I usually have a lot of projects going at once, so when I find myself actually needing a piece for myself for a specific occasion, I'll often look at designs others have published. I do this for several reasons. For one, why reinvent the wheel? For another, it's nice to support other designers. And finally, knitting someone else's design is kind of a mental vacation because I don't have to worry about checking and rechecking everything- and I often learn a new technique or way to phrase things. However, sometimes I have an idea in my head and can't find what I want, so then, it's time to design something for myself (and hope other people are looking for the same thing, eventually!)
In this case, I was invited to a destination wedding that was taking place on the beach. I find outdoor weddings, particularly on the beach, problematic. Not only does the sand make my extensive fancy shoe collection useless, but I don't know what to wear in general. Even if you know the weather forecast for the town, it can be significantly hotter or cooler on the sand. Or, it can start out hot, for the ceremony, but then the evening reception can turn significantly cooler after the sun sets and chill breezes start to blow. So, I decided to wear a dress I have that I love that hasn't gotten enough wear. It's not super bare, but it is sleeveless, so I decided I wanted to at least bring a sweater with me, whether I wound up wearing it or not.
Now, let me say here, there are gazillions of gorgeous shawl patterns out there. I know they're all the rage, both within and outside the knitting community. But....I am not a shawl person. I just seem completely incapable of wearing one successfully. They slip, fall, drip off my body. They drop in my dinner. They fall on the floor. They get caught in the chair. And they look like a rag I somehow got caught in. Plus, they don't really answer my issues of chilly arms. So, thought it looks like the obvious choice for most people, no shawl for me, thanks.
But what kind of sweater? I didn't see anything I liked in the stores or in patterns on ravelry, so I decided to start from scratch and make exactly what I wanted. I wanted something that worked for the occasion, but also for lots of other things, if I was investing so much time in it. I wanted long- like thigh length- hooded, no closures, long straight sleeves. I wanted a tailored edge, not ribbing, so I chose i-cord for all the edges. I wanted openwork that was relatively easy to work, relatively simple and not flowery, so I found "Diamond Mesh" in a Barbara Walker treasury.
For yarn, I wanted something cotton but light and flexible. It needed to be thick enough that the knitting wouldn't take forever, and it had to be easy-care. (I'm a messy eater and a slob in general, I freely admit. Eating in the dark on a beach? Please.) When I saw the Caron Cotton cakes, I knew I had found my match (oh, and I should say, I needed a 'non-luxury' yarn- budget friendly is important). In all honesty, a solid white or blue yarn would probably have matched the dress better. However, while the wedding was the starting point, I'm thinking of the many more hours spent wearing it for other occasions, and the color striping of "beachglass" appealed to me. It also really does remind me of the beach glass we would collect along the shore when I was a child, and I decided to use it for the name of the whole design.
I actually started with the hood to make sure I liked how it was all coming together before committing to the whole body. Once I saw that I liked it, I moved on to the sleeves, and finally the body (I wanted to be sure I had enough yarn to make it as long as possible). I'm quite pleased with the result. It was fine for the wedding, but more importantly, it's perfect for throwing over a t-shirt for walks along the shore or in the park, or over a dress for church. Hope you like it too, and this peek into the process!