Knitting Nuances

A 2015 – 2018 Top 100 Knitting Blog!

Design Along, Let’s Try Something New

Design Along Post 1

I’d like to try something new if you’re game.

DAL_QuestionsUsually I think, invent and design behind the scenes. Dreaming up, testing, discarding, retrying and finally knitting ideas before springing them on you in their final form.

There are benefits to this approach. If I’m successful in getting you excited about a technique and design you can just click and go. There’s the delight of immediate gratification in being able to try something right away.

On the other hand, it would be fun to take this journey with you. Give you an inside look at my decision making process, what I hoped would work but didn’t and get your insight on which design elements you’d like better. We could possibly end it all with our first KAL.

I admit it sounds like fun to me and would have the added bonus of keeping me on track (although I can’t promise not to go off on tangents here and there). Fortunately, I have several projects knit and ready for pattern formatting.

Here’s What I’m Working On

I’ve signed up for the Vogue Knitting Oregon weekend in April. It’s my very first knitting retreat and I would love to have a sweater to bring along for those chilly Northwest days.  A sweater project is perfect for a Design Along because I have a lot of decisions to make and some new ideas to test with a real focus on new finishing techniques. Here where I am so far.

Rowan_Yarn– Overall Design: I want a sweater I’ll wear all the time. A medium length, comfortable cardigan with a cozy collar.

– Yarn and Color: I picked Rowan Alpaca Soft DK in a nice soft gray that will show all the stitch work. It’s delightful to knit with and the gauge gives me plenty of room to play with stitch patterns without being so small I’ll never get it done.

The Design

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that the design will include multiple ways to use the Showy Decrease and will also have interesting edges. It won’t be difficult but it will be multi-faceted; meant to intrigue the intermediate to advanced knitter with new ideas and techniques.
Here’s your first peek and it has to do with the stitch pattern.  As you know, since the very inception of the blog I’ve gone on (and on) about the various ways to use the Showy Decrease.


Before & After Swatches

One of the most impactful uses is something we’ve only just started exploring. The Showy Decrease can completely change the focus and perspective of a stitch pattern. Here’s a before and after example for you to compare.

As you can see, the focus of the traditional pattern on top is on the eyelets. The right-leaning k2tog and left-leaning ssk decreases don’t match and are really just there just offset the eyelet increases.

Now lets look at the Showy Decrease version where the focus shifts to the woven nature of the decrease lines. The decreases have become decorative elements that rise up on the knit fabric and … they match perfectly.


The eye is now drawn to the woven trellis created by the Showy Decreases and there is depth to the pattern that did not exist before. You can see it even better in this angled view.


What’s Next?

Next up in the design process is deciding on the lower edge design; cast on, start up pattern and how that will transition into the stitch pattern above. I also need to think about how the side seams will be joined. As you can see from the swatch edges, there will definitely be faux Showy Cables in the design.


See how garter edges warp your knitting?

Helpful Tip: Non-rolling Edges

While you’re looking at the swatches, please also note how the garter edges of the before swatch condenses the stockinette. One solution to that issue resulted in our most popular blog post ever: “These 4 Stitches Will Instantly Improve Your Knit Edges” which has over 35,000 views to date.

This Design Along idea will only work if you participate, so let me know what you think. Are you in?

28 comments on “Design Along, Let’s Try Something New

  1. Claire Billingsley
    January 22, 2018

    I would LOVE to participate….just depends on the price of the yarn, as I have to be mindful right now.

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 22, 2018

      Hi Claire. I would always recommend a number of yarns a different price points.

  2. Joan
    January 22, 2018

    I’m in. It sounds fascinating. I’d like to follow along on your sweater design journey.

    January 22, 2018

    Yes, I would like to do the Design-Along

  4. Ursula Collier
    January 22, 2018

    This sounds like fun !

  5. Patsy
    January 22, 2018

    Yes Count me in. Patsy From Gettysburg, PA

  6. Kathy D
    January 22, 2018

    Sounds like a great idea! It would be a chance for more practice with the showy decrease and the cables. Any chance for pockets?

  7. Dawn Fuqua
    January 22, 2018

    I’m definitely intrigued. I love knitting with dk weight. How much yarn should I get for about a 47-48 finished bust?

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 22, 2018

      Hi Dawn, I am afraid I have no clue on yardage yet since we are just starting the design. The length, collar choice and sleeve style will all have a pretty big impact. I am knitting a size large for myself and the pattern will come in 6 or 7 sizes. That’s that part that takes the most work from a pattern view point.

      • Dawn Fuqua
        January 23, 2018

        Could I choose my yarn after design and just swatch with a standard dk from stash? I’m sure it will probably take in the neighborhood of about 1800 yards to be safe. I’m sure I will prefer a longer length to cover my hips, but I’m not a very big person, just very busty.

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 23, 2018

      Yes, swatching with any DK should work perfectly. The idea is to test out some of the ideas along the way!

  8. knitmomblog
    January 22, 2018

    I would like to participate.

  9. Edie G
    January 22, 2018

    I’m in — the general idea of the cardigan you describe fits what I’ve been wanting to make … What sort of participation are you looking for? It sounds like we wouldn’t be knitting the actual sweater until it is designed and sized …
    Edie, from Los Angeles

  10. Sandra
    January 22, 2018

    I would like to give it a go, I may be left in the dust. Would like to see how it evolves.

  11. Tracey
    January 22, 2018

    It would be so fun to take part. I have it in my brain that I’m not creative enough to design – but being part of a group would show how it works! What a creative idea!

  12. Tracey
    January 22, 2018

    FYI – the yarn being used looks to be $12.95/skein on-line. I’m guessing it will be similar at YLS.

  13. Debbi
    January 22, 2018

    I am in but did have a few comments and questions. I would prefer if we have enough time for each section to work a bit on other projects at the same time. I have done test knits on a tight timeline but am hoping this will be a bit more relaxed. Also, when are you thinking of for a start date? I am doing A Year of Techniques and there is one more month to go on that. Finally, I am a small or medium in commercial cardigans. How much yarn would you recommend that I purchase? If you do not know yet, that is fine. I just need a couple of weeks lead time because I will probably need to get the yarn from an on-line source as Rowan is not available in my area (she says while sobbing softly).

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 22, 2018

      Hi Debbi, I think from the comments I wasn’t very clear. What I am looking to do at this point is share the design process and get feedback on some design options I’m considering. A KAL in the process of designing a sweater would be so hard because so many of the sizing considerations happen along the way and there is no guarantee of success. I will be publishing info so readers can knit some of the stitch pattern swatches along the way. Thanks for the input so I could clarify. Laura

      • Debbi
        January 23, 2018

        That makes perfect sense now, thanks! So this will be sort of a bigger version of when I knit a dishcloth/swatch for you to help you edit your directions but with more of a focus on how the design is working out, rather than the clarity of directions? That sounds really interesting and I am in. Do you think you want us to all use the same yarn and color or do you want various dk weight yarns so you can see how that affects the look and gauge of the swatches (I am fine either way)? This will be fun!

  14. linda
    January 22, 2018

    would love to follow along for your designing. Very interested in that. Probably would not do a knit-along, but would be interested to see the outcome for participants. Also, your change to the eyelet pattern making the woven trellis standout is genius! Would be interested in the process of evolution such as that.

  15. Mary
    January 22, 2018

    I would like to join. You are so clever. Sharing this process with you with be so interesting.

  16. Lisa P
    January 23, 2018

    I love your designs and am following this process. I have used the showy decrease in a sock pattern that I made last summer. I also made the fiftyfifty shell last summer and love how it looks. Count me in.

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 23, 2018

      Hi Lisa, nice to hear you’ve been using the Showy Decrease elsewhere. That’s the goal. I too have several socks knit with it but since I am not a “sock knitter” (vs. someone who can knit socks) I have been hesitant to publish a sock pattern. It’s on my list for 2018!

  17. Pingback: Let’s Get This “Design Along” Started! | Knitting Nuances

  18. Beth Mak
    January 25, 2018

    I would love to be a part of this, I think sewing the design process unfold will help in my knitting of sweaters

    January 25, 2018

    Count me in. Sounds interesting.

  20. Bettye Ames
    January 26, 2018

    I’m up for the challenge and it’s perfect timing for me. I am finishing a shawl and my next project is a sweater.

  21. Sharon Del Rio
    January 26, 2018

    This is an interesting idea. I’m thinking I would enjoy. So yes please count me in.

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2018 by in Design Along, Patterns, Showy Decrease and tagged , , .

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