Monday, 2 May 2011

Sweet Clement Vest

I feel I probably owe some sort of explanation as to my terrible blogging since the show back in March (blimey, so long ago!) - I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, but have been busy with a few things that don't make interesting blogging (or that I can't be blogging about at all!)

I spent a couple of weeks knitting a couple of pair of socks to be used as the samples in a new book by Socktopus out later this year. This gave me a good chance to get to grips with her new range of yarns, Sokkusu. I was able to use the original blend, Sokkusu-O, a merino nylon loveliness, with high twish plies and lots of stretch and squishiness, and the rather posh Sokkusu-X, containing cashmere for the other pair (this stuff is simply awesome!). I've also been finishing up the pattern for the "cardicape" last seen at the show, which is currently being tech edited and test knitted (thanks Mam!). We did a wonderful photoshoot of the whole collection, which I will be sharing with you in dribs and drabs as the 6 patterns are released.

But I have also been knitting away at a new design I'm doing with Sweet Clement Yarns, in preparation for exclusive release at this summer's Knit Nation. I'm so excited about Knit Nation I am now dreaming about it!

Sweet Clement are one of my new favourite yarn brands, run by Pippa, they are a gorgeous range of semi-solid yarns in bright, powerful colours. I used her Smitten yarn in the Leaf Litter collection, making what turned out to be my favourite pair of socks, women's size Brick by Brick (another pattern in progress) in Mahogany. For this new garment design I am using Beloved, a 100% superwash BFL 3 ply in the cobalt colourway. It's not complete just yet, needing an edging on the armholes, seaming, a touch of grafting and the addition of some rock and roll zips, but here's a sneak peak!

As you can see, our dress form has more than passed it's best. According to Andrew, the brand is very good and expensive and we are lucky to have it. It is vintage (can't you tell), but this also means the measurements are vintage, and really it's a couple of sizes too big for this garment (as you can see from the very stretched ribbing and the rather exposed chest in the top picture!) All of this aside, you can really see the colour of Pippa's yarn, and the subtle mottled effect of it's semi-solid nature.

I was very inspired by a recent trip Pippa, myself and Rock & Purl's Ruth took to the Yohji Yamamoto exhibit currently at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. Looking at the unusual shapes of his woven garments was very cool, and at least two of those looks have inspired features of this garment. The first was a huge black winter coat, with unusual fastenings on the hip and shoulder at the back of the garment, and considering my great love of back details, I couldn't pass up this opportunity. As such, the garment fastenings, at the waist/hip and a pseudo fastening at the shoulder are on the back.

I was also intrigued by a garment that posessed multiple layers of fabric (a trademark of Japanese fashion), framing an armhole. These delicate layers of crepe have been replaced in this garment by a yet to be attached rib section, adding stabillity to the narrow shoulder straps.

The garment is made in one piece, another common feature amongst minimalist designers, knit flat from the bottom up. As such it has a rather scary cast on count, but decreases rapidly to more managable numbers.

The waist-hip region consists of twisted rib intersected by mini-cables made without a cable needle.

This feature (shown here at stretch) was inspired by the nature of the yarn, which just was crying out for a simple texture pattern to make it "ping".

The rib carries up the fronts of the wrap vest, and forms pseudo-side seams, splitting at the base of the armhole to form a frame.

The garment will be released exclusively at Knit Nation, and then will be published online around 1 week later. I am hoping to do a photoshoot sometime this week once the sample is complete, and will be publishing those pics here in advance of the sale.

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