Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all! I have to admit, I probably wouldn’t have realized that today is St. Patty’s until after the fact, but I *just so happen* to have this lovely, Celtic-inspired new sweater pattern to share with you, so I actually checked the date before starting this post. Research, y’know :P.
Anywho, I mentioned a few posts back that I had discovered a wonderful fabric and yarn store near where I’m living in New England called Twill, and it turns out that one of the gals who works there is not only an expert knitter, but also a fantastically talented designer! She recently released a trio of Celtic knits called Irish Roots (on a special sale through today!), and the sweater I’m showing today, Claggan Bay, is a garment I actually helped test knit for her. It was my first experience test knitting, which was pretty cool. I’ve done test sewing before, but never knitting, so I was glad to be able to swing by the store to ask Mindy (the designer) questions as I made my way through the pattern.
I have a soft spot for cables, so I really enjoyed knitting this up! I’d never done “saddle increase” shaping for the top of a sweater before, so this was a new adventure. This method of increasing essentially creates a kimono sleeve as a continuation of the neck/shoulders, instead of picking up all the sleeve stitches to do a set-in sleeve. It also creates a subtle cowl effect in the front, which is a nice design detail.
Perhaps my favorite design element, though, is the back shaping. To create a slight hour-glass shape, Mindy wrote in a series in decreases and increases once you reach the smallest part of your waist, which I think looks really cool:
One of the big things I really appreciated about this pattern and about Mindy’s designs in general is that she makes the fit very personalized. So, instead of saying, “knit 7 inches down from the armhole to begin your back decreases,” she says, “knit until you reach the smallest part of your waist,” etc., which is rather ingenious, since we all have such different bodies. For me, the smallest part of my waist is much higher than average, so this ensured that the shaping would fall in the correct place, and not in an awkward spot on my bum.
As far as sizing is concerned, I made a small, which is the second size up. I was waffling between that and an XS, but the yarn I chose is less drapey than the yarn the sweater was designed for, so I thought that sizing up would help it drape a little better. I think I made the right call – the upper sleeve is still a bit on the tight side, so I have a feeling the smaller size would’ve turned this into a muscle sweater. Ha!
So, all in all, I’m really happy with this new addition to my knit wardrobe – part of me is almost hoping that it stays cold a little longer so I can wear it more! (don’t worry, I said almost…hopefully I didn’t just jinx anything…fingers crossed!)