swooning: part 2

Dec 20, 2015 :: by Leila Raabe

In case you missed it, yesterday we featured part 1 of our series on Swoon Maine, by Carrie Bostick Hoge, where we talked with Carrie about what goes into a book project like this. Be sure to start there if you haven't read it yet!

Today, we highlight the patterns worked in Quince yarns, designed by Carrie, Cecily Glowik MacDonald, Mary Jane Mucklestone, and myself.

clockwise, from top left: Little Shore, Shore Cardigan, both in Owl; Little Lighthouse, Lighthouse Pullover, both in Lark

- Carrie, the Shore and Lighthouse sweaters are perfect in their simplicity. And, it’s great to have adult and child versions of the patterns for each of them. What did you have in mind while developing these?

When designing the Shore Cardigans, I knew I wanted it to be a casual, comfortable sweater to live in. And since I wear Lila Top Down, another design of mine, quite a bit, I thought I would modify this same silhouette to be a button up cardigan. I like that Shore is top-down, allowing knitters to easily make fit adjustments. And for this cardigan, I used a 2x2 rib instead of garter stitch for the cuff, neck band, and hem band. The yarn is Owl, one of my all time favorites!

As for Lighthouse and Little Lighthouse, I was inspired by all the Icelandic sweaters I see at thrift stores here! I wanted to make an original design that had neutral colorwork (for the adult version) influenced by the landscape here in Maine. When I look at the yoke of this sweater I see lighthouses, the rocky coastline, and fog. 

South Paris Cowl in Finch—left, short version in color Sedum; right, long version in color Marsh

- The South Paris Cowl is written for two lengths, and has a cabled outside, plus an inside made of double seed stitch—so, there is truly no "wrong side" with this design? 

South Paris was originally designed for Cecily Glowik MacDonald’s Ashore e-book. The outside is a wavy cable pattern and the double layer interior is worked in double seed. I love the combination of these stitch patterns together! It was a last minute idea to include this cowl in the book, but I feel that the cowl’s texture is reminiscent of what I see here—the water, the rocks, even the leaves falling from the trees in Autumn, and bark, too. Speaking of Autumn, the leaves were in full color as I was finishing up the book and I got the idea in my head that South Paris Cowl needed to be in Swoon, and it needed to be in Sedum to mimic the fall foliage. Since there was not enough time to knit the full length version, it seemed like a good idea to shorten the piece. I’m so happy with how it turned out—I wear this cowl daily. The long version is also worn frequently, as when it is wrapped around your neck twice, it is warm and prettily reveals both stitch patterns.

Friends of Madder designs, left to right: Sunrise Cardigan in Tern, by Cecily Glowik MacDonald; Lichen Mitts in Lark, by Mary Jane Mucklestone; Tree Shawl in Chickadee, by Leila Raabe

- We asked Cecily what she loves most about her Sunrise Cardigan:

The subtle texture pattern is my favorite part about this piece. It is so simple, yet worked in Tern it knits up into a beautiful fabric.

This one is at the top of my own queue. The color in this cardigan does indeed bring to mind the soft, illuminated glow of a Maine sunrise. And that drape is perfect!

- What Mary Jane loves about her Lichen Mitts:

What do I love most....I have to first say that I loved using Lark because it so exactly matches the colors found in my favorite rock.  I pick up rocks wherever I go, all over the world and I have quite a few from Maine. My favorite is from Nash Island, way down east, a wee island inhabited year round only by sheep.
 
The element I like best about my mitts is the purl stitch incorporated into the "lice" patterning on the mitts. It makes the pattern look so much like flakey lichen found by the sea and it continues to delight me and make me chuckle. Carrie's pictures of the mitts are gorgeous—Swoon Maine is the book to pick up when I want to feel happy!
 
The stranded colorwork is a blending of several world knitting traditions.  Adhering to a few "rules" of traditional Fair Isle knitting, they are knit circularly using only 2 colors in the colorwork rounds, with only 5 stitches between color changes so the floats on the inside of the fabric are never very long. The cuffs are corrugated ribbing or two-color ribbing, which is a common feature of Fair Isle knitting. The stitch pattern itself is a "lice" pattern often found in Norwegian knitting. I love lice patterns; you could say I'm obsessed with lice patterns. The little purl bump was inspired by the more recent Swedish Bohus knitting, which includes purl stitches in their stranded colorwork patterns. 
 
They're fun to knit too, and when I wear them they remind me of sitting by the shore of Sebago Lake where I swatched them, and my weekly walks on Crescent Beach on the Atlantic coast where lots of Xanthoria parietina can be found.

- My favorite things about my Tree Shawl:

I love projects beginning with a lot of stitches and decreasing down to nothing—each row goes more quickly than the last. On a project like this where the entire body has a singular motif repeating again and again, it helps; by the time you experience project fatigue, you count and realize how far the stitch count has diminished, how close you are to finishing, and that keeps you going.

And this was the first time I used a Chickadee heather, which is dreamy to work with—such a round, bouncy yarn, and in a color like Audouin and the other heathers, it’s a little scruffy, a little rugged, yet still soft. While knitting this I couldn't help picturing a real chickadee nestled in a pine branch, weathering a morning drizzle.

I loved Maine from the moment I set foot in this state, but this book gives me an even greater appreciation for it.

Thank you, Carrie, Mary Jane, and Cecily for sharing your thoughts with us for this series!

Related posts in: Cardigan | Carrie bostick hoge | Cecily glowik macdonald | Chickadee | Cowls | Designers | Knitting | Lark | Leila raabe | Maine | Mary jane mucklestone | Owl | Pullover | Shawl | Sweater | Swoon maine | Texture | Wool
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