Bayview Street Cardigan
Last fall, I began sketching a collection of works inspired by the landscapes – seascapes, rather – of my childhood on Cape Cod. About ten years ago, as a new knitter, I made a simple, raglan pullover for my grandmother. She would never buy herself a fancy sweater, and I thought it would be nice to make one that fit her very petite, barely 5′ self. For it to be worn at all, it needed to be something she could grab on her way out the door to wear down the street to the beach, where she liked to watch the ferries coming and going into and out of Hyannis Harbor. She loved it, partly because, for once, nothing needed to be altered: it fit perfectly. What made that sweater so perfect? It was simple, easy, it fit, it went with everything, and she could wear it anywhere. My other designs may be knitterly (i.e., with knitting interest like steeks, cables, and lots of color changes), but they are not articles I would wear anytime, anywhere. Last fall, I decided to design a cardigan that would be both knitterly and appropriate to wear every day.
Bayview Street Cardigan is the product of my efforts. I decided to name it after Bayview Street Beach, where I spent a good deal of my childhood. Down the street from my grandparents’ home, it may very well have been my first beach. As you can see, Beatrix has spent some time there too.
For this particular project, the yarn holds just as much appeal as the design. I wanted something soft, but I rarely use 100% merino yarns because they often fall apart so much more quickly than woolly wools. I selected Frog Tree Meriboo, which is 70% merino and 30% bamboo, in hopes that the strength of the bamboo would add some durability to the garment. The knitted fabric is both soft and strong as well as a little shimmery. One of the funniest parts of this design story involves the yarn. When chose Meriboo, I noticed Frog Tree was based on Cape Cod. When I spoke to Trish, one of the owners, she explained they were located only a few miles from this beach. Small world, no? In any case, Trish sent me a lovely card and a good deal of yarn to complete this project, for which I am very grateful.
I finished the pattern just after Odysseus was born, creating another problem: how to photograph it? Fortunately, my dear friend Ingrid came to the rescue with the perfect measurements to model the work. I thank her for the impeccable styling, modeling, and photography! Don’t they look great? I think it’s funny that although I did not tell Ingrid the story of the cardigan, she styled her photos at the beach.
As for the sweater details, the cardigan features tubular cast-ons at the hem and cuffs, tubular cast-offs at the neck and button bands, tapered sleeves, tailored waist shaping, and a very simple, 5-stitch lace repeat over the body. The cardigan and sleeves are each knitted in the round in one piece to the armholes, then worked flat. The only seaming required is to sew the sleeve caps into the armholes. I debated about adding a belt, but decided against it in the end because it would have required too much dull knitting for not enough use.
I am particularly happy with how the tubular edges look. Although it is a terribly fiddly endeavor, the finished product is worth the effort. Plus, it yields a nice and stretchy edge.
The buttons caused me no end of grief, as every kind I tried either looked or photographed poorly. In the end, I bought a fat quarter of coordinating fabric and made fabric-covered buttons myself. My grandmother would definitely approve of that, as she was quite the seamstress in her day! All in all, I will call this project a success. I hope you’ll think so too.
**Photo/model credit: Ingrid Deon**