Influence: Part 3


At last: the third part of the Influence series! In case you forgot what all this is about, I'm designing a new, original sweater inspired by an old favorite of mine. Last time I modified a found cable motif and paired it with garter stitch, for a look that's a little more rustic and "cushy" than Kim Hargreaves's Breeze design, but which takes the nautical feel of Hargreaves's cardigan in another direction.


Now, one of my absolute favorite things about Hargreaves designs is the organic flow of ribbing/finishing into body:


It's not like Kim Hargreaves invented this technique; she and Eunny Jang just happen to be the designers I learned it from, but there are plenty of others who make it a priority as well. Which actually brings up an interesting question: an artist (say, Beatrice) can be a strong influence on another artist (say, Chris), for reasons which don't originate with Beatrice at all. A casual observer, in fact, could assume that Chris's primary influence must have been Beatrice's mentor Abigail, when in fact Chris could be totally unaware of Abigail's existence except through her influence on Beatrice. There's also the possibility, of course, that Chris, Beatrice and Abigail all just worked toward similar conclusions independently; from the outside, there's often no way of telling. (We were just having a conversation about this over at my other blog; some friends and I read a short story by Borges that reminded me strongly of Nabokov's Pale Fire—but had Nabokov read Borges before writing his book? Does it matter?)

Anyway, in this case I'm claiming a strong Hargreaves influence: even though Kim didn't invent the whole ribbing-into-cables idea, she certainly put it to good and consistent use. When I was first learning about sweater-knitting, her patterns were always so pleasing for the smooth way all the elements come together: ribbing into cables, sleeves into armscyes, collars that tied everything together by repeating a motif from the cuffs. So I wanted to be sure that my homage sweater included this detail of Breeze. Since my chosen cable is built off a modified 4x2 ribbing, that seemed like a good finish for the lower edge, with the full-blown cable emerging organically from it:


Obviously, this is shaping up for a much different feeling than Breeze. Chunkier, less linear and more three-dimensional, with chewy textural qualities in place of Breeze's Deco sophistication. I kind of like the idea that Breeze, which set me on the path of tailored Deco-inspired garments, is now helping me to explore a different kind of cardigan. Despite all the differences, though, I think the influence is still visible when you look at the completed back:


Since my cables are so much chunkier than the ones in Breeze, I omitted the center-back repetition, but retained Hargreaves's basic idea of locating the left and right cables just at the place where the armhole decreases end. Despite the bulkiness of these cables, I think the final effect, with the narrow-ish column of garter stitch between the two cables, will end up giving the impression of slenderness.

The waist shaping is understated, but hopefully effective (in this photo it's pinned out into more or less a straight line along Gertrude's curves):


I based the pattern of decreases and increases on measurements I took from my Breeze sweater, which decreased about an inch relatively quickly, then increased slightly more than an inch much more gradually. For this new cardi I actually exaggerated the gradualness of the increase, spreading it out over almost the entire length of the body prior to the armhole decreases, but kept the slope of the initial decreases more or less the same. So far, I'm quite pleased.

Up next: the completed torso!

Previous posts in the series:


  • Beautiful! Think of all the knitters who you will inspire and won't realize the connection to Hargreaves. (Also, I don't remember where, but I voted for you as my favorite designer! Figured since I told everyone else, I should tell you.)

  • Aw, thanks Maria! You're awesome. :-)

  • squishy yummy.

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