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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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!
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.