Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I have found the Holy Grail of Sweater Construction

Seriously people, I’m not sure what to do with myself. After trials and tribulations with set-in sleeves ( see previous posts), I have seen the light and I am saved! Its all about Barbara Walker. She is a genius along the lines of EZ, a knitter who urges others to take control of the finished object from the very beginning. Why shouldn’t we be able to try sweaters on as we go? Why would we waste the 3 dimensionality of knitting on flat patterns? Why can’t we have a fool proof way of doing a set-in sleeve so that you know if you do one simple calculation you will end up with a perfect shoulder cap?

Finally I am able to finish the sweaters that have been sitting in the back of the closet frustrating me when I think about them. I purchased “Top Down Sweaters” by Barbara Walker from Schoolhouse Press and my life will never be the same. I have already skipped to the chapter on Top Down seamless set-in sleeve sweaters (mouthful) and have made perfect size sleeve caps for my dh’s sweater – with one simple calculation! I never thought I would reading a knitting theory book. I wanted to be spoon-fed beautiful patterns and just follow them to paradise. Well, I’ve realized that taking sweater construction into your own hands (haha) is much easier than you think if you have the theories of a genius as the basis from which to work. Oh, and don’t be scared of the front cover of the book. It is straight out of the early eighties. Also there are no pics or patterns in the book just diagrams. Trust me, you’ll understand why and then you’ll never again want to see a model carefully showing off the best angle of a flat pattern sweater that is never going to look like that on you.

So here’s the sweater – started ages ago. The first time it was “finished” the sleeves were puffy with oversized sleeve caps, the second time the sleeve was too tight with no room for the armpit and the third bowl of porridge was just perfect!

Pattern: A mixture of Ann Bud's Set-in-Sleeve pattern and Barbara Walker's info

Yarn: Manos Del Uruguay

Needle: size 9

On the same tip, here's the other sweater that I had thrown into the back of the closet until I could redo the sleeve caps.

Pattern: Rowan Magazine 37? with Barbara Walker style sleeves

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

Needle: size 5 for garter edging and size 6 for body

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