Thursday, September 8, 2011

And finally, Delius!

When I woke up this morning, there was a gentle rain pattering down outside my window, and all I wanted was a big mug of Earl Grey tea. Even if the leaves are still green and I'm still running around in flip-flops (let's face it, those stay on until the serious frosts hit), everything around me is whispering "Fall! Fall! Fall!" So I think it's time to talk about my contribution to the wonderful Fall edition of Twist Collective. I am so, so pleased to be a part of this edition; I am an autumn girl through and through, and my design, the Delius vest, is very close to my heart.

This vest originally started as a Christmas present for my eminently knitworthy father. My knitting friends will attest to the fact that, every year in mid-October, I swear up and down that I will NOT be doing any Christmas knitting this year. And, every year in mid-November, I crumble and go buy yarn for far-too-elaborate projects that inevitably get gifted while still on the needles, or still wet from blocking, or not at all. This, um, fashionable lateness was compounded in this case by the fact that the only yarn I liked at my LYS that fit the bill for my dad (navy blue, good for a business formal vest) and mine (mostly wool and tweedy) was Rowan Felted Tweed. Which needed to be knit on size 2s to get the stitch definition I wanted. So yeah, not in time for Christmas.

(the first finished vest, modeled on its wonderful recipient. Both he and my brother, the other obliging model, were bribed with Tony's Donuts for this photoshoot. Thanks, guys!)

However, acknowledging to myself that this was not going to be neatly wrapped up with a bow under the Christmas tree also meant that I could really think about the details of the vest. Dad and I took a trip to Ireland together when I was a teenager, and since then, have shared a love of the cables of the Aran sweaters, both traditional and otherwise. Therefore I had always kept an eye on the cable sections of stitch dictionaries, and when I saw the Windblown Cables in Barbara Walker's third treasury, I had to earmark them for a sweater for him. The cables were delicious in the Felted Tweed, and, amidst a bed of 2x2 ribbing and stockinette, they were perfect.


There were a couple other moments of serendipity in the development of this vest; I spent the last weeks of the year in my family home, and Frederick Delius' gorgeous composition "Summer Night on the River" was often on in the background. This and the constant vest knitting, coupled with the gorgeous mood boards for Twist's Fall submission, came together to create my first design in Twist.

(Goofballs, the lot of them. At Bug Light in South Portland, Maine.)

Very little changed from my original prototype: the gauge (thank goodness), thanks to the substitution of the lovely Imperial Stock Ranch Columbia rather than the Felted Tweed; the shoulders widened slightly (the original was a little narrow in that area); and a design feature that I had planned in the original, but goofed up, was added--a 2x2 cable that flowed from the front cables around the back of the neck and added that little bit of extra length to keep the back from riding up.


I'd love to say that the design process was a long and arduous one with many samples and lots of little tweaks, but it was pretty smooth sailing! (I did have some fun incorporating the increases needed to balance the cable panels after the ribbing. Earth-shattering stuff!) I'm even thinking about a women's version with waist shaping named Delia (bless these Latinate nouns with their easily gendered endings)--I have my eye on the Sap or Hayloft colorways in Shelter. Whether the women's version materializes or not, it was a wonderful experience. Thanks again to Twist for their support and their wonderfully inspiring magazine. Happy knitting!


  1. these two vests look great! and even though i'm not a cable fan, i might start liking this knitting technique thanks to your great patterns!
    anyways, it's always fun and very interesting reading your blog posts.
    have a good day!

  2. @susannalie, thank you very much, on all fronts! :)