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Ruching, ribbing, or leaves?

Auditioning new sweater yoke ideas, at Polka Dot Cottage

Auditioning new sweater yoke ideas, at Polka Dot Cottage

Auditioning new sweater yoke ideas, at Polka Dot Cottage

If you need more proof of my obsession with (actually, let’s just say “commitment to” – it sounds so much less manic) my September Sweater project, I happen to have some right here: I’ve been swatching again.

Auditioning new sweater yoke ideas, at Polka Dot Cottage

This is a swatch that consists of a 1/4-size sample of the first 36 rows of the Tea Leaves Cardigan pattern. In other words, it’s the first 36 rows worked over 24 stitches instead of 96. I knit this up in order to compare it to any other yoke ideas I might have, so that I may more easily decide how to proceed when it comes time to actually start knitting.

Pros of using the original ruching: It’s pretty. It’s tried-and-true.

Cons: It’s kind of annoying to do, with all of those section where you’re knitting double the number of stitches. I already have two sweaters like this.

A few alternatives

Auditioning new sweater yoke ideas, at Polka Dot Cottage

This one involves ribbing instead of ruching. The look is a bit similar, but it’s less time-consuming to work up.

Pros: It’s easy. The ribbing ties in with the ribbing I added to the sleeves and hem, which should give the design a more cohesive look.

Cons: It’s not quite as attractive as the ruching.

Auditioning new sweater yoke ideas, at Polka Dot Cottage

Ok, now here’s the one I have been tearing my hair out over: leaves. I got the leaf motif itself out of the Vogue Knitting Stitionary Vol. 1. It’s part of a climbing vine, but after a little trial-and-error, I managed to isolate the leaf itself. Making the leaves turned out to be the easy part. Combining the leaves with the need to increase and make the yoke round was not so easy.

It involved a lot of scribbling on paper, and a lot of mathy things. Eventually I pulled out the big guns, and got all spreadsheety about it. The result is pretty cool, if I do say so myself, although the more I look at it, the more I think this is not the final version of this idea.

I’d like better definition between the collar and the pattern, and I would like the leaves closer together. I suspect I’ll be going back to the spreadsheet for a little bit of tweaking. Still, Β I think this is close enough for the purposes of deciding what to do for the sweater.

Pros: It’s unique and I can be all, “I designed this!” when I show it to people.

Cons: It required some finessing to block it into this shape, and I wonder if it will stay lovely and rounded?

What to do?

Auditioning new sweater yoke ideas, at Polka Dot Cottage

I really can’t make up my mind at this point. I already have two with the original ruching, so I’m inclined to go with the ribbing or the leaves. I like that the ribbing on the yoke would match the ribbing on the sleeves (which is also a modification to the original pattern), but the idea of having falling leaves on my sweater is super cool to me. I am kind of eager for the challenge.

On the other hand, maybe I should save the leaves for some other application – fingerless gloves, maybe? and just keep the sweater simple.

Decisions, decisions.

Thoughts?

31 thoughts on “Ruching, ribbing, or leaves?

  1. If you liked the leaves enough to do all the math, that says a lot. I like the idea of using the leaves in a smaller project first, like the fingerless gloves. Wear testing them or tweaking a small project, then if you still like it, proceed to a whole sweater.

    Another idea is to try a hat. I could see the vines all starting from the point of the hat and coming down, or vining around the base to make a ring. Though that might make things more complex.

    1. Yes, it would make it more complex, but the challenge might be fun πŸ™‚

  2. I think perhaps do the ribbing this year for a bit of change & play with the leaves on a smaller project. I hate the thought of you knitting a sweater with the leaves only to have it not look of fit correctly.

    1. I hate that idea, too, LOL! Yes, I think that is the way I am going – ribbing on the sweater, leaves on some other project.

  3. I vote for the ribbing. I think the architectural look is very clean and up-to-date. The leaves look a bit contrived at this point. Keep working with them and maybe you’ll have something you’ll really be proud of for next September’s sweater!

    1. I think you’re right. I’m sold on the ribbing at this point πŸ™‚

  4. How fun! A design challenge! I like the idea above about using the leaf pattern on a hat. I tend to lean toward saying, “Go for it! Do the leaves!” But I wonder if that’s because it’s your risk, not mine, LOL. You’ll never know if it would have worked unless you do it. I agree with the tweaks you suggested. I think shortening the stem a bit would look a teeny bit better, which would happen if you define the neckline a bit more. Wondering if the structure of the sweater will help it to keep it’s shape? Bottom line: you don’t know unless you try it. As long as you don’t mind putting in the work and finding out you don’t like it, what have you got to lose? That’s why I love knitting. Yes, it’s a little sad to rip out your work, but you always have a chance to fix it. Can’t wait to see what transpires!

    1. I have a hard time with the idea of ripping back. There has to be an awful lot of space between me and the work (like, say, *months*) before ripping back doesn’t pain me, LOL! I’m going to go with the ribbing for now, but it occurs to me that maybe the leaves might make a nice experiment on a sweater for my baby niece. It would be a lot less painful to screw up something so small!

      1. Perfect! That’s a great idea! A smaller one will be less painful if you have to rip and rework! I am bringing my own bias to my answer… it used to make me sad and anxious to rip stuff out, but now I’m more anxious if I don’t like it. I actually feel better ripping it out. I may need some therapy!

        1. No, I do actually agree with you there, but I can never bring myself to do it right away. I always seem to need to set the project aside for a long time and do something else before ripping back no longer bothers me πŸ™‚ It really does make more sense to fix the problem instead of forging ahead. I have several unworn items in my closet that can attest to that!

  5. I am a non-knitter, Lisa, so my vote is based solely on the “look”: I love the ribs for their bold graphic appeal!

    1. I am very glad to have the opinion of a non-knitter. After all, when I wear it around town, most of the people I meet are going to be non-knitters. I would probably not enjoy wearing a garment that only another knitter could love πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your vote. I’ve decided I agree – ribs it is!

  6. I would pick leaves if, as you already said, they were closer together. I really love the idea of that and, afterall, YOU DESIGNED IT! But that will be true whichever you go with. I vote for not doing the ruching again. Been there, done that. A third time would probably be boring and knitting should never be boring! Can’t wait to see what you decide!

    1. Amen to that! Down with boring knitting πŸ™‚ I’m going with the ribbing. But I won’t abandon the leaves altogether. I’ll try that some other time, in some other project.

  7. I like the ribbing also. very pretty.

    1. Thanks, Jamie. I’ve decided I agree πŸ™‚

  8. Leaves are greatest!

    1. I do like the leaves, too, but I think I’ll try them on a smaller project, or work on getting them perfect for next year πŸ™‚

  9. I say bite the bullet and go for the leaves. You have done the math and the spreadsheet already. futzing a bit more to get the leaves perfect will be a cake walk now. AND…..since I am designing and writing a sock pattern I need someone to commiserate with when I am at the hair tearing part. You can do it Lisa. I know you can. I have been watching since you first started knitting….with the looms. and then on to needles, and then on to changing things up. No stopping now for the “safe” one.

    1. Oh, you! Stop pep-talking me, or I might just change my mind and do the leaves, LOL!
      No, I’m sold on the ribbing at this point, but I really don’t want my work with the leaf design to go to waste, either. I’m going to do something with it for sure, whether that be a whole new idea, or a smaller (toddler-size) sweater, I’m not quite sure yet. I’m still mulling that over πŸ™‚

      1. Seriously? you are wimping out on the leaves after you have DONE most of the brain work? oy….and here I thought you were a risk taker. ok…wimp out on the ribbing (boooooooooooooring) if you must. I will show off my sexy challenging sock when they are done

        :::::runs off cackling::::::::

        1. You are funny πŸ™‚
          I am not “wimping out” on the leaves. I’m saving them for a more spectacular future use πŸ˜‰

  10. I vote for the leaves too. Jump in there and get started. Since it is a top down cardi, you can try it on and decide quickly if it is not going to work for you. I believe that the rest of the knitting will keep the rounded yoke in shape for you. If not a big sweater for you, then a smaller one for your niece. I have full confidence in your ability to pull it off. I would also suggest adding a leaf on the cuff to pull it together. And maybe a couple of leaves to serve as pockets (at least on the mini sweater).

    1. I’m doing the ribbing, but I do like the idea of adding leaves in places other than the yoke (on a future sweater). I had thought about having a stripe of them running down one side, or something like that. I need to give it more thought πŸ™‚

  11. Go for the ribbing! Looks better and if it’s easier, why not?
    As for me, I am currently learning how not to poke my eyes out with the knitting needles and made my first something that’s not a scarf.

    1. Neat! What are you making?

      1. A capelet.

        1. That sounds interesting. I’ll keep an eye on your blog for the finished object πŸ™‚

  12. Add cable knitting in a front open cardigan as an option for yr nextyear’s sweater. Though i much liked the leaves myself, u shld stick to wat ur more comfy with. Best of luck

    1. I love cables! There is definitely a cable knit in my future πŸ™‚

  13. […] you for weighing in on the ever-important sweater yoke debate the other day. You helped me decide on the ribbing once and for all. I’ll save the leaf idea […]

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