Designing Daze

     It will be a while before I post a pattern for the sweater I’m sporting above.  This garment is the result of many hours—some of them passed in a class with Patty Lyons at Vogue Knitting Live and others spent at home (mostly early in the morning while the sky was still dark outside and the rest of the house slept).

     Using my measurements and gauge swatches, I calculated and knit.  In the course of creating my sweater, I learned a few things.  Be VERY, VERY meticulous about determining gauge—and maybe ask for a second opinion.  While I love this sweater with its comfy fit, I realized about halfway through that my gauge swatch probably measured 4.5 stitches per inch, rather than five I'd originally measured, so the area around the bust and waist has quite a bit of ease. My original intent was to make a shapely, form-fitting garment, and I'd even included two darts in the front and one in the back for shaping, but a one-half-of-a-stitch difference per inch made my garment a little bit looser than intended.  

My notebook is filled with page after page of sloppy scrawling.

     I learned so much making this project, though, and want to knit up another one—using a 4.5 gauge, to see what the results will be.  While I adore luxury yarns, there is something so satisfying working with a solid worsted or DK weight 100% wool yarn, and this inexpensive Universal Yarn results in a fabric with a beautiful heathery effect.  I think I used about six skeins (I did so much swatching and got lazy about keeping track and don’t want to go back now and calculate), so for roughly $42.00, I have a classic wardrobe addition.

I'd much rather work on this new design, than do the math for my previous one--but I'll get it done.  I am trying to experiment with a different fiber here, other than the wool I typically use and love.  

     I plan to do the math (ugh!) and work out the pattern for standard sizes, along with the yardage, but know that this task might not get done for some time.  My full-time job is teaching, and I have roughly 13 more weeks or so to finish a mountain of paperwork, one that includes writing a tome to renew my National Board certification!  I also have 23 Gilgamesh essays and 38 more dealing with a short story by John Cheever to grade in the next week or so, and every week there is a similar pile.  (I suppose I need to stop experiencing this sense of personal responsibility--or masochism--for developing writing skills in my students and just give multiple-choice assessments.) My knitting, though, does provide much-needed release from these other chores, but I’m feeling a crunch right now, and don’t know when I’ll find the time or the motivation to sit down for the serious math session required to write my pattern.  Thankfully, though, this design is very simple—with only stockinette and a mock-rib stitch.  I’d love to share it and see someone else knit it up.

     While I’ve been posting designs for some time, I did finally have someone knit up one of my patterns—and she is actually very pleased with the results!  Carla Gnadt of Alma, Kansas won a free skein of Universal Worsted in her choice of colorway (Beeswax) for her efforts.  She knit my Celtic Daydream hat in a beautiful bright red.  She plans to block the hat and send a different picture, but I’m impatient and have to share the quick photo she took of her work.  Thank you so much, Carla.  I’ll post your new photo, too, when I receive it.  I hope I’ll continue to see other knitters work my designs in the future.


  1. I think you're amazing to have designed and knit this from scratch! It looks gorgeous. It's nice sometimes to use a yarn that permits experimentation more freely than some of the more expensive ones which can exert a slightly restrictive aura over creativity as one doens't want to do anything too risky with what has cost a lot. Are you studying The Epic of Gilgamesh with your class? Very appropriate for us in the UK with all the flooding - must reread it! I read it originally as background for Homer but there are lots of other interesting overlaps with other ancient texts too. Lucky students! Hope you have a good week! E xx


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