Posted on February 21, 2014 at 5:01 pm

I have finally published Netherwood. It is a sweater I worked especially hard on, from the knitting to the writing. It took a lot of care to ensure it was as close to perfect a sweater as I could imagine, and it’s finally ready to share.

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The inspiration for the sweater was a simple thing really. I thought it would be beautiful to work a panel of Bavarian style stitch patterns, and have them end at a horizontal line across the chest.  The first sketch was a messy affair, but it looked like this:

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There was a first draft, which was a terrible failure because I realized the stitch pattern I chose might end up on some knitters calling undue attention to certain aspects of, um, shall we call them “female endowments”. It’s a fact of my work that sometimes I fall down hard, and so I reclaimed the yarn and started again.

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After all the work and a thorough tech edit by Alison Green, I think it’s a hoot to knit, full of fun knitting details and interesting design elements. It is currently my favorite sweater I’ve ever made. I’m particularly taken with the bracelet style cuff

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There is some flexibility built into the pattern, in particular accommodations for the vagaries of row gauge and personal preferences regarding the length of the cuff.

As for the name, Netherwood? I named it after my high school. As I knit it (both times), I found myself thinking about the place for a number of reasons. Netherwood School was an architecturally beautiful campus peppered with buildings in the Victorian Gothic style, characterized by pierced trim boards and steep roof pitches. I seldom see similar buildings, so I’ve come to think of the style as quite rare, but all the prettier for it. A few years after I graduated, the girls’ school merged with the boys’ up the hill, and sadly the original campus was sold to a family who knocked the whole thing down to build their enormous dream house behind a very high fence. It broke many hearts to lose the school, and that no one thought to save even one of those beautiful residences feels like a minor tragedy to a lot of us. But up the hill (as we used to say) on the surviving campus, one more such building still stands.

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It’s called South House, and it’s been recognized by Heritage Canada as an important example of its architectural style. It had its own dance with the demolition crew a few years ago, but was saved by a group of vigorous alumni.

While a sweater is an unusual vehicle for a memorial, I couldn’t help but remember with many of these stitches, what has gone by. So Netherwood it has to be.

I do hope you like it, and maybe even knit one. You can find the pattern, as usual, here on Ravelry.

A special thanks to Maryse Roudier, who took the beautiful pictures, and to Stacie Dolin, who was a wonderful styling assistant that day.