Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Backing into a sweater design part IV

When I last left off on Sunday I was pretty unhappy with the results that I got on the first motif and was considering ripping it out and starting all over again. Since everyone else that saw it liked it I decided to set it aside for a while and make a simpler motif for the front. I designed that on Sunday and started it that night and finished it yesterday. I love the new one and I think that it fits much better with the lower band so I'm going to make that one the front. Last night I finished the upper chest and shoulders of both and seamed it all together. I still think that the back looks a bit weird but I'm going to leave it alone.

I still have some design issues to figure out. I wasn't sure how much yarn I was going to have or how long I was going to be able to make it so I set the first motif fairly low on the sweater just in case it had to be shorter than I'd hoped and I would have to start the armholes sooner. By the time I reached the front side I knew that I had more than enough yarn to do whatever I wanted to so I set the second motif higher. I could have worked yet another motif on the upper back above the low one but it's already so busy and colorful that I think it would just be too much. I want something to fill up that blank space though and make it look more balanced so I might stick a hood on it. That can be colorful but without a distinct pattern.

Since I have plenty of black left I can make the sweater longer by flipping it upside down and working another band of black from the bottom. Before you start saying "ack - you're going the wrong way and that will leave a big ugly seam" - no it won't unless it's a very fine gauge and you don't keep the tension even or if you forget to work in the right direction compared to your first row. This will be cleanly on a stripe and not the least bit noticeable. An easy way to design something when you don't know how much yarn you have is to make an empire waist, then the sleeves, then make the rest of the bodice as long as you can before running out. (Don't forget to save some for finishing work.)

Next comes the sleeves. I know that I want a lower band on them that matches the lower band on the sweater but I haven't decided what else to do with them. I might want to put something colorful toward the top but I'm not sure what yet. A smaller version of the front motif might look good but then the back one might look even less coherent with the rest of the sweater. It's not even 7 in the morning yet so hopefully the idea will come together in my head before I get there.

Please come see my handmade designer plus size sweaters, sweater coats, capes and shrugs at MirabilisFashions.com


  1. I've crocheted a total of one sweater ever -- it was a cardigan and the sleeves are longer and the body shorter than I'd expected... sigh. I'm sticking to small things for now. Good luck!

    (Hi from a new teammate at Crochet Originals.)

  2. Hi Rachel - it's nice to meet you.

    I'm pretty brave about just winging it on the design and overall length but the one thing that I'm very careful about is measuring the sleeves because it's so easy to mess them up. I've done so many that I know the arm length and armhole measurements for most sizes and my tape measure and mannequin model are never far away.

    Another nice thing about making them for ready to ship sales instead of custom orders is that no one needs to know that the 3X for sale was supposed to be a 2X. There's no such thing as too big (within reason) and if for some accidental reason I go below a 1X I can always sell it as a straight size offline.