Sunday, January 23, 2011

My First Tattoo

Sometimes a project just takes you over, consumes you, forces you to follow its path. That’s what’s happening to me now.

In a mad rush of spinning at the end of 2010, I finished over 2 pounds of yarn for a yet unspecified knitting project. I blogged about that spinning frenzy on Dec 31.
The yarn was spun from two sheep named Lucy and Lacy.

A few days later, an idea for a cardigan came to me: a loose fitting, boxy cardi with embellishments. Here is my very rough drawing of my first thoughts of that idea. As I drew, the embellishments started to look like tattoos to me. So, the sweater will be titled, “Tattoo”. Just a note: I can’t draw.

On the back, I want to put a short central cable pattern at waist level, and then put some dulplicate stitch embellishments – also centrally located – above that. On the front, I want to have a knit-purl stitch pattern in a triangular space with the point at wasit level. The front and back will be knitted from Lucy (grey). The sleeves will be knitted from Lacy (dark grey) and a marl yarn of Lucy Plus Lacy. I want a large collar, and a stiff, short, 3-dimensional stitch pattern for the hem and cuffs (and perhaps also on the outside edge of the collar).

I swatched for several days, first to make sure I had enough yarn, then to make decisions about the hem stitch, the cable, and the knit-purl stitch on the front. For the hem, I finally decided on a stitch pattern that I found in an old vintage knitting magazine that was missing its cover (so I don’t know what magazine, or when it was published; my guess is that the magazine was published in the 1940s). The stitch is called, “Cayce”. Very simple, but with a nice, dense structure:

Here’s “Cayce”:

Multiples of 2 sts.
Row 1 – K1, *yo, sl1 (as if to P), K1, repeat from * across row, ending K1.
Row 2 – (RS) K2, *K the yo and the slip st tog through back of sts, K1, repeat from * across row.
Repeat these 2 rows for pattern.

I also swatched a number of cable patterns (for center back). I decided to modify a cable pattern I found in The Harmony Guide to Practical Knitting Stitches (1983): Pattern VI.1, page 63.

On Thursday, I started knitting the back. After about 7 inches, I decided to change the depth of the hem and the width of the knitted piece. So, I ripped out the knitting and started over. I got up to the neck edge last night.

I would have gotten farther, but after changing the width of the sweater, I realized I needed to spin some more yarn. So I spun 2 more skeins (about 8 ounces) of Lucy. They’re drying now.

Here’s a picture of the back (Lucy), and some of the Lacy yarn, the Lucy Plus Lacy marl, and a pinch of a Lacy plus kid mohair locks that I may use for one of the embellishments.


  1. Holy Sheep!!! Thanks so much for sharing your creative process with us. Commendable designing. Can't wait to see the posting of the finished "Tattoo."

  2. Amazing! Is this a pattern you may be offering for sale at some point? It looks great.