As I mentioned in my previous post, my Orchard Cardigan made it’s way to the pages of Interweave Knits Fall 2019. I wanted to go through some of the special details and design features of this cardigan with you today.
First, construction. I love playing with construction and will often push far outside the box. The results can be epic - though sometimes it’s an epic failure… but when it’s not and it all comes together just as I had imagined, oooooh there are not words to describe it! Orchard is worked side to side, but not cuff to cuff—rather, from the center out. I prefer the path of least resistance which, in this case, meant working two identical pieces and seaming them together. I taught a stretchy techniques class at STITCHES Midwest and the stretchy 3-needle bind-off was one of the techniques covered. A few of my attendees asked when this bind-off would be appropriate and the short answer is whenever you need some stretch to your bind-off, but more specifically, I love it for a shoulder seam in light fabric that doesn’t need the sturdy hold of a traditional 3-needle bind-off OR in a case like Orchard where the bind-off is used as a vertical seam.
That brings me to the finer details. All of those pronounced seams created by the 3-needle bind-off are accented by faux seams worked using a combination of purled, knit, and slipped stitches. You can clearly see an example on the sleeve. I wanted the details to be cohesive, to flow, to have a direction for the eye to travel. It’s one of those things that I will often spend a lot of energy working out even if, in the end, it becomes a natural or subtle detail that might be easily missed.
Finally, I want to talk briefly about balance. There are plenty of knitters that love stitching out cable motifs from the moment they cast on to the moment they bind off. Others find the endless strands of colorwork meditative or thrilling. I’m not either of those knitters. I like a bit of engagement and a bit of rest. Tides of focus and tides of mindlessness. Because there are many stitch patterns to track, decreases to work in pattern, and shifts in pattern through the shoulders of Orchard, I wanted the remainder to be easier knitting - a break for the mind. There are times I step back and worry a design is a bit too simple or looks like something that could be pulled off a rack, and so again, I search for the balance. I want to bring enough interesting detail that it’s clearly special. I think that goal is achieved in Orchard.
I honestly can’t wait for the sample to come home!! If you are working up your own Orchard, please be sure to tag me on IG or use #orchardcardigan so I can follow along with your progress.
Have a lovely weekend, friends!