Several months ago, the lovely Allyson of Holla Knits pinned a technique on Pinterest called Easy Knitted Plaid, from the WEBS blog. I spend as much mindless time trolling the Pinterest eye candy as any other procrastinator, and like to take note of interesting knitterly techniques, among other things. This plaid concept really intrigued me, and I immediately thought about designing an overscaled plaid something. What could it be? Accessory? Nope, too small. Gigantic squooshy wrap? Maybe, but too much exposure of the wrong side. Sweater? Getting closer, but anything with much shaping at all would interfere with the unbroken drama of the plaid. Then poking around runway photos and fall fashion forecasts, I noticed the unapologetic presence of capes as an emerging trend.
Now, I had thought my involvement with this sort of thing ended with the rectangular poncho I knit as a new knitter a long time ago – but, no! Cape, poncho, cloak, pelisse, mantle, tabard . . . exactly the silhouette for a big, bold plaid. I thought about calling it a swing coat for a while, when I got nervous, but instead plunged fearlessly on and embraced the cape-ness.
And I’m glad I did; this shape is an easy topdown knit, and the raglan increases allow the plaid to radiate outward for a geometric, eye catching look. It has a subtly shaped hemline, which visually echoes the round shoulder line that appears when it’s worn on the body. It’s knit one color at a time, in a simple wide rib, just like knitting stripes. It has an asymmetric, double breasted front closure, made from I-cord frogs that match the applied I-cord front edging. And it allows you to play with color, from high-contrast to gently tonal.
But the plaid, you say? What about the vertical plaid? Well, that’s put in last, using a crochet hook to pick up a line of stitches in the purl ditches of the ribbing. Those stitches nestle in there, nice and flat after a friendly blocking, looking just like they belong. I made a video tutorial to show exactly how.
I can see making lots of plaid in future, and meanwhile I’ll be sporting around in my fashionable cape; it’s outerwear and accessory all in one. I’d like to inspire everyone to embrace this bold shape, so I’m giving away a free copy of the Plaidscape pattern.
Leave a comment on this post telling me your thoughts about capes; are they fierce, flirty, frightening? What colors would you use to make this trend your own? Deadline for comments is wednesday September 25 at midnight EDT. One entry per person EXCEPT: for an extra chance, pin an image from this post on Pinterest, tweet a link, or like The Knitting Vortex on Facebook (dont forget to come back and leave your second comment if you do!) I will announce the winner, drawn by random number generator, right here on thursday September 26. May the odds be ever in your favor!
Take the Holla Knits Blog Tour, and check out the other fabulous designs and fantastic yarns from the Collection:
Sept 17: The Sweatshop of Love
Sept 18: The Knitting Vortex
Sept 19: Unplanned Peacock
Sept 20: Knit York City
Sept 23: masi|knits
Sept 24: Wooly Wonka Fibers
Sept 25: Knittery with Doog
Sept 26: Dyeing to Knit with Yarn Love
Sept 27: Dirty Water Dyeworks
Oct 1: Rohn Strong Designs
Oct 2: Knits in Class
Oct 4: Cosmos and Cashmere