07 October 2011

Queued: Pas de Valse

I was looking at my queue and determined that I have great aspirations and never enough time, so why not spend Thursdays looking at some projects I hope to knit eventually... Once I find a way to cram more sand in the hourglass!

So, I have some serious admiration for Marnie Maclean. I love her patterns, which are always so well written, and include about a bajillion sizes. I'm big on sizes. I think it's because one of the greatest benefits of knitting a garment is the ability to make it FIT you. Not just in the offhand way that XS-XL sizing works, either. Like I said in one of my videos: Body: Small. Hips: Medium, for sure. Store-bought garments always look great up top, but they tend to ride up on me, because they're gasping for air once I stretch them over my hips! I realize my obvious solution is to buy bigger and tailor down, but that seems silly on a $20 tank top... Besides, I like this despair: It gives me More Reasons For Knitting(TM)! And we all need more of those.

Anyway, back to Marnie. She is just so flipping cute, and is one of the rare designers who has not only a huge catalog of designs, but a breadth of typologies, silhouettes, and concepts that flatter all sorts of people. She's not a skinny designer making skinny stuff, and she's not a busty designer making knits that would look great on Christina Hendricks and awful on everyone else. She does knit AND crochet. She's essentially Fiber Superwoman, and I want to be her when I grow up.

The first time I saw Pas de Valse, I fell in love. It's a fingering weight, open cardigan with this sexy lettuce edging that is raw, ruffly, and the right amount of pretty without being kitschy.

It calls for Oceanwind Knits Hand-Dyed BFL, but I could see this working in pretty much any soft sock yarn with a nice luxe feel. There are quite a few FOs on Ravelry in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, which looks awesome. For down here in Texas, it'd be amazing in cotton, keeping it airy but still warm for the occasional cooler evening. I'd warn against dramatically variegated multicolor yarns, which are combative with the design, and if you're going the variegated route, stick to hue variations of the same color, which will give it a vintage feel. Essentially, this is not a sweater for showing off your yarn; use the yarn to show off the sweater. I'd also stay away from particularly shiny yarn on this project; it begs for a matte, washed look... But on the other hand, a super fuzzy mohair is going to drown the lines in a blur of fluff.

Twelve sizes (what did I tell ya?), which run the gamut from 30" to 63" busts! The open nature of the sweater makes it a great pairing with skinny jeans, vintage flares, cute little dresses, even a great pair of wool trousers. Something I absolutely LOVE is the versatility of the closure: she shows it belted, open, and pinned, and I've gotta say: it looks ROCKIN on cute pregnant bellies, too! Something you can knit during pregnancy and wear after. I'd knit it in a cool grey or a pink similar to the test knit, pair it with my floppy vintage Joplin hat, and some flares.

Check out the Ravelry project page here, and note the depth of information about the project, before you even buy the pattern: you see what the process is going to be, so there's no !surprise! skill in the pattern that suddenly makes it be above your skill level. (The edging is a crocheted lettuce, so that'll be a new skill for me to work on.) She even talks about finding a yarn with a good halo to fill in the "holes" that are created in order to make the fabric floaty.

Dang, maybe it's time for a 5th WIP? What yarn would you use for this sweater?

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