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Wendy Knits Lace Week: When Is a Lace Sweater Not a Lace Sweater?


Ever wonder where a knitting author gets her ideas? Get a sneak peak inside the brilliant mind of Wendy D. Johnson, as she shares the inspiration and design process behind Deirdre, a cozy lace pullover that started out as something quite different. It’s just one of many ingenious designs in her latest book, Wendy Knits Lace, which we’ve been celebrating with an exclusive series of guest posts from the author herself. Read on for the final installment!

When Is a Lace Sweater Not a Lace Sweater?

Answer: When it was born a cabled sweater!

One of the designs in my new book Wendy Knits Lace is Deirdre, a pullover with narrow vertical panels of lace. This pattern has a secret: it started life as a cabled sweater.

In the summer of 2006 I was in a “cable phase.” My knitting seems to go in phases, be it lace, cables, or colorwork, or shawls, socks, or sweaters. I designed a pullover with an all-over configuration of simple cables and knit it in Rowan Calmer, one of my favorite yarns.

Deidre As Cable Sweater:

I had fully intended to write up the pattern at the time, but I just never got around to it. A couple of my loyal blog readers would email me from time to time and ask if I was ever going to make the pattern available.
So I always felt a bit guilty about poor Deirdre.

Fast forward a few years: I was working up designs for Wendy Knits Lace and was thinking that I’d like to include a pullover sweater. My cabled Deirdre was still on my dress form, because its pale color made a nice background for photographing lace shawls draped over it. And my dress form is situated in my “knitting nook,” where most of my ideas are born. I wondered, could I translate Deirdre to lace?

I found a lace pattern that I thought would look nice in a vertical column and started swatching using the same yarn, Rowan Calmer. After some time with calculator and graph paper, Deirdre was reborn!

Diedre Sweater Reborn:

Some of the design elements remain the same: the gentle waist shaping and the round neck with i-cord edging. I think Deirdre looks lovely as a lace sweater. While the pattern calls for a cotton/microfiber blend yarn to make it a garment that will span several seasons, you could substitute a DK weight wool if you wanted a warmer sweater for the colder months.

– Wendy D. Johnson

Check out more pretty and practical lace projects in Wendy Knits Lace, and find out more about what’s on Wendy’s busy needles at Wendy Knits.

Did you miss any guest posts from Wendy Knits Lace Week? Get your fill with “On Pace With Lace!” and “To Variegated or Not to Variegate?”



About the Book
Wendy Knits Lace
Essential Techniques and Patterns for Irresistible Everyday Lace
Written by Wendy D. Johnson
Category: Crafts & Hobbies – Knitting
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
On Sale: August 23, 2011
Price: $22.99
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