This has been a busy week, but today I finally managed to sit down and draw up some new sketches for the striped shawl sweater. I’m in need of some mindless knitting, and there will be lots and lots of that once this design is actually on the right tracks (I think this time will be the charm).┬áSince you are all so good at humoring me in my process posts, I thought I’d share the changes that I’m making.

(Incidentally, if you’re hoping for a pattern, you’ll note that the last sketch is really all you need. This whole design is all about putting double increase lines in the right place; after that, it’s just guessing how many stitches to cast on. I do plan to write this up as a pattern eventually, but who knows how long that will take…if a “recipe” is all you need, here it is.)

This is the sketch of the original verison:

You can see that there are two different kinds of increase rows that define the main lines of my pentagon. If you squint, I think you can see them here (look for the yo lines, which are the ones with dots in the drawing above. The point of the shawl back is made up of yos).

As we saw before, this led to too many stitches in the back panel, and I’ve decided that this is best fixed by changing the position of the shoulder line (shown in red on the photo, and in blue on the drawings):

By rotating that shoulder line onto my double lifted increases (the line with the slashes), I got this:

I’ll keep that increase line as the top of the shoulder and sleeve, which means that there will be more fabric to deal with in the front. It also means that those front yos fall naturally into position for the zigzag style.

…which means that I just have to add decreases at the edge of the front panel to balance the increases that I’m adding from the yo column. (You can see that the fabric is folded over in the photo above to look like two separate front panels.)

This is also the part where I need to decide what to do about the neck. As you can see in the back shot above, rotating that shoulder line makes the back of the neck very high; it’s several inches above where it would normally be.

That’s not necessarily something that I mind, since I’m always cold and usually want something to cover the back of my neck anyway. But I’m thinking that I will probably eliminate the first full stripe repeat, and make my cast on sit at the beginning of that second purple row. That will be a more “normal” fit to the neck, and I think it will help with the fit in the front. You can see that the fabric is sitting a little funny at the front shoulders in the zigzag picture, and I think that cutting out that extra back neck will take care of that.

I’m also planning to eliminate the knit-on garter stitch edging, and instead plan to pick up and knit stitches to finish the collar. That gives me a lot more choice later to decide what I want the final collar to look like.

The last question is whether to keep that small triangle at the neck edge of the front panels. I really like how it wraps the stripes around and brings them vertical again, but I’m not sure how much of that will be preserved with the structural changes in the neck shaping. If I leave out that last set of lifted double increases, then that triangle will be eliminated, and I’ll have a v-neck opening something like this:

That would make a pretty deep v-neck, and the two front panels would probably meet right around the bra strap. Both Branden and Ellen suggested some kind of flap or lapel front, and this seems like the best option if I’m going to incorporate something like that. I’d probably use a solid purple to match the hemline, and just pick up stitches to add it on at the end. It would add another diagonal line to the front panel, and it might also cover up some of the zigzag look near the neck. It would decrease some of the busyness of the design by adding a solid area in the front panel, as Jocelyn (I think?) had suggested earlier.

I’ve been planning this as a zippered cardigan, so I want something that can be either open or closed, but I don’t think that a solid v would take too much away from the zigzags, especially if it came up into a high solid collar.

Making this change would mean that I’d lose those vertical stripes that I like so much, but I think that might actually be better considering how busy this design has become already. With all of those changes, I think the final sweater will look something like this (though the v-neck will probably end up a little deeper, and the shoulders will probably be a little more like a raglan and a little less like a set-in sleeve):

I think I like it.