Introducing the Cormac Sweater

Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault, KnitScene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015
Cormac Sweater by Leah B. Thibault for Knitscene Fall 2015

More often than not, I'm a "come up with a design idea and try to find the right yarn" kind of designer, but in the case of the Cormac Sweater in the new Fall Knitscene? Completely the other way around. 

Knitscene had put out a call for submissions back in October for items featuring chainette-style yarn. Something, I'll admit to never having used before, but my curiosity piqued, I went down to my Local Yarn Store  and picked up a skein of Shibui Maai. They had a sample of it knitted up at the shop, a super cushy garter stitch scarf. But when I got the yarn home and began knitting with it, cushy didn't feel right to me. It was so springy and light, that I wanted to push it even further in that direction, the yarn screamed out "make me lace!" And so I did. 

A simple 4 stitch/4 row lace pattern was quickly decided upon and knit up on larger than usual (for me, anyway) needles. All air and lace and drape, but like eiderdown, the loftiness and halo of Maai fill in the gaps, meaning Cormac is a sweater that is both lacey and warmer than you'd think.

I wanted the fabric to be center stage, but also knew that the drapiness of the fabric could make fancy shaping a bit of a bear, so a boxy construction, with drop-shoulder sleeves made the most sense.  It seemed like something one of those impossibly chic girls would wear for a morning at the cafe, hair in a messy bun, oversized latte with foam art and a paperback novel near at hand. Easy to pull on and as comfortable as a sweatshirt, but a whole lot prettier. 

Because of the minimal shaping and the larger needles and the simple lace, Cormac is also a pretty quick knit. If I had to make one change, I'll probably make the sleeve cuffs a bit snugger and/or the sleeve a tad bit shorter, but when I had seamed the whole thing together and hung it on my mannequin, I thought - yes, that is just what I wanted it to be. 

Cormac, along with a number of other gorgeous designs like Annie Watt's Oddity Scarf, Nadya Stalling's Couturier Jacket and Courtney Spainhower's Caldwell Pullover, are available in the Fall 2015 issue of Knitscene, currently available digitally, and on newsstands on July 14th. In the meantime you can queue or favorite it up on Ravelry.

Do you have a favorite design in this issue? Have you ever worked with chainette yarn? Does your yarn ever get demanding with you like the Maai was with me? 

You can see some of my previous Knitscene designs here or on Ravelry

All Photos: Courtesy of Knitscene/Harper Point Photography

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Giveaway Winner

The Random Number Generator picked 4, so our winner is micicuta!


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Introducing the Knitscene Featured Designer Collection!!

So on Tuesday, something very exciting happened for me. A national magazine hit the newstands with my name on the cover (spelled right and everything)!! Way back in March I got a email from Lisa Shroyer, the Knitscene editor, asking if I would be interested in doing a collection as their featured designer for the Winter issue.

Would I?! And in the Winter issue none the less?? I think I thought about it for a minute before I said yes, yes and yes!

After about a week, I sent Lisa a packet of about six design proposals ranging from the simple to the complex and included four sweaters and two accessories, plus one more accessory I had submitted to magazine through the regular process. (Some of the "rejects" will likely show up as designs in the future too). We edited it down to three items, which I though was doable in the approximately 8-week knitting period.

Some yarn was ordered and fortunately some of it matched my swatching yarn, so I was able to get a head start on the math. As soon as my first yarn arrived, I start knitting like a crazy person. (Fortunately no repetitive stress injuries were obtained in the process of making this collection.) In end, we ended up with three designs that I'm very proud of.

Willamette Coat


The Willamette Coat (they named it after my alma mater) is my personal favorite in the collection. It's an idea that's been banging around in my head for over a year, and I was glad to finally get it out into reality. The big feature hear is the asymmetrically buttoned front with the dramatic cable panel and the matching cabled cuffs. I think the sample might have been a bit small on the model, because it can button (for example, dress form it's a size 35" sample on a 33" bust), but I'd recommend a minimum of 2" positive ease.

The sample was knit in Berroco Vintage Chunky an acrylic/wool blend that is probably my favorite machine-washable yarn ever. It comes in a bunch of great colors, is fairly inexpensive, and doesn't feel plastic-y at all (though the ends are a bit harder to weave in). I'm actually on my third project with this yarn now, that's how much I like it. If you're looking to sub, I'd recommend any bulky weight wool that shows cables well.

Toulouse Pullover


The Toulouse Pullover has been the big hit on Ravelry so far. Knitscene did some lovely boho-chic styling on this one, that I think has really attracted people to it. Which is funny as I considered it a much more 50s-style garment in my head when I was making it, but that just shows the versatility and timelessness of the bow-neck I suppose.

This item is probably the easiest knit in the whole collection. After you knit the collar/ties back and forth the rest is a super simple raglan with no body shaping. Again, I'm not sure on the model's size, but for comparison it's a size 34 3/4" on a 33" dress form in the center photo.

The yarn for this sample is Classic Elite's Mountain Top Vista, an organic worsted weight wool. It's got a nice hint of halo, surprisingly drapey, and is definitely sheepy. In the projects that are already (!) popping up on Ravelry a lot of people are subbing in Berrocco's Ultra Alpaca, which would be a really good choice too. Anything with a bit of drape and halo.

Marketa Mitts


This is the only design in the collection I named myself, and like the mag says, they were inspired by Mareketa Iglova's character in once. They're your basic fingerless mitts, knit in reverse stockinette with a tulip-esque insert panel that's a combo of a bunch of sts.

This sample was knit in Shibui Baby Alpaca DK - a super dreamy yarn to knit with, though I'm not sure I'd call it a DK (these were knit on size 2/ 2.75 needles). The could easily be done in a fingering weight, and something with less halo would show off the stitch pattern a bit more clearly.

Where can I get these?

Right now the magazine is on newstands, or can be purchased as a digital magazine.  There are several other lovely patterns in there, as well as a 2-page profile on me.

If you want to favorite or queue these up, here are the links for the Willamette Coat, Toulouse Pullover, and Marketa Mitts.

A Giveaway!

I've also got one signed copy of the magazine, along with a skein of Shibui Baby Alpaca DK in Artichoke (like the sample) to make your own pair of Marketa Mitts to give away. If you're interested, simply leave a comment below and I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner on Tuesday.

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Hubby Socks

Hubby Socks II

I don't often knit for Mr. Cleaver because he's not really a hat or scarf kinda guy and after hearing about the "boyfriend curse," he's nervous about the idea of a sweater, even though we've been married for two years.

I do knit things for him from time to time, and Mr. Cleaver is appropriately grateful for the items, case in point - Hubby Socks I.

Hubby Socks I

Long before this blog began,  I knit Mr. Cleaver a pair of socks. These were the first pair of socks I ever knitted. I think I did them on size 3 needles or something ridiculously large like that. Mr. Cleaver wears them as house socks/slippers and has been wearing them almost every night for nearly three years.

Unsurprisingly, they've gotten a little worn.  Once I saw you could see the tips of his toes through some stretched stitches in the socks I decided it was time for a new pair.

Hubby Socks II

These are were knit toe up on size 1 needles in a k2, p1 rib with a short row heel, which is to say I improvised. The yarn is the particularly lovely-feeling Shibui Sock in stone from Purl Diva.  It pooled a bit oddly, but it feels so nice!

Of course Mr. Cleaver let me know that I'd pry his old socks from his cold dead toes, so we've agreed the new pair is for regular day wear.

As for the old socks? I managed to squirrel them away for a half an hour  to darned them, so  now they're good as new.  :)

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