Fashion Design

Cordoba Cardigan

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A lifelong knitter of other people’s patterns, I finally decided to try my hand at designing a piece of my own.  In the course of attending multiple fiber festivals, I had acquired a great deal of local, undyed wool.  I wanted to utilize these fibers in a way that would show off the beauty of the natural colors and properties of each species/breed, while still creating something visually interesting.  With not enough yardage to make a blanket, and too much yarn to simply make a scarf, I decided on an oversized cardigan.  The yarns included Merino (white), Shetland (cream/grey), Romney (brown), Lambswool (dark brown), and a little bit of Alpaca (light brown) all of which came from farms in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The inspiration for this cardigan was the arches of the Cathedral of Cordoba.  I first learned about this example of Moorish architecture in my freshman year Art History course.  Those images had a lasting effect on me, and I saw an opportunity to use the general motif in my own design.

IMG_2211I constructed the sweater from the bottom up, starting with the darkest yarn and slowly producing a gradient by adding increasingly lighter yarns.  I worked on the sleeves in the same manner, as separate pieces later joined to the body of the sweater.  While this sweater is not reversible, as it has a right side (exterior) and wrong side (interior), I added interest to the interior pockets by adding stripes.  The design mirrored the edging of the cardigan and added an unexpected touch to an otherwise underwhelming interior.

Although I wanted this garment to be oversized, I did still wish it to have some shape in order for it to drape properly.  I achieved this in two ways.  First, I decreased the number of stitches to make the waist smaller, and second, I added a panel of ribbed stitches to cinch-in the cardigan further.

After shaping the shoulders and attaching the sleeves, the last step was to knit the edging in one long strip, alternating colors, and then attach it to the edge of the finished cardigan.   I added leather buttons as the final touch.