Pen Pal by Anna Maltz

Pen Pal

April 2017
DK (11 wpi) ?
20 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches
in Stocking stitch
US 8 - 5.0 mm
438 - 1533 yards (401 - 1402 m)
XS, S, M, L, XL
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Pen Pal is a fun puzzle of almost-one-piece construction: the body is formed by a mitre on each front, which leaves only two short seams to sew up to the shoulder. Short rows create a deep plunging V, ideal for wearing open, or the single big button can bring together the mitre fronts like a sticker on the back of an envelope. The sleeves, if you chose to add them, are picked up at the shoulders and knitted down in the round, to the cuffs. The whole lot can be conveniently worked on a single set of long circular needles. The variety in the stitch patterning adds interest, but with practical reasoning behind it: ribbing at the back gives a nice cinched-in effect at the waist, and the moss stitch creates beautiful texture and structured flatness. The stitch patterning is mirrored on the bracelet-length cuffs for added satisfaction.

Pen Pal started its existence as the result of a long-distance correspondence between Hannah, who dyes the beautiful colours of Circus Tonic Handmade yarns in Sydney, Australia, and myself in London, England. One day an unexpected parcel arrived from a mysterious corner of my city. It turned out Hannah’s mum had been enlisted to mule yarn between us while she over on holiday. I started to imagine a garment that could grow out of these few skeins: one that might work in the warmer Sydney climate where Hannah and her crew are based, but also make sense for my home, which gets significantly colder. And so there is the option to add sleeves to a waistcoat and thereby introduce another set of amazing colours, this time dyed by a comparative neighbour of mine, Helen, of The Wool Kitchen in north east London.

Round waist:
75 (82, 89, 95, 101) cm / 29½ (32¼ , 35, 37½, 39¼)”
Back of neck to bottom edge:
44 (47, 49, 52, 54) cm / 17½ (18½, 19¼, 20¼, 21)”
Across back (between inset sleeves):
42 (42, 43, 43, 44) cm / 16½ (16¾, 16¾, 17, 17¼, 17¼)”

Due to the open-fronted nature of this garment, no bust circumference measurements are given. Instead use the waist measurements as your first port of call for deciding the size you will make. The Cardigan is designed to be worn with approximately 5cm/2” positive ease around your natural waist (if in doubt, go smaller). Waistcoat designed to be worn with slight negative ease. (Waistcoat sample shown in Size S. Cardigan sample shown in Size M.)

Circus Tonic Handmade, Carousel (DK/light worsted/8 ply;
100% superwash Merino; 200m/218yd per 100g skein)
Main Colour: Southern Cassowary x 1 (2, 2, 2, 2) skeins
Contrast Colour: Grey Whistler x 1 (1, 2, 2, 2) skeins

The Wool Kitchen, DK (DK/light worsted/8 ply,
100% superwash Bluefaced Leicester; 200m/218yd per 100g skein)
Main Colour: Wuthering x 2 (3, 3, 4, 4) skeins
Contrast Colour: Tech-head x 2 (2, 2, 2, 3) skeins

Note: Be aware that you may need a different needle to get the same tension from different yarns, even those with exactly the same weight per length as with Circus Tonic Handmade and The Wool Kitchen. Always use a needle size that will result in the correct tension after blocking.

Because of the mitres (in effect, the back is knitted down, but the fronts go sideways) your row tension/gauge is also important when knitting this garment. Just slightly shorter or taller stitches will work and can be blocked to size, but a lot of variation from 32 rows per 10cm/4” gets risky.

tapestry needle
6 stitch markers – helpful if there are 3 different types and 2 of each.
3cm / 1¼” button