Carol Feller: Scrumptious designer of Scrumptious Knits

I’m today’s stop on Carol Feller‘s book release blog tour!  Carol, knitwear designer, and author of Contemporary Irish Knits stopped by today to tell us all about her design process for her new Scrumptious Knits collection. I love hearing how these gorgeous knits came into being, and you will, too!  Read on to learn more about Carol’s creative process and to win a PDF copy of the book for yourself!

 

Carol Says: For me, creating a collection of patterns is a very organic process.  When I began working on the Scrumptious Knits book, I did not start out with a fully formed theme in mind.  However, as I began sketching and fitting various design ideas together with the yarns, the concept for the collection quickly began to take shape.  The smooth, shimmering qualities of the silk really dominated my design process and the general aesthetic of the collection.   I wanted to create a sleek, elegant collection that showed both the stitches and the yarn to their full advantage.

In all of the designs I wanted to keep the lines clean, accented with single, visually striking details.  Below, I give you a little overview of each design, and how I envisioned it.

 

Ignus (in photo above) is a top down cowled tunic with the body knit in stockinette stitch. However, the body is complemented by side panels of ribbing which have a cable pattern running through them.  The large cowl neck really creates the finishing touch for the tunic and balances out the length.

Bakersville is a hooded cardigan in sports weight yarn with diagonal ribbing as the primary design feature.  I designed this hoodie to be a very wearable piece for those in-between seasons.  Personally, it’s probably the piece I’d get the most use out of (I’ve even knit a second one to use myself!)  The construction method used for this cardigan, top down with seamless set in sleeves, is also one of my favourites.

The third garment in this collection is Taupo.  Several years ago I designed a vest with the same basic construction techniques used here.  It begins with a provisional cast on at the center of the back, then short rows are worked to create a-line shaped hips and finally short rows shape the capped sleeves.  It’s an amazing top to knit if you want to learn or improve your short rows technique, and the finished piece is really flattering for many different body types.  I’ve added some subtle pattern details to this vest, using Trinity Stitch, which really emphasises the short row shaping.

The remaining pieces in this collection are all accessories.  The Haruna hat and glove set are all about the subtle, simple details.  The hat is a flapper style hat that uses short rows (yes again!) and gathers on one side to create an asymmetric brim.  The garter brim is continued up along the side of the hat with some fun faux bobble ‘buttons’ running up it.  The gloves were created to complete the set with the same wrist gather and bobble ‘buttons’ up the side.  The simple details combined with a single point of visual emphasis works really well with a yarn that can shine in its own right.

The final two accessories are the Flama shawl and the Vesuvius cowl.  The shawl is a rectangular shawl worked with a garter stitch base.  The central lace section is decreased as you work until you reach the top.  I’ve shown some subtle beading details at the edge that give extra sparkle and weight to the piece.  The final accessory, Vesuvius, is a simple loosely knit cowl.  It is perfect for modifying just by increasing or decreasing the number of repeats.  Thanks to the super softness of the yarn it is a complete dream to wear!

SO! Wouldn’t you love to win a copy of Carol’s new pattern collection?  All you have to do is comment below, telling us which is your favorite of these patterns and why.

The winner will be chosen next week by random number generator.

Tweed Coat Collar Tutorial: finished

Here’s what the collar looks like when it’s all finished. You can see how it curves around the neckline and even has a little height to the fabric at back neck.

tweed coat collar finished
TA-dada-DA.

Sorry if my rugged patio is distracting! I took the photos for today’s post outside because now that it’s nice weather, Mazie wants to be outside ALL THE TIME. I’m encouraging it!

rag rug
AND…Here’s where I am on the crochet rug. It’s only about 2 feet long, so I need to keep going. I’ve got a lot of these fabric strips, but they may not all go together colorwise. We’ll see.

The whole point of crocheting this rug is to get rid of junk lying around (fabric strips) and save $$. BUT. I’m looking at the colors in this rug and wanting a new set of towels for the big bathroom. Hold me back. Maybe I can somehow add some of these colors to the towels we already have?

for some reason we need the splits

Results of yesterday's tutorial…

Well. Yesterday’s post was the result of several emails that I’ve received from one reader. She was having trouble with the collar of the coat. So, I thought that it would be helpful to work through the coat with pictures and text as a guide for her and possibly for others who may be finding it difficult.

This morning I received an email from her. I’ll just post it here so that you can see…(directly posted from email, omitting her name):

i just wanted to write one last time. i have ripped this out and started over about 5 times now. i realize after reading your blog and seeing that other people were saying that they thought your pattern was “screwed up”. I personally never said that and all along i was thinking it was me. but now i see clearly the problem here. you need to admit to yourself that the pattern is unclear. when you gave your instructions on the blog i don’t think you went through all the steps and you don’t say exactly what is supposed to be done the whole way through the problem area and i can attest to that because now i have ripped out again after your instruction. i believe you are leaving out a big step and it might be at the point where you say to do it four times. do what four times. i really don’t know what the problem is exactly because i haven’t gotten it right yet. i guess it would be interesting to know if your explanation has helped people. i am sick of ripping this out and what started out as a cool fun project is turning out to be a nightmare for me. one more try for me and then i’m gonna make a straight collar and forget the short row shaping. a little background on me is i have been knitting now for about 10 years. i know how to follow instructions.

My response:

[Reader],
I spent hours writing that blog post, taking photos, and trying to go step by step through the instructions.

I’m sorry that it didn’t meet your standards. I’m afraid there’s nothing more that I am able to so on this for you.

Have a great day!

Stefanie.


Fortunately, I also received a lovely Ravelry note about the same sweater:


Stephanie,

I finished the tweed coat this week. I LOVE it! I think the confusion on the collar is that until you finish the second increase row the pattern is off by 1 stitch. But when you do the second increase row in that set–everything gets back on track.

I will post a picture this weekend but I wore it to my knitting group today and everyone loved it. Thanks for a great pattern. Yvonne

And I also see on ravelry that several people have already finished the sweater and have smiley faces to indicate that they’re pleased with the result.

So, while I didn’t do much for the first reader’s zen quotient, I hope that I did help clarify things for a few people! Thanks for reading, and I really do hope that you all have a great day!

Working through the Tweed Coat collar: part 1

Welcome back!

Today we’re going to start the collar of the Tweed Coat (see yesterday’s post for an introduction.)

I’m making the 3rd size, since that’s the size the last person to email me about this was making.
I’m also making just the collar…so I cast on sts while you will be picking up and knitting yours as per the pattern instructions.

Here we go…starting on page 99 of Glam Knits.

I’m skipping ahead to page 102 to get my cast on #s.

The instructions say to pick up and knit 58 sts along the right front edge, 56 along the cast on edge, and 58 for the left front. This does indeed equal the 172 sts that I will cast on.

I have placed markers between the above sections (after 58, then 56 sts) of my caston because it will help me later when I have to determine which sts are part of which section.

tweed coat cast on

Next, we simply work 6 rows in k2p2 rib:

tweed collar

Now, we are asked to work one row in alternating rib. If you look at the stitch pattern definition on page 100, it says to work the first 4 rows such that you start with k2…but, since we are asked to begin working in alternating rib…I start here on a P2…so that I’m actually starting to work in stitch pattern. Otherwise, I just keep working in k2p2 ribbing.

This brings us to the “SHAPE CENTER OF COLLAR” section, in which we begin short row shaping.

Continuing to work in alternating rib stitch, we start our short rows.
Work to 5 sts after 3rd marker, wrap and turn, work to 5 sts after next marker wrap and turn.

Here’s what that looks like:

tweed collar

I’ve worked for 5 sts past the marker, and will wrap the next stitch, turn my work to the other side, and then work 5 sts after the next marker, wrap the next (6th) st, and turn.

So you do that…and then in brackets is:

[work to 6 sts before wrap of row before previous row, wrap and turn] 4 times.

tweed collar

You knit until there are 6 sts left before the wrapped stitch, then wrap stitch #1 and turn. And do that 4 times.
Each time you do a short row in this way, you’re working over fewer and fewer sts at the back neck.

**NOTE: A point of debate here might be that I say in the instructions to knit to 6 sts BEFORE the wrapped stitch, which would mean that instead of having sts numbered 1 – 6 in the image above, I’d have 1 – 7 (including the wrapped st.) Either way you choose to count will work. We are simply adding height here, and whether it’s 2 sts broader or narrower will not make much difference in the end.

After you do the above process 4 times, your work will look like this:

tweed collar 6

You have essentially inserted a lens-shaped piece of fabric into the back neck of your collar. This adds height to the back of the collar, so that it hugs the neck, rather than splatting out flat onto your shoulders and back.

In the photo below, I outlined our newly inserted fabric, so that you can see exactly what it looks like:

You also notice that within the outline, we are able to keep in stitch pattern as we go back and forth doing our short rows. BUT…there is some irregularity in the stitch pattern when we compare it to the surrounding fabric.

tweed collar 6 outline

I *think* that this is what’s causing people to send emails about the pattern being “screwed up” when, really, it’s just a matter of having to insert a non-linear (or non-rectangular) piece of fabric into a rectilinear stitch pattern.

You WILL HAVE some partial pattern repeats in this section, which means that some of your ribs will be longer and some will be shorter. It’s just the result of working your short rows.

Once you finish this section, you are asked to work one row even, working remaining wraps together with wrapped stitches. All you have to do is work that row from the beginning in stitch pattern. By that, I mean that if you start at the right hand edge, and are supposed to begin your alternating rib stitch with a p2, do that. And work in p2k2 ribbing all the way across. (If you’re on a k2 section, start with k2 and do a k2p2 rib all the way across.) You’ll re-establish the alternating rib pattern, and be able to continue through the next stage of the collar shaping.

Let’s go on to that “SHAPE COLLAR” section together:

Row one says to [work to marker, LLI, slip marker, RLI] 4 times work to end.
So, you work across your fabric in st patt as established in the row above. At each marker, you increase 2 stitches.

Row 2 says to work even, working inc sts in alternating rib.

What you want to do in these 2 rows is to keep your 2 new sts in the same st patt as the two surrounding them. The markers are placed so that they’re in between two “like” sts…so (k m k) or (p m p). When you increase, increase to make (k k m k k) or (p p m p p).

tweed collar

In the photo above, there are 2 k sts on either side of the marker (k k m k k)

In the next increase round, we increase so that we go back to our alternating rib pattern (k k p m p k k) or (p p k m k p p). I’ve outlined this in the photo below, in which I’ve completed an increase set and worked one half alternating rib st patt reapeat (4 rows.)

tweed collar

Here’s what the collar (to this point) looks like from a broader perspective:

tweed coat 9

Any inconsistencies in the stitch pattern are due to the insertion of our curved or lens-shaped area of fabric into a rectangular stitch pattern, and are really not that bad on the grander scheme of the whole collar.

The rest of the collar is pretty straightforward.

Now that you know what the basic setup is like, maybe you’ll even find a smoother way to insert your short rows in stitch pattern and share your mods with us!

Tweed Coat: Let's cast on together!

I’ve seen a few posts and received a couple of questions about the Tweed Coat from Glam Knits.

Glam Knits: Texturized Tweed Coat

I think we should work through the collar together.

There are a few issues at play that seem to be giving knitters pause.

For those of you who are currently paused…you’ll have to hold on a little bit longer. But…for those Tweed Coat knitters of the future…TADA!

OK. The aforementioned issues are:

1) All over stitch pattern.
2) Short rows to shape collar’s back neck (in stitch pattern.)
3) Increases within collar (in stitch pattern) to help it lay flat.

An all-over st patt is no big deal, the whole jacket is patterned. But the thing that’s messing people up is having to short row in pattern, and then also to do increases for the collar shaping. And it’s making them think there’s an error in the pattern. SO…we need to work through it and find out!

I’m going to wind some yarn and be right back (tomorrow) with progress photos and explanation.

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