Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Month: June, 2010

Bayview Street Cardigan

Last fall, I began sketching a collection of works inspired by the landscapes – seascapes, rather – of my childhood on Cape Cod. About ten years ago, as a new knitter, I made a simple, raglan pullover for my grandmother. She would never buy herself a fancy sweater, and I thought it would be nice to make one that fit her very petite, barely 5′ self. For it to be worn at all, it needed to be something she could grab on her way out the door to wear down the street to the beach, where she liked to watch the ferries coming and going into and out of Hyannis Harbor. She loved it, partly because, for once, nothing needed to be altered: it fit perfectly. What made that sweater so perfect? It was simple, easy, it fit, it went with everything, and she could wear it anywhere. My other designs may be knitterly (i.e., with knitting interest like steeks, cables, and lots of color changes), but they are not articles I would wear anytime, anywhere. Last fall, I decided to design a cardigan that would be both knitterly and appropriate to wear every day.

Bayview Street Cardigan

Bayview Street Cardigan is the product of my efforts. I decided to name it after Bayview Street Beach, where I spent a good deal of my childhood. Down the street from my grandparents’ home, it may very well have been my first beach. As you can see, Beatrix has spent some time there too.

Bayview Street Beach

Bayview Street Beach

Testing the waters, Nana's Beach

Tracks on Nana's Beach

For this particular project, the yarn holds just as much appeal as the design. I wanted something soft, but I rarely use 100% merino yarns because they often fall apart so much more quickly than woolly wools. I selected Frog Tree Meriboo, which is 70% merino and 30% bamboo, in hopes that the strength of the bamboo would add some durability to the garment. The knitted fabric is both soft and strong as well as a little shimmery. One of the funniest parts of this design story involves the yarn. When chose Meriboo, I noticed Frog Tree was based on Cape Cod. When I spoke to Trish, one of the owners, she explained they were located only a few miles from this beach. Small world, no? In any case, Trish sent me a lovely card and a good deal of yarn to complete this project, for which I am very grateful.

Bayview Street Cardigan

I finished the pattern just after Odysseus was born, creating another problem: how to photograph it? Fortunately, my dear friend Ingrid came to the rescue with the perfect measurements to model the work. I thank her for the impeccable styling, modeling, and photography! Don’t they look great? I think it’s funny that although I did not tell Ingrid the story of the cardigan, she styled her photos at the beach.

Bayview Street Cardigan

As for the sweater details, the cardigan features tubular cast-ons at the hem and cuffs, tubular cast-offs at the neck and button bands, tapered sleeves, tailored waist shaping, and a very simple, 5-stitch lace repeat over the body. The cardigan and sleeves are each knitted in the round in one piece to the armholes, then worked flat. The only seaming required is to sew the sleeve caps into the armholes. I debated about adding a belt, but decided against it in the end because it would have required too much dull knitting for not enough use.

Bayview Street Cardigan

I am particularly happy with how the tubular edges look. Although it is a terribly fiddly endeavor, the finished product is worth the effort. Plus, it yields a nice and stretchy edge.

Bayview Street Cardigan

The buttons caused me no end of grief, as every kind I tried either looked or photographed poorly. In the end, I bought a fat quarter of coordinating fabric and made fabric-covered buttons myself. My grandmother would definitely approve of that, as she was quite the seamstress in her day! All in all, I will call this project a success. I hope you’ll think so too.

For more information about the pattern, please see the Bayview Street Cardigan page. The pattern is also available on Ravelry for $6.50.

**Photo/model credit: Ingrid Deon**


Socks Revived Design Contest Winners!

Voting has officially ended in the Socks Revived Design Contest! At long last, I can conclude this design contest and share with you the lovely prize baskets. Moving from Kansas to Ohio a few weeks ago, we packed two adults, two kids, two aging dogs, the mortgage papers, the kids’ vaccination records, and contest prize yarn into a tiny car. I know you would have done the same; after all, fancy yarn is important!

As all of the judges will attest, picking winners was quite challenging because there were so many terrific patterns from which to choose. I had hoped that a large panel of judges would result in a little something for everyone: easy, hard, simple, complex, mindless, and anything but. Happily, the winning patterns do indeed reflect the diversity of sock interest on the panel. I hope you will see work you like too! It is my pleasure to announce the five winners in order of the number of votes received followed by the beautiful prizes the contest sponsors generously donated. Each winner will receive yarn for three pairs of socks, a gift certificate for yarn for another pair, a Wee Lil’ Pouch from Splityarn, either a circular or DPN set in sock sizes, and tasty baked goods from me. I would like to add that I stalked the winners’ Ravelry pages for their color preferences when divvying up the yarn into five equal prize baskets; that is, I made no value judgments in deciding which yarns went to whom, only color judgments. Without further ado, here are the five winning designers and their patterns:

Congratulations to the winners! I wish to thank all entrants, judges, and sponsors for contributing your time and efforts. All participants will receive a free copy of the goofy little sock pattern I designed for the contest, Culture Socks, which can also be found on Ravelry for those of you who did not participate in the design contest. I hope you like it. More importantly, I hope you feel this was a valuable experience.
Culture Socks
This contest could not have come about without the generous support of the following sponsors. Please thank them for their contributions! Now, let’s go queue and knit some socks, shall we?

Socks Revived Design Contest Entries

Before I announce the five winners of the Socks Revived Design Contest (the voting will end Friday evening), I thought I would take a moment to share the 53 beautiful contenders. I am thrilled to have so many wonderful and creative designers enter sock patterns. There is no doubt that socks are on my agenda for the summer! See for yourself, I dare you not to be inspired by these works!

Stay tuned for the winners!