Snowbird Takes Flight

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once…

John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

I adore this line from a novel. It describes how I currently feel about my latest new knitting project – Snowbird, by Heidi Kirrmaier. Is a person allowed to feel this emotional about something when so far she has only knitted the collar? But it’s such a clever collar treatment, knitted so that the pieces gently curve around the back of your neck.

I think that clever treatment sums up this pattern. I’ve only just started work (and it will probably take me about nine months to complete!) but I sense that it’s extremely well-written. It includes techniques that scare me, because I’ve never done them before. But the collar treatment scared me and, look, I’ve already made the pieces! Baby steps, baby steps…

Any advice on working from the top down in one piece on circular needles, you know where I am!

I often think of sewing as a passionate affair and knitting as a cherished, familiar love. Talking of passion, I saw Atonement for the first time at the weekend. Wow. What a film and what a dress. Both took my breath away. There’s a great deconstruction of the dress here.

This entry was posted in knitting, sewing and knitting and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Snowbird Takes Flight

  1. gmariesews says:

    Oh Karen, what a fabulous sweater – what color are you making? I love top down for getting the fit right. What a fabulous analogy for sewing and knitting 🙂 g

  2. Oh dear I like this Cardigan. Whilst I enjoy knitting, my passion is sewing, my knitting is too slow! I find however I can plan knitting projects similar to sewing projects, I have a cardigan on the go as well as a scarf, I have a knitted hat and dog coat waiting to be sewed up, I have a knitted jacket in the planning. I think the planning of any project be it knitting or sewing is part of the fun of it all.

  3. MariaDenmark says:

    It’s a lovely cardi! So versatile and you can use it for years.
    I’ve added it to my queue (enabler, you!)…
    BTW I think the analogy is very fitting!

  4. Annie says:

    Haven’t knitted in a long time although I used to make all my sweaters on circulars. Beats trying to sew a decent seam afterwards. That movie was a seriously good move even though KK isn’t one of my favorites.

  5. LLADYBIRD says:

    All the sweaters I’ve made so far have been top down on circulars… I really don’t know any other way :B But I love the technique, especially since it means you can try it on as you go – and don’t have to piece at the end! Yeah!!

  6. Wendy says:

    I love Heidi’s patterns and have made her Buttercup, Grapevine and Peasy patterns so far, all successful and well loved – the Peasy especially so. Top down is the only way I knit these days, it makes proper fitting a piece of cake. Looking forward to seeing your Snowbird grow.

  7. Lindsey says:

    What a pretty, cozy looking sweater! Yet another project to add to my queue…. 🙂

  8. Linda Smith says:

    No knitting tips from me, but that’s a beautiful sweater! And wonderfully suits Gene MacLelland’s famous song (my fellow Canadian!). Have a listen while you’re knitting 🙂 (you may be familiar with Anne Murray’s version?)

  9. Love that cardigan! And you’re so right, knitting is a familiar love. It’s comfortable and is always there.

  10. Anne says:

    Hello Karen, what a lovely pattern!
    I’v nearly finished with my first top down cardigan. At times I really had no idea what I was doing, but by following the pattern step by step it all worked out fine.
    Like lladybird says, it’s nice to be able to fit it during knitting. Also you don’t havo to put everything together in the end, not my favourite part! With the cardigan I’m making I had a used yarn from my stash, it was not exactly enough. So i knitted top down till the waist, than added the sleeves so i was sure to have enough for both, and then proceded with the bodice. It will end up just a couple of cm shorter than the pattern required, but still long enough.
    Goodluck! My cardigan has taken me nearly 9 months, and now i’m pregnant so i will probably not fitt in it in a couple of weeks…. Planning is not my strong point 🙂

  11. Helen Made says:

    oh what a lovely looking pattern – can’t wait to see the finished item (however long it takes)!

  12. Clare says:

    Heidi Kirrmaier designs such lovely sweaters, I’ve not made this one but did make Atelier, and it also has a really clever collar/neck. Loads of her designs also have pockets, which is a huge plus in my book!
    In my opinion, knitting is much kinder as far as mistakes are concerned than sewing – you can always rip it out! Is there anything specific that scares you or you might find difficult about top down knitting? (like, handling the needles? magic loop is the only thing that I can think that is particularly weird when knitting on circs).
    If it’s just general apprehension about a new technique then I would just pass on the immortal words of Elizabeth Zimmermann (a huge proponent of knitting on circulars whose excellent books you should read if you haven’t already, I think you would really like her): “Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises.” It’s just one stitch after another and I know you can do it!

  13. Lucy says:

    Oooh, pretty. Totally not my thing, but nonetheless pretty.

  14. Liz says:

    I love this jumper and have added to my ever growing queue. Only problem with knitting versus sewing is that it is much slower. I am knitting my first “top down” jumper now, it seems to be going well so far and I love the idea that it reduces sewing up at the end. Good luck and I look forward to your eventual finished garment.

  15. Marie says:

    Oh Karen, this is a lovely cardigan and it’s going to be so snuggly when it’s done! Knitting still terrifies me, but at the same time it’s got me completely besotted! Sorry I can’t offer any advice, but I’ve not worked with circular needles before, because…well…the thought terrifies me!

  16. dottiedoodle says:

    Gorgeous cardigan, and thank you for the link to the film costumes site – I can see a happy hour or two ahead!

  17. Carolyn says:

    What an absolutely gorgeous cardigan!! Karen, I drew Roobeedoo’s name for the next round of my batch of Pattern Pyramid, and (if you are interested 🙂 ) I posted my PP make from the Burdastyle magazine in the batch here
    Thank you so much for this wonderful scheme!! You are the coolest 🙂

  18. Zoe says:

    That’s going to be one amazing cardi! What colour are you making it in? xx

  19. I always think it’s good to have a truly engaging project for the winter, and that is a very lovely one as well as challenging you with new techniques. Can’t wait to see the end product but I suppose I’ve no choice!

  20. eliseanna says:

    Lovely… the analogy and the sweater. Looking forward to seeing the finished version!

  21. Lovely cardi! My tip is to actually try it on as you go…rather than just think about trying it on or plan to after one more row or one more inch (which I often do until whoops, it is essentially done and I’ve missed any opportunity to adjust the fit). I suggest putting it on waste yarn so that you can see how it will drape. You *can* use a second circular (dividing the stitches between two so that you an spread the stitches out to fit round you) but I’ve found that this prevents me from seeing how it really fits as the circulars distort the fit around a human body.
    I strongly advocate carrying it round with you while it’s sma enough – I’m amazed at how many rows I plow through in 5 minutes here and there.
    Happy knitting and keep us posted 🙂

  22. Taja says:

    Oooooh! Love that sweater! Unfortunately, it isn’t something I could wear very often–possibly 20 to 25 days per year. Living in the Sonoran Desert has its benefits, but cool/cold weather rarely is among them!

    Seriously, I can’t knit or crochet to save my life. I keep thinking I’ll try to learn–again!–but designing and sewing absorb most of my limited free time. *sigh* Perhaps one day I’ll pull out my mother’s crochet hooks and try to learn–one more time!

    Can’t wait to see your finished cardigan, Karen!

  23. gingermakes says:

    This is going to be perfect! I love this pattern! Top down is the best– you’ll really be able to ensure a perfect fit!

  24. ooooo one of those slightly intimidating BIG knitting projects. Nice. Something kind of compulsive about them. I keep salaciously eyeing patterns for big winter cardigans t..

  25. Magz says:

    Longtime reader, first time writing.
    Just when I thought I couldn’t enjoy your blog any more, then you start quoting John Green.
    Only advice to give on cardigans from the top down is get a longer circular needle than you think you need. You can always bend the cable out of the way, but you can never add to it when it's too short without buying another.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.