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    ...trying to get from "Oooooh, shiny!" to a design.
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  • Jen Johnson began knitting in 2007 while pregnant with her daughter and does most of her knitting for her daughter and son. When she couldn’t find the patterns she wanted, she added designer to her job titles of Navy wife and mother. Jen loves the inspiration she gets from all the beautiful yarns available, as long as she doesn’t get distracted by—ooh, shiny!
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The importance of a sounding board

This post almost retitled “The importance of saving drafts before shutting down the laptop due to thunderstorms”…I’m sure my original version was so much more eloquent…

I’ve been struggling with my current design.  It looked really great in my head, but in execution…something just wasn’t clicking.  I came up with a really cool traveling stitch pattern (and by “came up with,” I mean “made major changes to a stitch pattern I found to unvent a new one someone else has probably already invented”), but the traveling part was fighting with the planned raglan yoke–I had to figure out how to keep the stitch pattern lined up despite the every-other-row increases.

That part I finally figured out–yay for long drives and a husband who doesn’t mind driving duties while I knit in the car!–but I kept coming back to the same issue with the raglan yoke: although my row gauge didn’t look freakishly small in my gauge swatch (even before blocking), my yoke was much too short to provide the necessary armhole room once I reached my chest measurement for that size.

I must have knit and frogged that darned yoke five times before I finally decided it just wasn’t meant to be.  I was going to need to go in a whole new direction.  What I didn’t want to do is design the sweater in pieces–I didn’t want any seaming at all, actually.

Fortunately, I had a resource. I’d once posted to Ravelry my mistaken belief that one reason a designer might write a pattern to be knit in pieces and seemed is because they wanted something other than a raglan sleeve or circular yoke.  I not only learned that it’s possible to do all sorts of sleeves when knitting top down, I got some recommendations on reading material, including Barbara Walker’s Knitting from the Top Down.

So, I pulled that out the other night to try to figure a way out of my raglan dilemma.  I already knew there more sleeve types than I realized thanks to Ravelry’s current pattern reclassification Search Party, but I was still surprised to see how many I could apparently do seamlessly from the top down.  After a lot of back and forth, I finally settled on a cross between a set in sleeve and a drop sleeve, but wanted to try a slightly different way of doing it…and we’d see if it worked.

Normally I go to a knitting group on Tuesday night, but tonight I decided I had to stay home.  I really want to get a good head start on this design, and I hadn’t gotten any knitting done yet today between chores and the kids.  I was explaining to Steve why I’m struggling with the design and pulled out what I had knit so far to show him.

“No matter what I do, I just can’t get the yoke long enough to make the armholes,” I complained.  “I know what I wanted my chest measurement to be, and I know how many stitches I need to get that measurement because I know what my gauge is.  And every time I get to my needed number of stitches…”

Steve raised an eyebrow as I paused.  I couldn’t even swear because the kids were in the room too, but I wanted to.  It wasn’t until I was showing Steve that I realized I’d made such a basic, fundamental mistake.

I was counting the sleeve stitches.  And the sleeve stitches don’t count for the chest measurement, because…they’re the sleeves.  Not the chest.

“You’re welcome,” Steve said smugly.

Sounding boards are important.  They can also be really annoying.

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One Response

  1. ROFL! Don’t you hate that smug response? I’ve heard it more times than I care to admit. 😉

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