In case you hadn’t already realised, Mel really is my right-hand woman where this designing lark is concerned. She is an incredible knitter and I am very fortunate that she has the time and inclination to test out my designs. Mel is in many ways a much more exacting craftswoman than I, and her experience of, and feedback on, my patterns helps me to produce what I know are more ‘knitterly’ instructions. She is also a valuable sounding board for my design ideas. In the case of Braid Hills, for example, I was uncertain whether or not to continue the cabling on the cuff. . .


. . .and Mel persuaded me that this detail was absolutely essential. She was right.


Working closely with Mel is also useful when I’m grading a pattern. I produce a sample for myself, and Mel produces one too. Although we are similarly petite, we have very different body shapes – as well as being far more curvy than I, Mel has a longer torso, and often has to adjust the length of knitted garments that would proportionately fit her otherwise.


Braid Hills is knit all-in-one piece: the cable pattern has to end on a certain row in order for it to flow into the top-edge ribbing edging . . .


. . . and for this to happen, you have to be quite careful where and how many rows you add, and how you space your buttonholes.


Thanks to Mel, there is a note in the pattern about this.


Mel used the same yarn as me for her sample — Blacker Swan DK — in a natural (ie, not overdyed) stone grey shade. I think the natural shades of this yarn have a hand that is (if possible) even more pleasing than the dyed colourways – Mel’s sample has retained a slight halo without losing any of the stitch definition.


If you’d like to see Mel’s project notes, her Braid Hills cardigan is ravelled here.


cheers, Mel!

29 thoughts on “Mel knits again

  1. Thanks for the cables on the cuffs, Mel! That’s one of my favorite elements to this beautiful design. I really love the halo that yarn is giving off; I think I’m going to need some. Off to creep on Mel’s Ravelry page for some inspiration.


  2. Mel is the greatest knitting companion one can have,,, lucky lucky you !! Of course, Mel as much as her knitting looks absolutely stunning in the photos. I love her moody colors as I do your cheery ones ! I am very impressed with “Braid Hills” !!!


  3. Love the fine cables in grey – looks like daintily carved stone and gives a modern yet slightly gothic edge! Stunning! :)


  4. I love this sweater when can I sign up for this series and I would love to gift it to several friends.
    You are both such wonderful knitters. Thanks for all your beautiful patterns. I hope I look as good in this sweater as you both do. Is this yarn available in the US?
    Be Blessed,
    Debrielle Welch


  5. Very nice post. It’s great to have a right-hand-person around to help out. I hope Mel and you will be able to commute to see each other after you move.
    The sweater looks great on both of you. After a little fiddling around with the pattern it might look nice on me too.
    MagCloud sent the 2 patterns I ordered out right away. Very good service and lovely booklets!


  6. great! it looks super in the grey also and on mel……not to repeat myself but……..age and shape should not stop us from making beautiful well designed garments. thanks to mel for giving you a knitterly ‘hand’.


  7. If Mel plays a part in making your patterns such good quality in a ‘knitterly’ sense we should all be thankful for her- I have found the designs of yours I’ve made to be such a good fit, which is not always the case for me. Regarding the Blacker Swan, I was urged to check it out at Woolfest and picked up a sample ball- definitely going back for more as it’s so soft and has such great stitch definition.


  8. This is such a lovely piece! As you were talking about modifying the basic design for another’s body type, perhaps you could at some time address the issues of taking one of your patterns, which tend to be quite close to the body, and adjusting them for those of us who are older and less svelte! I do not like to wear garments close to the body, yet to simply make a larger size often leads to baggy-ness and a frumpy look. Any advice on that?

    Loved the owls! What a great chance to see them up close.


  9. such a beautiful woman she is, how is it you are all so pretty?
    the knitting is as yours, spectacular
    nice to see the sweater in a different colour also

    it’s a very beautiful and flattering pattern, it looks so lovely on both of you!


  10. I may have to knit this… I’ve been looking for a cabled cardigan to go with some DK in my stash for ages and this pattern fits the bill :)


  11. Hello Kate, I have written about getting my Braid Hills pattern in the post this week, on my blog, and the substitute yarn I have ordered. I have chosen a dark grey for mine, so it’s lovely to see Mel’s in a grey, too.


  12. Such beautiful photos with the wildflowers blowing in the wind in the background. You are indeed fortunate to have someone who combines masterly knitting skill with a pretty, more rounded silhouette. As a petite designer myself, I admit that grading patterns for larger sizes makes me uncomfortable sometimes, as I lack the personal experience of fitting someone with a larger differential between bust and waist. My daughter, who is my model, is even smaller than I am, which makes for nice photos, but not necessarily helpful fitting. I’m intrigued by the yarn you’ve used and am wondering how expensive it would be to get some over to this side of the Atlantic.


  13. Gorgeous! I am really looking forward to knitting one this fall. It looks like so much fun to knit (and of course, wear!). I love Mel’s necklace, and the fact that it mirrors the cables in the sweater.


  14. Thanks for introducing Mel! One of the things I appreciate most about Braid Hills is where the cables are placed and the way they are integrated into the ribbing-finished edges. And as someone who always has to add 5 cm to the length of the body of a garment, getting the details squared away always requires significant forethought (as well as sheets of graph paper, or computer equivalent) before I can cast on. Thanks, Mel, for being part of Kate’s process–and thanks, Kate, for giving Mel such well-deserved acknowledgment.

    Braid Hills looks super on both of you.


  15. omy!
    Good idea in showcasing your design in a larger size!!

    You can be certain that this will be my fall / winter project….and to think I will have both of you ladies guiding me—great.

    Hmmmm. I feel prettier already!!
    THANK YOU, Kate x-x-x-x-x-x


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