When I design, I take the yarn that I am drawn to using, and after I’ve swatched it to understand its qualities, I usually know what I can do with it.
Finding a yarn to match a pattern however, (as opposed to a pattern for a yarn), is quite a painful process. My recent exercises in finding patterns that I’d like to knit and then a yarn to go with it have been “interesting”. How many times have I selected a yarn for a pattern, only to discard it in favour of another?!
It’s interesting to note from the time I briefly worked in a yarn store that many knitters choose pattern first, then yarn. But I rather think it’s the most painful way to begin a project!
Now this process appears to have tainted my designing as well!! I have decided that despite my initial desire to have a few more fitted pieces in my wardrobe, what I really want is a nice, relaxed weekend-type number. Hmm. Sometimes it’s hard to break old habits.
I want something guaranteed to be warm, but not too bulky or heavy. Comfort is of ultimate importance here! However, it also has to look elegant. I spent hours on Ravelry and in other places looking, and looking, and looking… some patterns came close, but nothing was ‘it’.
In the end, I gave up and decided that to get exactly what I wanted, I needed to design one.
One day this week, as the setting sun brought the usual drop in temperature, I spied my son’s pullover draped over the back of the sofa and threw that on instead of going to find my own.
There was an ‘oh’ moment…
This is how it looked on him at the time I knitted it three years ago, one of my very first garment “designs”:
So what I really want is a ‘boyfriend’ sweater! For the avoidance of doubt, Tim is my son, but you get the idea – it’s the kind of pullover you’d pinch off a boyfriend.
A deal was easily brokered. The pullover is too short for Tim now, and it was lying around waiting for me to add some length to it so he could wear it. It was quite easy to convince someone that what he really needed was new one knitted to his larger measurements (evil snigger).
It’s mine now.
As for the conceptualised pullover. Drawing is not one of my talents, so don’t laugh! But this is the general concept sketch:
You’re probably wondering how I managed to come up with this, given Tim’s pullover looks completely different. It’s more to do with how it feels when on. It’s a hard one to describe, but I suspect other designers will identify with me when I say that Tim’s pullover inspired the eventual design I’ve come up with and firmed my mind on certain design elements that I had been toying with.
One of the most important parts of the success of a project is how it feels on you after you’ve knitted it. If the yarn is scratchy, or too warm/too cool for function, or just not the right drape or weight, it kills the whole thing, even if you’ve just knitted a technical masterpiece.
What yarn to use is now the question! This pullover’s yarn has to be light to wear, but not ‘poufy’, give good ease of movement and be warm enough to keep me cosy in a cold house.
For some reason, I’m rejecting the idea of a pure merino. I think I want something with a bit of visual ‘hugability’ to it. An angora merino mix would be perfect. Or perhaps that stunningly cushy, soft Willow from Zealana – a super soft, lofty mix of merino/cashmere. Or perhaps it’s possum merino? Time to start swatching!!
Do any of your favourite yarns spring to mind for this design?