Nov 21, 2015

Meet The Tiber Cardigan from Speckle & Stone

The dazzling Tiber Cardigan is one of the coolest looking, and definitely most challenging designs from my new collection, Speckle and Stone. It's also the most important piece because it helped set the tone and created focus for the entire project.

The idea started more than a year ago when I created my Chrysler Cardigan, and if you check out that design you can definitely see some similarities in the silhouette and yoke-style shoulder construction. Figuring out that shoulder construction was not easy, so I was really excited to put my hard work to use again. Here's my original sketch for Tiber. It turned out pretty well, I think!

One of the hurdles to beginning any new design is picking the yarn. I had a particularly difficult time picking colors for this design. Below are a few options I considered before settling on black and linen gray—the most sophisticated option and probably the most obvious in retrospect if you consider my inspiration (more on that below).

I began working on Tiber last May, just before my big 10-year wedding anniversary trip to Italy. We planned to make our way from Rome to Milan by train over the course of 9 days—very romantic, so naturally I thought I needed something entertaining to fill all the hours of downtime.

I don't know why I thought I would be bored on the train. News flash: Italy is breathtakingly beautiful! Also, I got pretty swept up in the whole romance thing. All I wanted to do on the train was look out of the window, sigh, and think of sappy things to say to my sweet wonderful husband. I did a little knitting but didn't make much progress until the return flight, where I proceeded to knit for about 7 hours straight…. and still only completed about 6" of the body.

This sweater felt like it took forever. I normally budget about 4-6 weeks to complete a typical sweater (I also have a full time day job to work around), but this sweater took about 4 months. To put that in perspective, the rest of the collection (4 more pieces) took just 2 months for me to complete.

I don't mean to scare you if you're thinking of knitting this. I definitely could have gone faster, but truthfully I wasn't very worried about how much time this project would take. This is definitely one of the luxuries of self publishing. I knew I wanted to release the collection sometime in the fall, but you know, it was only May, or only June, or only July. No big deal. I gave myself the whole summer to complete the sample, and I took my sweet time.

Of course with all that colorwork, it wasn't exactly a surprise that Tiber would take a while to complete, which is why I chose a fun easy-to-memorize pattern. I originally dreamt up the patterning as a motif to decorate a vase I was designing for my pottery class.

The vase never came into existence, but nonetheless pottery ideas and sweater ideas started mixing with inspiration images of abstracted geometric motifs on pueblo pottery and the magnificently decorated Italian duomos I was researching for my big trip. The result was my Tiber Cardigan. Don't you just love the meandering path of creativity?

I could not be more proud of this design! It was a pretty big challenge to figure it out, but worth all the effort because it might be the prettiest thing I've ever made. Every time I look at that tapering motif on the back of the shoulders, my heart sings! I don't even care how cheesy that sounds; just look at that thing.

I love hearing from you so if you like this design, please let me know in the comments below. What colors would you pick for your Tiber? Are you afraid to try steeking? What, YES?! Well, you probably haven't seen my brand new steeking tutorial video then. Stay tuned because I have a great post planned on that later...

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


  • Robyn
    over 8 years ago

    Gorgeous work! That design is absolutely amazing!! Kudos to you, my friend, kudos!

  • quinn
    over 8 years ago

    Wowza! That is a design triumph! If I was going to knit a Tiber, I think I would swatch in either two shades of brown or a light brown and a slate blue. Also: wowza!

  • Alexis Winslow
    over 8 years ago

    Thanks Quinn! I love the idea of this cardigan in tonal colors as well. I made another one, I might do white and light gray, or maybe cream and oatmeal.

  • Emalee
    over 7 years ago

    Steeking.... what is that! After viewing your tutorial I now have the courage to knit the sweater pattern that my daughter selected. Your work is beautiful and I am excited to try one of your patterns. Thank you for a simple and clear tutorial.

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