Spending those skill points to level up

I may be embarking on a sweater project.

During the coldest week so far of this winter, I kept daydreaming about a huge warm woolen sweater. So I’ve started looking at what I want to knit.

I dislike colorwork, so far. But I like knitting textures and patterns. So I borrowed a ton of books from knitting friends, and think I may have some elements to work with.

Elsebeth Lavold has written some books reconstructing classic Viking knotwork in knit. Now, as far as anyone can tell, actual Vikings never put their knotwork designs in knitting. For one thing, we have no evidence that they knit. Weaving, yes. Knitting, no proof. For another, it’s not clear that these patterns were for use in cloth. We have them in metal and wood, but cloth rots away. So these are not “authentic Viking patterns.”

But Lavold has painstakingly recreated the patterns in knitting, through creative use of increases, cable stitches, and decreases. It’s fascinating.

And I intend to knit some of these patterns into a sweater.

I’ve also looked at some classic Guernsey texture work, and plan to include that. And then I just flat-out made up a detail for shoulder and sleeve decor.

I spent the weekend knitting swatches. In different yarns, on different needle sizes, in patterns, plain, flat, in the round — and trying to work out the math. So many stitches per inch, so many inches across the front of the sweater, so many stitches required for this pattern or that one, will they all fit?

Fascinating stuff!

Wish me luck —

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One Response

  1. I made an Aran cardigan for V. My design process was much like yours. I already had the yarn so the variables were needle size and patterns. My swatch was larger than usual so that I could see a full repeat of the larger patterns. I used the swatch to calculate an average numbers of stitches per inch. Cables are like ribbing – they have fewer stitches per inch than flat knitting.

    The project took a long time because it got quite bulky and was too warm to work on in the summer. V only wears it in really cold weather. I might choose a lighter yarn if I did this again.

    Have fun with your sweater! It is not harder than anything you’ve done before, just bigger.

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