Stitch up Some Simple Luxury with Plum Dandi Knits
I love luxury yarns, but sometimes they give me a bad case of knitter’s doubt. (Please tell me I’m not the only one plagued with this affliction!) It’s like the perfectionist and the penny-pincher in me team up to make it clear that splurging on a buttery, lavish yarn can only be warranted with the perfect-pattern match. Heaven forbid I knit expensive skeins into a piece that doesn’t do the yarn justice!
Fortunately, I recently had the pleasure of editing Plum Dandi Knits, a book that has the perfect solution to this dilemma: simple luxury knits. They not only let a luxury yarn take center stage, they encourage you to relax in the knitting process and enjoy the yarn as it slips through your fingers.
Designers Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary, pals who first met online and then became real-life bosom friends, teamed up under their Ravelry group name (Plum Dandi) to create 23 patterns for this beautifully simple and enticing collection. Through a shared design aesthetic, this partnership churned out some choice simple luxury knits. Think texture and cables, soothing neutral colors and warm silhouettes—this is Plum Dandi Knits.
There is so much to love in this collection, but 5 designs really stand out for me:
Featuring bits of lace inspired by soft foliage on the forest floor and roomy pockets for resting your hands or holding small essentials, Melissa’s Genesee cardigan is the perfect layering piece. It was knit in a lovely gray yarn of 100% merino, but I think it would look great in a bold color, too!
2. Cape Elizabeth
This piece by Alicia is one of my favorite projects in the book. It’s a poncho that looks and feels like a wrap. Allover eyelets and lace edging keep the knitting interesting, without making it overly complicated. This one was also knit in a merino yarn, but I can see this piece as a great canvas for a wool blend yarn that includes a bit of silk or cashmere.
3. High Cliff
This hat (designed by Melissa) somehow manages to be both adorable and chic at the same time—I love it! A chunky cable works up flawlessly in bulky merino wool, and the fuzzy faux-fur pompom is the perfect topper. This would be a great piece to knit up in a really special skein of bulky yarn.
In this shawl, Alicia designed a versatile and subtle wardrobe staple that goes with anything, from dresses to jeans and a T-shirt. Garter stitch makes for easy work, and the x-and-o motifs at each edge add interest without being distracting. This sort of thick and comforting wrap looks just right knit up in an extra-warm and soft blend of merino and alpaca.
This classic raglan has pretty, subtle details—perfect for casual days. Melissa designed this sweater with a long body, so it looks great with leggings or skinny jeans. The wide scoop neck is fabulously flattering, and columns of lace down the sleeves add a feminine touch that isn’t too fussy. I actually love this sweater so much, , I splurged on the exact yarn Melissa used (Dragonfly Fibers Valkyrie, though I chose a slightly different gray colorway) and have already cast on!
Apparently, my knitter’s doubt flies out the window when designers perfectly match a luxury yarn and a beautiful pattern—they made all the hard decisions for me. How about you? Does a great combo of yarn and pattern ease your doubt?
Editor, Interweave Books
Simple Luxury Knits from Plum Dandi and Beyond