Web-Letter, Issue 55 Saint Denis Cardigan
Knitwear designer Véronik Avery has a great eye for proportion and sweater detail. She’s a master at pairing knitting techniques with overall design considerations. Her Saint Denis Cardigan in CEY Sundance, adapted from a design in her book, Knitting Classic Style (STC, 2007), is a case in point. She combines knitterly details, an unusual shoulder line, and a simple, classic stitch patternthey all fit together seamlessly in a never-go-out-of-style, live-in-it cardigan.
Véronik is well versed in fashioncurrent and historical. In Knitting Classic Style, she organized her projects around four timeless fashion themes: Fashion Mavens (women’s wear), Tomboys (menswear), Global Travelers (ethnic costume), and Thrill Seekers (sportswear).
Véronik was, for a time, a costume designer, and her dressmaking skills and understanding of garment construction are evident in every piece. In her knitwear designs, every detail is thought out and every technique is grounded in the craft of knitting. An unusual cast-on or pocket construction, though its effect may be subtle, makes each project distinctive.
If you enjoy a glimpse into a designer’s creative approach to knitwear design, read Véronik’s introduction to the book and to the individual projects. She tells us how each piece came into being and how it ended uptechnique, color, silhouettethe way it did. In fact, even if you don’t knit one of her designs, it’s well worth reading through her patterns just to learn a new technique or to marvel at how she’s used an old one in a new way.
The Saint Denis cardigan, a variation of the His-and-Her cardigans shown in the menswear chapter of her book, is a perfect example of how sophisticated design elements can turn a classic sweater shape into an elegant pairing of technique and silhouette. A simple stitch pattern sets off the sweater’s tailoring.
Says Véronik of her cardigan, “The idea came from a burgundy V-neck cardigan sweater belonging to my grandfather, Gilbert St-Denis. He's been wearing it for eons and I'm amazed it isn't hanging by a thread. I wanted the sweater to work for both men and women. Because men typically like 'dull' knits in plain colors, for interest I played around with the knittterly details a simple 2-stitch pattern repeat and double decreases and increases to maintain the pattern (such as in brioche knitting), and tubular cast-ons and bind-offs throughout.
"For the shoulder shaping, I borrowed a detail from better ready-to-wear garments. Angling the back shoulder deeply and extending the front maintains the correct shoulder slope but treats the shoulder seam as a design detail rather than a necessity. However, working double decreases made the outside edges too short. I used short rows to correct the problem."
Visit her website: www.veronikavery.com
For a tutorial on tubular cast-ons and bind offs, visit Véronik’s blog.
Here is the free downloadable Saint Denis Cardigan pattern.
Sundance 50% cotton, 50% microfiber
Sundance, a combination of cotton and microfiber, often thought of as a spring/summer yarn, makes for wonderful transitional garments. Véronik used Sundance to create this lovely long sleeve cardigan that can be worn year round. The broken rib pattern makes a substantial fabric, while the fiber content of the yarn allows it to breathe and feel very smooth against the skin.
Although yarns are often sectioned off into those for cold-weather garments and those for warm weather, many may be used to make garments that are used throughout the year. The type of stitch pattern that is used to knit a garment can help gear it towards transitional use. For example, Pam’s classic one fifty top (Web-Letter, Issue 7) is knit in a 100% wool yarn. The smaller gauge merino yarn is worked in an allover lace pattern and makes a wonderful warm- weather top over a cami, or cool-weather vest over a long-sleeve tee.
Mary Lynn Patrick’s Soft Linen Jacket (Web-Letter, Issue 30) is worked in a yarn classified as a spring yarn. However, with the cable-stitch sleeve details and the extra fabric in the collar, it may be worn as an evening jacket in the spring or as a cardigan throughout the day in the winter.