Carbeth swan dance

For a few months now, I have been riffing off the same idea (which really is one of my favourite activities as a designer). I’ve knit four Carbeth jumpers and two cardigans (for the tale of woe involving number 5 see here) . . . but Carbeth’s interesting gauge-related ratios and simple geometric shaping weren’t quite done with me quite yet.

The weather has been very cold, and I’ve been very busy. I felt the need to knit something that was simultaneously undemanding and really really cosy. So I made this.

This definitely fit the bill! This sweater is tunic-length and oversized (worn here with around 10 inches of positive ease).

But despite being big and warm and slouchy, this garment still has structure.

. . . created by the strong lines of yarnovers and centred double decreases worked in panels along each sleeve, as well as on the front and back.

I think there is something really satisfying about a simple lace pattern worked at a larger gauges.

I look at this motif and think of swans or geese, rising high in the sky. I find the appearance of these inverted, open ‘V’s singularly pleasing, and on the sleeves particularly so.

What I was after with this garment was pure cosiness – I wanted a thick jumper with a haze or halo. To achieve the fabric I was after, I marled up a really robust and rather rustic yarn (soon to be available in our shop) with my current favourite jam – Fyberspates Cumulus .

I was amazed by how a single strand of Cumulus (which is composed of 74% suri Alpaca and 26% silk) transformed not only the surface but the general feel of the rustic yarn: there’s no crazy mohair fuzziness about the fabric, but just something soft and cloudy.

Though the openwork panels make the knitting (as well as the pattern-writing) of this design a little more complex, I would still say that this sweater – just like the Carbeth cardigan and jumper – is a garment that could be accomplished by any beginner knitter.

I was very happy that my swan-buddy obliged me once more with an appearance at the loch when we took these photos. I’ve probably not mentioned it before, but I’ve “known” this swan and his mate for a while: they nest in view of our steading, and we and other neighbours watch heart-in-mouth every spring for their cygnets to appear (one year the nest was plundered by a local fox).

These swans take their morning constitutional at the same time that I do and are, like me, real creatures of habit. The experience of “knowing” these swans – like the other birds and animals with whom I share my rural home – often feels like a gift to me.

When I hear the swans’ wings overhead as I’m taking Bruce out early in the morning, these lines from Mary Oliver frequently spring to mind:

“Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air,
an armful of white blossoms,
a perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings: a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
biting the air with its black beak?”

Mary Oliver, Swan (2010)

So I’ll get on and write a swan dance pattern now.