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A Deficit of Attention

Do you ever get an idea in your head, an idea that must come out, season or propriety or priorities be damned? It's curious, the things that make our synapses fire and click and set things itching.

It started when I was flipping through the incomparable Sheila McGregor's Traditional Scandinavian Knitting, and came across this historical sample in the section on Norwegian jumpers:

The graphic punch of the white waist against that tapestry-rich upper pattern was exciting, sure, but what really suprised me was the tight shaping. Oh, possibilities!

I swatched the pattern in some 2-ply Shetland I had lying around, and fell wholly in love. The pattern, for all its intricate appearance, has a wonderfully sensible math behind it, a sequence of 5s and 3s that mirror and match predictably, satisfyingly, from row to row.

Unfortunately, it was enormous. One repeat spans 48 stitches - even at 9 stitches to the inch on US2 (2.75mm) needles, one repeat covers more than five inches. At this scale, I'd hardly get three stars across the back, and the pattern would be lost completely in the planned princess shaping. So, I set about downsizing it, and came up with this:

It's a compromise, for sure - the pattern only saves an inch-and-a-half or so per repeat, and a lot of the richness in the diagonal bands is lost by replacing the die-like squares with simple crosses. The numbers work out well, though, with the size I'm planning, and there's a satisfying sort of simplicity in the negative/positive/negative crosses echoed from band to band - I can live with it.

A little unwashed, coned Harrisville New England Shetland, in an oatmeal color for the plain band and a pretty camel/Wedgewood combination for the pattern:

The effect is very subtle - the pattern doesn't read perfectly, but there is a faded, antique feeling about it I really like. I may swatch again, switching yarns, but I like this pretty well already.

Here's what I'm planning: a tightly fitted jacket/cardigan that hits at the hip, shaped at the waist along princess seam lines and closed up the front with lots of hook-and-eyes. There will be a hem at the waist, with cuffs and stand-up Mandarin collar (patterned with a smaller diagonal grid pattern) done in the manner of very wide hems. The front band, too, will be done like a hem - oatmeal yarn picked up all the way up the front to the tip of the collar, knitted straight for a bit, turned under and cast off into the pickup loops for a very narrow, firm band. A wide ribbon facing will be in order, I think, at the collar - I don't care if it's blazing, stifling summer when I finish this, it's getting started right this second.

Comments

Yay!!! You're back! Love the jacket and, as always, am in awe of your ability to reorganize patterns so they work specifically for you.... and us!

Gorgeous, wow! I would make (and proudly wear) that pattern in a heartbeat!

If you read that as a shameless plea for you to write up the pattern and sell it, well... you read it correctly! Beautiful!

That will be beyond stunning! I think your downsizing is quite effective - your swatches look so delicate and lovely.

Have you ditched the plans for the brocade jacket, or has that just been put aside for now?

Hi, your new layout looks awesome! I like your colored swatch, can't wait to see what you end up with ;-)

Wow, Eunny! The sweater is going to be beautiful. I'm so glad you're back!

Glad you're back. And with such an interesting project! Can't wait to see more!

WOW. I'm in awe.

I know exactly what you mean about ideas/projects that MUST come out. I've been in that space a lot lately. It's exciting and exhausting at the same time. The sweater, in your more than capable hands, will be genius.

(Another here who is very! happy you're back!) Gorgeous rendition of your idea - your color combos are great. And inspirational too. Thanks for sharing.

Welcome back -- I missed you! That sweater is going to be spectacular.

Glad you are back.

I'm be watching with great anticipation as this new design unfolds. It looks to be another beauty.

WOW that is going to be stunning. I too am looking forward to watching the whole process unfold.

You're so talented, that's a beautiful design! And your blog's new look is pretty, too.

Wow. If this pattern ever gets written up and sold, I will jump on it!

I love the Fair Isle in the muted colours, it has a lovely antique brocade look. I think I may have to start on some mittens in faded colours like that.

Also: I love your sketches. I wish my drawings came out that clear and clean.

Very interesting and beautiful project. I have no idea how you will do the shaping in the tapestry part of the jacket and not distort the design. But I will just have to wait and see.
I like the pattern and I see the antique effect of the colors you chose but for my money and the amount of effort I would probably want the pattern to be crisper. Looking forward to see the progress that I hope you will share with us. vj

love your new blog design. As much as I love seeing these posts, you really should make a book!! I bet you could get published, sooooo pretty!

I am in total awe and just a tad bit jealous (okay a lot) over your fabulous design skills... You rock!

wow, eunny is back with a vengance! new project, new site design. i just love to get really inspired by something and then get right to making it. i completely understand that urge!

welcome back eunny!!!

I have been scouring your tutorials...and Ei and I are taking a Fair Isle class on May 11th!!!

I am going to be so thrilled to watch your progress as I take baby steps to learn this beautiful technique...my plan is to do the Starmore Henry VIII...my holy grail...

tutorial as you go for us new kids? :)
this design is so feminine and so pretty...I can't wait to see!!!

i'm giddy with anticipation!

i'm not getting my necessary fair isle dose with my current projects, but at least i can get a great hit off of your photos. thank you!

That's incredible - both the pattern sketch and the color combo!!

Oh. MY! BEAUTIFUL! I'm in awe.

glad to see you are back. I can't wait to see this one finished, looks great so far.

Oh thank heavens, I was going through Eunny-withdrawal! But now you're back, and with another amazing idea on the plate... or sticks I guess.

I've been working on your Deep V Vest, and am completely in love with the pattern. Can't wait this next lovely creation you have in the works.

Very interesting indeed!I like the colour combination, and I'm looking forward to see how you progress!

Love the subtle effect of your color and pattern choice. And it's about time someone put fair isle together with a fitted, tailored look! Does this jacket take the place of your spring brocade jacket (March 16 entry)? Hope not -- I'd love to see you do both.
Best regards,
Debra

I'm so glad you're back Eunny!
Your website looks beautiful and that jacket! You are so marvellously talented. You should consider submitting this to a design magazine, seriously.

So glad my favorite blogger is back. You've done so much work and the site is lovely! Your creative, analytical mind never ceases to amaze me and I'd love to see you do a knitting book.

Oh, pretty, pretty.... you really should get paid for this! The new website design is great, too - glad you kept some pink in it! ;-)

This is gorgeous, but what happened to the brocade jacket?

Welcome back! Amazing how that rather common eight-pointed star (poinsettia? that's kind of what it looks like) gets a whole new look when framed by those patterned bands. I am VERY curious to see how you handle the pattern around the princess shaping. Do you have A/C? If not, maybe your readers should pitch in & buy you a window unit, so you can keep working on this even if it's HHH (hazy hot & humid).

Great to have you back - and wish such a whiz-bang of an idea, too! Wonderful how you can make fairisle so modern.

Awe-some! I love the colors, can't wait to see the finished product.

That is going to be really fabulous if everything works out according to your sketches. I am loving those tight fitting jackets that are in right now. Gorgeous!

That is AMAZING. Really. LIke my mouth is still open.

Hey, are you going to join the DYE-O-RAMA swap!? Pretty please!?

I know what you mean about the idea bug in your head- but you are amazing about working it out!!
coming back with a swing!!
it looks like a fab project. the subtlety of the yarn is very antique/ vintage looking!

Eunny...it was so great meeting you today!!! You are so sweet! :-)

I LOVE your new cardigan design. I can't wait to learn the technique in the class Heather & I are going to take. I might have to make this one.

Wow, Eunny you should really publish a design book!

Add me to the group--it looks fabulous already.

Oh, and I love the new look to the blog!

WOW! I cannot wait to see the finished product. You are amazing!

Gorgeous. Any chance we can have the pattern for the argyle socks with the excellent stripes on the sole before you get too involved in writing up this new pattern?

i can see you are still not taking up my suggestion of knitting garter stitch boxy sweaters.

eunny, seriously i am in awe of this latest project. it is going to be absolutely stunning.

Ohhh, Yesss.

Oh, very cool...

Love the new blog look, too!

Exciting! From the design sketches and swatches, it looks like it would be a lovely project.

that's such a flattering fit for the cardigan. will the bottom panel be oatmeal as well?

Love your blog!!! it a great source for reference. Ever thought of writing a book??

***************************
My latest Blog entry was about reminiscing. Why not come by and answer the following;

What was your inspiration to start knitting, crocheting, crafting? What was your first serious or not so serious project? What would you like to tackle next (other than your significant other )? And last but, not least, if you could give one peice of advice to a beginner what would it be?

or

answer the questions on your next blog entry and link me http://tangledbliss.typepad.com/

can't wait to hear from you!!

Wow, that's really cool! It sounds like a very attractive and exciting sweater - I'm excited to see how it turns out.

So glad your back and hope you are well! Your knitting, as usual, is beautiful.

Whenever I read your blog, I get either informed, or inspired, or both. Today's entry doesn't fail. Your designs are simply gorgeous!

i can't wait to see what it looks like. you amaze me

princess seams.....yummmm!

can't wait to see this project unfold. screw the seasons I say.

Hey stranger! Welcome back to blogland. The new format on your site looks terrific. Can't wait to see that sweater. I'll be over here knitting socks while you make that gorgeous item. I'll live vicariously!

Wow, that is some swatch!!

What a fabulous jacket! I wish you'd design more... Your patterns are the only ones that appeal to me so much that I wait and yearn until the day I can purchase them (your vest is the only single pattern that I've bought)

Wow, that is fabulous!! Any chance you will be offering the pattern for sale? sign me up for ONE please!!!
Love the "new look" on the blog too!

Blew my mind, as usual, Eunny- I think its going to look awesome, I am so impressed by the whole description, and I can see it, complete- Wow. V. Kewl. I love coming here, it's like getting a refreshing drink from a fountain. You are a real artist Eunny.

Also, looove the new blog. V. clean and simple.

Emms

One day I might have the courage to attempt something like that. You're awesome, glad you're back!

Ooh, what fun!

Welcome back.

Love the new look of the site! Also, this sweater is fabulous. I am quite eager to see the finished look, as well as the in progress shots. You have such wonderful talent!

Wow! Looks great! And your sketch is really good, gets the idea across beautifully. Can't wait to see it develop!

Eunny--I'm so in awe of your dress-maker's eye and your ability to make your visions reality! Thanks for sharing your processes with us; they're truly inspirational.

--Judy

WOW!
Simply stunning!

wow! it's awesome; i'm so glad you're back. please keep us updated!

Holy Crap, Eunny! You rock.

I love the new site design and I LOVE your latest project. The colors, the texture, the design...everything about it is so inspired. (Obviously, right?) I also love that this very modern looking knit is inspired by such an old (but stunning) piece of knitting.

You astound me. You inspire me. I bow to your knitting greatness!

Wow.

way to come back and kick a$$. Love your new pattern - and the colors you chose! beautiful.

You're amazing.

What a beautiful pattern. You rock!

That was a post worth waiting for!!! Pass the shovel over here, 'cause I'm diggin' it!

Is that drop dead gorgeous, or what??!! would that I were 40 pounds lighter and could wear it!!

It looks lovely. Just take a trip to Alaska when it's done!

Yes, I get it, the thing about ideas that demand all spare synapses (andn some that were already busy with other things). The inspiration piece made me think immediately of heavily blackworked shirts like this one: http://needleprayse.webcon.net.au/broidery/warwick_shirt.html
which always makes my hands itch to embroider! I love your concept, and your 'reduced' design; I can't wait to see the progress!

I have such trouble finding patterns that I really like--but I REALLY LIKE what you are designing now. Any chance you'll be writing it up? I love your blog, bu the way. What an inspiration.

You are by far one of the most inspiring (and inspired) knitters in the verse. Thanks for sharing!!!!

I think the blue/yellow swatch looks lovely, it will make such a great jacket!

When you swatch fari-isle, do you knit in the round, or knit from right to left, leave the strands behind the work, and then knit from rihgt to left again : ie, only knit (not purl)? I thought I saw an edge that looked like it had been cut, and I just wonder what the best way of swatching fair-isle is?

Fabulous. The new design is great - you're just so talented. And I like the new blog design too. I'm glad you're back.

Eunny - that's simply stunning! And incredible.
Can't wait to see it finished...
(((hugs)))

you never cease to amaze me with your flair for design and intricate work. very stylish cardigan there.

Oh it's just beautiful. And of course, the tiny nationalist inside me is leaping with joy since your starting point was an historical Norwegian design. Hurra!

You are amazing.


very pretty! The values of the golden brown and blue seem identical on the one you refer to as "antiquey". I wonder if it is my screen or if they are really so close in value as to make the pattern hard to see? Beautiful and elegant that way too!

Hello, Eunny!
As always your stuff is mesmerising!
I have a question to you, which program do you use to draw all those schematic tables, i hate word description myself, but i tried a couple programms on the computer, and still no luck, I would really appreciate your help on the!

Great looking jacket design! I recently received a kit to make the Fair Isle bag by Beth Brown-Reinsel. The pattern from interweave Knits (Summer '04- ?)- calls for working the pattern on 2 straight needles- have you ever seen this pattern converted to circular needles? I enjoy your 'blog'- lots of interesting 'stuff'! :)

I love the design and would like to knit a fair isle cardigan for myself. Approximately how much yarn did you use for this project?

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