Thursday, September 19, 2013



I feel like I am right up in the designer’s head on this sweater, like I have somehow temporarily gained access to what was going through Yoko Hatta’s mind as she reached this point in her process.  She’d just been through the war zone that is working stranded colorwork back and forth on three huge body pieces, which is no end of fiddly, and dang if that shoulder shaping, with all its accompanying AT THE SAME TIME instructions, while purling across the wrong side with four separate balls of yarn wasn’t kind of a thrill.  She felt victorious, and brilliant, and yet, also exhausted. 


The unblocked body pieces looked like an old bathmat, and bristled with ends.  The sleeves loomed.  She thought for a long moment about the sleeves.  She took a hard look at the possibility of working sleeves in this stranded design and realized it would be unspeakable agony more visually appealing to simplify the sleeve patterning.  She considered just doing the sleeves in one color, in nice, plain, easy stockinette stitch, and was all set to cast on, but then saw that she still had this:


Which is a lot of leftovers.  And she sighed deeply.  Deeeeply. 


Of course, I’m just guessing, but that’s what I would’ve done. 


  1. Wow Kristen, this is looking amazing. I am so in awe of your knitting and how fast you are going. Hope that you are enjoying the process!

  2. Stunning,I had been wondering about the pattern too. Don't lose it now!! Fiona x

  3. Good grief.
    I'm cheering you on here.

  4. Oh my! you have done so much already. Are you sleeping at night?? it is gonna be splendid. Jo x

  5. Once again you are my knitting hero, I would never in a million years attempt that, I can't even seem to follow a pettern these days.
    Good luck,

  6. Hoping that you did decide to carry on with the sleeves in the fair isle. You will be so glad to have the design complete.

    I've got some old fair isle patterned sweaters that I made up a bit, using up my left over DK yarns. I used the same fair isle traditional motifs (Thank you, Alice Starmore, for your traditional charts, and just varied the colorways for the front, back, and each sleeve. These sweaters/jumpers showed parts that were the same, but not the same. Lots of stuff for the eye to jump around and a resulting harmony.

    Do press on. Once you've solve the tension/gauge bit, the rest is easy.


  7. Loved your voice in this post and the sweater is looking beeeeautiful!

  8. if anyone can do it, it's you kristen! it's looking gorgeous so far!

  9. That looks EXTREMELY complicated! But very beautiful - and I know you can do it!!! :-)

  10. How on Earth do you knit so fast !!! i am in awe..

  11. Why not finish with the stripes in the pattern?

  12. hello, this sweater is fantastic and marvelous, I admiere how you are hard - working during your work, a lt of gratulations, ania

  13. Kristen you sweater is beautiful and so inspiring!!!Gorgeous. But I wanted to give you a heads up about designing for Vogue. I have had two Fair Isle designs published in Vogue in the last few years and I can tell you that I never would have knit them back and forth. They were knit with steeks everywhere because the thought of doing one row in stranded color work makes my hair itch. I even steeked the top of a set-in sleeve. However, when the pattern was published all my directions which were written in the round were changed to knitting back and forth. As a designer I was frustrated because I know no one will ever knit my sweaters as they are published. Vogue assumed American knitters are too simple minded to be able to handle a few steeks and cutting their work. As a passionate stranded color work designer and teacher it frustrates me because working stranded color work in the round is SOOOOOO much easier than working purl side rows of stranded color work. I certainly don't know Yoko Hatta and would not presume to know how she knit her amazing Fair Isle coat design but I would bet money she knit the whole thing in the round and Vogue changed all her directions. Elizabeth Zimmerman complained about this practice in the 60's and it is still going strong. Also...a little tip I share with my students, it is much easier to see where you are to reinforce your steeks and ultimately cut them if you work them in stripes rather than the checkerboard that Alice Starmore recommends. I agree she is amazing and I love her work, but that checkerboard will drive you crazy. Congratulations on your beautiful creation, the colors are some of my favorites.