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Bold and Blended Striped Wrap »
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Type of item: Functional
Style: Romantic, Traditional, Classic
368 grams sock yarn
What was your inspiration?
When I was in high school, my aunt Marilyn (who was actually my second cousin, I think), asked my sister and I what we wanted to wear, most of all.
Marilyn was an incredibly gifted seamstress who made wedding gowns and bridal party dresses that were true works of art. She also made a few things, here and there, for my sister and I. She was super-cool and had an very fun family, as well. Her husband carved tree trunks into totem poles and other things, using a chain saw. I seem to remember that they may have had a totem pole in their living room, but I'm not sure if that is true. I could check with my mom, but I guess I'd rather believe it, either way.
My sister, Lisa, thought of it first - a cloak, to wear as a winter coat. We're from Oklahoma, where when people say "two below," they mean "two degrees below freezing," which is not at all what it means to me now. So, a warmish, longish winter cloak is perfectly fine as a winter coat. I didn't replace it until I was about to go to college in Massachusetts.
Lisa wanted a green, Irish peasant cape. I told Marilyn I didn't know what I would like best. She said she knew exactly what I needed - a French opera cloak. It was made of black wool, lined in red velvet, had a hood, and a little pocket under one of the arm-slits just large enough for a can of soda.
To further clarify, Lisa and I went to a school where the arts, and a little eccentricity, were both encouraged. I don't know if we could have gotten away with this at a whole lot of other schools.
For the record, except for in truly cold climates, I have no idea why capes and cloaks are no longer absolutely normal garments to wear. I had to pay a little more attention to car doors and glassware on the lower shelves of stores, but, otherwise, it was the perfect winter cover-up for me.
If it were not too cold, I could wear it fairly open, and not overheat myself. If the wind was blowing a bit, I could really wrap myself up against it. Water and snow both just slid off of it. If I was just about ready for swim practice and had to run out to my car in my swimsuit, I could wrap myself up, flip up my hood, and be fairly decent during my little sprint. On long car trips, or bus trips for swim meets, I used it as a blanket. It was truly perfect.
My cloak also made me feel more elegant and put-together than I probably deserved to feel as a slightly awkward teenager, and I'm grateful for that, too.
I still wear it, sometimes, as a cover up for bellydance costumes, but the fabric is starting to give way, especially the red velvet lining. So, it has pride of place in my "extra" closet, next to my wedding dress.
I thought about my cloak, again, as I knit away on this striped, garter-stitch wrap. By the time I was finishing up the third quarter of it, I could cover my legs pretty well with it as I knit. When I was working on the fourth quarter, on the plane home from my lovely family Christmas, I was able to cozy up under it, just as did under my cloak all of those years ago. It made me think of Marilyn, who is gone now, but who lives forever in my heart, and with my gratitude for keeping me warm, and helping me express my individuality, all through high school.
In the end, sock yarn on #8 needles creates a lovely fabric that drapes and warms, without feeling or looking like a stiff blanket. Also, the garter stitch stripes can be turned either inside or out, so you can have strong, bold stripes or a more blended look, depending on your mood and outfit.
The wrap's shape is a little asymmetrical, and is based on my Heptagonal Wash/Dish/Anycloth from the summer of 2010, but uses a little yarn-over technique to deal with the short-row turns and deals with two colors and edge stitches.
The colors for the wrap are changed after two rows, but not right at the edge of the piece. Instead, the switch happens 5 stitches in. This allows the outer edge to be nice and smooth, and adds a little extra patterning at the poin