Tag Archives: sweater design


I’ve been knitting for decades.

I’ve been knitting sweaters for almost as long.

I’ve been designing my own patterns for close to 10 years, and professionally writing patterns for more than 5 years.

And no matter how I try, I still can’t accurately estimate how much yarn I need for a project.

Example 1A: My Provincial Tweed Sweater.IMG_0331I’ve been working on this bad boy for a while now, off and on over the last few months.  I’ve gotten the body done to about hip length (it still needs the nice long ribbed hem that I have planned for it).  It’s currently 15″ from the underarm.  A nice, generous length for a sweater.IMG_0337I have used up 2 skeins of yarn to get this far.  I originally thought I’d use 10 skeins.

Now I’m thinking I’ll maybe use 4 skeins.  I’ve poorly estimated yarn yardage before, but dang… I was very very wrong this time.IMG_0322I guess everyone is getting blue tweed sweaters for Christmas.

Have you mis-estimated your yardage before?  How badly were you off?

Stellar’s Jay Sweater: Planning

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I am essentially an 80 year old woman in a 28-year-old’s body.  I love drinking tea, watching procedural cop dramas, puttering around in my garden, and obviously, knitting.  When I was in college, I tried to deny it, but I have given up.  I’m an old lady, and I’m A-OK with it.

As an old lady, I spend an inordinate amount of time watching the birds that are hang around my bird feeders on the back porch.  We get house finches, juncos, chickadees, and squirrels (who have already destroyed two bird feeders).  But my favorite birds by far are the Stellar’s Jays that live in the great big cedar tree in the corner of our garden.stellers_jay[1]I’d never seen these birds until we moved to the PNW.  They are incredibly striking, slightly bigger than a Blue Jay, and their colors are spectacular.   They’re a super dark, rich, black on their top half, and a bright cerulean blue on their bottom half.  They have a great big crest of feathers on the top of their head, which looks like a particularly sassy mohawk.  I love watching them hang out on our porch.

In honor of my favorite bird-feeder visitor, I thought I would make a sweater inspired by their gorgeous plumage.  And, I am going to bring you along on the design and knitting process.

My plan is for a pullover worked with a bold blue-to-black gradient inspired by the Stellar’s Jay plumage.  The design is still a little hazy in my brain right now, but I know it will solidify once I start playing with the yarn.

I’ll start by ordering some of my favorite sweater yarn: Knit Pick’s Swish Worsted.   It’s a super-wash merino wool, so it’s both durable and super cuddly soft.  It comes in about 40 colors and is pretty reasonably priced.

I picked out two skeins of each color:

Black (duh)

23876Delft Heather


Marine Heather24094Gulfstream25137Very Stellar, no?

When my order gets here, I’ll work up some swatches and start playing with math.  But for now, I think I need to go refill my bird feeder.  Stupid squirrels.