Do you ever see a pattern, and think “I’ll get to it someday…” and then someday comes, and you finally go to make it, and the website is gone? Yeah. Well, welcome to reverse engineering. This is my knockoff of Jenna Adorno’s Hopeful (rav link) – with some obvious mods. I had actually emailed Jenna at the email address listed on some of her knitty patterns – I got an auto response “out of office” email … and then nothing.
I’m not going to write up a pattern, but I can give detailed notes on reverse engineering it for yourself.
The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton. I got it back in February when it was brand new. Several swatches later, I had a fabric that I liked, and wasn’t going to kill my hands when I knit with it. I did some math – just a little. I knew I wanted negative ease because of the tendency of cotton to grow. So I have my bust measurement with -2 of ease. I don’t typically make my sweaters long enough that I need to deal with hip measurements, so I just provisionally cast on the of stitches for my bust.
So, I have a lot of stitches on a provisional cast on. Knit for an inch. Do a picot turning row – K2tog, YO. All the way around. Do another inch, then put the provisional cast on back on a needle, and knit one stitch from the provisional cast on with one stitch from the normal needle together. Makes for a nice, neat edge.
Waist shaping! I just did plain old faux side seam shaping (I had placed a marker for beginning of round and at the halfway around point). I knit about 1.5 inches (so it measured about 2.5 inches from the picot) before starting my decreases – an ssk before the marker, a k2tog after the marker. I spaced the decreases out by about an inch. After decreasing 4 times I knit about 2 inches straight. Then I started increasing, with M1L/M1R – about every 1.25 inches.
The spacing of your increases/decreases is totally up to you. In pictures I’ve seen of the Hopeful, it seems that the decreases were even above and below the waist. But if you have a long torso and you’re making more of a tunic style, you’ll want to make sure the long stretch at the “skinniest” part of the waist actually hits your waist.
For the sleeve cap, I actually had to knit the upper body twice. The armhole was a little too long the first time. So make sure you don’t make it too long. I more or less used Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for the numbers in terms of how many stitches to bind off/decrease to make the set it sleeve.
Then, I followed Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top (scroll down) directions on how to knit a sleeve cap from the top down. It looked pretty assy at first, but when I blocked it, I smoothed it out, and it looks fine now. Basically you figure the size of the finished arm (diameter), multiply that by your gauge, pick up stitches across the bind of portion (the armpit), subtract the number you picked up from the bind off, and evenly pick up the remaining number around the sleeve cap. Work about 2/3rds of the stitches, then work back and forth, picking up one stitch on each pass. (This is a bitch, by the way. I was using a 12″ circ – my hands cramped like crazy, but you have to pick up all the stitches, but then only work a portion – so a 24″ (and even 16″) will be too long. Magic looping it might work… otherwise, you could of course use double points). You can fudge it, and do a few increases/decreases to prevent puckering where you pick up your stitches.
(Sleeve cap: Not assy. Hair: still kind of assy. Spider on the yarn: super creepy!)
Top down picots on the sleeves — I just did a regular bind off, and then carefully sewed it down with some matching embroidery floss. It didn’t add any bulk.
The neckline was my OBVIOUS change. I was worried that I was running out of yarn (I’d already run out once, and ordered more from kpixie.com – who totally confirmed that they had my dyelot before sending my yarn. Love!) I’d worked a fairly wide V-neck (if I did it again – I’d make it less wide, and also less deep — I’d have probably worked another inch or so vertically before starting the neck shaping). Right, so I was worried about running out of yarn if I did the ribbing like Jenna. I figured with more picots, if I ran out I could do the backside in a different color or even a different yarn, and no one would know. I had enough for the picots, but I probably would have run out if I’d tried to do the dangly ties. Someday, I’ll do dangly ties on another top when I’m not running out of yarn.
On the neck picots, I used the working yarn to sew down the edge, sort of like if I were grafting the final stitches to their picked up counterparts. It didn’t add bulk, but it did add a headache, so if I were doing it again, I’d have just bound off and sewn down with the embroidery floss again.
I also would have done a double decrease right at the center of the V – it doesn’t waffle or pucker, but would sit flatter if I had. No biggie.
I have a new photographer, and she was being silly, so I was throwing yarn at her. Note the levitating pink yarn in the lower corner. The blue yarn made for a tasty, high fiber snack.
Overall, I like the sweater. And even though it grows a bit during the day, pop it in the dryer, it will shrink right back up! Just like a pair of jeans.
So I think I’ve hit all the main points – but if you have any questions, feel free to let me know!