On Saturdays I try and not plan too many things on my calendar sort of letting myself relax and catch up with things I may have postponed during the week. This Saturday I am working on my top down sweater pattern that I will be teaching at Compatto Yarn Store in November.
Top down sweaters are such fun to knit because they kind of grow and you are able to try them on as you knit along making any adjustments that might be needed to fit your particular bumps or lumps. Oh I mean my particular lumps or bumps you or the person you are knitting for may not have lumps or bumps but may have a short waist and long arms or short arms and a long waist. You know what I mean.
When knitting a sweater the conventional way in pieces you usually start in the bottom of the back, then you knit two fronts and maybe then you could kind of try it on to get some sense in how this garment may fit. If there are any adjustments to be made you practically have to start all over again and this is why so many knitters give up.
The top down class I teach is to give the student an understanding the theory and structure of this simple and comfortable style. Most of all permission to make changes to the written pattern. My pattern is like a recipe, you can of course follow it exactly but you can add in your particular changes. Most patterns in my opinion are just a suggestion or a general outline of what to do, unless you are knitting a pattern like Hanne Falkenberg's Ballerina which is knit side to side and you better follow every single instruction. Then after thousands and thousands of stitches and hours and hours of knitting you sort of hope it will fit.
Sometimes it fits and other times it does not. The first Hanne Falkenberg "Ballerina" I knit turned out ok. Oh wait I had major problems figuring out the pattern not just the rhythm of the designer and instructions but I could barely see the print . The tiny font they used to save paper without any "breathing" spaces letters kerned as close as possible as if they were trying to fit everything on one sheet of paper. Oh no not as if they actually did fit everything on one legal size page. But once I kind of got the rhythm of the designers intent I was finally able to figure it all out and finished the sweater.
However I don't wear this sweater very much because it's back heavy and has a tendency to pull to the back and I end up tugging on it to fit right. So it becomes a tug of war when I wear it. But it has come in very handy to demonstrate to my students how adapting a style to your own body and comfort is very doable and for me necessary.
I modified the Ballerina, calling it the Banana-Ballerina. This version looks about the same but it's a bit longer in the front giving it more weight in the front and I took out a couple of panels in the back making the back lighter. Now this sweater sits on my shoulders nicely there is no tugging and is a comfortable to wear.
Here are some class projects we made for top down classes I did in the past. We knitted a small version of the sweater we had in mind and my little Teddy was a perfect size to knit for but once you learn the theory and the basic concept on how to knit this sweater you can knit any size you want.
This little sweet sweater was knit by Sandi Kagan, this was the first project she ever knit without following a pattern. She was amazed that she was able to do this easily after the first session of the 3 session class I was teaching at Amano Yarn Center.