Introducing: Prairie Wife

Prairie Wife design by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations
Prairie Wife design by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations
Prairie Wife design by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations
Prairie Wife design by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations
Prairie Wife design by Leah B. Thibault for Ms. Cleaver Creations

Sometimes, a yarn and a design just come together like toast and jam. This, for me, is one of those designs. Earlier this year I was contacted by Shalimar Yarns to see if I'd like to do some work with their yarn. A week or so later, I had a sweater's worth of Breathless DK in Silver Sage to work with. This is a ridiculously beautiful yarn, and an utter joy to work with, so I wanted to do it justice with the design. I ended doing way more swatching than usual to get the drape just right. 

I've long been collecting images of pioneer women with the intent of doing some designs around it, and that came to the fore here. I've been especailly entranced by the work of South Dakota painter Harvey Dunn, and the western painting of N.C. Wyeth. Prairie Wife was specifically influenced by Wyeth's The Homesteaders (left) and Dunn's The Prairie is My Garden (right). 

The Homesteaders
The Prairie is My Garden

I wanted to capture the feel of these images, do homage to the grace and strength of these pioneer women,  as well as make some nods to western fashion. So I started off the design with the yoke and back box pleat, which is borrowed from Western/cowboy shirts, but made it knitterly and feminine by the inclusion of a floral-inspired lace motif. The pleats and loose-knit fabric keeps its breezy and swingy, while 3/4 sleeve keep your hands free for work. 

I don't know if I'm allowed to say this about my own patterns, but I adore the way this one turned out, which was even better than it originally was in my head. 

Prairie Wife is worked in pieces from the bottom up, with the collar and button bands picked up and worked after seaming. The shaping is all done with the pleats, so the body is simple back and forth Stockinette stitch, until you get to the armsceye/yoke. 

Again, a big thanks to Bristol Ivy for the lovely photos (complete with cows!) and Martha Wissing for the technical editing. 

Pattern Details 


Bust Circumference: 33¼ (34 ¾, 36 ¼, 39 ¼, 44 ½, 46 ¼, 50, 53 ¾)”/ 84.5 (88.5, 92, 99.5, 113, 117.5, 127, 136.5)cm. To be worn with 2-3”/5-8 cm of positive ease.

Sample knit in size 39 ¼, with approximately 2”/5 cm of positive ease. (Wondering about ease?- Check this post out!)


4 (4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6) skeins Shalimar Yarns Breathless DK in Silver Sage [75% Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk]; 270 yds (247 m) per 141g or approximately 1042 (1088, 1145, 1217, 1307, 1336, 1422, 1489) yards of DK weight yarn.


Prairie Wife is available for purchase for $7.00 USD via the following methods:

Ravelry  //  Ms. Cleaver Creations  //  Love Knitting (coming soon)

Really love swingy A-line sweaters? FOR ONE WEEK ONLY - get both Prairie Wife and Lady Heartrose for $10.50 (Discount automatically applied to Ravelry purchases. Already have Lady Heartrose? The discount will still apply! Offer good until 10/8/15)

Ravelry  //  Ms. Cleaver Creations

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Coming Soon....

Lady Heartrose
Prairie Wife Cardigan

Two new sweater patterns coming soon.  Want to find out when they do? Sign up for the mailing list below!

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What I'm Working On

I have so many ideas these days of things I want to design, make, create and only so much time and/or energy to do such a small portion of them. It's a bit frustrating, but better than having no ideas or motivation!

After two months of straight deadline knitting, my time has opened up somewhat, and I've picked up my long-neglected Lady Heartrose Cardigan, which is inching ever closer to being finished, though I'm nervous about running out of yarn and having a heckuva time finding the kind of buttons I want. I'm thinking about holding off publishing it to do a double photo shoot with that sage lace number, which is the next knit in my queue. It's in some gorgeous Shalimar Yarn that I can't wait to knit more with.  There are going to be a lot of sweater from me this fall. 

I've also been swatching and sketching, coming up with new ideas for sweaters and embroidery projects. I've been talking with yarn dyers and companies and am trying to figure out my schedule for designs, because I have so many projects now that I have to schedule things (which is awesome and a little bit scary).

In this midst of all this, I've managed to make a 30 minute skirt for Little Miss Cleaver in 40 minutes, which was a rip-roaring success that was worn three days in a row before I insisted it needed washing. (Fabric from BeautifulWork) and spend some time with friends, and even drop in on Thursday afternoon knitting at KnitWit, where my Belacqua Cardigan sample can be found hanging by the Quince & Co. yarns. 

It's a good time for making. :) 

(PS - all these photos are from my Instagram feed, if you're into that sort of thing).

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