Knitting Nuances

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Let’s Get This “Design Along” Started

Design Along Post 2

Time to jump right into this design.

My Wish List


The back is all about texture.

There are a few things I know up front as I start the design.  I’d like an everyday cardigan, something I can easily slip on on chilly days. I want it to be comfortable but not bulky so set in sleeves are called for.

The shawl collar will be the feature on the front. I have plans to make it reversible so when it rolls back the inside looks pretty too. The back will be all about the stitch pattern as I showed you in the last post.

Things to Think About Up Front

There are two fundamental things I’ll keep in mind during this entire process:

  1. Finishing: I really do not want this to end up in your UFO pile so seaming considerations are paramount. This will not be a seamless design. A longer sweater like this will need seams to hold its shape over time.
  2. Sizing: Writing a pattern for yourself is one thing, writing it in 6 or 7 sizes is completely different. It’s important that every size has pattern integrity with the same design elements.

And then there is the gauge. Because I knit the sample stitch pattern swatches, I was able to measure gauge both before and after blocking. The yarn label has a gauge of 5.5 sts per inch (22 per 10 cm) on a US 6 (4 mm). However, I am getting a gauge of 5 sts per inch (20 per 10 cm) even though I’m knitting on a US 5 (3.75mm). I like the look and the drape so I’ll stick with the 5 sts per inch but it just goes to show … swatch, swatch, swatch.

Initial Design Elements

Heres my sketch. Unlike the fancy, swirling sketches you might see on Project Runway this one needs to be practical.


  • Cast On: The cast on will have a nubby edge and lead into a decorative cable ‘rib’.
  • Lower Edge: Since I don’t want the rib to pull together around my hips, the rib will use seed stitch as a contrast instead of reverse stockinette.
  • Transitioning Stitch Pattern: The cable pattern runs nicely into the woven stitch pattern which will run up the center of the back at shoulder width.
  • Adding Pattern Flexibility: The stockinette section on each side not only helps define the central stitch pattern, it’s an important element for sizing. This area will provide some flexibility when fitting the pattern repeat into all sizes.
  • A Bit of Interest: A cable runs on the outside of the stockinette to add some interest to the sides.
  • Side Seams: The very outside stitches are seed stitch because it’s easier to seam seed stitch  than stockinette. Garter uses the same technique (using smile/frown sts as the guide) but would condense the knit fabric.

The Back of the Sweater


So far, so good I think.

I’m starting with the back of the sweater. It will give me the overall structure and help me identify elements that need to be addressed. It’s also nice to get such a big chunk of the knitting done up front.

I am knitting my sweater in a size large which has a finished 44” bust. I want a loose fitting 4” ease so this works for me.

I like when the back is longer than the front; it covers certain areas I might want covered but isn’t as bulky. I’m thinking 3 or 4 inches longer than the front but will decide later. This can be an optional element for other knitters.


When laying out the design ‘white space’ is very important.  This applies to almost anything; this sweater, a written pattern, graphic designs and photographs. When words, pattern or pictures are everywhere then nothing stands out. The stockinette section serves to create this balance nicely.

What I Don’t Know Yet

  • Sleeve Shaping & Joining: This is top of mind because so many knitters have problems with finishing.
  • Shoulders: I’m not quite sure how the stitch pattern on the front and back will look when they meet at the top. I will also be asking you in a future post, whether you feel shaped shoulder are important for fit or a pain to knit. I am not going to combine short rows and this stitch pattern (that would be mean!).

Learning More About the Techniques

The pattern will include some of my favorite “Nuances” announced so far and some new ones as well. If you’d like to read more about the techniques I’ve included in the back of the sweater you can check out these blog posts.

Next time I will give you some swatches to try, I want to knit the back a bit more to make sure this is the direction I want to go in. Keep sending those comments and questions. This is a great opportunity for you to think about your own design ideas.

Back to knitting! There’s  a light snow falling, I have a hot cuppa tea and have lined up a few Agatha Christie mysteries to watch on my Amazon Acorn channel (British TV). Sounds like a lovely morning to me.

I woke up to a foot of light fluffy powder. You can see the deep blue of Lake Tahoe in the background. We’ll see if I can get over Mt. Rose to teach at Jimmy Beans in Reno this afternoon, the roads should be clear by then. Tahoe_Rowan_Blog


7 comments on “Let’s Get This “Design Along” Started

  1. Judy Blohm
    January 25, 2018

    How do I get the pattern for this knit along sweater?

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 25, 2018

      Hi Judy, It’s not a Knit Along, it’s a Design Along, meaning I just started knitting it myself and making decisions along the way. I will be adding some swatches so you can all try some of the ideas. So often there are changes along the way that I don’t want anyone ripping back other than me!

  2. Rheba
    January 25, 2018

    If you aren’t using short rows on the back, how are you getting the extra length? Are you using split side seams?

    Thanks! I love following along.


    • Laura Cunitz
      January 25, 2018

      HI Rheba,
      Yes, I am just extending the length on the back with a split seam. I think it will be more adaptable for anyone that does not want that feature. The short row option is for the shoulder shaping. I like how that fits but am not yet sure if it will make enough difference for the effort. I know I want live stitches for the shoulder seaming.

  3. Sandra Hamilton
    January 25, 2018

    I love following your design thoughts and process. The longer back is a design element that I find quite attractive. Watching to see where shoulder shaping lands.

  4. Christina
    January 26, 2018

    I really like the interest on your back piece! I need to swatch out the trellis stitch so I can “play” too.

    • Laura Cunitz
      January 27, 2018

      Yup! I will include that in the next post. It will be a good demonstration of how the Showy Decrease works in more intricate stitch patterns. L

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This entry was posted on January 25, 2018 by in Design Along, Nuances, Patterns and tagged , , .

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