Cape as Finished Project / knitting notes

If you are a reader of Hollyknits, you know I’ve been talking about a wedding cape I recently made for a daughter of a friend.  Also, a former student of mine!  Since it is a high risk thing to knit for another,  I share tips on how to do so, here.   I talk about details of gift giving, here. This post, while on the same project is moving away from the event and focusing on the knitting of the cape, itself.

It is kind of funny how I am so opinionated about capes and shawls.  Some people interchange these words in identification.  I see such vast differences in them.  To me, a cape has coat-like qualities typically with closures, sometimes with slits for arms, sometimes as pullovers.  Shawls I see are more like a scarf, typically in a geometric shape like a triangle or rectangle and meant to be wrapped around a body.  Truthfully,  I have such a vast like of one and dislike of the other.  This is a picture that Mom, bride, and I initially saw of the cabled cape wanted for this wedding.

Designed by Michael Kors and found in Vogue Knitting, Fall 2007.  It is a pattern that is worked from the ribbing at the bottom up to the neckline decreasing along the way at key points along the raglan seams in both front and back.  All of us loved the pattern especially the cable texture and I particularly liked the double breasted closure.  I appreciate the detail of stockinette stitch around the neckline below the ribbed collar.  The ribbed collar, k1p1 is wider in back and is shaped using short rows.  The short row method I find easiest is called the short row shadow wraps.  Directions can be found, here.   The bride wanted a single row of buttons along the edge.  She knew she wanted the cape in navy blue.

The beautiful part about knitting a cape is that there are minimal measurements needed.  In fact, the pattern did not even have a schematic. When I perused the other finished projects utilizing this pattern in Ravelry, I noticed a wide assortment of yarn that was used from sport weight to aran.  This would significantly change the fabric, weight, and could change the size of the garment if you didn’t alter the stitch count.  The yarn that is used to knit the example in the image above was no longer available, however looking at the content of the yarn, considering the size garment we wanted, and the venue in which it would be worn, we decided upon this lovely DK, a blend of merino, silk, and cashmere.

I used as large a needle as I dared with a sport weight to create springy and stretchy qualities while maintaining a luxurious cabled fabric.  Being that I was fitting another, I felt the elasticity of the fabric would lend itself some leeway in fit.  Also, by being elastic, I felt the fabric might hold position better around the shoulders and be more comfortable for movement sake.

The pattern has a mistake regarding the placement of the markers.  When you become familiar with the cable pattern, you can see that the double decreases need to happen outside of the middle p2k2p2.   In other words, you need to place the markers differently than indicated in the pattern.  This is of utmost importance as all of the shaping occurs at the markers and the pattern of cables and ribs follow.

Minor alterations for a better fit was made for the bride.  Buttons were purchased by Mom, sewn on by me.  We discussed the ease of removing the pearl buttons and changing to a different button to give a more casual look for future wear.  I did use the one row buttonhole method and I did sew a snap at the collar and just above the rib along the bottom to hold the overlap of fabric in place and purposely secure to not dangle below the hemline.

My saga now ends, fulfilling in every way and clearly the bride and groom are off to a very happy start!

photo credit to Amy Paulson/photography

Details, details / Gift Wrapping Knitting

I like details.  I think they often make or break a decision, a choice, how I feel about something.  Did you ever notice when an actor puts himself into character?  The bow of a ballerina?  The music before the start of a movie?  The role of an actor does not begin at the first scene but long before and after to draw the audience into the portrayal of the story or to leave one thinking after the story has been told.

To me, delivering the wedding cape, talked about here to my friend was an opportunity to set the scene for the wedding that was about to occur.  Everything had gone smoothly in the process of knitting the cape so I wanted the happiness to continue.  Maybe, it was like Chapter Two, Smooth Transition of Cape to Bride.  How could the delivery of the cape that meant so much to me be delivered in a most meaningful and thoughtful way, to let the wonderful story of a wedding begin long before the walk down the aisle?

Well, this is what I did and it created some inquiry on Ravelry.

It happens that I have not only a yarn stash but also a collection of sewing materials.  I was, after all a seamstress long before I was a knitter.  It is surprisingly often that I go into the ‘sewing vault’ for something I  am knitting.  Snaps, seam binding, elastic are some items I’ve needed.  So, when I was thinking about packaging this project, I remembered I had a catch of fabric bags I had received yarn in.   How perfect are these bags for gifts!   I love that the hand knitting shows through this fabric.  These are just squares of tulle with a ribbon as a drawstring top.  How easy would these be to make, in just the right size, with ribbon strung through to match the theme of your gift!

I knew that the bride’s colors were navy blue and orange.  So, I took some pictures, like the one above of the cape packaged by our Van Gogh “Sunflowers” painting and sent the photos to her Mom.   Maybe, to be added to the photo album of the wedding?  It was my way of staying within the theme of the story that was being created.

When I saw these photographs of the cut flowers and flower arrangers, I was taken aback.  First, I had to hold my breath at how gorgeous the flowers were.  Then, I noticed the warmth on the faces of the arrangers.  Then, and only then I realized how our Van Gogh painting came pretty darn close to the exact shade.  Sight unseen, I thought that pretty spectacular.  Can’t you just feel the love in the air?

Here is a picture of one beautifully created centerpiece.  I like the touch of the navy fabric underneath and the warm light bouncing from the flickering candles.

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I wish the bride and groom every happiness in their future, and I must say, as I notice details, I do love the navy pumps in the photo, below.

Photo credit:  Amy Paulson/photography