Welcome to Project Knitway or should I say Project Renottaway? It's my cyberspace place to post my favorite things...thoughts about family and creativity and design. One of my favorite things is making stuff, specifically clothing and accessories from fiber and metal. So you'll see a lot about that here. I also love spending time with my family, so there will be a bit about that too. When I'm not with my family or in my studio, I am most likely at nextdoor, my store. I have always had a store ever since I was a young woman. I started with a weaving store called the niddy noddy in Waukesha eons ago. I ended with nextdoor in Brookfield. It's my dream store filled with great clothing, especially denim. Really nice women work and shop there, it's a fun place to be. You can find us there every day and online at www.shopatnextdoor.com So come for a visit here and there.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Back to Square One

For as long as I can remember my mom sewed cute clothes for the two of us out of little or nothing. I started putting rectangles and squares together for doll clothes at a very young age. So when I discovered looms and knitting machines it was a natural progression to designing my own pieces rather than following someone else's directions. For the most part all sweaters are just simple rectangles and squares put together. And one more time, if you know your knit gauge, you can design just about any sweater. I like to get my sizing from an existing sweater that fits well. Most of my favorites measure 22 inches wide and anywhere from 24 to 34 inches long. I draw up the simple shapes, plug in the gauge and there's my pattern. This works well for both hand and machine knitting.

For example: If my piece measures 22 inches wide and my stitch gauge is 4st/inch, I cast on 88 stitches. If my gauge is 3.75, I cast on 82 stitches. Here you can see how important an accurate gauge is. Just that 1/4 inch makes a big difference in correct sizing. It's the difference between a perfect fit and a big sloppy sweater. The same goes for row gauge, although it is not so critical. You can always add some creative crochet on the bottom if your piece is too short. If my row gauge is 5r's/inch, I knit 120 rows for a 24 inch long sweater.So basically I knit two identical rectangles for the front and back then I cut and sew the neckline in the front. See my previous post for more on cut and sew.

Now for some fun in shaping the sleeve. You can go along ways with a simple drop shoulder sleeve. Again you need to know your gauge and plug in the measurements. Start with the length of the sleeve. In this example I want my sleeve to be 20 inches long or 100 rows. I also want the sleeve to be 20 inches wide at the top (20 x 4st/ inch = 80 stitches) and 10 inches wide at cuff (10" x 4st/inch = 40 stitches). I have to cast on 40 stitches and increase to 80 stitches in 100 rows, ie I need to increase 20 stitches on each side of the sleeve evenly spread over 100 rows. Dividing through you come up with an increase on each side every 5 rows.

So my sleeve pattern reads: cast on 40 st, increase one stitch each side every 5th row, 20 times till you knit 100 rows. Bind off. For my collar I just knit a long rectangle and attached it. More about necklines and collars in another blog. For now I hope you'll enjoy experimenting with squares and rectangles.

Enjoy and stick to your knitting,