Top-Down Ideas for me and you

Top-Down Ideas for me and you

I’m so thrilled about all of the enthusiasm for the coming Top-Down Knitalong, and the sketches and swatches already starting to turn up on the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed. I’ve had a couple of people ask what “improvised” means and whether you’re not allowed to have a plan for your sweater going in. Improvised just means knitting without a pattern, but you do that by having a plan — a plan of your very own! Which is based on two things: 1) the gauge you’ll be knitting at (which you derive from a knitted and washed swatch in your intended yarn) and 2) your desired sweater shape and dimensions. It’s not about flying blind, it’s just about making your own plan for a sweater in your own head versus having a pattern tell you what to do.

And on the subject of shape, I’ve also had people ask whether a top-down sweater or a sweater for this knitalong has to be a pullover. Absolutely not! As noted in the preview and the addenda — and the tutorial and the prologue to the tutorial ;) — it can be anything your heart desires. The sample in the tutorial is a plain old crewneck pullover just because that’s the most basic a sweater can get. If that’s what you want in your closet, or you’re nervous about this and want to keep it as simple as possible, that’s a great option. Or you can get all kinds of creative if you like! Make a v-neck or crewneck or shawl-collar; pullover or cardigan or coat; plain or embellished; fitted and fingering or superbulky and slouchy, or anything in between! The possibilities truly are endless.

I still don’t know what I’m going to knit for this (all those endless possibilities …), and thought we could all use a little extra inspiration, so I created a new board on Pinterest called Top-Down Ideas. The captions are full of suggestions about things to consider — from shape to interesting details to how to really think outside the box. The sweaters included are mostly neutral, so you can use your imagination to fill in color or texture or pattern according to your taste.

I hope it gets your wheels turning, and I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about!


PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: FAQ and Addenda


22 thoughts on “Top-Down Ideas for me and you

  1. Can you explain how the knit along works? I’ve never been a part of one before and am interested in doing this as I think I am ready for my first sweater. (I started learning how to knit in December…) Do you do it here on the blog or somewhere else?

  2. Just had a look at the board, pinned some and looked at “others” that shows below, had an “aha” moment! I have never looked at specific details for inspiration to add/change before. Almost always have followed a pattern. Thank you

  3. I’ve never knit without a pattern and have no idea how to add details or modify details. “Winging” it terrifies me since I think I’ll end up frogging the entire project. Any advice or resources for us “nervous nellies” in the crowd? I would love to try this but am extremely hesitant about it for obvious reasons. Thanks so much, Karen!

  4. I hope it’s not just me, but what is KTFO an acronym for? Drooling over these inspiration!

  5. I wish I had the brain energy to join in on this, but with the new school year coming, I know I won’t be able to. For now, I am following patterns! I checked the board, Karen. Great pins. I DO have a “secret board” for sweater designs because it’s something I want to try, but this fall, I want to try your Anna Vest! As always, so inspirational. I look forward to seeing all of the finished products!

  6. I’m thinking I wish I had an extra pair of hands, maybe two, and less family commitment because I’d love to KAL (and there’s an idea bouncing around in my head) but I don’t have the time with all the other stuff on my plate. I still haven’t managed the last 3 of the hat-along or my version of the Cowichan vest. I’m so behind, I feel like I’m ahead.

  7. Thanks so much, Karen…count me in! You’re a master teacher…I’m excited to try! Count me in! I now can’t wait!

  8. Argh….the other day I planned out my queue to the end of the year. Then you pinned that isabel marant top. Then I imagined it in purl soho flax down…I think we can all see where this is going. Thanks (I think)!

  9. As one of the over-thinkers worrying about knitalong semantic boundaries, thanks for the clarification and reassurance! Thanks also for making your knitalongs freeform — realistically, this is a terrible time for me to start a new project, but in the spirit of things I’ll start planning and mulling, and of course enjoying seeing what others come up with.

    Whenever my knitalong sweater happens, I think I’d like to center it around exploring a new-to-me top-down construction method (current pick: Julie Weisenberger’s English Tailoring method, which I heard about thanks to a comment on one of these posts!). I’m so inspired by everyone who is talking about being nervous and embarking on their first sweater — seems only fair to push myself into new territory, as well.

  10. Hi Karen,
    I am really excited to begin this knit along! I have not made a top down sweater before but I am hopeful. I really like the Burberry sweater that is in the 2nd column from the right, 2nd sweater down (I’m just going to call this the Second Sweater, even though it is my first!) with the deeply ribbed tall collar. I’d like mine to be a cardigan.

    Keeping with the theme, I have 2 questions:

    1. I have worsted weight alpaca yarn that I am eager to use. Can I make this bold statement with worsted weight yarn?
    2. How do I begin?

  11. Pingback: Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016 : Preview and plans | Fringe Association

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