Thursday, October 23, 2014

Knitting a Sweater for Me: Making It Up As I Go Along

One of the reasons I wanted to learn to knit was to be able to make more clothing for myself. I could already sew pretty much anything I wanted, so learning to knit was like completing my skill set for clothing.

I've been knitting for a few years now and consider myself an accomplished knitter. I can knit just about anything I put my mind to, even if I don't particularly enjoy some things (like seaming). So the next step is to see if I can create a sweater that I want but can't find commercially (or in knitting patterns).

This sweater is my inspiration piece, although my version will be different in several ways:

I love the fit of this sweater. It fits me perfectly in size, shape, and proportions (which is always difficult to find when you're as petite as I am). I've searched online for this sweater in white, but to no avail. So I'm taking my favorite elements from it and creating my own.

It's helpful to have a guide of some sort, so I searched Ravelry for sweaters that looked remotely like what I had in mind. I came up with the Ione Cropped Cardigan by Spotlight Australia (a free pattern). I used it for the initial cast-on numbers and will use it for the armhole shaping and the number of sleeve stitches when I get to that point. Other than that, I'm changing the rest (including using a different yarn weight).

One thing that was very important to me was to use a finer yarn than I usually use for sweaters. Worsted-weight yarns knit up quickly, so they're my go-to yarn for sweaters. But I'm small and petite, and sometimes I get "swallowed alive" by the thickness of worsted-weight sweaters. I'm using Bernat Baby Sport for this sweater because I have it on hand (given to me). The Ravelry yarn page says it's DK-weight, but mine is squarely in the sport-weight category. Maybe this is an older batch.

On my first day of knitting, I accomplished all 6" of the bottom ribbing:

Ribbing and stockinette stitch aren't the most exciting things to knit, but I really love the simple look of them. So I listened to a Knit Picks podcast and part of an audio book I downloaded from my local library while I was knitting this.

Before I start the stockinette section, I'm going to put in a lifeline in case I make a mistake in the shaping sections and need to rip back. Lifelines are a knitter's best friend when you're making up a pattern as you go along.

I'll try my best to share my progress as I go along.


Shoregirl said...

I can't wait to see your finished sweater! You are truly amazing when it comes to improvising and making thing up! Truthfully, you're just an amazing knitter all around! :)