>Exotic Wood and Chinaberry, a New Pattern

When I was a girl, my dad worked as a machinist in a lumberyard in the Bronx. He used to come home smelling of sawdust. I loved that smell — maybe it was dad, maybe it was the wood.

Every once in a while he would bring home a special bag. Inside would be small blocks of the exotic hardwoods that the lumberyard handled. There would be babinga, ebony, mahogany and teak. There were so many, I could never keep track, but it was a great lesson in geography because he used to tell us where each tree grew, and we would find it in the atlas. I don’t think he ever brought home any wood from the Chinaberry tree, but it sounds exotic enough that he would have. It grows in China (of course), as well as Australia and India. The tree yields small purple or yellow flowers that look like bells. These bells remind me of the lace on my newest pattern, Chinaberry.

This pattern took some time to develop. I wanted to take the leap into self-publishing and I had some ideas, sketched out. I decided on one. Chinaberry started out as this sketch:
As you can see, it was originally meant to be sleeveless, and it still may have an incarnation as that, but for this piece I wanted sleeves. After the pattern was written and the prototype was knit (see post from July 25th), I had some lovely women test knit the pattern. A huge thank you to Deb (jstdt3t), Liz (oddlizard), Rose (rosejulia1), Connie (faeriesandpixies), Louise (louiseclsc171260) and Elly (iknitcupcakes) for the many, many hours they took to not only knit the pattern, but find my errors and keep me grounded in reality. Without their support and encouragement, I’m not sure I’d ever have had the courage to self-publish.

Then, of course, came the pattern layout. I’d been working on parts of the design layout all summer. I knew what I wanted my patterns to look like, but it took me the better part of this month to tweak it down to what I envisioned.

Yesterday, my husband and I took a ride to the beach on the Long Island Sound near where we live for the photoshoot with out new camera. The day was fantastic for late September — 80’s and sunny (and just a little bit sad because you know you won’t be getting many more like it). I love the light in the autumn. Although my hair leaves much to be desired (appointment next week, Nicole, are you listening?), I think the pictures were wonderful. So, thanks Joe for being so supportive.

Chinaberry is an elegant, easy-to-wear, three-season lace pullover in five sizes (S, M, L, 1X, 2X). It features set-in sleeves, high jewel neck and center front placket. Simple lace adorns the yoke, cuffs and bottom band. All pieces are knit flat, bottom up and seamed. The pattern is written in table format for ease in following directions.

It’s available to download now through Ravelry.

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Juggler: mother, knitwear designer, teacher

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