I started knitting with a sweater pattern for baby Jirina from Kaffe Fassett’s Family Album. That sweater was horribly misshapen, as I knew nothing about gauge. But I persisted and eventually figured out how to match my gauge to the size of the sweater. I only used large needles and thick yarn, because I didn’t think I had the patience for anything that took too long. I got graph paper and marked the stitches and rows and filled in the sweater shapes with pictures, with the different colors marked with numbers. I only made vests because I didn’t think I could handle sleeves!
Once I was brave enough to try, it was actually freeing to take on sleeves and fully embrace every aspect of a sweater. I liked starting with a lace trim and working up from there. I found I liked the complexity more than the previous simplicity. Here is Amaran in her (first of two) beloved O Canada sweater.
Another big turning point for me was the book Sweaters by Tone Takle and Lise Kolstad. It was very challenging to take on the idea of circular needles and steeks. It really requires faith to make a steek for the first time! There was something so distinctly different about knitting a repeating pattern. This V sweater for Jirina was the first result of this type of knitting.
My current knitting is a mix of pictures and more traditional-style patterns. It was certainly easier for me to design picture sweaters when my children were young and actively fueling my imagination. My growing granddaughters Layla and Shaina are opening new doors for me - while also slowing me down!
Here is Levin in his Northern Lights sweater during a spring break trip to Seattle.
Family Album, Kaffe Fassett
Sweaters, Tone Takle, Lise Kolstad
Small Sweaters, Tone Takle, Lise Kolstad
Charts for Colour Knitting, Alice Starmore
Here Be Wyverns, Nancy Spies
The Tap-Dancing Lizard, Catherine Cartwright-Jones, Roy Jones
Kids Kids Kids: 40 Winning Patterns from the Knitter's Magazine Contest
The Shore, Leif Garbisch
Conduit, Leif Garbisch
I Shall Never Return, Levin Garbisch
7000voltfilms.com, Levin Garbisch
Burningbrightcomic.com, Jirina Linnea
O Canada, Ted Harrison
D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths
Comet in Moominland, Tove Jansson
Goodnight, Marjan van Zeyl
Linnea in Monet's Garden, Cristina Bjork, Lena Anderson, Joan Sandin
Who Said Red? Mary Serfozo
Redwall, Brian Jacques
The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies, Cicely Mary Barke
Frog and Toad, Arnold Lobel
Alanna, Tamora Pierce
The Adventures of Tin Tin, Herge
Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Susan Jeffers
The Evergreens, Odds Bodkins
My Neighbor Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki
Thomas the Tank Engine toys
The Magical Puppetree