Posted on Posted in book reviews/events, projects

it’s growing. i’ve got the body knit to the underarms and next i will join those sleeves on and start the yoke. i haven’t talked very much about the sweater’s design, but basically, i am using EZs seamless hybrid rules and adding some detailing for style.

last saturday i did a little sketch as i worked out the numbers i needed for the body (we don’t want any unfortunately-placed ribs or a bad meeting of the parts at the neck, and a little planning goes a long way to waylay that sort of trouble).

david loves anything that even hints at cargo wear, so i thought a fatigue sweater would rock his christmas the right way, and knitting it in a fun red would add that element of surprise that freshens up a classic shape. it will have a neck placket set into an angled ribbed panel, with a ribbed panel at the sides.

the neck placket is a good design for him . . . he has a large head and big hair, so crewnecks are a little difficult to work in secret. also impossible to get a snug, cozy high-necked look in a crew for him. a button placket solves all of that nicely.

david is quite bulky through the upper arm, shoulder and chest but narrower at the waist, particularly in back, so the ribbing helps to give shape at the sides. i also taper his sweaters from waist to chest to compensate for the fairly large dimensional difference.

most men’s sweaters benefit from having a bottom rib that is at least 10 percent smaller than the sweater body, but where most patterns will add that 10 percent just above the ribbing, i like to add it gradually as i work up the body, by increasing every 2 inches or so, to about 3 inches below the underarm. this creates an attractive, tapered silhouette and eliminates that poochy pouching just above the ribbing which is such a turnoff (i still leave plenty of ease to mask any belly action; we just don’t want to add to it).

my next step is to join all the parts and here’s where the mystery thickens a bit for me. i have the EZ books. i have access to many EZ resources. but always, at some point with these patterns, you are on your own.

For instance, EZ makes her sleeves 33 percent of the body circumference which i know for a fact is going to be too narrow for big hunky david (let’s just say i have inside information). so i made his sleeves 40 percent, which was recommended in this knitty article on the subject.

now though, as i work my way through the yoke, i am wondering how to mesh the knitty recommendation (and david’s sizing needs) with EZs decreasing and saddle construction.
another reason i feel a little adrift here is that EZ does not offer percentages for some measurements . . . like armhole depth and the length of the shoulder saddle. she tells you what she would do for her hypothetical 200-stitch sweater, but not what i should do with my somewhat larger sweater.

i’ll probably wing it and see what happens. again, i’ll let the inside information and hands-on experience with the recipient will guide me (wink). i think i can eyeball it as i go and end up with something that fits well.
i can always opt to call on a helper who’s just hanging around waiting for a job like this to do.

my man’s form. it’s not exactly the same shape as david, but it is close enough for me to know if the armholes will be deep enough or where i should begin the neck placket. he doesn’t even whimper when he has to do this six times.

i am also going to break with EZ to add a front placket by working back and forth in rows for the upper part of the yoke. my extensive swatching tells me i can do this without a gauge change by switching to size 6 needles.

all in all, there are pretty decent odds that a snafu of some sort will crop up in the yoke section and i need to be prepared to do some ripping if necessary. by reminding myself that i can think about all of the traps above “later”, and with constant injections from the now-bottomless supply of holiday sweets, i’m finding the sweater an all-around enjoyable and stress-free knit.

29 thoughts on “hybridization

  1. there’s an excellent possibility that should you get really ‘stuck’, you could email meg for an answer…she’s good about answering personal emails…if you don’t have her email and need it, let me know….

  2. Wow. So complicated. I hope I can get to the point where I grok knitting and clothing fit so well I can make it up on the fly. I need to knit a few more sweaters (okay, a few dozen) before I get there, though!

  3. The ribbing at the sides is genius – leaving plenty of ease, but a slim silhouette at the same time. Because, yeah, poochy pouching is Bad!

  4. That sweater is going to be wonderful.

    I have a request in que for a men’s aran cardigan with a yoke collar. I have looked high and low and found no pattern that fits the bill. I wish I had your skills so that I would feel comfortable diving in there and doing my own design.

    Happy Holidays!

  5. I’ve been drooling over that design myself. I am so in awe of your’s. Now you have my designer wheel’s turning. I especially love how you handle the increases after the ribbing. Wow!

  6. Dress forms not only don’t grumble at constant try ons, but they don’t flinch when you jab them with a pin. They’re so understanding.

    And that’s a very cool painting on the wall behind the David stand-in. I love the colors and texture… does it look like yarn in real life too? Cool.

  7. It’s no wonder that I haven’t tried playing with my EZ books. All of that on your own work and math, makes my head hurt. Thank goodness there are people like yourself that are willing to make the patterns for people like me 🙂

  8. I know you will work all of this out beautifully! I love the combination of the pattern, color and the yarn. Please keep your notes – I’d love to purchase the pattern from you after you have it done! Nice manly sweater patterns are hard to come by.

  9. Very simple but effective design for the sweater. It will be very flattering. as for the instructions I always refer to other sources as well when I use EZ. Like Ann Budd’s Handy book of sweater patterns. I like a crutch, don’t like winging it too much on new garment. Although I do it with machine knits, no choice there I suppose.

  10. So pretty, Anne. Please write the pattern for us. By the way, what is the painting behind the man-form?? It looks like strands of yarn!

  11. That sweater is lucious. I appreciate your sharing the process because I am just starting to explore actually UNDERSTANDING what I’m doing and it helps to see what goes on in someone who KNOWS’ head!

  12. I love the sweater for David so far. I think it’s going to be fabulous, and he’ll love it. The placket with the ribbed sleeves will be oh-so masculine.

  13. I’m working on a seamless hybrid now for my David’s birthday in January. I can’t wait to see how your neckline works up. The first sweater I ever knit was for my husband, and it was a dale of norway with that sort of neck thing going on. He wants another one like it, but I’m not too sure how to go about designing the placket area. Maybe when Christmas knitting is done and you’ve got some spare time (I’m sure you’re laughing right now…) you could give some tips on how you worked it all out?
    I think your Manform would look sexy with a pair of holiday boxers on:)

  14. I love the idea of a stress-free holiday knit! What a nice thing 🙂 I’m also loving that you’re sharing the thinking-out — thanks so much. Someday I’ll have the courage to actually create something myself for Rick, and it’s nice to see one way of thinking it out.

    Glad you survived the knitting/present emergency the other day — good save!

  15. It looks great so far and from your design I am sure it is going to be a big hit.

    I got my Sock kit yesterday (after it was roaming the mail system for a few extra days. LOL) I so want to cast on now, but my needles are taken up by something that I am making for my little guy. Gotta get it done before I can start the socks. *sigh*

  16. I recently got a copy of Handknbitting With Meg Swansen due to a comment I’d read (I think one of That Laurie’s guest posts at Stephanie’s) that she’d updated EPS and given more complete instructions in it. I haven’t had a chance to read through it and compare, but the pattern for her EPS-based spiral yoke sweater has a diagram with lots of percentages. The book is small and inexpensive – just 7 patterns with some accompanying discusion.

    Also look at Knitting in the Old Way if you haven’t, Anne. I haven’t knit a garment based on her plans yet, but they look much more thorough.

  17. I still have a hat and a pair of mittens left to knit before Christmas. Seeing as I’m not nearly as prodigious as you (the sweater’s looking great), I’m fairly stressed, and resentful of anything (like, you know, children) that gets in the way of knitting time. Fa La La!

  18. Heavens to Betsy, Anne, if YOU can’t work it out, what chance is there for the rest of us? EZ would be the first to say, ‘Follow your instinct’. J(ust don’t do what I do which is dive in head first and hope it will work, without any pre-planning – I’ll never be a shawl designer, can you tell?)

  19. It’s looking like it’s going to be a gorgeous sweater for your one-and-only. I expect this one will have the holes in the elbows in a couple-a-years 😉

    ….maybe you should sew the leather patches on now! Teehee!

    Seriously though, you are so nice to share your process with all of us! It really gives me ideas and also clarifies lots of things. I am just getting into EZ and it’s nice to see someone else working-it-out with her formulas. I gotta get started on that…

    Thank you! Happy Holidays to all!

  20. Next sweater I make I’m totally stealing that idea about the post-ribbing increases. That’s a gorgeous sweater and the recipient is going to love it I’m sure. I love the design you came up with. Any chance of you writing it up someday? I’m a lazy so-and-so when I can be. So if someone else will do all the work I’m all about the “blind follower” knitting. No one chez moi is getting that kind of a neck on a sweater without someone else doing that part of the work that’s for sure.

  21. wow – it looks like it will be a perfect-well-loved-sweater. smashing color as well.
    you do know that this means we all get to see “modeled” photos in January (grin)

  22. I’m loving the design of this sweater, David is so lucky! I was really planning on knitting my DH a sweater for this Christmas as well, and I even had the pattern and yarn all picked out (saranac from knitty) But I decided that I wasn’t sure he’d like it. I think he’d like this one you’re making– we need your pattern! I think that the masses are speaking 😉

  23. That sweater is looking great. Thanks for elaborating on the design details. Even though I think that I’m making the adjustments I need for the person who’ll wear the sweater, there are some I apparently follow blindly (such as the decreasing at the last ribbing row). Your idea for a gradual decrease is terrific.

  24. I LOVE the way your sweater is designed! You talk of EZ’s formulas and your alterations like they are easy… I must confess that I’m lost. Will you consider publishing this pattern? I must admit that I’m almost as impressed with the fact that you have a male dress-makers’ dummy as I am with your designing. I’ve never seen one before and quite frankly, it looks more like my figure than the womens! Cheers.

  25. Your sweater is looking good!

    Merry Holidays and all the best for the coming year! And thank you for your continuing inspiration.

  26. david is quite bulky through the upper arm, shoulder and chest but narrower at the waist, particularly in back, so the ribbing helps to give shape at the sides. i also taper his sweaters from waist to chest to compensate for the fairly large dimensional difference.

    Yeah, yeah, we know, your husband’s a babe! 😉

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