I have often written about following people around the street, studying their knitwear. I can't help it...its a compulsion. A jumper, hat or cardigan catches my eye and I am off - singularly focussed on figuring out how it was made. I have been known to trip over children, dogs and lampposts as I mentally deconstruct the knit or crochetwear. The Pleated Cardigan is no exception - inspired by one seen on the school run, I walked slowly behind the woman as she herded her children to the car, hoping I would seem less stalkerish than I felt. It wasn't her cardigan I actually liked as such, but a small detail of a gather at the waistband. I knew I needed to use that element in a design a bit more fitted and wearable than the oversized supermarket jumper the woman was wearing. Loose and flowing at the back with pleats gathering the waist just a shade above the natural waistline - a style that tends to be more flattering, accentuating a smaller (for most of us) part of the figure. Three quarter length lantern sleeves finish it off with a nod to practicality.
And the yarn, oh the yarn. Jeanette Sloan Silk Alpaca 4ply is just divine. I really think that Jeanette has got it right with this yarn - it works up like a cloud - soft and luscious. The seamed, set in sleeves give the cardi just the right amount of structure - needed in such a drapey elegant yarn.
Much of my drive in designing is that I want to make things that are going to be used and worn and loved. Be under no illusion, a cardigan out of 4ply silk-alpaca yarn is a commitment, both in terms of time and expense, but its designed to be a wardrobe staple. It is the type of thing that can be dressed up for work with a pencil skirt and blouse or over jeans for the weekend. Its flattering shape means that the work you put in is paid off with something, I hope, special.
Inside Crochet Issue 46 is out now.
Photos copyright Britt Spring.