My first proper self-designed knitted garment is finished. A chunky, raglan cardigan with lots of cables, it’s turned out well. I’m still keeping it under wraps for now, until I’ve decided what to do with the pattern. But here’s a peek at the type of button I’ve made for it.
I couldn’t buy a button locally that I liked. The cardi only has one, to fasten it at the neck, and I felt it deserved something other than plain vanilla. But I was unable to find even a plain button of the right size and colour, and I didn’t have time to go to Bonds (my favourite source of buttons – much cheaper than anywhere else and a huge stock). So I dug out the stainless steel washers I’d bought for a DIY project earlier in the year and used to make some keyrings:
and then I fiddled about with scrap yarn until I ended up with something I was happy with. I’m going to write up a tutorial in case anyone else wants to make wool-and-washer buttons. Watch this space!
I said that this was my first proper design. I knitted a red jumper with a white lightning flash diagonally across it for my dear husband years ago. I have no idea why he wanted such a thing, but he did. However, I don’t count that as a “proper” design because it had drop shoulders, and frankly, any idiot capable of measuring a tension swatch can cobble together a drop-shouldered sweater with a simple intarsia motif.
And then there’s the gansey I knitted in 2014. It required a little more design effort to make all the motifs fit together and work with the dimensions of the garment, but essentially a gansey is a drop-shouldered sweater too and designing one isn’t rocket science. I posted on how to design and knit a gansey when I’d finished, and it gets more hits than anything else, which must mean there are a lot of people wanting to give it a go. Try, it’s fun!
I also designed a hat a couple of months ago, called Blue Selbu. But it’s quite a simple shape and didn’t require much thought.
To my mind, the new cardi counts as a “proper” design because the raglan shape meant I actually had to plan all the pieces – I knitted it conventionally, ie flat and bottom up – in detail to ensure they were the right shape both to fit my body and to fit each other. And the cable panels had to fit within those pieces and produce a harmonious overall effect. As you can imagine, there was quite a lot of pattern tweaking and reworking involved because, thanks to my inexperience as a designer, some shortcomings in the design only became apparent once I started knitting. I have learnt a huge amount from this, and my next effort at pattern-writing should be a lot quicker to get into final form.