Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Autumn Inspired Colorful Cardigan for Nashua Handknits

Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year. I love the crisp, cold air and the opportunity to walk with our dogs on our country road bundled in a wool sweater, scarf and mittens. Best of all is the fabulous show of color I see around me. Here's a maple tree on our road as it looked last week. A little further along, the sumacs were putting on an absolutely breath-taking show (picture below).

Quite a few years ago, there was a color trend that was popular in knitting stores - doing customer's colors and selecting the season that they should wear. I can't remember what it was called - maybe someone else does. People were crazy over it - they wouldn't knit anything unless it was one of their colors. I was an "autumn" which was no surprise to me. Brown hair with reddish highlights, freckles, fair skin, and an October birthday. Although I didn't totally buy into this thing, these are the colors I naturally turn to to when I'm not wearing some dark, dreary, black or khaki shade (can't help that either - easy and doesn't show dirt considering my lifestyle).

Jackie Katzenstein, the longtime owner of the famous and fabulous "Wild and Woolly Studio" in Lexington, Massachusetts has been a good friend of mine for years. At trade shows, I always look forward to her "words of wisdom" that she is never short to offer (love you Jackie!). When I was at Classic Elite, she frequently called me to speak her mind. When I was younger (in my late 20's and totally obsessed by my career and striving for perfection), I used to shudder when she called - knowing somehow "we" had screwed up and I would have to fix "it" - the problem. I don't have to do that anymore (thank goodness). Jackie also accused me frequently of using too many autumn colors in my designs. Well, she was correct - I couldn't help it - I was just attracted to those shades. Now, when I am developing a large project - like a book, I make sure I remember Jackie and her "winter" complexion (not that she is the only "winter" in the world...). I try to show shades to fit everyone's taste (although right now, I really can't go anywhere near pastels - please don't ask me to do that).

I designed this Fair Isle Cardigan for this Fall's Nashua Handknits Pattern Collection. You can find the pattern in the Fall 2006 "Designer Book" at your local yarn store. Knit in my Julia Mohair, Wool, and Alpaca, the body is knit in two color fair isle using Harvest Spice NHJ0178 for the background and Deep Blue Sea NHJ6396 for the diamonds. The edges are worked in Reverse Stockinette Stitch in contrasting shades of Lady’s Mantle NHJ 3961, Magenta NHJ2083, and Blue Thyme NHJ4936. The buttons are really fun - they are handknit. After it was all put together, I added some duplicate stitch and embroidery to pull the trim colors into the main body of the cardigan. I think it is my favorite sweater design this season.

Tomorrow I'll be posting a Duplicate Stitch Tutorial so that you can see how easy it is to transform plain Fair Isle into something more special.


Kathleen C. said...

I think the system might have been called "Color Me Beautiful"? At least there was a seasonally named color system called that in the 80's.
And there are still versions of it around, but now they're subdividing the categories to fit all the variations within each larger category.
But thanks for thinking of us Winters!

Janet Szabo said...

As another Winter, I really appreciate the retina-burning bright colors in some of your designs. It seems all the colorways in clothes and yarns for the past couple of years have been muddy earth tones. It's no accident that my kitchen is painted bright green and the bathroom is turquoise.

maryse said...

please -- no pastels ever!

i'm a "winter" who finds herself jumping into the autumn colors every once in a while. i'm currently obsessed with orange.

i love your bright deep color choices.

Wanda said...

It's truly a beautiful desing.