Oct 30, 2014

Meet the Orly Cardigan From Graphic Knits

The Orly Cardigan was the 12th pattern I wrote for my book, Graphic Knits.

I began working on Orly shortly after the "half-deadline" for my book. I was six months in, and had six months to go. I had made so many sacrifices to hit that deadline, and felt like I had really accomplished something.

When I began six months before, I had no idea how to tackle a project of this magnitude–I mean whoa, twenty patterns in one year?! I was a little crazy to agree to that. But I was infinitely more prepared for the second half and felt confident I could meet my final deadline. The slate had been wiped clean, and it was time to think strategically about my knitting schedule.

Orly was at the top of my list to include in the book. Knitted at a fairly fine gauge, and with a very tailored fit, I knew this project would be pretty time consuming. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, I finally felt like time was on my side, so I settled-in with a box set of Sex In The City, and cast on for Orly.

Everything went smoothly with the design, and I was very happy with the result. I thought the cardigan fit so beautifully, and even suggested it as a contender for the front cover.

Months later, when I finally saw photos of this cardigan on a model, my heart sank. While the girl is very beautiful, I thought she was so thin that it made the cardigan look bad. I knew how great it could look, and thought, "No one would want to knit this."

Like a total diva, I demanded a re-shoot, but unfortunately there wasn't a budget for that. Of course looking back, it's clear that I was being a WAY over-dramatic. The photos actually look pretty good.

Even so, if I could go back and do it all over, I would have requested the addition of a model with some curves just to show off this beautiful design the way it was intended.

Even if I'm not 100% happy with every photo, I still love how Orly came out. The main design element is the bold offset stripe patterning. To achieve this effect, I constructed the body in two pieces which are sewn together right down the center of the back.

The three-quarter length sleeves are worked seamlessly in the round from the top-down, so the knitter can easily try on the cardigan to test for appropriate length.

One of my favorite details is the reverse stockinette border. It's worked from picked up stitches all around the edge, then sewn into place for a crisp and tailored finished look.

Here's a swatch I made to test out this border. I show it from the wrong side so you can see how neatly the edging turns out.

I wanted the look of a knitted-on icord edge, but when I tested it out I didn't like how the icord seemed to be sitting on top of the fabric, and the backside was really ugly (in my opinion). I tried a number of different techniques, before I settled on this one.

This technique definitely reveals my seamstress background. I love using binding to finish the edges of things in my sewing, and if this technique had a name, I would probably call it “reverse knitted binding". The natural backward curl of the fabric elegantly encases the bumpy selvage, resulting in a beautiful, smooth line on all the edges. It's just so pretty to me. I'm in love all over again!

What I love is that there's something ambiguous about the reverse stockinette texture. The horizontal grain of the reverse stockinette fabric transitions so beautifully to the vertical grain of the attached icord tie

I chose a wonderful Quince yarn called Finch for this design. It perfectly compliments the tailored look of this cardigan because of its soft smooth finish and the beautiful stockinette fabric that it produces. I had a hard time picking colors because the palette seems to be made just for me!

Orly is definitely one of my favorite sweaters in the book, and I hope you like it too. For more info about the design, visit the pattern page here.


Leave a comment

popular posts