Thursday, November 05, 2009

cottage garden design process

Last fall I moved into a cottage on a historic turkey farm in western Massachusetts. The cottage is a Sears kit house from 1919 that was delivered on the local train. For the gardener in me, it was love at first sight, as I saw the rambling flowerbeds and beautiful wisteria vine trailing up the side of the cottage. Other bonuses included a beautiful kitchen garden and the resident pet pig next door named Pinky.

At the same time I was exploring the work of a group of New England artists from the 1950s called the Folly Cove Designers. Led by Virginia Lee Burton (who wrote and illustrated many childrens' books including Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel) this group made incredible designs that were hand-block-printed on fabric. Check them out - here and here.

I was drawn to the fact that many of their designs described daily life in New England. It got me thinking about a vintage-inspired colorwork sweater that would speak to my story of falling in love with a little cottage garden. I started sketching a yoke design that was bursting with joyful flowers.

Cottage Garden was originally submitted to the Summer issue and I was thrilled when Kate asked if we could add longer sleeves and move the deisgn to the Fall issue. I had a lot of fun exploring color options for Cottage Garden but settled on one of my favorite combinations: teal and chartreuse (swatch knit in Reynolds Whiskey)

The best part has been seeing how other knitters have made Cottage Garden their own. Look at these beautiful versions!

Kelly's Cottage Garden

Momo's Cottage Garden
Tanya's Cottage Garden

What stories can your knitting tell?

Many thanks to Kelly, Momo and Tanya for the photos.


Blogger Manise said...

Such a beautiful sweater Cheryl! I love everyone's versions colorwork-wise.

So envious of your cottage and surrounding gardens etc.... Definitely my kind of place- neighboring pig and all!

10:49 AM  
Blogger torirot said...

It's a beautiful sweater!

12:08 PM  
Blogger Javajem said...

I love hearing the background behind this pattern! Your new cottage home sounds absolutely amazing! More pictures please?

And of course I LOVE the sweater :)

3:29 PM  
Anonymous lucy said...

hey, what a beautiful story and sweater. You are such a talented artist!
p.s. my son loves that Mike Mulligan book.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Nutty Knitter said...

I totally love the pattern and the detail on the wrists & waist. I'm crossing my fingers that I get this pattern as a gift. I've been dropping some pretty heavy hints! Keep it up!

12:05 AM  
Blogger mel said...

Mike Mulligan & his steam shovel was one of my favorite books as a kid!

I really enjoyed reading the background of your lovely design and it's inspiration - it seems to show also that you are very happy in your cottage - wonderful all around!

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved reading about the design process for this one! It's such a beautiful sweater.

8:49 AM  

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