Sunday, March 29, 2009

The office cardigan - thoughts on design.

A couple of years ago when Michael's opened a store here in Topeka and they had all their yarn on sale, I bought 9 skeins of charcoal heather colored Paton's "Classic Wool". It's just that - a classic 100% merino worsted weight 3 ply. About as 'old school' as you can get. I was originally planning on making a hoodie with this yarn, but looking at the yardage, I'd need two, maybe three more skeins if I want to do that. I have a better plan, and a more pressing need.

My office is cold. Sometimes disconcertingly so. Most of the people keep an afghan tossed over the back of their chairs. My fingering and heavy lace weight shawls have all done office duty. But what I'm going to do is knit up this Paton's into a sturdy sweater that will live in my cubby year round.

Design specifications - A cardigan, obviously. Needs to be relaxed fit to wear over anything, raglan shoulder shaping would help with that. It will be worn open most of the time - so jacket style, not wrap shaping. Likewise a V neck would give me the most comfortable fit.

I only have 9 skeins (about 2000 yards), so using my handy little Ann Budd "yarn requirements" brochure, I'll want a gauge of 4 stitches per inch. That's doable in this yarn, but it also means no cables. And the 'beater sweater' design that I'm working on here means no lace - or at least not a very open pattern. But a stocking stitch cardi in a dark grey semi-solid yarn would be very boring to knit. A slightly textured pattern would be good.

I'm a BIG fan of Jacqueline Fee's book The Sweater Workshop. Based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Percentage System (and with the gracious EZ's permission and encouragement), these are not 'patterns' per se. Rather they are 'recipes' using your unique gauge on your needles with your yarn. I did a half dozen sweaters out of the first edition of this book the last time I went crazy for knitting back in the 1980s. A second edition came out in 2003 with even more patterns, including a raglan sleeved, v- necked cardigan. SCORE!!!

Off to swatch.

No comments: