Wednesday, I talked about a sweater I made for my grandfather, based off one that his mother made for him decades ago.
I thought it might be interesting to talk about how I combined a couple patterns, added my own details to create this customized sweater, and went from an idea to a finished product.
I started with the description my Grandfather gave me, “A brown and blue sweater with deer on it.” From there I guessed that he meant an old-school ski sweater with some sort of color work pattern on the front and back.
I looked at patterns for ski sweaters, and none of them were quite right. They were either too fancy (too many colors or too fussy-looking), or more formal than I knew my grandfather would like to wear (he is a hunting, fishing, outdoors-y type).
Instead, I decided to start with a very simple pattern that I had used before, and modify it to my liking. I picked the Weasley Sweater by Alison Hansel. It’s a simple and easy drop-shoulder sweater that comes in a million sizes from infant to grown-up. I’ve knit a couple sweaters from the pattern before, and they have all turned out really well. (And the pattern is available for free!)
The only thing that I don’t care for with the Weasley Sweater is the rolled hem and collar. Instead, I knit a k2p2 rib for the bottom, and a k2p2 crew collar.
And, instead of working the whole shebang in plain brown, I added a stripe of blue just above the cuffs and hem. Adding a little bit of color work at cuffs and hem is a very “ski sweater” thing to do, and a stripe is the simplest color work you can do.
My next problem was the deer motif that I had to put on the chest. I looked at a lot of patterns, and finally decided to use the deer motif from the His & Hers Reindeer Jackets from Patons. I originally planned to work the deer using the intarsia technique, but then I decided that I wasn’t insane. (Intarsia and I don’t get along very well.)
Instead, I knit up the whole sweater in plain brown (except for the blue stripes at cuffs, hem, and the edges of the chest panel), and used the duplicate stitch to add the deer after once the knitting was done. It took approximately 100 years to finish the deer (not really), but I think it was worth it. Because the whole chest panel is knit plain, the sweater is stronger than it would have been if I had worked the deer in intarsia (and I think it looks better, too).
So, with a couple different patterns, some planning, a little futzing, and inspiration from the ghost of my great-grandmother, I think I managed to make exactly the sweater that my grandpa was looking for.