Elinor Brown Knits

Knitting Designs by Elinor Brown

Category: Uncategorized

Happy Wool Season!

May the next 6 months of your life be filled with woollen goodness!

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

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.

Bayview Street Beach

Bayview Street Beach

Testing the waters, Nana's Beach

Tracks on Nana's Beach

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.

Bayview Street Cardigan

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.

Bayview Street Cardigan

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.

Bayview Street Cardigan

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.

Bayview Street Cardigan

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.

For more information about the pattern, please see the Bayview Street Cardigan page. The pattern is also available on Ravelry for $6.50.

**Photo/model credit: Ingrid Deon**

Contest deadline moved to May!

For those interested in participating in the Socks Revived Design Contest, I have officially moved the deadline from 4/19 to 5/21 at 8 p.m. EST. I apologize if this inconveniences anyone – especially those rushing to finish now – and I hope most people will feel relieved for more time.

Unfortunately, Aaron and I don’t think we can get this off the ground right in the middle of a cross-country move that was supposed to happen in July, but might be happening in the next several weeks. It is best to extend the deadline, rather than close the contest and not announce winners for a month because we can’t get organized.

I HOPE you will not be angry, I HOPE you will still enter, I am thrilled with the entries that have come through so far, and I look forward to seeing more!

Best of luck and please let me know if you have any questions! I will try to respond as quickly as I can.

I voted against Republicans today.

And in support of public transit and the pro-science candidate for the Kansas State Board of Education.

Election Day anticipation

It felt great. I hope your voting experience was as satisfying!

Knitting content to return tomorrow!

Monkey’s Dress

With less than a day left before the exam, I thought I’d take a quick break from practice tests to pop in to say hello. And thank you, for providing me with plenty of quick diversions by blogging and posting your lovely photos on Flickr and on Ravelry. Whenever I need a short break, I stop and read some blogs, see out what my contacts are up to on Flickr and check email.

I have so many unblogged projects (mostly things I finished in late spring or early summer) to show you that I will probably have to break them up into several posts. Let’s start with kid sewing, shall we?

New Look 6688, Size 3

Pattern: New Look 6688, size 3

Made for gimmesanity’s Monkey, a brand new big sister.

This is one of my favorite patterns ever. You may recall that I used this same pattern for Celeste’s sundress last fall. I also made Beatrix a dress with this pattern last summer; however, she outgrew the dress before I could photograph it. In any case, I thought it would be nice for the big sister to get something special (other than, of course, a new sibling!) And what kid does not love to twirl?

The only significant modification I made to the pattern was to omit the side zipper. This pattern calls for an invisible side zipper that stops short of the underarm. I’ve placed the zipper in the past but it does not add anything to the garment, in my opinion, so I skipped it.

For the new baby, I made a quick pair of booties and a stack of square flannel wipes. I made stacks and stacks of these before Beatrix was born and we still use them every day. I pulled out my stash of flannel and sewed up some more wipes for the new babe.

Baby booties and flannel wipes

Finally, back in early June I made another light dress for Beatrix.

My favorite dress

Pattern: Butterick 3782 just like the blue daisy dress I made a few months ago. I actually sewed the two dresses at the same time but this one seemed to be in the wash whenever I had a chance to photograph it. I managed to bribe Beatrix to sit still long enough to take the pictures. The bribe? A steady stream of dog kisses. Ew.

Fabric: American Jane Wee Play Ovals by Moda

While I normally use doublefold bias tape to hide my unsightly neckline and armhole seams, I decided to try using singlefold bias tape as facing. I couldn’t be happier with the result! I dislike messing with linings and facings on summer dresses for a growing toddler so tape facings effectively clean up the edges without much extra work. To cotton purists, I’ve learned, using pre-fab tape is like lining your knits with a wool/acrylic blend; however, at the rate B is growing, the fiber content of the facings will not matter much.

Speaking of Beatrix, look who is developing some attitude! And right on time too, with her second birthday only a week away.


That’s all for kid sewing. There will be some quilting, some adult sewing and sock knitting coming your way after the MCAT. Until then, wish me luck.