January 29, 2013

Sweater Reproduction: WIP #1

Done so far: body, sleeves and 50 percent of
the crewneck (before adding a collar)
I have always wanted to recreate a particular sweater of mine. I bought it at the Goodwill a while back. It is a light green cardigan with a front zipper and a few cables on it. It was originally from The Gap (and since they may go out of business, I hear, it may become collectible soon!). From what I can tell, it is knitted in a bulky weight yarn at about 4 stitches to the inch. It is a raglan cardigan in wool and cotton, and  is ribbed on the front, stockinette on the back. It has a high collar that does not turn down, and it very nicely fitted. It is a big fav of mine to wear around the house, to take a walk, or go to the store....just about everywhere.

I wear it so much that it is really starting to show its age and I figure I had better get to work on reproducing it before it wears out. After all, it came to me used in the first place--I might not have long!

To accomplish this, I am going to start learning more about sweaters. I have only made about 5 of them in my knitting life and, while I have a general idea about their construction, my knowledge is limited to only those sweaters I have made. Besides, I just don't feel confident enough to step out on the sweater design limb just yet--not completely.

I have decided to use some training wheels in my endeavor. Ann Budd has a great book, The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, which is working out great for this project. In it, she gives basic instructions for different sweater designs, with a wide allowance for your own stitch patterns, collars, length, etc.

I have decided to keep my first try at this simple. My sweater will be completely ribbed for a fitted feel and will have the same stand up collar. It is going to be a cardigan with a zipper on the front (using another book for the installment of that later on) and will be knitted in brown tweed, Patons Shetland Chunky Tweed.

For the sleeves: I watch a lot of Downton Abbey while knitting,
which made it hard to pay attention to my sleeve increases.
I used stitch markers to mark every increase, so that I
only have to keep track of the stitch markers. Every marker
equals 2 stitch increases, and I needed 8 in total.
Ann Budd uses a seamless construction knitted bottom us for this particular style, which is interesting since I have only tried top-down for a seamless sweater in the past. It is very clever in design. The only thing I have run into that has been a bit difficult is the tension in the fabric once the sleeves, which are knitted separately from the body, are attached to the body. There seems to be quite a bit of pull on the join areas on either side of the sleeve until you knit a few rows and mine is going to need a little sewing to cinch a few spots up.

Keeping track of everything I do so that I may refine
this design in the future.
Other than that, I can hardly put it down! It's like a good book that you can't stand to stop reading--at every step of the way, I just have to see what happens next!

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