Couture de Catherine

Having taken Catherine Lowe‘s class on full-fashioning for design and fit, and having purchased her marvelous book The Ravell’d Sleeve, I have been looking forward to receiving the yarn with which to make the scarf pictured on the cover of the book. 


This scarf is not just an ordinary “s c a r f”.  It is Neckwear.  Specifically, Neckwear IV.  It is a work of art, a gallery piece.  The couture pattern by which it is knit is included in the book.  If you’ve ever wondered what a couture knitting pattern was like, I encourage you to take a peek.  It is very precise, very detailed.  It leaves nothing to the imagination, for it is intended that the knitter should reproduce an exactingly beautiful replica of the original.  You might be wondering what is so special about it.  Consider this:  after you knit the entire piece, you are to pick up every stitch around it, well over 2000 stitches.  You then knit an edging, and attach it cleverly to the inside of the scarf, using techniques that allow this to be done around the corners and at the absolutely perfect stitch rate to coincide with the dimensions of the scarf.  This is not your everyday scarf.  You may encounter actual Knitting With Tears along the way.  The result is worth it.

Therefore, when I spied the package at my door this afternoon, I was thrilled.  The presentation of the contents is as exquisite as Catherine herself.

Each ball of yarn (can I call it merely “yarn”?  Surely there must be a more elevated term for this) was individually packaged in black tissue paper, having already been wound into ball:

Even though I knew what was inside, it was still exciting to unwrap the package to reveal the beautiful true-red alpaca-silk blend.  As you can see, the strands are not twisted, but lie flat.  The ball itself is wound so that all of the “plies” lie flat.  This is very different than what we have come to expect with handknitting yarns, which are twisted to one degree or another.  I look forward to exploring the difference in end results.

The pièce de resistance was the customized tag.  It is a bit blurry in this photo, but you can see the line at the bottom that says “prepared expressly for “, with the name in handwriting.  I just wish it were on fabric so that I could sew it into my knitting as a label.

As you know, I have a few other projects on my plate, and will have to delay the gratification of this one for a while.  It may kill me.

6 thoughts on “Couture de Catherine

  1. wow, what a wonderful service she provides, I can see why you’re excited to be getting your yarn.Lucky you! I look forward to seeing your knitting creation. by the way, delaying gratification may cause grievous mental anguish, I recommend knitting a test swatch 🙂

    1. No kidding!! I’ve never been daunted by swatching before, but I may have met my match. I understand from a friend that her yarns still contain some kind of chemical coating, and maybe that explains why she specifies that you soak your swatches (and finished items) for several hours before rinsing and blocking. I think the coatings are meant to protect the strands as they go through arduous processes. Poor things.

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