the domestic sphere

my dalliances with all things domestic


Thinking Up a Sweater

As I picked up my new Kool-Aid yarn to knit last night, I started thinking about some posts I'd read over the last couple of days on Knitblogs, regarding patterns and sweater design... I also started casting on... as I did that, I was looking at the yarn and wanted to make something for Ella, but didn't want a hat and there's not too too much yarn, so maybe a vest, since she wears the one she has more than I would have thought... so I grabbed her little vest and held it up to a piece of paper... it seemed about 1" longer than 11", but to be on the safe side, I cast on 66 stitches... (I think I'm getting about 5 st/inch)... didn't want to hunt too long for the tape measure. Besides, she's growing, and it's a vest. Knit 4 rows of ribbing... decided that I wanted a garter rib because maybe I would make some garter stitch stripes to break it up, so started over. Knit a couple of rows... decided to alternate every two rows between a lighter skein and a darker skein of the Kool-Aid yarn for a little more uniformity (or difference... can't decide yet). So there it is. Haven't really thought concretely about armhole decreases or neck shape or anything. I figure after I do the back, I'll take stock of how much yarn I've used and dye more if I need it. Won't be exactly the same, but if I don't switch mid-piece, it'll be fine... or it can be colorblock. Ahh, knitting for children who can't really express their fashion sense! (This is not actually true of Ella, she loves shoes -- particularly her red patent leather ones -- and her silky vest [the one she's wearing below]...).

So this is how I work. If it's a bigger project, then I do spend some time looking at yarns and pictures of sweaters, and use patterns as starting points, and make some pattern notes, which I invariably change as I go. Usually I use some sort of finished garment to check where things (like sleeves) ought to go. I guess I knit like I cook... I love to read recipes and look at food magazines, but when it comes to dinner time, it's usually pretty free-hand -- based on what's around the house and things I remember seeing that sounded good. I've always knit this way... I think my Mom does too, so it seemed the way to go. Lo and behold, I start reading what others are doing and there's all this talk of patterns!

Now that I am wanting to learn some more complicated techniques (cables, intarsia) maybe I'll change... I suspect, however, that I will use patterns to gain understanding of the techniques and then put them aside. Using a bit of this pattern here and a bit of that there. Of course things go awry with this method, but since I'm not following a pattern, there's no worry about ripping it out and doing it a different way.

I marvel at people who can and do follow intricate patterns, they get lovely results... I'm just not that sort of person.

So here's my question: Do you usually knit from a written pattern?

posted by kristi at 4/27/2002 06:53:00 AM
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