Thursday, April 1, 2010

Schleppy Sweater: Say That Again?

You know how sometimes when you are learning something you can read the instructions or have someone explain it a dozen times and just not get it?

Then someone else comes a long and explains it just a little bit differently and it suddenly clicks into place?

Well, I had that happen this morning. Not that it does me much good at the moment.

Got My Book
Yesterday I stopped at Westport Yarns on the way home from work and picked up my copy of Shirley Paden's new book "Knitwear Design Workshop".

The other staff members were circling it like sharks. Turns out some copies came in damaged and they were waiting on replacements. In a situation like that the priority is customer orders, of course, the sales floor, and then staff orders. Apparently someone kindly decided that my need to have a copy was more urgent. Probably based on my current feeble (pathetic?) attempt at sweater design.

I'll do a review after I've had a few days to look at it, but I can tell you a few things right off the bat from my breakfast perusal.

Again With The Ease
It has a really nice table of contents. The sections are broken down and each subsection has a page number listed.

You might not be surprised to hear that I flipped straight to the section about ease.

There I read that "standard fit" is 1 to 2 inches of ease. Of course I had just figured that out for myself last week so I wasn't terribly impressed.

Then I read the commonly heard advice to "measure a sweater you like and use it as a guide" and a light bulb went on. Most of the sweaters I own, and all the sweaters I've made, are close fitting. So of course when I measured them to use as a guide I ended up designing a close fitting sweater!

Therefore, I would alter that classic advice to be "measure a sweater you like with the fit you want and use it as a guide." This way it is spelled out for ninnies like me. You want to design an oversized sweater? Well use an oversized sweater you like as a guide. So simple, yet I didn't figure it out until now.

The irony is I have this size medium hand-me-down rugby shirt making it pretty big on me that I tend to reach for when I'm cranky. It is kind of what I had in mind when I decided to make the Schleppy Sweater. Only every time I thought of measuring it I thought, "Naaa, that's too big."

Some part of my brain was working against me. Although I did say I want this sweater to be a little tailored/attractive and I don't think the ruby shirt interpreted in yarn would have been.

Raglan Lightbulb

Then I flipped to the section about Raglan shaping. There was a call out box with bullet points.

One says that the sleeves and body have to have the same number of rows, but not necessarily the same number of decreases.

I had to read that sentence several times since my brain kept refusing to acknowledge it.

It meant that all of my panic when I was first knitting the sweater was unnecessary. I didn't have to rework the numbers after all.

I thought you had to have the same number of rows and work the same number of decreases at the same time on both the sleeves and the body. In all my scenarios to avoid recrunching the numbers it never occurred to me to try to decrease more stitches in the sleeve proper (I debated underarm cast offs).

Of course I don't know what that would do to the look of the decrease line. One of the nice things about Raglans is that nice sharp line along the decreases and increasing or decreasing the frequency might mess it up.

Oh well, at this point I'm not going back to the old numbers.

But next time, next time things will be different.

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