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Named for a scientific term used to describe the synchronous motion of sea grasses in a tidal waters, the Monami cardigan was conceived as a thought experiment: how do the idea currents around us influence our own creativity? It's often difficult to talk about creative inspiration these days, when the internet blurs the line between sharing and copying, and artists are caught up in defending their work against wholesale plagiarism. Still, it's a vital part of the creative process. The Monami project started with a favorite cardigan of mine (Breeze, by Kim Hargreaves), borrowed a few design elements, and took them in a new, original direction. I documented the process*, and used the experience to think about the ways in which influence and originality interact.
The final product is a cushy, rustic cardigan that recalls the maritime life. Monami's contrasting textures&mash;nubbly garter stitch next to deep, knotty cabling—create a luxuriously cozy fabric, and the boldness of its design makes it a good option for DK or sport-weight yarn in semi-solid or lightly variegated, as well as solid, colorways.
Monami is knitted in pieces from the bottom up. The back is seamed to the two fronts, and the long sleeves are set in. The ribbed collar is then picked up and knitted from the seamed pieces. The fit is flattering but not overly fussy: a small amount of shaping creates an attractive sweater that's still easy to wear, and the relatively lightweight yarn means that even such a bold cable design as this one can coexist with a semi-fitted silhouette. The deep ribbing transitions organically into the main cable motifs, which are echoed in a smaller, but related, design on the sleeves.
*Those who are interested can find Monami's design process documented on the Family Trunk Project blog in five stages (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Ms. Hargreaves's pattern was not consulted at any time during the design of Monami.
In the spirit of identifying and honoring influences, the following people contributed to the finished Monami design, whether they know it or not:
- Kim Hargreaves, who designed the cardigan that inspired the project, and from whom I learned to love organic transitions from ribbing to cable pattern;
- The great Barbara Walker, who gave me a good starting place for the cable motifs;
- Erin of Eat.Sleep.Knit and Kate of Hello Knitty, who championed the gorgeous Madelinetosh yarn;
- Jodi of Green Ray Productions, who suggested and supplied the excellent maritime buttons;
- Knitter Natalie, who suggested the fantastic name;
- Test-knitters Edie, Jessica, Sherry, Erin, and Kimberly.
- To fit chest 30(34, 38, 42, 46, 50, 54, 58) inches in circumference, with one inch positive ease
- 5 sts and 10 rows per inch in garter stitch
- 6(7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 11) skeins Madelinetosh Tosh DK (100% superwash merino wool, 225 yds/100g), colorway Golden Hickory
- One set US6/4mm needles or size needed to obtain gauge (straight or circular)
- 4 stitch markers
- Tapestry needle
- 10 buttons, ⅝" diameter
- Cabling from a chart
- Increasing and decreasing
- Setting in sleeves
- Picking up stitches