Thursday, June 02, 2011

Mariposa (Schwaan)

Email marketing really works. I received the Berroco Knitbits newsletter with a link to the newly-released Norah Gaughan Volume 8 pamphlet. I went out to the Slipt Stitch at lunch to buy it.
Notice that my version is not a literal interpretation of the cover sweater.
I really do not need the textured band around my hips, especially at the huge gauge of 3 stitches per inch. I also don't love the lace netting at the base of the triangles. I like the way it echoes the lace netting bands at the bottom, but I don't need it if I eliminate the bands.

Thanks to the magic of Ravelry, I had the collective wisdom of the 50+ people who had knitted the pattern before me. (Ravelry is crowd-sourcing done right. It's the category killer of online knitting communities.) Many got rid of the bulky bands at the bottom and substituted yarns at slightly different gauges.

One person mentioned that she didn't like the many holes in the base of the triangle and substituted one row of holes instead. Another person said that she didn't want bulky seams and knitted everything but the inset in one piece. That might have been the same person who mentioned short-row shaping to eliminate the weird triangle extensions at the neck.

In a recycling fervor, I hauled out the bag of Rowan Summer Tweed (70% silk/30% cotton/+bonus vegetable matter) that my sister sent. She had abandoned a project that was just not right for the yarn so I ripped it out and salvaged the yarn. There were the equivalent of 6 balls of this purple color, 2 in a dark blue and one in a chalky white. I tried to knit it at the recommended 4 sts/in and got a texture resembling cardboard. Moreover, knitting the yarn at this tight gauge made my hands and wrists hurt. When I switched to a larger needle, the resulting fabric had an appealing soft, drapey quality that matched its color. (3.5 by 5.5 sts/in)

Changing the gauge meant that I had to adapt the stitch count and all the shaping. I also had to rechart the lace triangles--these are 29 stitches wide. You can see the short-row shaping at the top of the sleeves. While I was changing everything else, why not change the neckline finish?

Note the short-row shaping of the back shoulders. Since both the overall gauge and the ratio of row and stitch gauge was drastically different, I changed the raglan shaping sequence.

My short-row shaping chart on top with a partial table of raglan shaping below. In case you haven't noticed before, I am a strongly visual person.
I also added back waist shaping. In this pattern, you can't add front waist shaping without destroying the geometric design on the front.
Another project from freebie reclaimed materials completed!

Ravelry link for project.

Two people told me that the sweater reminded them of a butterfly. I work in El Segundo, home of the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly. It's a scrappy little thing, less than an inch across and it lives on the ocean bluffs sandwiched between a giant oil refinery, the main water treatment plant for metro LA and LAX, one of the ten busiest airports in the world. Its habitat is the last undeveloped area along the Santa Monica bay coastline.
I really respect the denizens of El Segundo for the way the community embraced this little butterfly. Instead of decrying the endangered species act and mouthing off about government interference and landowner rights, the entire town rallied to save and restore the habitat.

Mariposa (the Spanish word for butterfly) street is named it. Many business names in El Segundo contain the word Mariposa or Butterfly. You will see it on the sidewalks, on signs--the library even commissioned a blue butterfly quilt design. (I took a photo of it before I noticed the sign saying that the artist does not want images of the quilt to be posted on the internet and I am respecting her wish. But, if you are in ES, I urge you to see the gorgeous quilt.)

The town really identifies with the scrappiness of this little butterfly. Anyway, that is why I think of it as my Mariposa sweater. I've had a difficult time this year with my health and this sweater, in my favorite color, is a reminder to me to hang tough.


  1. What a beautiful sweater! I hope you feel better soon.

  2. This is a great example of pattern adaptation. I like your modified pattern even better than the original. Gaughan's patterns are very interesting, but they can have fussy bits and some fitting issues, and you honed the idea to its essence, solving those problems at the same time. Bravo!

  3. gorgeous! Now I want to stop knitting everything and do this one. But I want it to look more like yours.

  4. Great sweater! I had completely forgotten about that yarn and the abandoned project. I, too, did not enjoy knitting that yarn at a tight gauge. Good work.

  5. I love it! I am super jealous of your knitting talent as well.


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