More Yarn Will Do The Trick

Friday, 3 February 2012

Audrey-style free pattern

Last night I noticed that Sweet Shawlettes was in the top 2000 books on Amazon - 1986 to be precise and I just can't tell you how thrilled I was. In fact I'm still buzzing this morning! So much work goes into a knitting book and if you're an indie designer like me, there's no spare cash to farm out the number crunching. So knowing that knitters like my work means a lot to me, it's valuable feedback that tells me whether I'm on the right track or not. The blog tour has been fantastic, such a great way to publicise the book - I'm overwhelmed by the fabulous reviews. Read latest review by the Underground Crafter.

There are many factors that contribute to a book's success and after the author, the next most important one is the publisher. In the past I've had my share of trials and tribulations with publishers and come to the conclusion that there has to be trust on both sides - trust from the publisher that the designer will deliver the goods on time in a professional manner and trust from the designer that the publisher will honour the contract, be true to the designer's vision in the making of the book, and lastly and very importantly, distribute and promote it well.

At this point I should say that I'm really pleased by the way things turned out with Taunton. They did a fabulous job and I can't thank them enough. I was given complete control over yarns, stitches, colours, styles, techniques - something I really value.  I was kept in the loop about each process of the book's production, consulted on the book's design and to my utmost surprise and great relief the editors at Taunton actually listened.

However, in a previous hardcover book that shall for now be nameless, in the same situation I was treated like a jobbing author and ended up with a book I hated, where the images reflected completely different sweaters to the ones I'd designed. The book was supposed to have the title Audrey Style but no homework had been done and at the eleventh hour when I thought I'd sent the book on its way, the rug was pulled from under and all mention of Audrey had to be deleted. This was because the publisher refused to pay the five figure sum which the Audrey estate demanded for the right to use her name. I'm sure many other companies have gone ahead willy nilly and I'm not advocating or condoning this, I just think it's the publisher's job to be aware of these things before commissioning a book.

The publishers were obviously misguided in more than one way, as they didn't seem to trust the designer they had chosen, ie me, to come up with the goods.  The designs were chosen by a committee of which I was not a member. I was asked to submit many sketches with suggested yarns and colours, then had to accept their choices and colours and execute the designs. I did my best and thought the book could still be a success but I hadn't counted on the way they photographed it. I'm sure technically it was spot on, but the languid ladies-that-lunch, dreary styling on models that were a million miles away from how Audrey would have looked wearing them, made me want to weep.

I remembered my original intro, full of references to Audrey, which of course had to be completely rewritten. Here's an excerpt:

Audrey! What can I say? Effortless style, charisma, coquettish charm, poise, timeless beauty, the perfect designer’s muse. From Hubert de Givenchy to Ralph Lauren, Audrey’s slender shape was an inspiration to artists, photographers, directors and designers worldwide for nearly half a century. She was the perfect clothes horse.

Photographed at 62 by Steven Meisel for Vanity Fair
When Steven Meisel photographed her for the cover of Vanity Fair, he was amazed to find her just as gorgeous at sixty-two as she was in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Obviously, inner beauty must eventually work its way out, and over time, her youthful dewiness was replaced by an assured radiance which in later years emphasized her loveliness.

I was delighted to be asked to design a book of sweaters inspired by Audrey. As Ralph Lauren famously said, Who wouldn’t want to drop everything and design for Audrey Hepburn? embarked on some serious Audrey immersion therapy, devouring anything I could get my hands on about her – biographies, posters, quotes, websites and, of course, films. I settled into re-viewing them all, discovering that whilst she was not an outstanding actor, she exuded quirky Englishness, na├»ve sexuality and innate style, imbuing each of her roles with a piece of herself which was able to illuminate even the most mundane script.

Though tragically she died prematurely in 1993, her spirit lives on through her films and charity work. I hope that in this collection each of you will be able to find your own piece of Audrey style. To quote Stanley Donen, who directed Audrey in Funny Face, Audrey makes my soul fly. She opens me up to beautiful feelings. In this hectic world, we could all do with some of that!
Audrey with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden in Sabrina 1954

Sabrina

Chemistry!
Isn't this gown just crying out for a glamorous stole!
By this point I suspect you'll be wondering what's happened to the pattern. But what I'm leading up to is that I felt that the book, eventually renamed Contemporary Classics, was never the book I originally wrote and so I'd like to revisit a few of the designs over the coming months to give them a new airing in a different context. The images will still be the same but maybe you can use your imagination on how they might have been worn Audrey-style. Sabrina, below, is one of the more believable images.

With the resurgence of all things vintage recently, as well as my recent obsession with shawls, I want to start the ball rolling with a free pattern of the fifties-inspired Elinor, originally named Sabrina after the 1954 film of that name with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden.
SABRINA
SIZE                                
One size

YARN                       
Rowan Kidsilk Night (208m/227yds per 25g ball)
4 balls MOONLIGHT (608)

NEEDLES
One pair each 3.25mm (US 3) and 5mm (US 8), plus 1 extra 5mm (US 8) or size to obtain tension, stitch markers

TENSION 
22 sts. and 28 rows = 4”/10cm using 5mm (US 8) needles in stocking st.

STITCHES  
Slip the first stitch purlwise and knit into the back of the last stitch on every row.  This eliminates a certain amount of curl and makes finishing easier as the resulting notches can be matched.
Stocking st – knit on RS, purl on WS rows
Rib  - Row 1  *k1, p1, repeat from * to end.  Row 2  k the knit sts and p the purl sts.  
Repeat Row 2 to end

Using larger needles, beginning at lower edge of cape, cast on 278 sts.
 **Beginning with knit row, work 13 rows st st. ending with knit row.
Row 14           Knit.
Row 15           Purl**
Then work decreases as follows:
1st dec row     k4, *k2tog, k10, k2tog, k2; repeat from * to last 18 sts, k2tog, k10, k2tog, k4 - 244 sts
Next row         Purl 
Next row         Knit
Repeat from ** to ** once.
2nd dec row    k4, *k2tog, k8, k2tog, k2; repeat from * to last 16 sts, k2tog, k8, k2tog, k4 - 210 sts
Next row         Purl
Next row         Knit
Repeat from ** to ** once.
3rd dec row     k4, *k2tog, k6, k2tog, k2; repeat from * to last 14 sts, k2tog, k6, k2tog, k4 -176 sts
Next row         Purl
Next row         Knit
Repeat from ** to ** once.
4th dec row    k4, *k2tog, k4, k2tog, k2; repeat from * to last 12 sts, (k2tog, k4)twice -142 sts.
Next row         Purl
Next row         Knit
Repeat from ** to ** once.
5th dec row    k4, *k2tog, k2; repeat from * to last 6 sts, k2tog, k4 -108 sts
Next row         Purl
Next row         Knit
Beginning with knit row, work 13 rows st st. ending with knit row. Using double yarn for extra strength, cast off loosely purlwise.
Finishing
Ties  (make 2)
The wide purl stripes of cape are right side of work. With right side of work facing and smaller needles, pick up and k56 sts. along one side edge.
Row 1           *k2tog, p1, k1, p2tog, k1, p1; repeat from * to end of row -42 sts.
Work 2” [5cm] in k1, p1 rib.
Leave on holder.
Using larger needles cast on 111 sts.
Row 1           Knit. Mark centre 3 sts
Row 2           k1, purl to centre 3 sts, p3tog, purl to last st, k1
Row 3           Knit.
Row 4           Knit to centre 3 sts, k3tog, knit to end of row
Row 5           k1, purl to last st, k1
Row 6           Knit to centre 3 sts, k3tog, knit to end of row
Repeat rows 1-6  three times more then rows 1 – 4 once  - 83 sts.
Divide these sts. on  two needles (41 and 42) having both points facing yarn.
Fold work in half with right sides facing (side with the 5 purl stripes is right side).
Cast off loosely with three needles, knitting tog 1st. from each needle to join piece down centre. 
Using larger needles, with RS facing pick up 42 sts along straight edge. With right sides facing, work three needle cast off as before on larger needles over 42 sts on holder and 42 sts of tie.


This design must not be knitted for resale.  Reproduction in whole or part is strictly forbidden unless prior consent has been given in writing.
 © 2006 Jean Moss 

3 comments:

  1. What a lovely stole, thank you for the pattern. Such a wretched story about the book, what pain it must have caused!
    I was thinking of "My Fair Lady" just the other night, how beautiful she was, what gorgeous period costumes she wore for that role.

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  2. She is my absolute favourite heroine and what a shame that the then publisher had not done their research, I can see how you must have been so gutted.
    I have had a NOT very nice experience with publishers myself and still feel choked every time I think about it.
    This is a lovely pattern...thank you for sharing it for free xx

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  3. How generous of you and thank you so much - love your new book and so glad you persevered with another publisher after such a horrible experience with the former. I too love all things Audrey and am gradually collecting all her movies, so this pattern is wonderful to have :) :)

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