2013 Knitting and Crochet Blog Week—Day 2: A Mascot Project

Day Two (Tuesday April 23rd): A Mascot Project.
Your task today is to either think of or research a project that embodies that house/animal. It could be a knitting or crochet pattern – either of the animal itself or something that makes you think of the qualities of that house. Alternatively it could be a type or colour of yarn, or a single button. Whatever you choose, decide upon a project and blog about how and why it relates to your house/creature. You do not have to make this project! It is simply an exercise in blogging about how you come to decide upon what projects to make. Try and blog about the journey which inspiration and investigating patterns, yarns, stitches, (etc) can often guide you through. You may wish to make a collage or ‘mood board’ to present several ideas, or even sketch out your own design.

Wedge Pullover pattern photo
Wedge Pullover by Natalie Wilson

Despite a selection of 1,092 patterns on Ravelry to choose from, I have no desire to make a monkey-themed project. Indeed, seeing this prompt coming up was almost enough to tip my house selection towards the House of Bee (now making a stuffed bee sounds fun, especially designing the wings—maybe crochet motifs in fine white yarn suspended in…uh, sorry, got distracted). But if the point of this prompt is to write about how I choose projects, then the project I referred to yesterday should work. As I’m in the project selection stage as I write this, what better time to document the process?

To start with, I enjoy making sweaters. So there was nothing out of the ordinary in looking for a sweater pattern when I fell in love with Reynolds’ Odyssey yarn in 2004. You can see from the photo that Odyssey is self-striping; I was looking for a pattern that would set that off well. I was willing to go on a general pattern search, but the LYS that carried this yarn also carried some Reynolds patterns that featured it. I started there, figuring they were meant to work with the yarn, and the hunch paid off when I saw the Wedge Pullover. What caught my eye was the use of short rows to accentuate the striping in the yarn. I’d never seen short rows used decoratively before and I was intrigued. But after I brought the yarn (blue) and pattern home, I let this project drift to the end of the queue for a variety of reasons. It has drop shoulders: easy to knit, but not flattering to my figure. Boxy shape, ditto. V necks are attractive, but I prefer crew necks. I fall between two sizes and wasn’t sure which one to choose. So other projects, easier to start, kept pushing this one aside.

I’ve just finished reading two fantastic and complementary books on sweater construction: Knitting Pattern Essentials by Sally Melville and Knit to Flatter by Amy Herzog. Reading them one after the other has left me with an urge to not only tackle a sweater, but to customize it. Which brings me back to the Wedge Pullover, a sweater that I’ll need to customize if I’m ever going to wear it. Herzog’s book has helped me analyze my body so that I have a better idea of what alterations I want to make. I’m now planning to make the smaller size of the two possible sizes, in order to reduce extra fabric that would make the shoulders fit oddly and make me look top-heavy. Similarly, I plan to change the drop shoulder shaping to modified drop shoulder, again to minimize the visual weight of the sweater at my shoulders, as well as the actual amount of fabric up there. I may try to slip in a bit of waist shaping. A casual sweater like this isn’t meant to be overly fitted, but extra fabric at the waist won’t be of any more use to me than extra fabric at the shoulders. Melville’s book will help me figure out how to make those changes: how to calculate the shaping needed for a crew neck, how much to bring in the armholes for a modified drop shoulder.

There will be frequent use of a tape measure! There will be math! There will be graph paper and schematics! And eventually, and with a bit of knitting, there will be a customized Wedge Pullover.