November 18, 2013

Design my own knitwear: Check. Please welcome Iris Sweater.

A while ago I thought a raglan sweater with sleeves in a different color than the body would look cool, and those sleeves would be even cooler if they had some sort of fair isle pattern in them. Kind of like a long sleeved baseball T-shirt. That's got to be on Raverly, baseball is popular right? Turns out I couldn't find what I had in mind. So I thought, hey, why not make it myself! How hard can it be? Remember how I said I tend to start things and have no idea what I'm doing, or what I'm getting into? Yeah. Now I think there was a reason the design wasn't on Ravelry (until now!) It's because it's kind of pain in the ass to make, at least until you separate the sleeves from the body.

 "Is it going to be that short? And the neckline looks bad"-Mom
I had an image in my mind of what I wanted, and also how I wanted to do it...sort of. I did not know I had to learn intarsia knitting if I wanted the sleeves to actually be connected to the body. Nor that I would have 7 little wads of yarn to work with until I separated the sleeves. And ok, I get that a lot of raglans have you work flat for some neckline shaping and stuff. But I did not know that my intarsia sleeves did not lend themselves to round knitting. So I had to roll with it and shape the neckline into more of a scoop-neck and keep on knitting flat all the way till the sleeves were separated.

Don't worry Mom, I'm not making a boob shirt.
Once I figured the top out, the rest would be easy! Just plain circular knitting with some waist shaping. Except I didn't figure out beforehand how many decreases or increases to make, or how often. Patterns usually have sizing all spelled out for you! Oh but I'm making this up...crap. When I thought I was done I noticed the top fit fine, but the bottom didn't, and had to rip out my stitches about 10 inches. It made me sad.

Then it came time to write the pattern. Generally patterns exist in real or virtual space. As in someone wrote up what they did, instead of leaving it in their head. I wrote down what I was doing, while I was doing it, about 75% of the time. I think I did a pretty good job filling in the rest to make a pattern that can re-produce my sweater, but I didn't feel comfortable writing the pattern for other sizes when I had to reverse engineer instructions.

Ok enough complaining! Yes, this was hard to design, and I messed up my own design a few times in the process. But I'm very pleased with how Iris turned out. Plus I learned lots of knitting skillz for future designs. So, without further ado: Iris Sweater is available as a free PDF download on Ravelry or by clicking this link: I'm not charging for something that could have a decent amount of errors. So if you try making this and run into trouble or find errors, please contact me! I'd be happy to help as much as I can, and I'd like to fix errors in my pattern as they come up. Once you get the concept of how this sweater is constructed it's pretty straightforward, but keep in mind that it uses round and flat knitting, and intarsia and fair isle color work, so it may not be best for beginning knitters. Though that never stopped me. Enjoy!


  1. wow, that turned out spectacularly! congrats on your success.

  2. Thank you gings! I'm pleasantly surprised with it.

  3. Oh this sweater is gorgeous! It is definitely going into my queue. The contrasting sleeve detailing is so different from what you usually see. I love it!

    1. Thanks! This is my first pattern though, so if you do give it a try please don't hesitate to contact me if you run into trouble with it! There are already some things that I think I would do differently if I made this again (such as making the shoulders broader by adding some stitches there and subtracting some from the body portions).

    2. Also I tried to check out your blog but it told me I had to sign into wordpress to view it. Just an FYI in case there's a setting blocking people from viewing it.