I am just beyond excited today! Look what just came out!!!
It’s the Summerhouse Henley from Holla Knits!
Holla Knits is an amazingly cool online magazine. They’re a small, independent operation, out of Chicago, (which is, incidentally, the second best city I’ve ever visited) and they really put a focus on supporting the designers. I can’t tell you what a treat it is to work with their editor, and how supportive they are.
And the quality of their patterns is really excellent; because they’re small, they can afford to be more fashion-conscious and take more risks than some of the big guys. Their calls for submission really put a premium on fashion-forward and non-cookie cutter pieces and I can’t tell you how inspiring it is as a designer. I love their collections because you honestly don’t see anything like their stuff anywhere else!
They also always knit their pieces in two different yarns – I can’t think of anyone else who does that, and it’s so cool of them to let you see everything two ways. My gray sample is Knit Picks City Tweed DK and the red one is Hampden Hills Alpacas Artisan Yarns Alpaca Silk.
As far as the Summerhouse Henley goes, what I really wanted to do with this call was something that was sneakily-cool. Something that looked demure and hot-librarian, but which was actually secretly daring.
In the first photo, you can see the hot-librarian thing, but what I love so much about the stitch pattern is that when you’re close up, it looks completely different. The lace that makes up the body has really large eyelets, but because of the directional nature of the twists and the texture surrounding them, you only see through the eyelets at certain angles.
Now: a little about my inspiration, because I’m really happy about that!
Spring a year ago I went to DC to stay with my sister in her flat, which is right off Capitol Hill. It was crazy hot and muggy in Texas when I left, but when I got to DC it was cool, breezy, dry, and sunny. The flowers in all her neighbors’ gardens were blooming and she had great light in her living room. I sat there with the windows open and worked during the days and then when she got home at night we’d go for walks around the Hill.
It was basically an ideal time with one of my favorite people.
One of my favorite places to walk was the Capitol Hill Summerhouse. You really must check the photos in the link – it’s a supremely gorgeous place. It was built in the 1880s so that visitors to the Hill would have a water fountain.
The brickwork has a sort of honeycomb pattern and that’s what initially set me to thinking about the body pattern for this sweater. I wanted something sort of olde worlde and honeycombish to remind me of the place.
The rest of the inspiration for the sweater was SB (my sister) herself. She’s a really amazing person with great taste in clothes and I love knitting for her. If I’m ever stumped for the direction I want a design to go, I ask myself what SB wants to wear.
As far as the technical details go, the sweater is knit from the bottom up, in the round. The lacey/twist pattern is easy to memorize and takes you up to the beginning of the armholes, from whence the front and back are knit flat. The Henley section in the front is also split. The sleeves are saddle shoulder and are worked strictly in stockinette.
I’m really proud of this sweater and I hope you like it. Take a look at the other pieces in the Spring ’14 Collection – the Stoney Brook Top in particular has me wishing for knitting-for-myself time – and be sure to check out the lovely people who gave yarn for the collection. I knit the gray sample of my sweater so I can speak for the wonderfulness that is the Knit Picks City Tweed DK, but I’m dying to knit another one in the Alpaca Silk. I’d love to see a version of the top too that had different colors for the body and the sleeves.
I want one for myself that’s a bit longer and slouchier. I’m tempted to do it in a new colorway Knit Picks has coming out called Tarantella, but I need another brown sweater like I need another brown sweater, so maybe I’ll go with the Cobalt instead.
God, I love knitting.
Now: comment on this post by the end of the day Sunday, and on Monday I’ll do a drawing and give away 3 copies of the pattern.
Thanks, and have a great week!