Oct 27, 2014

Meet the Tanager Shrug from Graphic Knits

The Tanager Shrug was the 11th pattern that I wrote for my book, Graphic Knits. I was contractually obligated to produce 20 patterns for the book, so this meant that I was officially over the hump. Yay!

I knew Tanager would be a challenging shape to design, but I had a huge head start. It was the only design that I worked on before I got my book deal. In fact, I came up with this idea about 2 years before and never dreamed I would see it on the pages of very own book someday.

I first sketched this out when I was hot on the heels of my first hit design, the Delancey Cardigan. I was a little obsessed with the triangular “center spine" shawl shape as a device to make interesting diagonal stripes inside a garment. I can hardly believe I just typed that–top 10 geekiest things to admit. I was really into it though. I could not stop thinking about directional knitting, and that's when this design made it's way into the pages of my sketchbook–way back in the spring of 2011.

This is precisely why I save all my sketches. This design fit perfectly into the theme of Graphic Knits. I was really excited to work on it again. I actually knitted most of a sample two years before, but put it aside for whatever reason. I started over when I made this for the book because I wanted to tweak a few things, but the experience making the first one was still hugely valuable.

The piece starts out as a triangle that grows out from the top center of the back. You could definitely keep knitting and knitting if you wanted to turn this into a shawl. To make this into a shrug I needed kind of a crazy winged octagon shape, which I achieved using increases and decreases on the edges.

The shape is really interesting, but my favorite thing about this design is definitely the eyelet transition between the color-changes. When you look up close, you can see the marvelous texture this adds to the stripes.

This was the second design in the book that I used Malabrigo's Silky Merino yarn for. I'm such a huge fan of this yarn! It's so soft and light, and has a really beautiful sheen from the silk content. The colors have wonderful depth and a slight variegation due to the kettle dye technique that they use.

For more information about this design, check out the pattern page here.


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