Grove Park


      About a month ago, around the same time that I decided to cut back on a frenetic schedule in order to regroup and figure out what to do with the rest of my life, I also began to design an original knitted project, using some of my favorite yarn, Vivacious by Fyberspates. This yarn that briefly hibernated in my stash, but I knew it wouldn’t lie dormant for long as its vibrant jewel-tone and beautiful texture enticed me.  Vivacious was not new to me, as it has been a popular choice for knitters at my local yarn shop, several of whom, including me, have used it to knit the Marianne sweater from one of the Jane Austen Knits magazines.  

     When I conceived of my Grove Park capelet, I wanted something feminine, a project that wouldn’t look out of place in an Austen-themed collection, but one that would be practical enough to throw on over jeans for a quick trip to the grocery store. I think my final product meets both of my criteria, although I know some folks would think twice before wearing a “luxury yarn” item to the local Food Lion or Harris Teeter.  I think handmade knitwear, however fancy, should be worn and not stowed away for a special occasion, so I don’t share in this hesitation.  

If you make the size medium, you will have a sizable amount of yarn left.  You can leave out one pattern repeat of the chart, if you would like to use only two skeins.  I'm happy that I have some left.  I know I can use this yarn for something else.   

     Despite the fact that I made my garment with fingering-weight yarn, it worked up fairly quickly, as it is knit in the round.  But I do have plans to revamp the same pattern to accommodate DK or worsted yarn.  Folks in cooler climates or those who eschew working with anything lighter than DK might find this pattern more appealing that way.  While there are plenty of gorgeous DK and worsted yarns on the market.  I know that The Fiber Company’s Arranmore Light, a DK yarn, or its Cumbria Worsted would create beautiful capelets.  Arranmore Light is a rich mixture of merino wool, cashmere, and silk, while Cumbria Worsted is a combination of merino wool, Masham wool, and mohair.   Masham is the name for a crossbreed of sheep with lustrous wool.  These sheep, hailing from the northern hills of England, get their name from Masham,  a small market town in the Yorkshire Dales.  

My beautiful (inside and out)  friend, Dawn Raldolph, cheerfully agreed to model for me.

     I haven’t had an opportunity to see and feel any Cumbria Worsted yet, but I have been gazing longingly at the Arranmore since its recent arrival on the shelves of my local yarn shop, Cottage Yarn, but I am holding off on my purchase until I finish knitting and writing the pattern for a cowl that is on my needles at present. Also our local Yarn Crawl (held from September 22-30) is just around the corner, so I can keep my eyes open for worsted at local shops.  

     Not surprisingly, spending hours and hours graphing, calculating decreases, writing, and knitting as I created Grove Park did not seem like work, although I did begin to think that the time and effort I had invested merited a professional and publication worthy pattern.  So somewhere in the middle of the design and knitting process, I invested in a knitting chart generator program called Stitchmastery.  This user-friendly program creates sharp-looking charts and it also has some impressive features, including the automatic production of written instructions as the chart is created!  When I saw on the Stitchmastery website that one of my favorite designers, Anniken Allis, uses Stitchmastery, I was sold.  On numerous occasions, I have been drawn to a photo of a beautiful lace shawl in a magazine only to discover that it is one of Allis’s designs.  When I have knit Allis’s detailed creations, I’ve never had any difficultly with her charts or instructions.  

     My first design created using Stitchmastery gets its name from the Grove Park Inn,  a grand hotel in Asheville, North Carolina.   Built in 1913, the luxurious inn seems a fitting place to wear a garment crafted with rich yarn.  And my capelet’s blue-green color and botanical panel are evocative of Grove Park’s Blue Ridge Mountain setting.  

This pattern is written up, and I’ve proofread it, but it has not been test knitted by anyone other than me. I am posting a link to my pattern on this site until October 1.  Go here for your copy. If you have trouble accessing this, post a comment below and I can assist you.  

     If you decide to knit my pattern, please let me  know if you find any errors and feel free to contact me with questions.   In October, the final pattern will go on sale.  


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