Saturday, January 24, 2015

L’enveloppe… the first

Sally Melville claims you can’t make just one L’enveloppe, and I have to agree – I’ll be making another one of these in another color! What do you think?crop1 It’s not really a sweater, because it only has one sleeve and doesn’t come all the way to the waist. But it’s not really a shawl, because it has a neck opening and one sleeve. It’s just this warm yarn-y thing.

I know these photos aren’t great, but it turns out that this deep eggplant purple is really hard to photograph, especially in winter with all the light bouncing off the snow. I’m on the shady side of the house in the afternoon, but still have only a few photos where you can see the stitch definition.crop4 I did an unusual amount of swatching for this project (5 swatches!), especially since it is written for a generous FOUR different gauges (13, 14, 15, and 16 st/4”). Because the sweater I made with the first half of this handspun yarn was knit on a US 5 and I knew I wanted something with more drape, I started with a US 6. Then I did a 7. Then I tried holding this yarn and some Silky Wool left over from S1’s sweater together with a 9. Then an 8. Finally I settled on the handspun alone on a US 9. The only problem was that my gauge was 14.5 st/4”, not 14 or 15.crop3

Once again, I turned to my old friend, Math, to solve this conundrum. I wanted a size M but ended up following the directions for size S worked in the 16 st/4” gauge. The numbers seemed to be what I was looking for, and it worked out pretty well. The L’enveloppe could be a wee bit more snug, but it’s not crazy big.

In some ways, this project reminds me of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket. You knit this odd shape:  IMG_5410 Then you sew a seam that creates the neck opening. Next, you pick up stitches to make the cape-like cup that covers the left shoulder and knit those downward. And finally, you sew one more little seam that makes the single armhole. Then you have to figure out how to put it on! It’s like wearable origami.crop2The pattern comes with instructions to make this in garter or seed stitch. I chose the garter to start with but my next one will be seed. I also think making a more neutral-colored version would be useful. IMG_5413This is the yarn I originally spun for SPAKAL 2012. I made the Leaflet sweater and had lots left over. I used all my leftovers here, but I also unraveled the button band from Leaflet. I realized I wasn’t really wearing it because it doesn’t fit right in the waist. I was happy to cannibalize from something I don’t wear for something I hopefully will. I still need to finish unraveling the rest of the sweater.

My finished L’enveloppe weighs 356 grams. I estimate that at 562 yards. Most of it was easy, mindless garter stitch worked over the winter break while traveling.

Caitlin and I knit our L’enveloppes together (after being inspired by hearing Sally speak back in September). Caitlin, we want to see photos on the blog please!


  1. Beautiful! Now we will be experts at it for our second ones. I'll have to do a post too. :)

  2. I love this sweater. I might need to find a friend to knit it for...

  3. That is so cool -- and it looks great on you. Hardly " just this warm yarny thing." Really, quite clever. I think it would look great with a big shawl pin, even if it doesn't need one.

  4. That is one cool garment, and from the looks of it, quite practical also! Lovely wearable origami indeed, and I second Steven's shawl pin idea.

  5. I am having a terrible time with this pattern. I am hoping for any help you can give me. The pattern I downloaded does not give you directions to make the shape that you knitted at all. It starts off with a garter stitch short row blip and then includes all stitches and then it tells you to knit 8" with no mention of increasing at all!!! I am totally frustrated with this pattern and I had tried to garter stitch it lately and had to take it all out.

    Help please!!