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Off the Needles: Ada

LBHandknits

ada3.jpg

I have mentioned earlier that I've embarked on a series of collaborations with Jennifer Leinhard of Woolfinch Studio. Basically, I am designing some patterns using Woolfinch Studio yarns, and it is a tremendously satisfying project. One of the things I find uncanny about working with Jennifer, is that we have a similar design aesthetic - to the point that a few times we have emailed each other sketches simultaneously, and the sketches looked nearly identical. 

When designing a pattern for her merino Pastel Twist yarn, we both had the idea for a scoop neck top with 3/4 sleeves. Mine included ruffles and a flared hem. Hers was a more basic cropped top. But at the core, it seemed to me, they were really the same garment.

Inspired perhaps by my recent dealigns with sewing patterns, I then decided to design two versions of the same top. 

The result is 'Ada and Ardor.' Whether the literary reference makes you smile or cringe, the names feel apt to me. The Woolfinch Studio Pastel Twist is a soft, ethereal-looking yarn that has a sense of wistfulness and nostalgia about it. It makes me think of 'Old Europe.' Long summer nights. Walks through abandoned, overgrown gardens... It's a yarn that shows restraint, but also a hidden splendor. 

Ada is an elegantly modest cropped scoopneck pullover with 3/4 sleeves and subtle shaping through the bodice. Ardor is an exuberant cardigan with a deep ruffled neckline, dramatic waist shaping, and flared hem. 

The designs are essentially each other's alter egos.

ada2.jpg

Whether I can communicate all this in the finished pieces remains to be seen. But at any rate, I now have Ada mostly done, and the result looks pleasingly as-intended. After it's blocked and properly photographed, I will undo the neckband, cuffs and hem, and re-knit them, transforming the sweater into Ardor. 

As steeking will be involved to turn the pullover into a cardigan, the process will be irreversible and Ardor she shall remain from that point on... which I think is all right with me. 

I am not yet sure whether Ada and Ardor will be written as two separate patterns, or as one pattern with two options. But most likely the latter - allowing the knitter to make their way through a good chunk of the garment before deciding which version feels right. 

With Ada now laying out flat to dry, I look forward to completing this project and sharing the final result.