Monday, November 2, 2009

It's a Sweater! It's a Shawl! It's Honeysuckle!

Although I love to knit shawls, I do not love to wear them. The sole exception is my tiny Hyrna, which slips neatly into my purse for A/C protection during the summer months. As for the rest of them, I take them out for show-and-tell when somebody asks. Otherwise, they sit around in a drawer, playing cards, drinking beer, and watching PBS's Knit and Crochet Today on an iPod Harry installed for them.

The Honeysuckle sweater immediately caught my eye, because it combines the best of all possible worlds. I could knit some simple lace with my favorite luxurious Hamanaka mohair/silk and have an actual, wearable knitting object.

This inspired pattern appears in Issue Six of the elegant British magazine, The Knitter, and was created by Sarah Hatton, Rowan's in-house designer.





 



Of course, I changed the pattern a bit. For starters, the original configuration is a circular shawl knitted flat and seamed. The sleeves also knitted flat and seamed, and then sewn into the bind-off/cast-on slits created for the armholes.

Well, all that sewing seemed ridiculous, tedious, and annoying. Instead, I knitted the shawl in the round, using a contrasting thread for afterthought armholes. I then picked up the sleeve stitches around the contrasting thread and used Barbara Walker's clever short-row sleeve cap method to knit the sleeves downward.









I also added beads to the sleeves and sweater front, and changed the boring edging to the more dynamic Ocean Wave from Miller's Heirloom Knitting. And, there was a lot of plain knitting in the original pattern; I dropped in a few Shetland cat's paws motifs to break up the monotony.






  The only mild setback was the cuff area. I have thin wrists, and even though I doubled the decreases at the end, the cuff was still too baggy for me. Instead of ripping out the mohair (urgh), I threaded some narrow ribbon through the final row and gathered the cuff.




Best of all, Honesuckle informs me that she detests beer, can't play cards, and doesn't enjoy TV, so leaving her out of the drawer and actually wearing her pleases everyone. Well, except for Harry, who is always looking for another sucker for his rigged poker games.

50 comments:

Anna M said...

Absolutely gorgeous!!! I'm a shawl wearer, they are draped everywhere around the house but then again it was 25 degrees this morning. Definitely more shawl wearing country up here.

heidi said...

it's fabulous!!!

And it looks so great on you!

And those changes that you made is makeing it looking way better than the original design!

chappy said...

Absolutely stunning!!!

Dave said...

Whatever you call it, it's gorgeous!

clarabelle said...

Blimey! I'm transfixed 1. to hear that you don't (hardly) wear your shawls; 2. at how cleverly you have made the Honeysuckle pattern so much easier to knit; and, most importantly, 3. by the incredible pink streak in your hair!

Winterhart said...

That is just lovely! And what a great way to wear a shawl - elegant in the back, and all gathered and cozy in the front.

Really, really fantastic.

Heathwitch said...

Glorious! I love it -- and well done :) I have this pattern too and hope to one day modify it similar to yourself (all that seaming, ugh) and knit it up. How long do you think it took you to knit? Thanks for sharing and well done again!

Päivi, Lankakomero said...

So beautiful!

deserttyrtle(2trees) said...

Beautiful.
Dare i ask how much yarn that takes? I would love to make that, but winter would be over by the time I finished.
Or maybe I could make it for next winter? :P~

KPiep said...

Oh..

My...

God....

I have to have one!

And for the record, I am a shawl wearer, but most of the time I only wear my fingering weight shawls as they seem more practical.

BammerKT said...

It's beautiful! I have a whole hatbox full of shawls I've knit that I never wear because I don't like to wear them either. You certainly resolved that problem!

Janice in GA said...

Sweet. I saw that pattern and wondered why they picked such a complicated way of putting it together.

It's lovely.

KPiep said...

Hee Hee! I suppose I'll just have to track down that magazine and make one for myself!

Seriously, in the last six months as I've started to make changes in my life and to my body, I've started to think about what it is that I really want to wear when I am the most 'me', and lovely, Romantic cardigans are high on that list!

larascreations said...

Ooooh - that turned out just beautifully! I can almost feel how soft it must be, too. Absolutely wonderful.

fuzzyjay said...

It's the knitting equivalent of a mash-up, and beautiful.

kshotz said...

Holy cow, that's beautiful!!!

Laritza said...

That is one huge lovely.....Honeysuckle!

yarnlot said...

It is soooo gorgeous!
Whatever Harry uses as an argument don't confine it to the drawer, it is lovely to see you actually wearing it...

kroker said...

Don't put them in a box - send them to me!

:D

Shea said...

Beautiful! It looks lovely on you.

Mary said...

I would say something but I am still staring in awe at your shawl/sweater. Gorgeous doesn't even begin to describe it.

Lorette said...

That is just lovely! I am always very impressed by your ability to alter patterns so they suit you instead of the original designer.

Leslie said...

whooooo! I am boggled.

If you ever come to a parting of the ways with her, I also don't like beer or cards (just sayin').

Kitty Kitty said...

Wow... It is absolutely breath taking. I love the changes you made to the pattern.

--Deb said...

So, so gorgeous!

Rosemary said...

STUNNING! What a wonderful shawl - you knit beautifully.

I love your hair, too.

Rosemary

LittleBerry said...

absolutely stunning and it looks fantastic on as well as off....

Karen said...

This is simply beautiful and solves the problem of how to wear a shawl! Many thanks!

beadntat said...

I too saw the original version in The Knitter, but somehow I remember it looking very different from your magnificent Honeysuckle. It looks marvelous on you!!! I don't care what Harry says, you should most definitely wear Honey a lot;-) As always, I am very inspired by your work. Hmm....round...with sleeves....Hmmmm.... :-)))

Vicki Stammer said...

Absolutely lovely! I can see that this is something you will enjoy and receive compliments upon often. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work.

Bekky said...

simply lovely - what beautiful work, I hope you have many hours of enjoyable wearing after the many hours of enjoyable knitting. This is so much better than the original.

Kathleen said...

So pretty! I'm guessing the BW sleeve thing is in Knitting from the Top. I'll have to check it out.

Carol said...

How gawgeous! a shawl that's a jacket. I have a Thing for sweater jackets. and a lace one? thud

Carol said...

(that's me falling off my chair)

pencraftco said...

I looked at this in the magazine and passed it by. Wow. What a mistake. I will definitely have to dig that issue out and take a second look because yours is gorgeous! Of course, all your modifications are fantastic. Well done!

Jane said...

It's amazing. Well done!

Robin said...

You are an inspiration. Your version of Honeysuckle is an inspiration. Thank you for letting me gaze on it.

gayle said...

Stunning! I usually end up giving shawls away - this is one I'd definitely keep.
Why on earth would anyone knit a circular shawl flat and then seam it? It boggles the mind...

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Oh My Goodness. It's beautiful.
It looks so soft. Well done.

Batty said...

It's utterly stunning, is what it is. And the gathered "cuffs" are genius -- no issues with that shawl slipping off your shoulders and getting stepped on.

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

Oooooooooh! Aaaaaah!

Jane said...

What a wonderful solution! It looks terrific on you and I love how you modified the pattern.

colorandtexture said...

Wow! So lovely!!

Toffee's Mum said...

That's gorgeous! How about writing up and publishing a similar pattern - I just love the idea of sleeves in a shawl, and that drapes beautifully.

I'll buy a copy ...

Opal said...

i just love that! so cozy!

Romi said...

Sooooooooo pretty!

rosine said...

wow...I just discovered your blog and I am stunned by this shawl sweater, it s gorgeous, the shape, the colour, I LOVE it and it looks so great on you! I could never do something so nice.

I hope you can understand my "frenchenglish"

Sandra der KnitNazi said...

It's AMAZING!

Sandra der KnitNazi said...

It's Gorgeous!

Miumasknits said...

Wonderfull idea and work! Thanks for sharing!
Mirdza