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Abstract Composition from Vogue Knitting: More than Meets the Eye!

It happened again! I opened the next issue of Vogue Knitting and had to cast-on immediately. This just happened for the last issue, resulting in my Isabel by Norah Gaughan and knocked off in about one obsessive week. 😱 If this trend continues, my tennis elbow (though not my brain) will thank Vogue Knitting for having less issues per year. Could two inspiring back-to-back issues be due to Norah's new editorship? It's a good sign. Are there less Mags? Yes. But is the Mag getting better? I think so.

To add to this hypothesis, I was even more enthused by a different pattern at first, Fantail by Cathy Carron.  

However, I didn't have the 4 (!) long circular needles required to accommodate the ~500 stitches. I did have, however, two colors of thick yarn that could make Abstract Composition by Mari Lynn Patrick. [That's the Ravelry link, but if you want to buy the pattern, you can get the digital mag for $9.99 here.]

Now those of you who like more challenging knits are likely to flip right past this number. It looks like a boring, square, dropped sleeve sweater with a simple block of intarsia. NOPE! My first clue that this was worth pursuing was that this was by Mari Lynn Patrick -- she always has tricks up her sleeve. I had a blast with her Twist Front Top back in 2008.

The second hint was that the pattern takes up 2 1/2 pages of the Mag! So what's so special about this pattern?

    1. The intarsia is shaped using a purl stitch "trench" with clever little increases and decreases to create a curved interface between the two colors. 

    2. The armhole is not for dropped sleeves at all. Rather, it is shaped like a normal set-in sleeve (decreased normally at the underarm) but then increased at the top of the armhole! This allows the sleeve to do a faux 'drop' but not collect too much material at the underarm.

    3. Even though you've made a back and a front, don't seam them! First you finish off the shoulders with a 3-needle bind off (wrong side showing) and then you pick up stitches around the armhole to knit the sleeves downwards, flat. The sleeve cap is shaped with short rows so that they fit in nicely to that shaped armhole I described. 

    4. The side seams and the sleeve seams can then all be mattress stitched in one go.

When I commented on how much I was enjoying the pattern, the lovely Mari Lynn Patrick responded on Instagram (@marilynnpatrickknits)!

There are a few pattern clarifications / errata that I discovered if you would like to make this. See my Ravelry project for details in the notes!

Now, because I needed to cast-on ASAP, I really didn't have a lot of choices of stash for this. I settled for 2 gigantic balls of Red Heart Comfort "Fleck" that cost only $3.99 each! So yes, this is an $8 sweater, though all in acrylic. What sold me on doing a 100% acrylic sweater was that the colors were PERFECT for life in Maine, where we love us some camo and rubber boots.

Shh, but I might have to cast-on that Fantail sweater I mentioned from this issue pretty soon, too. I am guilty of ordering the longest Addi needle I've ever owned, 150cm! And this time, I'll be using some nice yarn. Till then!


Dayana Knits

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  1. I too thought from the VK photos that this was a straightforward intarsia colorblocked sweater. Those couture details are surprising and intriguing - of course, that's what we should expect from Mari Lynn Patrick. Nice work, Dayana, and ready for fall!
    -- Gretchen (aka stashdragon)

  2. Thanks, Gretchen! My new M.O. is going to be to flip through the back of the Mag first, decide what takes up the most pages and THEN look at the design. LOL!


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