Shifty Sweater in Life in the Long Grass
By Emma (@TheNewYorkYear)
When I see a beautifully hand-dyed skein of yarn, I often try to pinpoint where I have seen that color before—either in a painting, sculpture, or work of architecture. As an art historian, I’ve spent years studying works of art and architecture in my professional and academic life. However, in the last six months, I have started looking to fine art as my source of inspiration for my knitting.
The Sweater Pattern by Andrea Mowry – Drea Renee Knits
I find a lot of joy in creating my own handmade wardrobe. It’s quite special to be able to create a garment with my own hands, especially one that is entirely unique to my color preferences and pattern modifications. When knitwear designer Andrea Mowry released the Shifty Sweater, I was struck by how each version and sample I saw appeared to be completely singular because of yarn and color choices made by each individual knitter. The motif of slipped stitches seemed like an excellent opportunity to play with color.
As I was sorting through my collection of Life in the Long Grass, I was drawn to three particular skeins of LITLG Singles: Burnished, Bronze and Oxidized are all colorways that look like they could have been plucked directly from Titian’s Death of Acteon – Bronze has the same deep burgundy hue as the dress Diana is wearing; Burnished contains dark green shades that are similar to the forest floor, and Oxidized has subtle shades that mimic the variety of colors in the shadowy treetops and clouds.
Andrea Mowry’s original design calls for a yarn that changes color multiple times in a single skein, but I thought using a variegated yarn for the main color would only detract from the set of three LITLG Singles that I had grouped together. Instead, I decided to use the neutral (and perfectly named) colorway Oyster in LITLG Singles for my main color. The design and my color combinations really let the contrasting colors shine!
Changing bases from Sport to Singles
Although the Shifty Sweater is designed for a sport-weight yarn, I found I achieved a similar gauge by using a LITLG Singles (a fingering weight, single-ply yarn) and going down one needle size.
Andrea Mowry splits the mosaic knitting stitch motifs into two charts, which she calls “Big Blips” and “Little Blips,” that alternate throughout the sweater. I decided to stripe my three contrasting colors: starting with Bronze, continuing to Oxidized, and then using Burnished. After one section of “Big Blips” and one section of “Little Blips,” I would change my contrasting color.
I love the interplay of color that happens between the three contrasting colorways and was especially excited when the dark red speckles in Oxidized would appear next to passages of Bronze. I further modified the sweater design by lengthening the sleeves so they would be full-length rather than three-quarter length. Additionally, I knit the body so it ends at my natural waist—cropped enough so that I can pair it with long skirts and easily throw it over dresses.
I am incredibly pleased with how the sweater turned out. I feel like the combination of sweater and yarn design could not have been better suited for one another. Even before I finished knitting the ribbing at the hem, I was already planning outfits that would complement it in my existing closet, which for me is always a sign that it is going to be a wardrobe staple going forward!
Emma is currently designing her own gorgeous sock patterns check her out on Ravelry now.