Now for something different. I suppose I should be going back and working on a previously started project but what the heck. Yarn is calling to me and it’s cold in my cubicle at the office. I’d like another sweater to add to my work wear collection. Luckily where I work a certain degree of sartorial eccentricity is accepted, so I can wear even my strangest sweaters without attracting approbation.

I picked up a discounted bag of Filatura di Crosa Sempre at Wild & Woolly‘s annual midwinter clearance sale. (My favorite time to shop at my favorite yarn store). 12 balls of a bulky weight self striper with good yardage. It’s a nice, soft and lofty wool, with a touch of nylon in a binding strand. 104 yards for 50g in a bulky is an excellent yield. I’m not petite, so 1248 yards for a pullover for me is going to be an iffy proposition. I’ll probably end up eking it out with coordinated color ribbings at cuff, waist and neck.

What to make from this demonstrative yarn? Swatching shows me that the thing veers between black and white background color segments, with each taking about 96 stitches before changing. That means that if I knit across my chosen diameter, each color stripe would last for about a row plus or minus. Interesting but too busy. And I don’t want pencil stripes around my entire perimeter. Instead I’m thinking of working on the principles I played with on the Modular Baby Blanket. Not in Log Cabin layout, but in narrow vertical strips, so that the colors stack into better defined segments. I also like the Kente Cloth like effect of narrow bands of un-aligned stripes next to each other. A possibility, indeed.

Now, how to squeeze this orange. Set in sleeves consume less yarn than do drop shoulder designs. Saddle shoulders even less. Although raglans are even more yarn-economical, I tend to avoid them for myself because they make me look like a strutting pigeon. While the differences among these styles aren’t huge, they can add up to about 50 yards – roughly half a ball of my chosen yarn. I like the way fitted saddle shoulders look on me, so I’ll go with them. Unfortunately, they present the most complex shaping challenge, complicated by this knit strip idea.

Having the right tools helps. I’ve got Sweater Wizard. I did up a gauge swatch and plugged in my values, fit, garment shape and size, and selected the saddle shoulder, V-neck knit sleeves from top options. It tells me that I’ll need 1196 yards with ribbing. VERY close indeed, I usually like to have a larger margin for error on a self-designed sweater. But I’ll go with it. As insurance, I’ll start on a provisional cast on and go back to add my ribbing later – in Sempre if I have enough left over, in that posited but as-yet-unpurchased coordinating solid if I don’t.

On to the strips. How to do them? I could work flat across the width of the entire piece, using 8 balls across and an Intarsia method to twist yarns around each other where the strips meet. That would work just fine. I’ve done that before on my Typeset Tee. That worked nicely. But I’m interested in introducing a vertical texture element on this project. I’m thinking of making the “seams” between the strips visible. In effect making the flaw of the visible join on the reverse of the Modular Baby Blanket, and making it into a design feature. To do that I’ll work in stockinette, but use the pulled loop method to knit each strip onto its neighbor.

Now for the fun part – with my instructions for how to knit the piece written (with software assistance) for a regular seam to seam working logic, but with a squirrelly knit method, how do I get there from here? Like usual. I’m going to wing it, aided mightily by the schematic, and guided by the pattern’s prose. I’ve got my stitch count set. I’ll mentally divide the schematic into strips and work each one starting with a provisional cast-on. I’ll do the required shaping as I encounter it. For example, if I start with the edge-most strip under the arm at the side seam, I’ll hit the armhole shaping. I’ll work those decreases as I come to them, and as true to the pattern as I can. Then I’ll break off the yarn, do another provisional cast on and work the next adjacent strip. In this quick-knit yarn the results shouldn’t take long to achieve. I’ve even played a bit with the idea a bit last night:


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