Tantalus

I wore a lot of loosely cowl-necked sweaters back in the 1980s. A lot of them. Loved them. They were in style, so easy to find in the stores, which was important as I hadn’t started knitting all my own sweaters yet. Since I can’t wear turtlenecks or scarves (long and boring history), the attached cowls helped to keep me warm in winter. Later, when I lived in southern California, I rarely thought about scarves. For the most part, it just doesn’t get cold enough there to need them. Then my husband and I moved up to the Pacific Northwest. It gets a lot colder here, so I’ve been thinking about the sweaters I used to have with the nice warm, loose cowls attached. Add that to all the lace cowls I’ve designed that can be worn with anything, and poof! a sweater idea is born: a simple stockinette sweater with a lace cowl neckline.

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When I got the call from Louet I dug through various stitch dictionaries looking for just the right lace pattern for the cowl. One of my all-time favorite lace stitches is the lovely Japanese feather stitch. I’d tried at various times in the past to use the stitch on something, anything, but it always denied me. Until now. When knit flat, the stitches sway back and forth, making a lovely scalloped edge that is difficult to block unless it’s done just so. It turns out that when this tantalus-1simple lace stitch is knit in the round, the undulating edges aren’t a problem—since there are no edges.

The majority of Tantalus is knit with Louet GEMS Sport, and is designed to fit snugly to the body. It fits best with zero to negative two inches of ease. This means that the finished size of the sweater should match your bust (bra size plus cup size, for instance a 36B would be 38 inches), or be up to two inches smaller than your bust. The cowl is knit with larger needles, but with the finer GEMS Fingering yarn. After the simple stockinette sweater is knit, and the shoulders seamed, stitches are picked up around the neckline, and the cowl is knit in the round right onto the sweater. The rest of the sweater is seamed after the cowl is knit on.

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When I designed Tantalus to closely fit the body, I was thinking that this would make the sweater more versatile, as close-fitting tops fit more easily under blazers and other jackets. This expands the wear-ability of the garment. When worn with a blazer and neat slacks or skirt, this sweater easily can go from boardroom to luncheon out, to an evening on the town. For different looks it could also be paired with a fun floral skirt, jeans, a skinny pair of leggings, or whatever suits your fancy.

To celebrate the official release of the Fall 2014 Collection from Louet, I’m going to give away a pdf of Tantalus to one lucky winner. To enter, leave a comment to this blog post before I get out of bed on Monday morning, August 18, 2014. When you do, tell me what you will want to wear Tantalus with. I will put a copy of the pattern in the winner’s Ravelry library. To recap, winning entries will:

  • Reply to this blog post
  • Tell me what you would wear with Tantalus
  • Include your Ravelry ID, so I can give the pattern to you, if you win
  • Be posted before I get up in the morning on August 18, 2014

Photographs of Tantalus taken by Caro Sheridan in Boston, Massachusetts, © Louet North America 2014. Used with permission.

Don’t forget to visit the rest of the stops on the blog tour!

Aug 13: Kathy Owens, guest post on the Louet Blog
Aug 15: Laura Patterson, Fiber Dreams
Aug 18: Mari Chiba, Mari Knits
Aug 20: Rohn Strong, Rohn Strong Designs
Aug 25: Ruth Gargia-Alcantud, Rock+Purl
Aug 27: Varian Brandon, Brandon Knitting Designs
Sept 1: Handmade by Stefanie
Sept 3: Susanna IC, guest post on the Louet Blog

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.
Jessica Hische