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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

RE-New Threads TUESDAY!

Give a girl a couple of days off the Hamster Wheel that is Life and all of a sudden! Things start getting done ;p

I finally finished the second buttonband of my cardigan from long ago (2004). This sweater was a Shirley Paden design from Vogue Knitting Magazine Fall 2002 (executed in Filatura di Crosa: 401) that I changed from being a turtlenecked pullover to a zipped-up collared cardigan (wherein I bit off more than I could chew — see mods below), and used a zipper closure which was w.r.o.n.g.

So wrong, I rarely wore the thing!

Now, like a little breath of Spring air (omg, it’s STILL 47° degree mornings here) I have a (re)New sweater to enjoy.

I love it. I love the color! I remember the day I bought the yarn, I walked right over to it which is only unusual if you’ve ever been shopping with me. Most will attest, to my embarrassment, I usually beeline any old chartruese yarn that fills the frame.

Not that day. It was Fuschia!

Perhaps the siren song I heard was from the Basin; I’d seen, in the many years I visited New Orleans in the early spring, the explosion of the Azaleas; the excitement of the Rhododendrons…

These flowering bushes have potent, saturated blooms, sometimes in the very color of le Cardigan!

I also got to finally use some buttons that had been lingering in the basket since ’04. They are dark burgundy, with carved faces showing stylized petals.

From the Archives: the Neckline Mods…

the Original SIN

The original pattern was for a pullover with a turtleneck. First of all, pullovers made from wool are out of the Chic Knits repertoire because they cannot be thermostatically controlled like a cardigan. Our North American residences and business are usually overheated and if I can’t get some air in the mix, I’ve found I probably will rarely wear the garment.

So, a cardigan it became.

AND, the turtleneck had to go because it wouldn’t work with the new idea. This neckline was going to be fresh and a little naughty and I envisioned it with a large portrait collar emanating from a rather low scoop neck…


So, I set to shaping the neckline at a point determined by measurement and where a pattern repeat would make it easier.

Good solid logical thinking.

What I did not do properly the First Try was the shaping. You can see how angled and sloppy the finished product is:


the Brainstorm

I could not just let this alone. I was playing with another sweater design – very different – but similar in the fact that it too, needed a scoop neck.

Well, my usual neck shaping is *Bind-off xx stitches at the neck edge, then DEC 1 st at the neck edge every other row…*

BLAH, Blah, blah…

A versatile, simple neckline to be sure, but like everything in the world, ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL…

I needed a curved neck that had a gentle slope.

I needed ART!

Art School rears its Gelled Head…

What do you get when you cross Fashion Training with an Engineering degree? Why, a desperate need to solve the puzzle.

And I had the tools, I just didn’t know it.

After undergrad, I went Post-al and studied Graphic Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

And, as I considered the distorted wavy neckline, I remembered I knew how to draw curves in Freehand (from Macromedia) and Illustrator (from Adobe)…

So out comes the graph paper.

On goes an actual stitch count / row count of the front piece, with the selected dimensions I chose for the shoulder width, armhole depth and my shaping and the neckline drop.

I also added red lines every 10 boxes vertically and horizontally.

the Fun of IT!

Now it got very exciting for me because I realized it was going to be a game of connect the dots !

I drew a curve with the pen tool, that went from about 2" in from the front edge to the interior shoulder edge.

The ~2" was going to be the initial flat center of the neckline.

Then it would curve up to the shoulder.

Making my curve, I tried to hit the edges of the graph paper boxes to form a nice graduation. I didn’t want it to be too extreme or angled.


Quick Draw

With the curve in place , now all I had to do was draw my stitches along its shape.

I made another line going across then up, across then up, hitting the curve wherever it intersected with a box edge.


You can see, from right to left:

  • Bind-off 12 sts at Row 30
  • Work one row.
  • Bind-off 3 sts once.
  • Work one row.
  • Bind-off 2 sts once.
  • DEC one stitch at neck edge every row twice.
  • DEC one stitch at neck edge every ALT row twice.
  • DEC one stitch at neck edge every 4th row 3 times.
  • DEC one stitch at neck edge every 6th row once.

Who’s the Boss

I printed out my new and shiny graph, frogged the nasty Right Front piece right back to the armhole shaping, and FOLLOWED MY NEW IMPROVED INSTRUCTIONS!

What did I get for all of my trouble?

An elegant curved edge :


No Software?

In my first Graphic Design course at SAIC, the instructor FORBID us to use computers at all. About a third of the class transferred to another section. I wanted to jump right in and get my hands dirty so I just kept on.

Somehow it was just emancipation to grab pencil and rubber eraser and go organic…

Fear not ! Just print out the graph paper and draw your curve by hand…

Get thee to thy local Office Despot or Wallgrins and buy thyself a CURVE!


Whether you use a fabulous French Curve like the ones by ALVIN pictured above or the school supply verison protracter/curve I got at the Dollar Store for $.50 below:


or even the edge of a bowl or plate, the results are the same:

You want to draw a nice edge outline that can be transformed
into the perfect neckline!

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23 responses to “Tuesday, May 20, 2008”

  1. MIchele says:

    Love it!!!

  2. Barbara-Kay says:

    Lovely – well done! Actually, I was thinking “it’s Crepe Myrtle pink”. Crepe Myrtles do come in a lovely cotton-candy pink, and in white. However, the most planted here (perhaps the hardiest?) is the color of your sweater. (Here is south Louisiana)

  3. Wow! Wow! Wow! What yarn is that?

    You, with your design instincts, are my hero. I’ve not been able to develop this with fiber….beads?…no problem.

  4. Temperance says:

    How is it that you take patterns I had absolutly no intrest in when they were in the magazine and make them into something I might knit?

  5. Darci says:

    this is truly beautiful. The talent leaves me in awe. I agree that the pink has a certain Crepe Myrtle about it…but I also thought of an azalea when I saw the color.

  6. Michelle says:

    Fan-tas-tic. I too am in awe…your talent and PERSERVERENCE is incredible.

  7. Teresa says:

    She’s a beauty Bonne Marie!

  8. Karen B. says:

    Fabulosa, b. Marie! Look at the workmanship on this beauty. Just terrific. I can see you living in this sweet sweater!

    p.s. Great minds think alike. I have those burgundy buttons, too.

  9. AmyP says:

    Oh, I remember that! Good job on the initial re-imagining, but also on the re-re-imagining to make it work better for you.

  10. Pam says:

    What a beautiful “new” sweater! Really wonderful — I applaud your perseverance. And if you ever get tired of it, the color is “me”.

  11. Issy says:

    Oh I absolutely LOVE it!!! The colour is amazing. And of course the workmanship is superb.

  12. Michelle says:

    Huzzah! It’s lovely!
    And the buttons – how perfect are they for this sweater?!
    Congrats on a fabulous FO!

  13. Mary says:

    You are a fabulous! This is one of my favorite posts yet! The sweater is stunning – couture!

  14. Sonya says:

    You are incredible Bonne Marie! That is one lovely cardigan. I love that you tackled it with a French Curve. It is a beaut, as my Australian father would say.

  15. Bonne Marie,

    It’s just lovely. As Mary said, ‘couture’! And thank you for the particulars. I have yet to try that sort of thing, but it’s instructive and inspiring to see your graphs and process. :-)

  16. Leah says:

    So, sooooo lovely! Well worth the wait!!

  17. beverly says:

    ohmigod –
    what a talent and a gift! how blessed you are to have both rolled into one!
    what i wouldn’t give for a little piece of that.

    you should come to the sit & knit on the 31st in Oak Park and do a demostration class. I think we can all learn something from you!!


  18. Laura says:

    When I opened this up, I had a sharp intake of breathe and thought…must have pattern. It truly is awesome.

  19. Lori on Little Traverse Bay says:


  20. Beth S. says:

    I remember that I really liked this cardigan back when you were first working on it. And now it looks even better–the buttons are just perfect. :-)

  21. Beth in Seattle says:

    I had not seen this before – it is gorgeous! delicious. and the neckline makes it. Genious.

  22. Wanda says:

    Those changes make the sweater perfect. It does look nice with buttons. The buttons are great.

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