I think that fall colors are the biggest reason that this is my favorite season of the year, especially in New England. All of a sudden, there’s a burst of color around every corner. Trees that have been green and full all summer go up in flame overnight. It was kind of rainy and cold today, so we didn’t really get out to take pictures of the color, but I snapped a few photos with my phone while we were driving around doing errands (Branden was driving).

When we got into the car, this was on the windshield:

Aren’t the colors beautiful, with the light shining through like that?

And just look at this one:

Shooting with a phone camera through a windshield really doesn’t do it justice. Those colors just glow, especially on a dark and rainy day.

Of course, my knitting has been full of colors that I love this week, too. The fall colors sweater is growing by leaps and bounds:

I split for the armhole shaping this morning. I was planning to continue the same steek band right up the arm holes to the shoulder seam, but I noticed that it was pulling a little bit at the corner where I started decreasing for the arm shaping. Since it’s a pretty wide steek band, I didn’t want to take any chances of it causing a bulge or a pucker at the corner, so I decided to bind off and then cast on again immediately.

That means that the two sections of steek band will be completely separate, and will be able to bend and flex as needed to accommodate the curves. This is something that you do all the time in sewing, but I don’t think I’ve ever needed it in knitting before. You can see how nice and sharp the corner is now, though:

Of course, all of this progress means that the question of what on earth I am going to do with the neckline is becoming ever more urgent. Last weekend, I sat down and drew out a few sketches (click to embiggen, and pardon the water stain).

The idea I had in my head originally was closest to #1 – a high, rounded neck opening with corrugated ribbing to finish it off. It looked a little stuffy in the sketch, though. A little too much going on all at once, maybe. 2-4 are all revisions with small changes to the neckline details. I ended up liking #4 the best, and thought that I might continue just the colorwork band up into the neckline, and then cast on plain brown or corrugated ribbing the rest of the way around.

As I drew out the sketches, I also started thinking about how exactly I might accomplish these ideas in knitting, and realized pretty quickly that it was going to be difficult to bend a 1″ wide strip of stranded knitting like that. It would be a lot easier to convince it to bend into a v-neck (#5), or possibly even a curved v-neck (#6), if I did my body section decreases right. I don’t like those options quite as well for this sweater, though, even if they are two of my favorite neck shaping options in general.

Next I started thinking about how I might play with the geometry of the pattern a bit more. Possibly a hexagon-shaped neck, with an angled intersection between two pattern designs (#7). I liked the shape of the neck, but wasn’t confident that it would be simple to get the colorwork to play along.

I also thought about just going straight across the body at the top, kind of framing the top half of the sweater as well (#8). I have a commercial sweater with a detail like that that I like, but it didn’t really appeal to me here.

At that point, it was way past bedtime and I needed to be up early, so I put the designing on hold to stew for a few days. This is usually a good move, because designing is one of those things that almost always gets better with time.

And then today, Jocelyn suggested a square neck opening. That would certainly be the easiest thing for the colorwork pattern, if I could make it work in a way that I liked with the rest of the sweater.

I think it works pretty well. #9 is my favorite of the lot (at least in the drawn version), but I like the idea of adding a solid brown panel to cover up the neck opening and keep the sweater warm, possibly with a high-collar ribbed neck, like a sports fleece. That can always be added in at the end, though, so I don’t need to worry too much about that aspect of the design just yet. Then I started playing with stitch patterns. It’s not really to scale, but I quite like what I got:

I think that’s very likely to be the final neck design. I still have a few inches in which to think it over, but so far I think it’s going to work out really well. At the rate this is going, I might even get a chance to wear it for a few days before the end of fall!