Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Name That Cardigan

There's a point in your schedule at which having a whole lot of fulfilling activities suddenly becomes overwhelming, and those fulfilling activities lose a little of the appeal that made you sign up in the first place. It's like hitting peak oil: you're drawing more energy out of yourself than you can produce.

A sign that I have hit peak oil would be that I have been waiting three days to finish the final two inches of a shoulder seam on a cardigan I'm designing. I have a Netflix movie that has been sitting on our table for 9 days. The bathroom sink doesn't want to get undressed if the lights are on.

It's those final two inches that are bothering me the most.

Here's my original sketch of the cardigan:

This is my first sweater that I've designed, and it's actually gone very well, when I've had time for it. I don't have a name for it yet; I'm calling it a "Honeysuckle Cardigan" on my Rav page, but seems like there ought to be something more alluring than that.

If you're thinking of designing a sweater, here are some lessons I've learned as a first-timer:

1. Draw a sketch, even if you think you're a bad artist.
1(a). You're probably not that bad of an artist.
1(b). When you're halfway in and you're trying to remember how wide a lace panel you wanted, look back at the sketch. Things will change from start to finish, but this is how you record your original inspiration.

2. Read up on sleeves before you get too far. I am shocked that these sleeves appear to have worked out. (There's still a chance they'll fail - remember those two inches.)

3. Reduce bulk. Make a half-inch seam allowance instead of a full inch; do a three-needle bind-off at the shoulders.

4. Seam in bits and pieces to see how things are going.

5. Keep it simple. Someone (maybe Michelle Rose Orne?) said that you should focus on one inventive design element, and everything else should support that. That doesn't mean everything else is boring, just that you're creating an essay of sorts, and you need to remember what your thesis statement is.

6. Make thorough notes on your swatch. I did it on an index card which I'll probably staple to the swatch after the sweater's done, so I can have proof that it lied to me.

7. When all else fails, study the Anthropologie catalog. Those sweaters are genius.


Clumsy Knitter said...

Wow, I can't wait to see what you're making! I've never gotten past the sketching phase myself, so congrats! :)

Adriana said...

Sounds/looks exciting! Can't wait to see!

Gena said...

Ooooo! It looks like it's gonna be super cute! I've never designed a sweater, but if I did, it would absolutely be based of off something from anthopologie.

Erin said...

It looks really lovely. And flattering. I am super excited to see what comes...are you writing up a pattern for it or just making it for yourself?