Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Sweater Design Odyssey, Part 1

After I made my Tempting sweater, I've been dying to try making a lace sweater with a V-neck. I looked around and found a few patterns I really liked and will probably make at some point (notably Marnie McLean's Bijou), but nothing that suited exactly what I was looking for. I also am afraid of seaming (i.e., I am very, very bad at doing it properly), so knitting my first lace sweater in pieces, then having to painstakingly sew them together just sounded like torture. So I took some of what I learned from Tempting and some new ideas of my own, adapted a lace pattern to suit my needs, and studied up on some construction details (like how to make a V-neck). Now I'm going to try designing my first lace sweater (um, actually, it's my first major lace project ever) and we'll see how it turns out.

I got my yarn (15 skeins!) last week from Yarn By The Bag and now I'm ready to get started. I also bought one skein ahead of time from a Michael's to do a gauge swatch (I will admit that I've never done that before, but it was necessary for this), then did the math to figure out how much yarn I needed to buy (then added two more skeins, just in case). Today I'm working on some more calculating (good thing I'm good at math!) so I can cast on the right number of stitches and start knitting.

This pattern is going to allow for great flexibility in sizing so that anyone can make it to fit their body - I'm planning on creating instructions for sizes beyond just S, M, L, XL. This isn't going to sort-of-fit - it's going to flatter every woman's body. It is an intermediate-level lace pattern knit seamlessly in the round using a non-traditional waist shaping technique that makes it easy to customize the pattern, even for novice knitters like me. I want people to make this sweater and be happy with how it fits them. However, I have to try making it for me before I'll know if it even flatters one woman's body, and right now I still have a lot of holes in my mental pattern. I don't know how I'm going to do the shoulders, the sleeves are a constant source of concern, and I'm terrified that I'm going to screw up the lace a lot (but I suppose that's what lifelines are for).

I figure this project will take at least the whole summer to complete, and I'll post periodic updates as I accomplish things, solve problems, and want to tear my hair out in frustration.

Part 2 of this saga of trying to design and then knit a lace sweater can be found here.

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