Upside down

Human beings are creatures of habit. We can get set in our ways, always following the same pattern and not considering other possibilities. And this, I realised, was how I had been with my knitting. For the past 40 years I’ve started at the bottom and worked up… because that’s how you knit… isn’t it? And then Jude at Red Apple Yarn introduced me to the idea of starting at the top and working down. She was knitting a pattern called Breathing Space and it looked lovely; I’ve bought a copy of it to make myself with some Eden Cottage Yarns ‘Milburn’:

IMGP5283

my next new project

But first I decided to have a go at Poison Oak (not the most promising name, I have to say) with a combination of Cambrian Wool (in Slate) and Little Grey Sheep Stein Fine wool (in Moonlighting). I love the fact that you start at the top and that it’s knitted in the round, so there will be very little finishing required. I’ve just started work on the first sleeve. The wool is gorgeous and the fit is great… what’s not to love?

In addition, both these patterns are for asymmetric sweaters, which I think are great for those of us who have real body shapes. Again, this is an approach I’ve never considered before. It’s good to climb out of my knitting rut.

So have you tried any new ways of doing anything recently?

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20 Comments

  1. They look lovely! I have been stuck in a sock knitting rut recently but I think you might have inspired me tp at least try a different pattern! I like the idea of knitting with less sewing up. That and threading ends in spoil things for me – I have done the fun part and then have the chores to do.

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    • I find it easy to start knitting socks and not stop, but I have decided to work on some different things for a while… actually the struggle with those Nordic socks has put me off for a bit!

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  2. I have made two top down cardigans by an independent designer but, unfortunately, I didn’t like the styles on me when I’d finished so they were frogged. However, anything that avoids the dreaded sewing up is welcomed by me.

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    • I’ve been able to try Poison Oak on and check the fit etc… it’s been a revelation that I can check the fit before doing the long body bit. I think there will just be a few ends to sow in once the knitting is completed – bliss!

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  3. additional benefits of top down knitting — you can try it on for fit before all the knitting is done and you can adjust body/sleeve length if yarn stock is running low! Plus not sure anyone has designed a machine that knits a jumper all in one piece so can’t be anything except hand made. Very satisfying !!

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  4. It looks like it will be a lovely jumper.

    My new thing is Tunisian crochet. So far, not so good, as I’ve rather jumped in at the deep end. Wrong yarn and too complicated a pattern for a first attempt. However, I shall learn by all my mistakes.

    Have you done Tunisian crochet?

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  5. It looks very nice indeed.

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  6. Both those patterns look very nice! I made a top down crochet summer top for my daughter a few years ago, the pattern wasn’t particularly well written and it was a bit of a struggle – and then when she got it it looked all wrong on her…… I haven’t tried another since. I’ve been trying all sorts of odd combinations in my card making – some of them aren’t that great as a result 🙂

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    • without experimentation we’d never go anything new… I think the thing is not to be scared to have a go an discard the things that don’t work.
      The Poison Oak pattern is very well written and Jude says that the Breathing Space is too, so I think there shouldn’t be any head scratching.

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  7. Good to try something new, we do things too often just because it’s how we have always done it, I love the idea of not having much finishing to do! Looks fab.

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  8. Since I get nervous at the very idea of knitting, the idea of doing it upside down is guaranteed to be very worrying! But I must say, the work in progress does look amazingly complete already, so I can see the benefit.

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  9. I’m mid knit on an Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater knitted bottom up , though still with very little finishing needed, and the only thing that would have made it better would be a top down method. I’m a little concerned about available yarn and that would have settled any concerns 😃.
    Your sweaters look great.

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  10. They are both beautiful! I haven’t knitted anything for a long time other than socks (and those mostly for other people). I’m ready to start again now, and perhaps a project for myself is just the thing. I’ve never knit a garment from the top down either. If I start a jumper now I might be finished by the time we get back into winter!

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  11. I learnt to knit bottom up too and am slightly scared to try anything bigger than a baby top from the top down. I did one baby top, a great success, but my first attempt at a ladies’ top was a disaster – not sure if it was the poorly written pattern or my confusion at the time (In an old job several of us started the same pattern at the same time, but with different yarns, half finished, half didn’t, so you can read what you like into pattern/knitters abilities and understanding, he he!). Ususally I like to start a project with a fairly easy chunk (think ribbing etc for the first few inches) to get the feeling of how the yarn works. I think you may have inspired me to try again, love the asymmetric, I need to get out of my knitting slump, once my poorly hand is up to it. Currently browsing online for patterns, looking at current WIPs across the room …)

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  12. Mmmm, both these patterns look lovely… I’d say you’ll have a lot of fun as you break into the world of top-down knitting! I switched to making top-down Beastie sweaters last year, and it makes for a much better shape than my original design did. Now I’m planning to have a go at making a human-sized version… My personal knitting rut has been that I’ve spent the last few years making everything in miniature!

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  13. Despite the name, Poison Oak looks gorgeous! Asymmetrical clothes are fun, I love the different shapes of them, but I’ve never made one myself before. Maybe I can add that as a goal some day.

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  1. Stripes without seams | The Snail of Happiness

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