Monday, December 19, 2011

Re:coloring the Takoma

This week, amid Christmas family celebrations and long boyfriend naps where he slept and I pondered sweaters, I envisioned a Takoma Cardigan customized for my own shape and size. I know large women should never wear bold horizontals across their overabundant bodies. I get it. But sometimes you have to break the rules. Now is the time for this good knitter to come to the aid of her against-the-rules sweater.

I don't want to stray too far from the traditional Cowichan styling. Julia Farwell-Clay's tremendous achievement in freshening up a classic First Nation design deserves honor and respect. At the same time, I'd like to lessen the visual impact of the central stranded patterns. I'm not ditching the strong horizontals; they make the sweater. But if I could make them a bit more subtle, my over-ample belly and hips would benefit.

Today I downloaded the charts and started coloring using my virtual crayons. I once was a little girl who loved crayons. Some things never change, so I colored and colored and finally settled on this plan.

I am going to make the large center pattern with a burgundy background and gold diamonds. Hopefully this will command less attention visually.

Keep in mind that the yarn colors aren't as saturated or bright as the mockup. They are closer in real life to these Cascade yarn samples.

I'm still cogitating about whether to knit this in the round with a steek or to knit back and forth as the pattern lays out. Julia designed the sweater to be knitted in stranded stockinette stitch, knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side. I've never tried stranded purling. Guess I'll have to swatch and see if I can maintain good tension this way. Unlike everyone else I know, I'd prefer to have seams to better hold the garment's shape and provide a better fit. We'll see how it goes.

Next on my agenda: how to work some a-line or waist shaping into this straight-sided garment. I'm still cogitating on this one. More after I've figured out a solution to the challenge.


  1. I vote for steeking -- stranded purling is a pain, plus, I would think that it would generate more ends to deal with.

    Love your color tweaks!

  2. I like your color choices, I think they'll work very well.

    I studied cowichan sweaters, and the Indians didn't use steeks because they didn't think the cuts were as strong at the zippers edge. Mind you, they were using a loosely spun yarn, much different than your two-ply commercial yarn.

    As for shaping, I think thats a tough one. My best idea is to decrease all the way around on the plain rows.

  3. Nice job on the color changes! It's going to be gorgeous-- you haven't lost the spirit of the orignal, but have really enhanced the figure forgiveness quotient.

  4. I look at this pattern with all its color and anticipated shaping and can only think of knitting it as a bottom-up with steeks for the cardigan front and armholes. Since the color pattern takes care of itself when doing stranded decreases, I'd probably want to knit the sleeves top-down from the dropped shoulder.

    But that's just me. I've never tried doing flat stranded knitting, which sounds to me like not enough fun.

    Good luck! Can't wait to see what your cogitation yields.