Reversed Wood

You say to a brick, ‘What do you want, brick?’ And brick says to you, ‘I like an arch.’ And you say to brick, ‘Look, I want one, too, but arches are expensive and I can use a concrete lintel.’ And then you say: ‘What do you think of that, brick?’ Brick says: ‘I like an arch.’

– Louis Kahn

I am continuing my goal to knit and sew up my stash this year. A few years ago I bought a bunch of Rowan 4-ply skeins in a light, leafy green from Tradera (the equivalent to Ebay in Sweden). I knew I wanted it to be a sweater to wear during summer and a few times I started knitting with it but I never really liked the result and always ended up unraveling it a bit into the pattern.

It kind of made me think of this (cheesy) quotation by architect Louis Kahn, told to me by a teacher i had during my first year in architecture school. We laughed a bit at him but I feel there is some truth in the saying. Just like asking the brick what it wants to be, I feel that each yarn have a or a few project it is waiting to turn into, unwilling to compromise. You have to know and listen to the fiber, not work against it. With this yarn, even tough I like it and knew that it would look lovely as a sweater, I was unable to find its designated pattern – until i found Wood.

Wood is made by Carrie Bostick Hoge aka Madder for the collection Elements. As the name implies, the five patterns in the collection are inspired by the five elements; wood, water, wind, fire and steel. I like the idea and I think the different patterns have successfully been able to catch the big variety of textures, shapes, details and colours connected to the different elements.I think Elements show the width of knitting, the great potential with purls and knit stitches – one of the things I like the most with knitting.

Out of all patterns, Wood appealed me the most. It is loose and drapey, yet has defined sleeves. The neckline which is feminine and flattering and not too deep, which I like. The sweater is worked flat in pieces that are sewn together in the end. To knit in the round is faster but I like seamed knits as they tend to have a nicer shape and structure compared to seamless sweaters. Wood have an reversed stockinette stitch fabric, the purl side is shown, with thin cables imitating branches growing up along the sleeves and body. The original sweater is beautifully textured, made in Brookly Tweed loft, and I think the pattern is well suited for a more rustic or textured yarn. My yarn is very soft and shiny, the opposite of Brooklyn Tweed, and so I decided to make some changes to the pattern.

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Rowan 4-ply is fingering weight, of soft merino wool, perfect for a garment that you wear right next to the skin as it won’t itch. The stitch definition is very nice, it looks especially good on knit stitches, which is the reason why I chose to modify this pattern slightly. I will remove the cables and let the knit stitches become the right side of the fabric, the bottom of the sleeves and bodice will have a simple 2×2 ribbing.

Only knitting stockinette is kind of boring and I don’t like the purl rows… If l like the fit of the sweater (I’m sure I will) I will make another in a more textured yarn following the pattern as it is. I am also thinking that Wood have potential to be a really nice cardigan.. Oh, the endless possibilities!

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