Oof! Between the Cold of Death and the lovely Hawaiian honeymoon, I'm so behind on the Influence series! I was going to do separate posts on my thought processes with the sleeves and fronts, but I think I'll combine them into one post. As it turns out, the two are united anyway, by the theme of "things in need of substantial tinkering."
As you'll recall, I'm designing an original sweater influenced by an all-time favorite cardi of mine, my russet version of Kim Hargreaves's Breeze.
As much as I adore this sweater, there are two things about it that have always bugged me. You can see one even on the dress form: the fronts, with their narrow button bands fastened by buttons only about every four inches or so, have always gapped, and the problem has gotten worse with time. I'm sure there are many of you out there who share my hatred of gapping: I definitely wanted to alter the front of my new cardigan to avoid a repeat. Plus, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that a ribbed button band up the front of the sweater would be dwarfed by, and at the same time distract from, the cables on either side—the cables I'm using, after all, are a lot bolder and chunkier than Hargreaves's. Also, my "background stitch" is more textured, and I was afraid that a button band would be one piece of visual stimulation too many.
I played around with the idea of a chunky/wide button band, but it just wasn't working for me. In the end I decided to go in the opposite direction: taking my cue from another Hargreaves pattern, the Darcy Jacket, I knit the relatively close-set buttonholes right into the seed-stitch fabric. No bands necessary!
(Buttons to come soon; you know they'll be cute because they were selected with the help of the awesome Jodi of Green Ray Productions!)
Sleeves are the other part of the original Breeze that always bugged me: they were about an inch shorter than I'd really like, and quite wide. I made that sweater before I understood what a simple mod sleeve-lengthening is, or I would have changed it in the beginning. In addition to longer sleeves, though, there was another issue.
As you can see, the original sweater uses the same cable motif on the sleeve as it does on the fronts and back. My cable motif, though, is just too huge to look good on your average sleeve. I decided to take the general cabling "moves" present in the main cable, and design a smaller version appropriate for sleeves. This is what I came up with:
I think it looks like it "belongs," while taking up significantly fewer stitches. I do love the transition from ribbing to cabling in Breeze, and adapted my sleeve ribbing accordingly:
It doesn't have that beautiful flowing elegance of line that Hargreaves's has, but I'm pleased with it. The one thing I regret about the sleeves on my new sweater is that I had to make them narrower than I would have liked: between the garter stitch background and the heavy cabling, my six skeins of Madelinetosh DK were consumed at an alarming rate, and the colorway is (of course) unmatchable these days. So I had to scrimp a little bit on the sleeve width. When I write up the pattern, though, it should be easy enough to add a few stitches on either side of my sample numbers.
And speaking of the pattern: any ideas on what it should be called? I've been trying to come up with some kind of riff on "Breeze" (Gale? Typhoon?), but I can't say I've had much of a brain-wave yet. I'd be happy to pay you in patterns for The Right Name!
Up next: the finished product!