If you have a basic pattern that you’ve knit and really liked you can begin to make changes that will make it a totally unique sweater. A basic pattern you can trust is a great place to begin your designing journey. We’ve finished our KAL with the Take It From The Top on ravelry. We started with a good basic Top Down raglan pullover, the Take It From The Top, then we made several changes. I have a history of doing that with this particular pattern. This is my fourth rendition.
Sometimes an idea comes into your head fully formed and all that is needed is execution. It could be a variation on a recipe, a knitting pattern, a paint colour scheme, a new way to wear an outfit, an idea for your garden or something totally other. And sometimes upon execution, as hiccups develop, comes the realization that the idea was not as fully formed as you thought. Do you give up? Do you persevere?
This is happening with my Skew design and I am persevering because I am still excited about the original idea.
I started with the idea of moving one of the raglan increases over and working a stitch pattern into the space.
My first little sweater had some problems. The ribbed stitch pattern was causing the front to pull against the buttonband. It would have to be buttoned up all the time to keep the front edges lined up.
So I changed the ribbing to a broken rib (garter stitches between the twisted cables). Then I realized that the cable pattern had to be more prominent to stand up against the garter stitches. So that got changed too. A couple of hitches fixed up to my satisfaction.
I’m happy with the original idea of the skew which is showing nicely at the bottom of the front.
Almost there. This sweater needs a lighter colour to show the pattern well for photography so the next sweater will be light blue, pink, cream, oatmeal?? That’s my project this week.
I hope all your hiccups are minor and easily solved. Happy knitting this week,
We had terrible freezing rain alerts at the end of last weekend. Maybe you were hit with this too. Oh, no, I am marooned at a knitting retreat. We all had to stay an extra night. The power went out. We didn’t have any water pumping in. And you know what? Spending time in the dark watching the fire in a wood stove with a bunch of knitters is all right!
We continued working on our “What If …” projects where I challenged them to come up with as many different ways to move from the neckband down to the bottom of the yoke.
You might look at the Yoke of a Top Down as a black box where some magic happens.
Are you laughing? Did your waist disappear a long time ago? Is your waist being taken over by an expanding muffin top like mine is? The good news is you can make a waist in your sweater even if you don’t have one. It’s easier than dieting!!
What is your favourite sweater shape? I believe that sweaters need a curve to make us look our best. If you knit from the Top Down you get to choose the curve you want to put in your sweater.
You can work this typical Waist Shaping. Decreases are worked to nip the waist in and then increases are worked back to your original number of body stitches.
You can add Hip Shaping. Work decreases to take the waist in, work increases back to the original number of body stitches and then work some more increases to add extra width to the hip for more wiggle room. This is my go-to for any fitted sweater.
This is one of my favourites for a casual sweater, Hip Only Shaping. Work straight down to the waist and then work increases for extra hip width. If you are hippy this is wonderful because, for once, your hips work for you and give this shaping a terrific curve with very little effort.
Have you worked an A-line? These are very flattering and create a great curve. They do have to be the correct length and width to be effective. A small amount of A-line shaping can be worked into a shorter hip length garment. A lot and I mean lots, of extra width can be worked into a tunic length sweater. They can really swing. Did I mention that they are wonderfully comfortable to wear?
Do you have a favourite? Is there one of these shapes you’d love to try?
I’ve been knitting Top Down for many years and I’m probably never going back to bottom up garments. OK, never say never because it could happen, sometime, maybe. Here are several reasons why I love knitting Top Down:
1. The Body length of the sweater is in your control. If your sweater is the correct length you might find that you wear it more often. Are you short like me or tall (I wish)? Do you find that your sweaters look best if they are a certain length? When you knit from the top, you get to choose. You can make your sweater the length you want whether the pattern was written for that particular length or not.
2. Sleeve Length is also yours to determine. I have worked with taller people who actually wanted the long sleeve of their sweater to be shorter than I would wear them. This totally shocked me. Apparently I like my sleeves quite long.
3. You can try your sweater on many, many times. Put half the stitches onto another long circular needle. The circular needle can be the same size you are knitting with or a smaller size. This gives you room to spread the stitches out around your body to give you an indication of the size. I often try my sweaters on about 6 times during the knitting. I want all the lengths to be right. Of course I’m sure every time that I have knit it to the correct length only to find that I still need to work a couple more rounds. How come they always look longer on the needles? I thought I was much further along on this sweater!
4. You can put all the shaping exactly where you need it. Not that you can’t when you knit from the bottom up but you have plan quite a bit ahead of time. A top down sweater can be shaped as you work. You can put it on after the Great Divide to check where the bust shaping should start. As you work down the body you can see where your waist is and where to begin the hip shaping. When you are past your elbow you can put your arm through the sleeve and measure how much further you have to knit to the exact sleeve length you desire.
Knitting to your unique figure is easier when you can alter the pattern as you work. Being able to try it is a huge plus.