Writing this lovely little baby cable hoodie pattern has been a tiny bit of a struggle for me. Designing it, focusing on getting the words on the page, everything. I was incredibly excited when I contacted Quince & Co and they agreed to send me a little yarn for a pattern, because their yarn is beautiful and their company is everything I am all about: Plain & simple, but high quality. But for some reason I was just having the hardest time figuring out what to do with it. It’s such lovely yarn, and I just couldn’t decide how to balance the simplicity of the yarn with a pattern. Doing this project has really helped me in understanding what my style is as a designer. I’m still figuring it out, of course, but having so many projects to do and figuring out what inspires me and what totally bores me in design has been a really fun process. I’m realizing that I am very much drawn to working with color more so than texture. When I think of color work design-either fair isle, stripes, blocking, anything, I get really excited and have a million ideas. When it comes to texture I get stumped. There are so many textures to work with out there, so many beautiful things that can be done, but I just don’t know where to go with it, and while I admire it I don’t care for it for myself. I’m all about the stockinette stitch, what can I say. (Also why I’ve pretty well stuck with half double crochet for my crochet projects so far, I’ve just not been very happy with the crochet textures I’ve experimented with.) Of course, without challenges we can’t grow, and learning to work with texture is an important part of being a knitwear designer. At the same time, I really like the style I’ve been developing–one that leans towards that simplicity and plainness with just a hint something special. I knew when I received this yarn that I needed to do something with cables or lace. I finally decided I was going to do an intricate cabled hoodie, because cabled hoodies are gorgeous. I drew out a design for one of those numbers with the cables going all over it. Then I though, you know, this is too much. It’s just not me. I wouldn’t want to wear this sweater. I don’t want to design it. (That’s the thing about most of my baby sweater designs, that’s kind of my mojo: I’m making baby sweaters that I would want to wear!) So I scaled it back a little. Keep the cabling, but tone it down. I immediately started feeling way better about the design.
I wouldn’t want you to think I don’t like sweaters with tons of cables–I do admire them. I think they are gorgeous, and from a kitting perspective I appreciate the amount of work that goes into them. They’re just not what I would personally wear.
This sweater is much more along the lines of something I would wear, and something I was happy to design. Just enough interest to give it some visual pop, to make it fun to knit, but nothing that gets too fussy or overwhelming. I am really happy with how the cables came up and the way they travel up the hood, and how the v-neck seamlessly transitions. I also love the fact that it is totally seamless. Writing seamless patterns has been something I’ve been having to force myself to do a little more. It’s not my favorite way to go about it–because it’s a lot more math to keep track of–but when you get it right it’s like magic. The saddle shoulders are also a really awesome element that I’m pretty proud of how they came out.
There are still a few small details I’d like to revisit in the future with this pattern. I think the hood may have come out a little shallow. I like that it’s a hood that will look really neat when it’s down, but I fear it might not have much staying power as an actual hood. It’s not terrible, it’s just a hood that is more decorative than functional, I think. And you can’t see it, but I totally screwed up when I was knitting one of the cables on this sweater. I photoshopped it out because the way I screwed up wasn’t in the pattern—it was just me not paying attention to what I was knitting—but I just wanted to make sure I’m being honest with you. Can you tell where I fixed it? Here’s a hint: If you look closely you can totally see the mistake from the front of the sweater. It took me less time to photoshop it then to actually cut the yarn and fix the cable, teehee :) Speaking of time issues, if you have been following this blog you may have noticed that the regular posting schedule I set out on has gotten a little haphazard. I’ve pretty much given up on trying to stay totally on track during the holidays, they just have me too busy to be stressed about making sure I get two sweaters and two blog posts up every week until after the New Year. I will definitely be getting at least one pattern and one other post up a week, and soon I will be back in full, time organized force, I swear!
In the end though, I am very fond of how the sweater looks. I showed it to my partner and he said he wouldn’t mind having a sweater like it, which of course made me feel very good about the design (though I’ll admit, I thought it looked a lot more feminine than something that would suit my fairly manly-man partner, so I’ll probably do a few alterations if I ever make a bigger version for him.) I think that it shows off the yarn perfectly as well-just a little texture but letting the stockinette show just how beautiful it is in its simplicity.
Speaking of, the yarn for this pattern is called Chickadee and was provided by Quince and Co, and oh my goodness do they have some lovely yarn. If you haven’t heard of them yet (how have you not?!) you really should check them out. What an amazing little company! I look forward to buying tons of their yarn for future personal projects.
I’m all for challenges, and one of the biggest challenges of all (for me as a designer) is staying true to the style I am developing while still pushing myself to try new design elements. It’s also recognizing when I need to be critical of my own work and see what I can improve on in the futre. I am excited to continue this on my journey… (to the center of the baby sweater universe!)