It’s chutzpah to declare that any one sweater pattern was the It Sweater of Rhinebeck 2017, but there was one sweater that we kept seeing, and seeing. We saw it in the original yarn and colors, and we saw it with substitutions and modifications that knocked our eyes out. The shape and fit looked good on every person we saw.
Sweater knitting is hard, this we know. So when you see a sweater getting knitted a lot, and also worn a lot, it’s special.
So of course I want to make it.
What was this sweater?
Birkin by Caitlin Hunter.
Was Birkin the sweater inspired by Jane Birkin the style icon? Until I can check that issue of Laine, I will assume that it was. A quick Google image search revealed Jane rocking all manner of sweaters, but I did not find her wearing one with a floral yoke.
I searched the pattern notes for a clue as to why Birkin looks so great on everyone, and I think it might have something to do with this: “The sweater is knit seamlessly in the round from the top down and the body is gently shaped into an A-line by changing needle sizes.”
A-ha! The old changing-the-needle-size trick! I love that method, as it means you don’t have to fiddle with shaping increases, so the project becomes that little bit more portable and eligible for TV knitting. (And it also means that if the A-line is not for you, you just keep going on the same needles.)
The original version, with its delicate four-color patterning, is delightful, but I find the two-color versions even more compelling, somehow. I also love the contrast of a dark main color and a light color for the yoke, as seen here in Clare’s Monochrome Birkin.
(Wow. If you want to see an incredible body of beautiful knitting, check out Clare’s Ravelry project page: Dreamsbythesea. What an eye for great patterns, and incredible productivity. I feel validated in my love of Granito by Clare’s beautiful gold version.) Another dark-MC version, by gypsythedog, sealed the deal for me.
For about two seconds, I was stumped on what yarn would be good for Birkin. I love the lightness of Brooklyn Tweed Loft, but would prefer something smoother and softer for a garment that gets everyday wear. I thought, “it’ll come to me,” and let it go for the moment.
And it did come to me, at dinner on Saturday night, when Alice O’Reilly was knitting along happily on a Campside Cardi, using her Backyard Fiberworks Sock, double-stranding it to get a DK weight. Yes—the very same Backyard Fiberworks Sock that we now carry in the Shop.
Here are my first-cut picks for a monochrome Birkin in Backyard Fiberworks Sock:
Main color: Inkling.
Yoke color: One Thin Dime.
Or Local Honey.
Or Patio. (This is hard.)
I also love the lower-contrast combination of:
Main color: Wine Dark Sea.
Yoke Color: Jamberry.
At the moment, I can’t even choose the main color, between Inkling (it’s inky blue! I love inky blue!) and Wine Dark Sea (it’s a red for neutral lovers! I’m a neutral lover!).
This is going to take a while.