You asked for 'em


You got 'em.


We seized a few minutes - literally - of gorgeous sunny weather to snap these modeled shots of Maxine.*


Although it was frustrating to have the light fade just as we were warming to our task, I think the twilit quality of the scene created some fantastic moody shadows. We don't have the lighting equipment (or fee-money!) to shoot inside in an atmospheric speakeasy-type bar, but this kind of light is the next best thing.


For me, knitting Maxine was a joy from start to finish; I hope the test-knitters and purchasers feel the same! I held the fingering-weight yarn doubled, which gave me a DK-weight gauge. Combine that with the lack of sleeves, and it was a surprisingly quick knit. The beads and the bias-panels broke up the monotony of stockinette stitch, but the pattern is incredibly easy to intuit. No charts; no graphs! I think it's probably my most accessible sweater pattern to date. It's even sans waist shaping, which was a little nerve-wracking for me, but I love the end result. The fabric is drapey, and there are a few inches of negative ease at the bust and hips, so it still looks fitted while also being true-to-period.


The trickiest part of this design is the seaming. The sides are just long, straight seams, with no increases or decreases to be found, so you would think they wouldn't require that much attention. You would be wrong. Not that they're deadly difficult or anything, but it surprised me how easily those beaded diagonals could get off-kilter if I let my mind wander, and they really are so pleasing when they meet each other exactly at the seam. I ended up putting a pin at every point of intersection, which meant that the seaming took longer and was slightly fussier than usual, but the end result is, without doubt, the most beautiful seam I've ever executed.


The curved hems were actually a surprise, but I just love them. I love them from the front/back, and I love them from the sides; they add another layer of Deco-style, architectural sensibility to the piece as a whole.


I'm proud of Maxine because I think it's one of the best articulations of a specific period that I've designed. I feel like I'm getting better at identifying signature details of particular eras, and also at thinking about how to communicate the zeitgeist (or at least, my rosy-spectacled conception of the zeitgeist) in a piece of clothing. Maxine Elliott was a living example of the carefree/careworn, youthful spirit of the 1920's, and I think her garment lives up to her story.


*Note for those who care: that little fur piece is real, but I inherited it from David's grandmother; I wouldn't buy new fur, even if I could afford it!


  • Maxine is beautiful! I love the curved hems. How much yarn did this take?

  • Oh my goodness! Emily, you are just amazing. You work in such an amazing variety of styles. So much talent. I don't say this often but I really envy you.

  • Very cool. You make the coolest things.

  • Dear Emy,
    Love the sweater, love the photo shoot, love the artist. My Nana would have really enjoyed wearing this beautiful sweater. She always wore jewelry so the hundreds of beads knitted into the diagonal lines evoke her style perfectly and she would have thought the fur was like frosting on a cake; delicious! You have captured her spirit.
    Great job Emily and David.
    Love to you both.

  • I love watching your designs unfold and come to be. Beautiful!!!!

  • Dear Miss Emily -- I've been watching your family trunk project for a long time now and I dont think I've ever commented... but your stunning Maxine compelled me to! You've outdone yourself here and created a really beautiful garment. There are so many pretty details from the beading to the cut to the seams.... and your photos here really are great too. My brother is a photographer and he always says that the evening sun... the 'golden hour' is the best and most flattering for pictures.

    Anyhow -- GREAT work. I am in awe.

  • I gasped when I saw these pictures - I knew I liked how Maxine was shaping up, but seeing her modeled makes all the difference in the world. You did such a great job with this one! I know I'll have to knit Maxine, even if it means adding yet another pattern to my crowded queue. The art deco lines are an inspired touch. And may I add that I love your hair and shoes? I think this is my favorite Family Trunk design so far, and that's saying something, because I've loved all of them.

  • Lovely! Very classy and surprisingly versatile...

  • I don't think it would look very good on me, but I LOVE it! I'll have to admire it on others :)

  • beautiful... you and the new garment! it shows that you truely care about your designs... and it's this love that we're all drawn to... I hope someday you'll consider publishing a book using the formula of sharing your family stories, history and knitting patterns... I know I (for one) would definately buy it!

  • Beaut.

    I agree it's maybe the most true-to-period piece you've created.

    Have you seen the "House of Eliott" TV series (BBC)? 1920's haute couture house in London. AMAZING clothes - mostly sewing of course, but Maxine would fit right in.

  • It really is a beautiful and very creative project. Fabulous! - Aldo Disorbo

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