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Meet the Tionne Pullover by Lee Meredith

If you’re a fan of our Facebook page, you may have seen our post about the fabulous Tionne Pullover by Lee Meredith a few weeks back. It’s so unique and versatile that it seems like there should be another word besides pullover to describe it. We’re delighted that Lee agreed to give us some great insights into how she came up with the design, and how Kenzie turned out to be the perfect yarn choice. Of course, we couldn’t agree more!

Be sure to read to the bottom of the blog post. We’ve got a fantastic giveaway of the yarn to make the design!

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I’ve been professionally designing accessory patterns for over 7 years, so I was pretty excited when, near the beginning of this year, I had a brainstorm for a sweater pattern concept that I thought I could handle, with zero previous garment design experience.  I had very little experience even knitting sweaters (I’d only knit one!), but this idea was boxy and without shaping, and relied on design elements that I did have lots of experience with, from my accessory designs: modular construction, any-gauge adaptability, stripes going in different directions, and flexible wearability.  I got kind of obsessed with turning the idea in my head into a pattern, and after writing out a draft and making a prototype in bulky yarn, I felt confident that this idea would indeed become my first garment design!
TionneSketch
So, once I was sure I was going to complete and self-publish the pattern, I needed to choose a yarn for my sample sweater.  I decided I wanted to use worsted weight, ideally a yarn on the lighter side of the worsted spectrum.  Like I mentioned, the design is for any gauge, so you can actually use any weight yarn – I figured a light worsted is a good kind of middle-weight for a big pullover sweater.  Knitters can make their own choices, but I wanted to present the sample in a yarn that was a really excellent fit for the pattern, of course!  So I looked around at what I had in my studio already, and I spotted a couple skeins of Kenzie that I’d bought at my LYS because I loved it, but it hadn’t yet found a project…
KenzieSwatch
I swatched with it, and yes!  It was perfect for this sweater!  Cozy, drapey, soft but durable, tweedy, excellent.  Yarn was chosen, now I just needed to pick my colors.  Oh colors, always a tough decision!
KenzieColors
Skacel sent me a color card, so that helped – well, actually it kind of made the decision harder, since all the colors were so great in real life!  I was tempted to make my sample with more colors, just so I could use more, since I loved them so much… but, I didn’t want the colors to overwhelm the design of the sweater, so I decided to stick with just two.  I spent about a month (!) thinking it over, making this colored-in sketch in all the different combos I was considering:
ColorsSketch
I finally landed on Malbec for the main color and Boysenberry for the contrasting stripes.
KenzieYarns
I am so happy with my choice – I love how the finished sweater turned out!!  After knitting my sample, finalizing the pattern, and having it test knit by several fabulous knitters, my first garment pattern, Tionne, was released to the world at the beginning of November!
TionneCollage
Skacel has generously offered up a sweater’s worth of Kenzie to one lucky winner!  Seriously lucky, because trust me, Kenzie is an AWESOME yarn!  I had a fantastic time knitting with it, and I’ve been wearing my soft, cozy sweater all the time since I finished it.  Love it SO MUCH!!
Want to win the yarn to make Tionne? Check out the gorgeous colorways on the Skacel site and leave a comment here with your choice of the two you would use! Deadline to enter is Friday, November 20th at 12 pm PST. Good luck!
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The Matalina Pullover – Interweave Knits Winter 2015

It’s probably not a coincidence that my favorite design from the latest issue of Interweave Knits is the Matalina Pullover by designer Josie Mercier. After all, the yarn she used is the sumptuous Cashmere Queen from Schoppel-Wolle. Any garment designed with a merino, cashmere and silk blend is going to be a winner, and Matalina certainly is that. We invited Josie to tell us all about her experience with this design and the yarn, and here’s her story.

Enjoy!

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The Matalina sweater began in February of 2014 – and my home in Canada is sweater inspiration incarnate in February. An email came from Interweave Knits saying that they were looking for finer-gauged cabled sweaters. I love cables and sweaters individually, and together they are my very favourite thing to design and to knit.

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I knew that I wanted the sweater to be fitted with waist shaping and set-in sleeves since lighter weight yarns are great for closer-fitting garments. I’ve had a thing for staggered cables lately and they seem to be working themselves into many of my design ideas. I wanted the loopy, staggered cables to take center stage in this pattern, not only because they appeal to me so much, but because another repeat can be added to each edge of the panel to make it wider for larger bust sizes. I also liked that, there was a center point to the cable which could be incorporated into the neck shaping. The other two cables were chosen because the scale worked nicely with the center panel.

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After all the design elements were assembled, I searched for a name that was feminine and classic but not saccharine and finally found it in fiction: Matalina, the ethereally beautiful four-inch tall fairy wife with a heart of gold and nerves of steel from Kim Harrison’s novel “Dead Witch Walking”.

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After the Matalina pattern was accepted by Interweave Knits, I began eagerly checking the mail for the yarn that Interweave had chosen. When I first heard that the yarn I was getting was a single ply, I was nervous that the cables would be obscured by the puffiness of the yarn. Once I saw the yarn swatched up, I knew that I’d had no reason to be nervous. Schoppel-Wolle’s Cashmere Queen is ever-so-slightly felted which keeps the yarn from overwhelming the stitch pattern, but it still has just enough of the lightness and halo of a single ply. And the green colour was bright enough to be cheerful but not so bright as to be overbearing.

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Knitting up this cabled sweater on US Size 5 / 3.75 mm needles on a tight deadline will forever be near the top of my list when I think of my knitting accomplishments. Fortunately, it’s never that difficult to spend long hours with cashmere and silk running through your fingers. Never the less, it was with a great sense of accomplishment that I blocked this sweater the day before it needed to go off in the mail. That good feeling flattened like wet angora when I looked down at the sweater and found a mistake in the cable. One that could not be fixed without ripping out at least two weeks of work. One that I had no hope of fixing in time. One that stayed in the sweater can be seen in the magazine’s photographs.

And no, I’m not going to tell you where the mistake is!

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A finished sweater! I always take a snapshot of my finished sweaters before mailing them off because I’m terrified that something will happen to it in transit and I’ll have no proof that I’ve done all that work.

You can buy the magazine at your LYS or via the Interweave site. Take a look at all the glorious colorways of Cashmere Queen on our site and ask for it at your LYS!