Monday, December 5, 2011

Knitting the Basic Boring Garments That We All Wear Most Often - Design-a-long

The West End Wrap, pattern available here.

I knit the shawl in the photo above for myself. I made it  because I was wearing one of those cheap dollar store pashminas in black. I wore it so often that it seemed ludicrous not to make myself something nicer. 

That shawl has traveled on every vacation I've been on since I made it and at home I probably wear it at least 3 or 4 times a month. It's knit from alpaca, it's very soft and amazingly warm. It's been invaluable and I'm sorry it took me so long to realize what a great  time investment, knitting a plain black shawl would be.

I need to knit myself a basic boring black cardigan. It's one of those holes in my wardrobe that needs to be filled. Yes, I know I could just go buy one, but to get the quality and fit that I would like is difficult. Even petite garments have sleeves that are too long for me. I'm also thinking that to do a lot of plain stocking stitch I want a really durable yarn. Maybe a wool blend that will stand up to long wear?

I still have lots of my corporate work clothing, the kinds of things that I used to wear with a business style jacket. Many of these items would be wearable in my new more casual life style with a simple cardigan sweater. Of course, I keep knitting things that are more appealing to me with great colours or textures. 

So to engage my interest in making it, I'm thinking of doing a blog design-a-long. I've written a lot lately about customizing patterns and I've taught the skills in classes before but it's difficult in a class setting to have enough time for everyone to keep up with each stage of the process. I'll do it as a series, step by step, so you can see each part of the process and jump in and do your own, if you would like to. If not, I hope it will advance your understanding of the process. The garment will be a classic cardigan with set in sleeves. It will have few  details so that I can wear it with as many things as possible as a completer piece, not the star of the outfit. I'm thinking of pairing it with the many print blouses and dresses I have.  Is anybody interested in joining me?

Links to the other posts:


  1. Great Idea - you will be inspired through many videos of stockinette, other designers will enjoy seeing your workflow, and your blog will be promoted to new designers who want to see how it's done.

  2. I think this would be great. I design mostly accessories; learning how a fitted garment comes together would be very enlightening.

  3. I think I would like to join you - as long as when the dog eats my homework, I won't have to stand in the corner. In other words, if life slows me down, I hope that's not a problem.

  4. Count me in!

    I'm in the same boat--I even bought the black alpaca yarn I'd planned to knit the cardigan with-3 years ago! It's been 45 degrees here in LA lately (weird) so it will get a lot of wear (if I finish it, that is!)

  5. Sounds like a good idea. I just had this same conversation with a customer in the shop where I teach the other night. Really, what we wear most is simple. What we want to knit is not.