In Progress: 1858


Who starts a knitting and fashion site in the summer anyway? As the mercury climbs and I try to find work-appropriate ways to be as unclothed as possible (sweet, sweet linen, how I love thee), I'm also doing some other sneaky things. Like many knitters before me, I'm taking the jump from modifying patterns to suit me to just writing them up from scratch. It's not as though there aren't thousands upon thousands of amazing designs out there, but sometimes the exact precise one you want isn't out there.

 Case in point, the Breton. Do a ravelry search and you'll find lots of Bretons, marinieres, or whatever you like to call a blue and white striped sweater in the style of the classic French shirt. Why, therefore, am I designing my own? Because in my addled brain, not one of the sweaters already available was exactly what I was looking for. Did most of them check off most of my boxes? Yup. But I really have wanted a sweater like this, have been hoarding the yarn for it, and wanted it to be (dear god) perfect.

 So what does perfection look like?

 1. Top-down. This has become pretty much a must for me. I need to be able to try the sweater on as I go and have a reasonable idea of what it looks like. I've started to re-jigger bottom-up patterns that I knit so that they can be knit top-down (a recent example is my Harrogate).

 2. Set-in sleeves, also top-down. I've tried a variety of different contiguous set-in sleeves and they just don't match the shape of my particular shoulders as well as this method. Which is kind of sad for me because a lot of really cute patterns are using that method right now.

 3. Neck options. This white with blue stripes version I think I'm going to keep with a raw collar; the blue with white stripes I'm doing next, a crew neck. The slash-neck is lovely, but ever so slightly more bra-strap revealing and less popular so I decided against it.

 4. Full length, body and sleeves. Don't get me wrong, I don't have a moral objection to 3/4 length sleeves, I just don't like them for me for this sweater. I realize this is a minor thing because one can (and I do) frequently modify sleeve length, but while I was writing up a pattern myself, I figured it could have the sleeves I like.

 5. Stripe placement and width. Again I could have modified an existing pattern to my preferences, but since I was doing all the rest. The first stripe should hit at the top mid slope of the bust, not higher, not lower. I originally started with 4 rows of contrast color and 12 of main color, but ripped back to replace it with 3 and 9 respectively. It was the right thing to do.

 So the body of the sweater is done, and I'll be starting the sleeves this evening. I'm quite excited to have it off the needles so I can wear it, and a couple of girlfriends may have offered to test the other sizes for me (because they are swell). It's not my first foray into design, and I have a couple other projects in the works, but it is a fun diversion on a too-hot-for-knitwear day to share a sneak peek.

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