There have been some questions and suggestions on the Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016 announcement — aka the Top-Down Knitalong — and I want to make sure everyone sees those, so I’m collecting them here (and will add to this over time as warranted). Forthwith:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Without a pattern, how do I know how much yarn to buy?
You can only guesstimate, and I usually do so based on the yardage of similar sweaters I’ve knitted in the past. Hannah Fettig created Stashbot for this, which is available both as an app and a printed booklet. You put in the general shape of the sweater you’re planning, your intended chest circumference, and your gauge, and it will estimate yardage for you. Or what I typically do is find a similar sweater on Ravelry — same gauge, volume and type of knitting (don’t compare a cable sweater to a stockinette one, for instance) — and check the yardage requirements on that. No matter which way you derive your estimate, buy more than you think you’ll need, just to be safe. Most yarn stores will let you return unused skeins, but I never mind having a leftover for future repairs/alterations or a hat or whatever.
Can we start planning and sharing now?
Absolutely! That’s why I announced it so far in advance. You’ll need to figure out what it is you’re making; knit, block and measure a swatch; and buy yarn. You can either start that on August 15th, or do the legwork now and be all set to cast on. If you do start dreaming and scheming, by all means go ahead and post it to the hashtag #fringeandfriendsKAL2016. I’m excited to see what you’re thinking about! You might base your sweater on a photo of something you love, or on your own sketch. And of course I highly recommend my beloved Fashionary panels (or the sketchbook) for working out your ideas. I find it HUGELY helpful to use that template when putting my ideas on paper — to tinker with where the hem falls (cropped? high hip? low hip?) and how long the sleeves are, and really zero in on what will look best. For me, it’s definitely a pencil-and-eraser exercise, and a big part of the fun.
Does it have to be a sweater?
It is a sweater knitalong, yes — the idea being to learn how to plan, plot and knit a garment, relying only on a swatch and some grade-school math. One of you asked if it could be a top-down onesie, and that sounds like a full-length sweater to me! (Hey, maybe that’s what I’ll make for myself!) I think as long as it is knitted top-down, without a pattern, and is a garment with a neckhole and sleeves, it qualifies. And again, it can be a pullover or a cardigan, plain or textured or colorwork (whatever you’re capable of planning!), long or short, narrow or wide, crewneck or v-neck or boatneck or turtleneck, cap-sleeved to long-sleeved, for yourself or a friend or family member.
ALTERNATE METHOD SUGGESTIONS
As noted in the announcement, my tutorial covers top-down raglan construction and I don’t have plans to expand on that, but there are other top-down methods you’re welcome to employ — remember, the only rules are top-down and no pattern. If raglan isn’t your thing and/or you just want to try a newer method:
- Dianna Walla recommended Andi Satterlund’s ebook on her top-down set-in sleeve method
- A couple of you recommended Cocoknits’ method of top-down English tailoring, which I had no idea anyone had ever combined in one sweater! Cocoknits has an ebook available on how to do that
- And Elizabeth Doherty’s recent book “Top-Down: Reimagining Set-in Sleeve Design” covers her method for what is said to be a more refined way of shaping a top-down set-in sleeve
If you’ve never knitted a top-down sweater (or improvised a sweater) before and want to keep it simple, I’d say stick with the basic raglan method for your first time.
PERTINENT PAST POSTS
- How to Improvise a Top-Down Sweater — my original tutorial
- Basted knitting: Or, how (and why) to seam a seamless sweater — more on this during the knitalong
- How (and why) to knit top-down sleeves flat
- Hot Tip: Save time at try-on
PREVIOUSLY in the Top-Down Knitalong: Fringe and Friends Knitalong 2016: Preview and plan