I’ve been thinking and planning and dreaming about the sweater I’m going to make with my big blue skein of yarn from Lopez Island.
I’ve decided I want it to be a cardigan, probably a V-neck, and, I think, a raglan. Like I said the other day, I’m planning on making this into a cropped sweater, but I’m not sure on how long I want my sleeves to be (at least long enough to cover the short sleeves of a couple favorite dresses). Maybe 3/4 sleeves, or even long sleeves (if I have enough yarn).
All this together (raglan, a short body, and not being sure about the sleeves) screams “top-down sweater.” If I do the sweater top-down, I can try it on as I go, and keep going until I am happy with the length. And when I make a top-down sweater, there is no other book to look to but Ann Budd’s “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.”If you’re even a little interested in making your own sweater designs, grab a copy of this book. In it, Ann Budd has done all the math to make virtually any sweater you want. (She’s worked out 4 different styles of sweater, both cardigan and pullover, with v-necks and crew-necks in virtually any size and with nearly any yarn.) Just find your gauge, decide your size and follow along. You can follow the patterns as written for a super-classic sweater, or add cables, bobbles, lace or whatever else you like to create something really special.
Any time I decide to make myself a sweater and don’t feel like following an honest-to-goodness pattern or doing my own math, I turn to Ann Budd’s book. (And, since I’m working with limited yarn on this sweater, I can make the body of the sweater, then work the sleeves until I run out of yarn! No waste and no guessing!)
I’ve got my basic sweater plan now it’s time for the fun stuff… the decorations! The autumn rain is beginning to fall in Seattle, so I think I’m feeling some cables coming on. But, this yarn is super-chunky, so I don’t want to make the sweater too heavily-cabled, or it will end up making me look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. So, maybe I want to add a little lace, too.
Just like how I have a go-to sweater construction book, I have a go-to stitch pattern book. But here’s the thing; I don’t even know its name.
It’s a Japanese stitch dictionary that I found at a grocery store in Seattle’s International District. It’s got hundreds of gorgeous knit stitches in every style- cables, lace, textures. It’s to die for.If you have a Japanese book store by you, totally see if you can find one of these books (I’m pretty sure it is from a series-I’ve seen other similar books elsewhere). Or, if you search for Japanese knitting books on Amazon, you’ll find something like it.
Inside, it’s full of page after page of swatches, accompanied by surprisingly understandable charts. I don’t read a word of Japanese, and I use it all the time!
Looking through the book, I think I’ve settled on this pattern- how pretty would that lace look down the back of a sweater at an over-sized gauge?
Now I’m itching to start knitting!
What knitting books are your go-to favorites?
Oh- definitely Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns. I have the first three books and they are invaluable.
Ooh, those are ones I’ve always meant to get my hands on.
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