaining pieces. Since the dimensions of this garment were going to be pretty big, I wanted to use a larger gauge, but I was afraid a chunky yarn would weigh the garment down too much.

I had been experimenting with this marled effect and noticed how pretty and flat my loose-gauge swatches became after blocking. The two strands end up lying next to each other, making a thin but relatively dense fabric that knits up at almost a chunky yarn gauge, but without all the bulk. The resulting fabric also has incredible drape, which was something I was looking for. I decided one of the strands should be fingering, and the other should be DK, because the combination landed me at the perfect gauge and fabric weight.

Of course there's no reason you couldn't substitute a single strand of worsted weight yarn if you achieved the same gauge. The fabric would probably behave a little differently, but the garment would look pretty much the same.

My darling mother has already put this design in her knitting queue, but instead of a contrasting strand of cream, she is going to use a metallic yarn. I think this is a very clever idea, and I can hardly wait to see how it turns out. I also think this design would look stunning worked in a gradient yarn like one of the Freia Ombré yarns.

Speaking of yarn, if you decide to knit this cardigan, you will very likely have some leftover bits and bobs. Not to worry, I've got you covered, because my Brenta Hat, was designed to use up the leftover yarn from Mezzo. I'm planning another blog post about that pattern soon, so stay tuned.

I've been wearing my Mezzo Cardigan every opportunity I get. I hope you'll check out the pattern and knit one for yourself as well. I'd really love to hear what you think about Mezzo in the comments below. Would you change up the colors? Have a question about sizing? How do you feel about open front cardigans?


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