Thirty-seven years ago I began flirting with knitting, but it began as a rather rocky courtship. It didn’t turn into a true romance until I discovered top down knitting.
When it started, the relationship became rather high maintenance, because when I began my very first knitting project I couldn’t resist being inspired by a Fair Isle sweater in my closet. I had received a box of remnant yarn from a sister, then bought a little booklet at Woolworth’s How to Knit. I picked up a few sheets of graph paper and set off on what would prove to be an adventure. One that at times got very emotional.
I carefully charted the Fair Isle color work as I knitted for hours, which turned into months and in the end, into two years. I knitted my way through multiple seasons of Law & Order, worked those needles late at night after spending my days creating ads for Apple Computer, and even while wearing a Speedo sitting on a beach on the island of Bermuda.
The day finally arrived when I completed all the pieces of my first project. It was time to sew it together and find out if it would actually fit me.
This was when my romance with knitting went on the skids. I sewed the seams, tried it on, looked in a mirror and saw that the left front side was a few inches longer than the right front. I very painfully took it apart, mumbling all the four-letter words I knew. And I tried again. This time the left side was perfect, but the right side had decided to be a brat and was now too long.
I tried again and again until I finally got it right. But by this time, knitting and I needed marriage counseling. I shared my feelings with the caring lady who owned my local yarn shop. She told me about Barbara Walker and introduced me to her book Knitting from the Top.
To my amazement I learned I could make a sweater without seams. As a bonus I discovered how to tailor virtually any pattern to fit me just the way I wanted. I simply took the work off my round or double point needles several times as I was knitting from neck to waist and tried it on. Then I could easily adjust the width of the body or sleeves to make them fuller or leaner. And I could determine the perfect length. I learned many different ways to create beautiful raglan or set-in sleeve designs.
Now I’m madly in love with knitting, top-down style. But since I’m not the jealous type, I’d like to share. You’ll find three complimentary Top-Down Guides on my web site under the Knitting Help tab, or just click this link. http://jamescoxknits.com/pages/turn-your-knitting-upside-down
If you haven’t tried top down, the results you get could be more refined sweaters and who knows, maybe a love affair.