Monday, February 25, 2008

How I Made It My Own

You might be able to recognize this top. It is a heavily modified Cable-Down Raglan sweater (IK, Spring 2007) Ravelry Link here . Most notably, I've eliminated the sleeves.



Living in Southern California I find that I don't wear long sleeve sweaters all that often. So, it seemed like a good idea to convert this into a warm top rather than a full fledged sweater.

The other modifications really happened during the knitting process. I believe it was the renowned Elizabeth Zimmermann who pronounced that more than reading a pattern you need to pay attention to how the knitting is unfolding, or something to that effect. For those of you unfamiliar, Elizabeth Zimmermann was founder of Schoolhouse Press a wonderful knitting resource/supplier and a business that is continued today by her daughter, Meg Swansen. Someday I would really like to knit Meg's Wrap Yourself in Lace shawl. Mr Puffy, please make a note of that.

My other modifications were pretty minor. Rather than knitting a sweater measuring 11 inches from the underarm, I chose instead to opt for a generous 15 inches. I don't know about you, but I don't much care for sweaters that leave my mid-drift area exposed to a cool breeze.

I also adjusted the body cable pattern. Often you will find that with cable patterns they will require you to choose between bust sizes that are 3 or more inches apart rather than the customary 2 inches. This is because the cable design itself takes a certain number of stitches in order for it to work out correctly in each size. For me, as I have a slight build, that is just too large a margin. With this pattern I would have had to chose between knitting a sweater that was a size too large or too small. Rather than go that route, I simply modified the cable pattern to work for my in-between size. I did this by eliminating the vertical lines that separated each of the smaller cables patterns. Since the design was a bit "busy" for my taste anyway, this seemed a good choice.



Lastly, to keep with my theme of making the overall pattern a little lighter, I knit only one band of purl stitches at the hem and sleeves, rather than two.

So that's the story of how I made it my own. By making just a few modifications you can customize a sweater pattern to better suit your personality, climate, and body type! This, of course, can all go horribly wrong. But, in this case, I'm very pleased with the result!

Specs: Cable-Down Raglan, Interweave Knits Magazine, Spring 2007; Tilli Tomas yarn, Aspen (130 yds /skein 100% Australian Merino) colorway Skydrop; US 6 needles; just over 4 skeins. This is an incredibly soft yarn and a pleasure to wear next to your skin. It is a single ply yarn, though, and I must admit to some concern as to how well it will wear. For example, as you can see in the picture below, some of the strands waiting to be woven have, well, come undone or unspun, if you wish. I've not seen this happen before, at least not to the extent I'm seeing with this yarn. For that reason I personally will avoid open work and patterns calling for a loose guage with this yarn.

13 comments:

jillian said...

It's lovely!! The fit and color are fabulous on you, it's the perfect SoCal sweater. Great mods!

Bridget said...

Great job! It really turned out perfect for you, and looks wonderful. Congratulations!

Denise said...

Would you believe I was just oggling that pattern last night as I lay in bed browsing through that copy of IK (bought it on Ebay just a couple of weeks ago!). I loved the cable detail in it, and yours looks gorgeous. I too don't like wearing long sleeves and in central TX I don't often have to (take today for instance, it's 88 here!). I love your idea of making it short sleeved.
Great job.
:-)

Knitted Gems said...

This sweater looks amazing on you! I love all the modifications you made; it looks more elegant without the verticals lines. Except sleeves are important here in PA and I can't imagine not knitting them. =)

Silvia said...

It looks beautiful! I love the changes you made. I made one of her sweaters, and I really like it, but I would have eliminated the double purl row like you did, if I'd thought about it. Nicely done. That shawl is lovely- I'm going to have to get a copy of that pattern now!

Monika said...

Another lovely piece, no surprise! I'm in awe of your talent to modify a pattern to suit your neads. It turned out wonderful, and suits you beautifully. I like the color too. Wonderful pictures as well. I hope Mr.Puffy is good in note taking! ;o)

tiennieknits said...

This looks fantastic on you! Fabulous job on making it your own!

Pat K said...

Beautiful work!

fireflynights said...

You obviously have an understanding of the entire knitting process rather than just blindly following a pattern. I would like to learn more about Elizabeth Zimmerman since she did so much to popularize the Continental style. Apparently the reason I disliked knitting so much years ago was because of the American method.

The longer sweater looks very nice on you and the short sleeves are definnitely more suitable for your climate. I took a look at the Wrap Yourself in Lace shawl and I think that will be lovely on you whenever you decide to make it. Mr. Puffy will be quite proud.

chanknits said...

EXCEPTIONAL. I long to come to that kind of understanding with patterns and my shape. That sweater is on my wish list; I must figure out how to get gauge for a wrap before I try a sweater...

amanda said...

Oh my, I love it! I think your mods were totally smart. The fit is perfect on you and just wonderful. Yay!!

knitting dragonfly said...

I like this very much. It is warm here also, you are very clever, It turned out beautiful. It looks light and airy.
vicki

Hilary said...

What a gorgeous sweater -- and it looks so pretty on you! I bet you get a lot of use out of it. It's the sort of pretty sweater that will go great with jeans or a fancier spring/summer skirt.