A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

Tool of the Trade


I use in order to produce multiple sizes when designing sweaters…

  • Marnie’s invaluable tutorials on using Excel to grade patterns, making schematics in Illustrator, and creating colorwork charts again in Illustrator.   I believe Excel (and maybe Word?) may be found on her website too.  If you start at the tutorial archives here, do a search on Excel, you should get all four parts on grading and pattern writing in Excel…and more.  My bare minimums for grading stage are square paper, white paper, pencil/pen, and eraser (that darn dog ate my eraser again!)   Using Excel and Word definitely makes life much easier when change is imminent.

In my schematic sketch for the cardigan I named Infinite Path, there is no waist shaping as 1) kids in that age aren’t yet shapely and 2) combination of cables and laces used in this design will naturally give me some shaping.

As you see from the schematic, the V-neck starts an inch above the sleeve openings.  For adult sizing, I will have it start an inch or two below though…unless I change my mind to have the neck somewhat a crew as shown below.

There are several things to say about my sweater prototype.  Firstly, I picked out a cable patterns for the back, fronts, and sleeves…then fillers. Next would be working up stitch and row gauges to determine cast-on number.   Initially, I concentrate only on stitch count.  With 5 stockinette stitches to an inch, I cast on 60 stitches for back piece.  To allow a child to move freely, I choose a 2×2 ribbed band for its elasticity.  Most kids I know do not like restriction.  The rest is to plug in my main-feature cable, pick out fillers–lace panels and extra purl stitches–in between.

Moving on to front pieces…this step took a bit longer as I had to see how the lace and cable work (mirrored for left and right fronts) at the shoulders pan out.

Finally, back neck shaping…short-row feature to build up a shawl collar came to mind naturally.  By doing so, I was able to add on the needed button-bands seamlessly and flawlessly.

As much as I prefer knitting in round, the prototype was worked in pieces to save time…just because I am not totally sure about the outcome.  For example, will the look and shape of the lace fillers complimentary to cable panels?  Do they flow fluidly?  Is it good idea to incorporate so many different patterns in one design?  Again, it is because I am dealing with cable and lace here.  If this were a stockinette design,  I would knit it in round, in a heart beat.

So far, it has been smooth and easy.  My projection of the knitting time is surprisingly short (~10 hours including math work.)  It is because of the child size and the needle size (US7, 4.5 mm) used.  It took only 1.5 repeat of the cable to fill up the back panel–very helpful.

Only after I picked up the stitches for sleeve opening did I start to spend time thinking about how to distribute the decreases and what I am going to do about the band and collar.  That’s it for now…I will be evaluating, improving, and re-mapping for prototype #2. A big Thank-you goes to my accommodating 36″ life-size model…never peep a word of complaint/disagreement throughout the whole shooting process. Hope you find this helpful and come back for next Design-Along post.

With the help of my friend Myria taking my 10-year-old with her most of the day–joining my home-school friends on the Leapers and Creepers tour at High Desert Museum, Hubby and I had a grand lunch this afternoon–in supporting of our teen’s high school music programs–at its annual fundraiser sponsored by Outback Steakhouse.   Awesome lunch.  The home-made bread was to die for.  Great raffle prizes too.  I’m truly happy for all those lucky winners 😀

It was a fantastic spring day in winter. A run to the dump–dropping off load of wine bottles–on a Friday afternoon was…actually delightful 😀  So, what is/are your tool(s) of the trade?

Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…but caved into Facebook!)

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