Brad’s Sweater at the Speed of Light

Last night I stayed up late trying to fathom the mysteries of designing my own raglan sweater from the topdown, with the help of my trust sidekick, Sweater Design in Plain English. Even though I have a pretty good grasp on what you need to construct a raglan from the bottom up, this whole top down thing was seeming a lot more complicated, but I was still willing to give it a go.

The problem was that I didn’t realize how many measurements I would need to take from the offset! When you design from the bottom up, you really only need the chest measurement and the length from the bottom of the sweater to just shy of the underarm, and eventually the length of the sleeves. Apparently, when you design from the top down, you need about 8 different measurements of assorted body parts, like the back of the neck, the depth of the underarm, etc.

One very compelling (and surprising, to me at least) thing about knitting a raglan topdown is that gauge isn’t critical the way it is bottom up.  This is due to the fact that pretty much everybody’s neck is about the same, and if you end up with a neckline that’s way to big, you can always correct it when you pick up stitches to make the collar. Of course, I had already made my gauge swatch, so this wasn’t doing me a whole lot of friggin’ good, but anyway….

I waited a while for Brad to get home, so I could re-measure all of these critical parts, but I waited for hours with no sign of my elusive roommate, and my fingers were just *itching* to get started, so about 11:00 pm I decided to throw in the topdown towel, and cast on 144 stitches and went to bed.

This morning, I overslept woke up at my planned time of 7:06 AM, took Bob to work (overtime sucks) and after a quick breakfast stop, sped home with a burning desire to work on this sweater, which I did. I actually knitted in some bizaare, half-awake trance state until 10:30 AM, and after noting the time, promptly went back to trance knitting until right before 12:30 PM, when I had to go back to Louisville and pick Bob up again. I was in the zone!

I got about 4 inches knit on the body of the sweater, including ribbing. Not bad, considering I only need about a total of somewhere between 12" – 14" for the body up till the underarm, at which point I have to decide if I want to take a break, knit sleeves, and join them raglan style, or if it might be more fun to split the sweater front and back, bind of for underarm holes, and then pick up stitches at the underarm and knit them down. Hmmm. I am kind of leaning towards the latter right now, but that’s one of the things I love about making a sweater this way: I don’t have to make any important decisions at the outset, and am free to pretty much figure things out as I go.

I am a little nervous about whether the sweater is actually going to fit Brad, but I guess if it doesn’t I will just have to make friends with some 8 year old goth kid. 

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