Posted in Designing

Making Mud

December 2, 2011 - 4:03 pm

For the past couple years my design effort has been focused on socks.  Turning a simple curve, wrapping around the contours of a foot and leg, these have been the focus of my efforts and time.  But since October I’ve begun shifting my attention to a sweater.

When I started creating my own knitting shapes I started with toys and sweaters, but found when I wanted to write the designs I didn’t have the skills to do so. My interest in design and my interest in socks hit at about the same time, so it’s not surprising they became intertwined.  The majority of my published patterns are socks.  I’ve made conventional designs, slightly quirky designs, and zomg off into the hinterlands odd designs.  Socks have enough geometry to be intriguing, but not so much as to be intimidating.  I have developed the chops to be able to write a sock pattern before I pick up my needles and be fairly confident of having a comfortable, wearable, attractive FO at the end of the process. To be sure I’m not done learning about writing designs so other folks can follow them, but I’m developing my confidence.

Now, though, I am ready to up the ante, expand my horizons, do something new and dangerous. A week or so before Rhinebeck I picked up some powder blue Rowan Kid Classic yarn, and knit a little sweater shaped swatch.



My idea, roughly, is to replicate my favorite yellow Ingenue sweater in shape, but do something entirely my own in design.


At first I was taking detailed notes, but I rapidly let that go.  There was a lot of ripping.  A LOT of ripping.  I wanted to work this as a circular yoke, with a snowflake shaped lace motif to hide the increases, but couldn’t get the motif to work.  I gave up, and went back to a raglan design, with a little two stitch twist along the raglan line.  The collar is worked with short rows to be asymmetric, and off center.


I’ve added short rows to the sleeve caps and full bust.  The raglan lines divide the stitches into 4 equal sections, and about half way down the twist diverges from the raglan line.


I don’t know yet if this will work the way I want it to.  My idea is for the broken rib pattern to form an hourglass shape, with a plain stockinette panel in the front decreasing to the waist and then increasing, and the broken rib pattern increasing and then decreasing, amplifying the wearer’s natural contours.

It may work.

There may be more ripping.

I’m concerned at the moment there may be too many sts across the back.  Perhaps I should have stopped the raglan increases there when I started the diverging line in the front.  We’ll see as I get further.

I have given myself permission to make mud.  Meaning, I can mess up as much as I need to.  This doesn’t have to come out right.  I think I will have a nice sweater at the end of the exercise, but I may yet end up with a misshapen lumpy thing and a learning experience.  I don’t have to get anywhere.  I don’t need to keep careful notes so I can grade this later into a publishable pattern.  This sweater will be a one of a kind learning experience.  I’m learning to make a sweater.

I will rip and re-knit, ponder, then rip some more.  Tweak and explore and consider ways to make this sweater skim nicely without having too much bulk where I want less or being too tight where I want to keep a little mystery about the underlying contours.  Perhaps in the end get frustrated and just finish the damned thing with some flaws, or perhaps drop it in a UFO basket to be ignored for years.  Even so, it will have served its purpose.

I need to learn how to create a sweater, so mud I shall make.  Creative, fuzzy, fluffy blue mud.




December 3, 2011 4:03 pm

Looking good so far. I love designing on the go as you can always start over.

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