Deco

When I began designing this cardigan, I had buildings in mind.

I love the graceful set-backs that are a feature of New York’s Art Deco and Moderne skyscrapers, (such as the Paramount building, shown left) and thought that a similar architectural feature would look great, when turned upside-down, as the waist shaping on a sweater front. This metal grille from the lobby of Ely Kahn’s Squibb building suggests the sort of thing of which I was thinking. . .

. . . and the other thing that I couldn’t get out of my mind was this:

These are the architects of the early twentieth-century New York skyline, dressed as the buildings they designed, at the famously batty 1931 Beaux-Arts ball. I doubted my skyscraper-inspired sweater was going to come anywhere close to the insane, space-age confection that is William Van Alen’s Chrysler building costume, but I liked the general idea of being dressed as a building. (I have found a short video clip of the architects at the 1931 Beaux Arts ball and I suggest you go and have a look immediately. My favourite — just for the way he suggests mundanity and modernity — is Arthur J. Arwine dressed as a low-pressure heating boiler).

I reckoned I could achieve an architectural effect using a simple slip-stitch pattern, and that the skyscraper-inspired tapered waist-shaping should be flattering for women of all shapes and sizes (at least that’s the idea, anyway). For the shape of the cardigan, I went back to my 1940s pattern books and decided on a neat, tapered style with set-in sleeves. The slip-stitch pattern is very simple and fun to knit. You can see the upside-down skyscraper effect of the slip-stitches in this shot:

the same slip stitch pattern also features on the hem, cuffs, and back yoke . . .

. . . just as if one were working a heel, the slip stitches also provide a useful point of reference for shaping the sleeve caps, which are picked up and worked, using short rows, from the top-down. There is something very pleasing about the way that the sleeve cap emerges from the slipped stitch edge. I’m not sure quite why, but whatever it is, these sleeve caps are certainly the neatest I’ve ever made. . .


I heart short-row sleeve caps!

In this next shot, you can see the Nichols buttons and the clear snap fasteners on the opposite button band:

. . .and in this shot, how the cardigan looks when fastened . .


(get out from under me feet, Bruce!)

. . . while in this one, you get a slightly strained expression, and a hint of the taped interiors of the button bands:

The weather was bizarrely balmy yesterday, and we took Bruce for a walk at Crammond, where these photos were taken (much to the bemusement of Edinburgh’s lunchtime dog-walkers). Bruce is not a great photoshoot assistant, it has to be said. . .

. . . the weirdly studied pose I manage to assume here is, in fact, the effect of a wet and impatient labrador puppy worrying at me feet.

. . . reasonable shot of the cardigan, though, which is called Deco, after its architectural design influences.

For my 30″ bust size, I used just over 5 skeins / 800 yards of the wonderful Blacker designs Corriedale 4 ply, which I knitted quite densely on 3mm needles. It is ravelled here.

Well, I now have a backlog of pattern writing — to be honest, the stroke has rather got in the way over the past couple of months — but things are at last moving onward and upward with the Tortoise and Hare sweater and gloves, and I’m very much looking forward to writing the pattern for Deco, which I’m designing to fit any bust size from 30 to 50 inches.

That’s all, folks!

ETA the pattern is now available!

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