Carmen is finally available! I just released the third of five patterns that I’m working on in collaboration with Southwest Trading Company.
Trunk Shows On The Road
Carmen and her sisters Audra, Pacifica, and Lillian were on display at the SWTC booth at the TNNA (a needlearts) trade show in Columbus about 1 month ago. Currently, they are all on tour with SWTC. They will be visiting other trade, fashion and trunk shows with the SWTC team. (I staggered the releases, and Lillian will be next in line.)
The yarn I used for Carmen is Tranquility in a juicy orange color. I am a sucker for good reds and oranges. As I attested in my post about Audra, this yarn really stands up to some abuses.
Inspiration & Unique Details
Carmen continues my exploration into textures, simple lines, and unconventional knits. Also, Carmen is my first raglan-style sweater. I wanted something that had all those elements, plus some fun, so I designed Carmen to be knit in ONE seamless piece from the crown to the bolero’s edge. Then to tie everything together, stitches are picked up for a complementary textured border.
Until Carmen, I’ve always stayed away from raglan styles because overly buxom women like myself really have a hard time with such shapes. In most top-down raglan construction, one has to increase until the bust is the appropriate width. The problem with buxom women is that by the time you increase enough for the bust, we end up with “batwing” sleeves. To solve this problem for Carmen, extra stitches are cast on at the underarms to add to the bust measurement. The result is a comfortable fit with a good drape.
The sample was knitted by my good friend Kristie Naranjo, who also sample knits for Cookie A. and Chrissy Gardiner.
Carmen is a relatively simple but interesting knit and is available in eight (8) different sizes! If you don’t like cropped cardigans or boleros, you’ll be able to modify the pattern easily into a full-length cardigan simply by lengthening the body.
Refining A Pattern
I didn’t experience the type of problems with the finished sample of Carmen as I had with Audra. However, I wasn’t completely happy with the ease allowance I wrote in for the hood. I wanted the hood to have more ease than it does in the sample, but it wasn’t so much as a flaw (like Audra’s neckline) — it was more of a refinement and I didn’t feel the need to reknit the sample.
Though, prior to sending the pattern off to Michael del Vechio, of Kitting with Balls fame, to be ripped to shreds to tech edit, I changed some of the proprotions of the hood to allow a little more ease. Yes indeed, the tech editing process really redlined my copy, but I expected it. Besides, I really not the type to cry over constructive criticism. Michael and I have very different writing styles and I really wanted to have someone with such a different style to edit my work as a means for me to think outside of my box and grow as a designer. His style is American magazine style: concise and prose, like what you may see in Interweave Knits or Vogue Knitting.
A snapshot excerpt from the Carmen pattern. Click for enlarged view.
I like to put little bullets in my patterns (see photo above), which has been largely favored by my knitter-consumers, test knitters and sample knitters I polled, but a definite no-no in publishing. In the end, I did incorporate some of his suggested language (and of course the errors that he found), but I still kept much of my general writing/formatting style.
(On a side note, I just joined Twitter a few days ago and my current following is dismal. I haven’t quite figured out how to get more Twitter exposure yet and am still trying to get acclimated to the culture. So if you are on there, please follow me @AnneKuoLuktio so that I don’t feel like a total loser. 🙂 Thanks!)
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