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Monday, December 30, 2013

Agave Tank Update

I have another pattern update, and this one is especially for those of you living in warmer climates.  Agave Tank was the first pattern I ever designed, and I'm happy to introduce new photos as well as an added shorter version.   This tank was inspired by the year I moved back to Tucson, Arizona.

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2013
I spent a lot of my growing-up years in Tucson, and I have to say I really didn’t have much appreciation for the natural beauty of the desert.  I was born in Peru and having lived in the jungle until the age of eight, I never got used to the hot weather and having to wear shoes because of cacti and rocks and blazing pavement.  

But when I returned to live in Tucson for a year as an adult, I was impressed by how striking the plants, the sunsets, and the storms were.  I noticed things that I’d ignored as a kid because I had been so busy missing my climbing trees and grass and the lake. 

What I appreciated the most, though, were the agave plants.  They seemed like the perfect metaphor for the person I seek to be and the kind of art I want to create.  They have this appearance of delicacy and beauty, but are at the same time, intensely pragmatic.  Those elegant thorns are sharp and protective.  The slick, fleshy leaves are graceful as well as being the perfect water storage device for an inhospitable climate.  They’re lovely and functional.  

And it isn’t just within the plant - they’re useful to people as well.  If you carefully remove a thorn from the tip of an agave leaf without breaking the fibers it’s attached to, you have a read-made needle-and-thread that some indigenous people in the Sonoran Desert used for sewing.   

The Andrea Rangel Knits logo is a graphic of an agave plant for this very reason.  It reminds me what I love about the craft of knitting - its potential to create objects that are both practical and artistically beautiful.

I had spent a lot of time admiring the agaves in our backyard in Tucson when I came across this lace pattern in a Barbara Walker stitch dictionary.  It had a vaguely plant-like feel, and I realized that when I turned it upside down, it was very reminiscent of the upward-reaching agave leaves.  I decided it would be perfect for a top-down lace tank worked in a plant fiber so I could wear my knitting in the hot weather.

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2013
The tank features a row of single crochet at the top to help stabilize the edge, especially since plant fibers aren't very elastic.  The I-cord straps cross at the back for a beautiful, distinct look that would work well over a camisole or racerback tank.

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2013
I’ve always loved this design, and have wanted for a long time to update it so that I would be happier with the photos.  I also wanted to include a shorter version, since I know tunic-length doesn’t work for everybody. 


Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2013
The updated pattern includes both the short, wide-hemmed version, and the original tunic-length version.  The layout has also been updated to match my current style sheet, and I took some time to re-write some of the pattern language.  Reading the original pattern made me realize that I have (happily!) grown as a designer over the years, and I think the new way is clearer and more consistent.  

Photo © Kathy Cadigan 2013

You can get the pattern on my website, on Ravelry, on Craftsy, and on Patternfish.  These samples, along with many others will be on display in my booth at TNNA too.

Thanks are due to my photographer, Kathy Cadigan, and model Jessie Kwak.  She's modeling the longer version, and that's me in the shorter one.

One quick note: This coming Friday, January 3, I'll be having my annual birthday sale.  All my independently-published patterns will be 31% off for that day only.  You can get the discount by shopping on Ravelry and entering the code "birthday" at checkout.

PATTERN INFO

Sizes & Finished Measurements 
Pattern is designed to be worn with 1-2 in/2.5-5 cm of negative ease at the bust since the lace is very stretchy. 
Bust Circumference: 28.75 (32.25, 35.75, 39.25, 43, 46.5, 50) in/73 (82, 91, 100, 109, 118, 127) cm

Long sample shown in size 32.25 in/82 cm with 1.75 in/4.5 cm of negative ease on model 
Short sample shown in size 28.75 in/73 cm with 1.25 in/3 cm of negative ease on model

Yarn 
LONG VERSION 
575 (650, 760, 835, 975, 1055, 1135) yd/525 (595, 695, 765, 890, 965, 1040) m fingering weight yarn

Shown in Rowan Panama (55% Rayon, 33% Cotton, 12% Linen; 148 yd/135 m per 50g skein) 
Color: #310 Aster; 4 (5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8) skeins

SHORT VERSION 
390 (440, 505, 550, 615, 665, 715) yd/355 (400, 460, 505, 565, 610, 670) m fingering weight yarn

Shown in Rowan Panama (55% Rayon, 33% Cotton, 12% Linen; 148 yd/135 m per 50g skein) 
Color: #304 Orchid; 3 (3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5) skeins

Gauge 
Gauge measurement should be taken after blocking. 
21 sts/31 rnds = 4 in/10 cm in lace pattern using larger needle 
19 sts/32 rnds = 4 in/10 cm Garter stitch pattern using smaller needle

Needles & Notions 
Needle Sizes are recommendations only. Always use needle size necessary to obtain gauge. 
US #3/3.25mm double-point needles (used for i-cord straps) 
US #5/3.75mm 24 in/60 cm circular needle 
US #6/4.0mm 24 in/60 cm circular needle

size D crochet hook 
tapestry needle

Skills 
lace (charted and written instructions given), increase purl wise, single crochet, I cord


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