We had terrible freezing rain alerts at the end of last weekend. Maybe you were hit with this too. Oh, no, I am marooned at a knitting retreat. We all had to stay an extra night. The power went out. We didn’t have any water pumping in. And you know what? Spending time in the dark watching the fire in a wood stove with a bunch of knitters is all right!
We continued working on our “What If …” projects where I challenged them to come up with as many different ways to move from the neckband down to the bottom of the yoke.
You might look at the Yoke of a Top Down as a black box where some magic happens.
Are you laughing? Did your waist disappear a long time ago? Is your waist being taken over by an expanding muffin top like mine is? The good news is you can make a waist in your sweater even if you don’t have one. It’s easier than dieting!!
What is your favourite sweater shape? I believe that sweaters need a curve to make us look our best. If you knit from the Top Down you get to choose the curve you want to put in your sweater.
You can work this typical Waist Shaping. Decreases are worked to nip the waist in and then increases are worked back to your original number of body stitches.
You can add Hip Shaping. Work decreases to take the waist in, work increases back to the original number of body stitches and then work some more increases to add extra width to the hip for more wiggle room. This is my go-to for any fitted sweater.
This is one of my favourites for a casual sweater, Hip Only Shaping. Work straight down to the waist and then work increases for extra hip width. If you are hippy this is wonderful because, for once, your hips work for you and give this shaping a terrific curve with very little effort.
Have you worked an A-line? These are very flattering and create a great curve. They do have to be the correct length and width to be effective. A small amount of A-line shaping can be worked into a shorter hip length garment. A lot and I mean lots, of extra width can be worked into a tunic length sweater. They can really swing. Did I mention that they are wonderfully comfortable to wear?
Do you have a favourite? Is there one of these shapes you’d love to try?
I’ve been knitting Top Down for many years and I’m probably never going back to bottom up garments. OK, never say never because it could happen, sometime, maybe. Here are several reasons why I love knitting Top Down:
1. The Body length of the sweater is in your control. If your sweater is the correct length you might find that you wear it more often. Are you short like me or tall (I wish)? Do you find that your sweaters look best if they are a certain length? When you knit from the top, you get to choose. You can make your sweater the length you want whether the pattern was written for that particular length or not.
2. Sleeve Length is also yours to determine. I have worked with taller people who actually wanted the long sleeve of their sweater to be shorter than I would wear them. This totally shocked me. Apparently I like my sleeves quite long.
3. You can try your sweater on many, many times. Put half the stitches onto another long circular needle. The circular needle can be the same size you are knitting with or a smaller size. This gives you room to spread the stitches out around your body to give you an indication of the size. I often try my sweaters on about 6 times during the knitting. I want all the lengths to be right. Of course I’m sure every time that I have knit it to the correct length only to find that I still need to work a couple more rounds. How come they always look longer on the needles? I thought I was much further along on this sweater!
4. You can put all the shaping exactly where you need it. Not that you can’t when you knit from the bottom up but you have plan quite a bit ahead of time. A top down sweater can be shaped as you work. You can put it on after the Great Divide to check where the bust shaping should start. As you work down the body you can see where your waist is and where to begin the hip shaping. When you are past your elbow you can put your arm through the sleeve and measure how much further you have to knit to the exact sleeve length you desire.
Knitting to your unique figure is easier when you can alter the pattern as you work. Being able to try it is a huge plus.
Letting go of a project is sad. The BlueV seemed like such a great idea but it didn’t work out. Even trying over and over didn’t make it work. Although I think I know now, after some reflection, what went wrong it’s not the time to try again. Its time to put it down and allow some space for something new. New is exciting!
If I allow some space I get lots of ideas in the middle of the night. Not all of them are great ideas but they are worth listening to and playing with. You never know where they might lead. This time I was thinking about three events I have running in April: Lake Lauzon Knit Weekend, YarnOver SleepOver Retreat and the Knitters Frolic. I thought I would do some children’s sweaters to showcase at these events. Our Cotton Tweed yarn is terrific for children’s knits.
During the day I’m logical or at least I try to be. I thought that working with cables or lace stitches would add some new patterns to our Kid’s line. I did one. I like it.
But at night the sweaters I was thinking of did not have cables and lace. I soon realized that what I really wanted to do was explore some new constructions. The BlueV did not have me out for the count. I had put this exploration aside for other work and it was time to get back to it.
This is an idea I’ve had for many years but never actually knit into a sweater.
I can imagine this as an adult sweater with short sleeves. A terrific summer top in fingering maybe?
Today is not a good day. A good day is when my knitting is working out. Today it’s not. My BlueV, an attempt at a summer weight cardigan with eyelets is going to sit in the time-out corner. I tried once, twice, even three times.
The first time it was a knit forward, rip back project as you can see. But was I deterred? NO.
I checked it again and found math errors so I tried it with different wool and a brighter colour to encourage me.
This one seems to work so I turned back to the BlueV but it’s still no good.
Are there any tear stains visible? I’m done with this one for now. We are through!
The red one has a chance of a revival though. I do love red and it’s behaving and trying to please me. We haven’t come to the Great Divide where the truth lies so I’m not getting too excited yet. My optimism is a little dented.
I’m going to take some time-out myself and knit some hats. Hats are reliable. Hats want to fit. Hats and I get along great.
Hats, love them. How are your knitting projects going?