WIPs of the Week No.4: Ding and Sari

WIPs of the Week No.4: Ding and Sari

This week in the Top-Down Knitalong has been more encouraging and rewarding and heartwarming than I could ever have imagined. I think of knitting your first improvised top-down sweater as a life-changing experience — and honestly not just as a knitter — but the extent to which that’s been reflected in the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed the past few days leaves me nearly speechless. As does all of the boldness, creativity, determination, heart (as they say in sports), support, advice, and general awesomeness on display. As just a paltry few examples, I offer these notes by @aguillettefashion, @meganann_lynch, @wendlandcd, @kelseyleftwich and @schmidcr. Most charming caption of the week goes to @tinystitchers. And also, these are two of the cutest baby pictures I’ve ever seen: @armenuhik and @abigailrosechapin. So you can imagine the difficulty in choosing one sweater to feature as WIP of the Week, and in fact when it came down to it, I couldn’t choose between the following two:

This week’s bonus prize of 12 skeins of O-Wool Balance goes to Ding Ren, aka @halfcrystalline on Instagram and also halfcrystalline on Ravelry, whose photos are above. Ding is one whose planning and experimenting and enthusiasm and determination and openness has been, I think, encouraging to everyone watching. You’ll find loads of great WIP shots in her IG feed. The particularly nice moment this week, in keeping with the whole of her approach, was when she knitted her split hem, sought feedback, ripped and redid it for a more successful effect — and I’m eager to see it blocked. I’ve loved several of her remarks along the way, including “Live sts used to scare me but now they are exciting when it means the sweater can be exactly the way I want it to be” on this photo, and the number of new techniques she’s tried in the course of this WIP. Not to mention this great post about her yarn selection. Basically, her whole act of documenting this sweater has been epic. Congrats on your fabulous project, Ding, and on winning the generous prize from O-Wool. Please email me at contact@fringesupplyco.com with your color selection and mailing address! And thank you, O-Wool!

WIPs of the Week No.4: Ding and Sari

The second WIP I’m featuring this week is by Sari N, aka @sari_n_ on Instagram and sarijaotto on Ravelry — and it happens to be another of the many gorgeous ivory sweaters going on. It’s been fun to watch this amazing cable sweater develop since she first cast on — she’s posted copious great photos at every step along the way. But I especially loved her comment on this photo, ending with: “You can learn anything you want if you commit to it.” So Sari, please email me and I have a $75 Fringe Supply Co. gift certificate for you.

Definitely go look through all of the photos and discussion on both of those sweaters if you haven’t seen it all. Such good stuff. And next week’s bonus prize will be 10 skeins of Woolfolk Far, truly stunning merino (and a brand-new stunning pattern collection, by the way). So keep up all of the good work — keep those pics and stories coming with the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 hashtag, and link your Ravelry project to the Improv pattern page if you’re using my tutorial.

One side note I want to make about top-down, in response to this post of Sari’s about where to begin the waist ribbing. (Take a second and go read that caption.) Most published patterns are written bottom-up — it is way easier to write a graded pattern that way. What it means is the designer (hopefully) has thought about the right hem treatment for the yarn and design, and how that feeds into the stitch pattern, which progresses upwards from there. However, when it comes to separating fronts and backs, beginning armhole shaping or neck shaping, it just happens wherever you happen to be in the stitch pattern at the moment you reach whatever the prescribed length is. So there’s a chance your cable and your neckline might not intersect in the absolute perfect way, or whatever. With top-down, it can take a little more planning to get optimal placement of your stitch pattern around your neckline, but you get to do that by starting there, whereas the less obvious intersection of stitch pattern and hem is the one that’s left partly to the chance of where you are when you reach your desired length. So I find this to be one of the big benefits of creating your own pattern from the top.

SEPARATELY, first let me say thank you for the response to the new Woollelujah! tote. I’m loving the pics of this bag that are starting to appear under #fringesupplyco and #woollelujah and would love to see yours. Please tag them!

Second, this should be an Elsewhere week, but I have spent every would-be web-scouring moment glued to the knitalong instead, so I have no idea what’s going on anywhere else! Except that several very kind people have alerted me to the fact that the Icelandic movie Rams (previously noted here) is now available on Netflix and Amazon. And I will definitely be watching this weekend. Will you?

Have a lovely one, everybody — thanks for being amazing!


PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: How to knit inset pockets (top-down)

17 thoughts on “WIPs of the Week No.4: Ding and Sari

  1. So happy to see Sari’s project featured! She is an amazing knitter and knit wear photographer. Her blog is thoughtful and inspiring as well.

    ((Sorry if this posts twice!))

  2. I read your blog everyday, love all the content. Just letting you know if you haven’t heard there is a new movie out about the fashion industry, by Alex James, Slowing Down Fast Fashion. Might be worth watching, I have not seen it yet, but soon.

  3. I love how Ding put the cables down the side. I think it just makes the sweater. Her sweater also has me rethinking my neckline treatment. I’m thinking mine may be too high.

    • Hi Francis, thanks so much for your kind words! Glad you like the side cables, they were a last minute decision but one that worked well!

  4. I took your advice and looked at all the other posts at #fringeandfriendskal2016. Oh. My. Goodness! As a newbie to the top-down process and making a custom-fit piece of knitwear, I am blown away. I loved all of the creativity, textures and colors. I am already thinking about my next sweater. Thank you everyone for all of the inspiration!

    • You should totally jump right in! Next week will only be my one year knitting anniversary and this is my first no pattern full garment, but having such an encouraging online community cheer you on makes all the difference!

  5. This makes me very nervous (because it’s your blog and I’m just a guest!), but I’m going to disagree somewhat with the part about sweater construction methods and elegant transition zones. I’ll say up front that this comment comes from a place of enjoying nerdy sweater debate… I’m not trying to start any drama. I really appreciate how often this blog makes me think, even if that sometimes gets my nerdy-sweater-debate wheels turning.

    I’m not sure I buy the distinction about top-down vs bottom-up as it applies to single-size sweaters. Certainly, the process of grading a sweater results in necessary trade-offs, especially if you want to have a wide size range with lots of choices. And yes, the combination of construction method with a desire to keep the pattern instructions simple can result in the tendency you describe — for top-down graded sweaters to have their infelicitous moments at the hem transition (for certain sizes), while bottom-ups may have them at the armholes and/or neckline (for certain sizes). But usually there’s one size (probably the sample) where it all works harmoniously.

    So I don’t see how the grading problem applies to a sweater that’s only ever made to one size. If (if!) you know your desired finished measurements and you know the gauge of the stitch pattern you’ll be using on the sweater body, you can sort out how to balance both the neckline transition and the hem transition at the planning stage (often by adjusting the stitch pattern). It’s not really a mystery how many inches a pattern repeat is going to take up if you’ve swatched, right? I think it’s possible to plan for elegant necklines, armholes and hems, regardless of the sweater construction method. I think the real advantage is in designing only for one body, rather than having to translate a design into a range of sizes and clear instructions for others to follow.

    Anyway, I’m NOT trying to say that everybody needs to do that kind of detailed planning (or that everybody always has the necessary info/experience… sometimes you do need to try to find out). Nor am I claiming that there are never surprises along the way. Just pushing back a little on the idea that there’s no way to predict what might happen.

    • Yeah, I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying! It is an inherent issue of graded patterns, regardless of whether they’re top-down or bottom-up, and if you’re designing your own, you definitely have the opportunity to plot out both transitions to your liking. I guess I have it in my head that if the average knitter is improvising a sweater, they’re almost certainly doing it top-down, so noting that the benefit comes with that. But having made up lots of sweaters from both directions, I’m a living contradiction to that assumption! And you’re right that it’s a benefit of knitting your own sweater, not specific to doing it top-down.

  6. I have also been awestruck by the creativity and determination displayed in the KAL feed, and in the feeds of all your WIP-featured knitters in particular. Thanks for the highlights!

    As another Elsewhere suggestion, check out the short feature at https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2016/08/31/the-man-whos-on-a-mission-to-make-everything-he-wears-from-scratch/ about an SF man who works as an HR professional by day and spends his nights designing and making his own tailored wardrobe. It doesn’t sound like he is a knitter, but he is quite the accomplished sewist!

  7. Karen, the amount of creativity you have inspired is staggering! I clicked on all of the pictures that you linked to, and I noticed your comments about the smiles on some of the pics – those smiles of confidence, satisfaction, and sheer joy. THAT is what you have ALSO inspired! What a feeling that must be. Congratulations.

  8. I love a couple of the links shared here! Makes me think you could crowd-source a good “Elsewhere” in the comments section. I’d love to get more links, resource, and flick ideas from the Fringe hive-mind. Have a great weekend!

  9. I love Sari’s progress so much! Have been following it on Instagram since the very beginning and very curious to see how it will end! She definitely deserves the prize!!

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