Designing a sweater

I’ve just started working on a new design. Since I’m making it for fun and it’s not under any kind of publication embargo, I thought I could share some details about the process.


I’ve been thinking about designing a classic cardigan (boxy shape, set-in sleeves, crew neck, ribbed button band, goes with everything, etc.).


Sometimes I have an idea that needs yarn, and sometimes I have yarn that needs an idea. In this case, I have one skein of Lichen & Lace Rustic Heather Sport that I bought a while back because I was intrigued by its interesting “crunchy” texture. The yarn feels like it wants to do something more interesting than plain stockinette (plus, I recently finished a giant project in super-boring garter stitch, followed by two pairs of practical but unexciting to knit stockinette socks), so I think I’ll try doing some Estonian lingonberry lace just to see how it looks. After blocking, I’m really happy with the results. Lingonberry lace is easy to memorize and fun to knit! I’m starting to imagine a lovely, warm but lightweight cardigan that could be useful year-round.

The swatch, after blocking (shown in “Smoke”)

So, now that the swatch is done and measured, it’s time to work on some sketches. Stay tuned for the next installment!

Sketch (and measurements)

When I’m making a design for a publication, I’m usually provided with sample body measurements to work with. Normally I take the body measurements, figure out how much ease the design needs, come up with a general idea of the finished measurements, and then work out the exact measurements based on the gauge and stitch pattern. In this case, I’m making this prototype for myself, so I’m going to cheat a little bit and measure another cardigan that fits me perfectly. Slight hitch: the cardigan I’m working from is raglan-sleeved, but I want set-in sleeves. I make some educated guesses for the sketch but will need to look at this carefully when I get to this part.

Buying the yarn

I feel like this is most exciting part of starting a new project! I love the “smoke” colour that I used for the swatch, but I have really a lot of grey and black things in my closet. I decide to branch out a bit. I estimate that I’ll need 6 skeins of yarn, and head over to Three Bags Full to go shopping.

This colour is called “Pollen.” Depending on the light, it can be muted golden or crazy bright yellow. I’m excited to work with it!