Monday, January 15, 2007

1+1 = ??

I have been immersed in the maths today. I have two little design projects going on and they are burning many brain cells.

First on the agenda is a sweater pattern I am overhauling for my friend L. She has a black meshy wrap sweater that she adores, and she wanted to knit another in order to give the first an occasional rest. We found a borderline suitable pattern at Suss Designs (back when it was open in NYC). The only problem was it had dolman cap sleeves instead of long regular ones... and it was too short.... and it was not the right yarn. ("What's left?" you might ask. Not much.) We bought the pattern, went home, and I retired to paper and pencil.

The original sweater was knit side-to-side (beginning at one sleeve and continuing across the back). This was necessary to decrease gradually into the long skinny taper that wraps around one's middle. If it were knit bottom to top, like a normal sweater, it would be necessary to bind off many stitches very quickly and the sweater front would not ease into the wrapping piece smoothly.

I started with the sleeves. L had previously completed an Hourglass Sweater on which I'd helped modify the sleeve width. We were happy with those, so we decided she'd use those sleeve dimensions to knit a flat sleeve, cast on stitches on each end to make the front and back, and basically knit across the shoulder to the side of the neck. She would then put half of the sweater on a stitch holder to be grafted to the back approaching from the other side. Clear as mud? The whole thing was so complicated I had to make up a three-dimensional model! Well, after 9 months of knitting, L has birthed two sleeves, and now I have to get my tail in gear and figure out how the rest of this is going to come together.

The next project is a double-pointed needle case. I was originally going to make this one, but I wanted to be sure there was enough space for my collection and a little extra to spare. So, I decided to strike out on my own and do a custom job. If this works out, maybe I'll draw up a little tutorial. The basic idea is a wrapped up thing with slots for each set of needles and bias-edging across the top edge of the needle pocket and around the entire outside. There is no top flap because it just sits in my craft basket and doesn't really need to travel. Closure is to be determined at a later date. In order to determine the length of the roll, I started by measuring and marking the width of each set of DPN's across a piece of muslin. I measured that, drew some pictures, did some calculations and took a deep breath. At this point I've bravely cut out all of my fabric and ironed interfacing to various bits. I am a little nervous about my calcs, so I made everything a little bigger so I can trim in the end.

There was also some serious swatching this weekend for my cashmere cowl, but I am waiting for the proper needles to arrive until boring you with further details.

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