Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The uber-talented Stephannie Tallent

I've been California dreaming of late. No, I'm not singing old Mamas and Papas songs nor planning a cross-continental escape. Instead, I'm envisioning sweaters from about the best knitting book I've seen in years: California Revival Knits by the incredibly talented Stephannie Tallent.


I ordered this book the minute I saw the Wrought Iron Cardi. This unique but classic v-neck, shawl-collared cardigan features waist shaping and an easy twisted stitch motif. I started mine yesterday now that the Color Affection is off the needles. The sweater uses an interesting construction. You start by knitting saddle shoulder straps (Dottie, do you hear this calling your name?) and then picking up stitches and continuing from the top down. The sleeves are worked by picking up stitches along the armhole, working short rows for the cap shaping, then continuing in the round.


I ordered Woolen Rabbit Grace, a hand-dyed, 100% merino in the Forever In Blue Jeans colorway. I'll write more about this gorgeous yarn soon but suffice to say, it's spectacular. For now, I'll show you the beginnings of my saddle shoulder. Honestly, I'm in love. And of course, everything looks better when modeled by an ever-patient and always-sleepy pug.


I asked Stephannie about modifying the Wrought Iron cardi for a perfect fit. "If you need to add length, I recommend adding one full back repeat's worth once you've gotten past the armholes, because the bottom chart begins after the last row of a full repeat," she said. "If you want to add a partial repeat, you're going to have to adjust the initial cast on charts at the top of the shoulders.  Each of those start at a different place depending on size, so that the sweater could increase a little in length as the size increased."

She also gives a great hint for plus-size knitters. "You could potentially add some armhole increases to the front to make the front wider, i.e., use the smaller size for crossback then add extra armhole increases to increase the bust measurement." I'll definitely be making this mod.

If you're not up for an entire cardigan, then try one of the Wrought Iron Cardigan's lovely siblings: the Wrought Iron Socks, Mitts, and Tam. Aren't they gorgeous?




I'm a sweater knitter though; I'll leave the accessories to the rest of you while I plan for the Tiles pullover. Stephannie transforms a simple sweater into a beaded delight. The deep V-neck and waist shaping will work perfectly for me. I love the weekend look, but I can also imagine this knitted up in a soft white yarn with pearl beads.


Stephannie also offers insight on modifying this pullover. "The Tiles sweater should be easy to modify for length in most sections.  See where the waist shaping works best for you, and adjust from there... note that the neckline beading starts at the armhole bind off row.  If you think you need more room after the bust increases than this will give you, you'll need to take that into consideration.  Check your row gauge, see how many inches 22 rows will take you, and see if you need more than that. Bust short rows may be a little tricky given the neckline design, too."

California Revival Knits offers 14 extraordinary designs. There's something for everyone. I bet you'll just love her unusual Peacock Cowl and Gauntlets set. So creatively different and absolutely beautiful.



And don't forget these whimsical Fringe Socks. Love them!



To celebrate this amazing book, I'm giving away a free copy! Just leave a comment below; tell me which design you'd most like to make and I'll pick the winner at random. If you'd like to order California Revival Knits, visit Cooperative Press. To learn more about Stephannie, visit Sunset Cat.

32 comments:

  1. The tiles pullover is just what I need. But the wrought iron is fab.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would definitely make the wrought iron mitts first.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm really liking the tiles pullover. A lot. And the quatrefoil mitts... I need new mitts for this coming winter.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Until I got to the very end, I would have thought wrought iron cardi, but now I am dying to make the fringe socks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wrought iron cardi for me. Just added it to my Rav queue!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love twisted stitches, so I'd make the Wrought Iron anything. I'm also digging the Quatrefoil Mitts, maybe in an aqua/charcoal color combo.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm a big fan of the Wrought Iron, too...once a sweater knitter, always a sweater knitter...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Thanks for bringing this lovely work to my attention.

      Delete
  8. I think it'd be the wrought iron for me, I love the cables and the shaping. Ideal for a curvy gal.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the peacock gauntlets.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I would love to make the Wrought Iron Cardi. I like the waist shaping it has. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've loved the Wrought Iron Cardigan from the first second I saw it. After seeing all the other things in the book though, it's a tough call but I'm sticking to that. I also LOVE the wrought iron socks, mitts and hat. The cardigan sounds like a challenge but I'm up for it. Now to find the perfect yarn - oh,that would mean some yarn shopping. :)
    Sandee in PA

    ReplyDelete
  12. It's a toss up between the Wrought Iron Cardigan and those Fringe Socks! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow another book which will get used. I like both of those sweaters and the socks and mitts. I'd love to win this book.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The Peacock Cowl. It looks so warm and soft. Perfect for Chicagoland winters!
    -Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wrought Iron Cardi for me, too!
    --Lynda in Oregon

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow! All of the patterns are fabulous and inspiring. I'd love to try the Wrought Iron Socks. Thanks for a great giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  17. My favis the Wrought Iron Mitts. Love them!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The Wrought Iron Cardigan is pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I'd make the beaded v-neck first!

    ReplyDelete
  20. My first time commenting. I'm mostly a lurker and learning a lot from you as you try to get the right fit. I have the same issues as well. Some of my sweaters have turned out better than others as my skill progress. I especially love the v neck pullover. It's perfect with jeans and will work in my casual life.
    Myra

    ReplyDelete
  21. My first choice would be the tam - a short knit, but I can always use another winter hat, followed closely by the beaded v-neck

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'd love to make the peacock cowl! I love that design!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh, what a nice review. I've been thinking about those wrought iron fingerless gloves for awhile now. And I also like that beaded sweater. Fun! I hadn't thought of a cream and pearl version. Neat.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh, I also meant to mention that it's neat to find out that the book includes so many knitterly details. I love it when people have thought up unique and intriguing ways to knit sweaters. Beginning with the shoulder strap sounds like a neat construction.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love the tiles sweater. Being plus size it's hard to find fashionable patterns.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The wrought iron cardigan is lovely! It would be my first (but definitely not only) choice from this book.

    Denise L.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love the peacock cowl, I still have to try my hand at knitting a sweater for myself.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The perfect excuse to leave a comment! I'm not full-figured but I love your blog and have learned a lot from it. Thanks for all the photos and information you share.

    Anyway, the Tiles pullover is my choice. Maybe I can figure out beading -- eek!

    ReplyDelete
  29. i love the sweater but i need help to figure out how to modify it for me. i am newish knitter. been knitting for a year. it seems my natural talent. I am sick alot cause i have a bad immune system and it save me knitting does. You blog is refreshing to read for plus size people.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow! Thanks for bringing this lovely work to my attention.

    ReplyDelete