My Design Process: Baby Sweater

I’ve just started designing a new baby sweater and I thought that y’all might be interested in the process.

brown moss stitch

My stepsister, Blair, is pregnant! So, I get to start designing her a baby sweater. She said that she wants it in gender neutral colors, regardless of the baby’s sex. Since the last time I designed a baby sweater I was inspired by New Mexico, the recipient’s home, I started thinking about designing a sweater for my stepsister inspired by Seattle, her home.

idea sketchI start by thinking about the basic shape of the sweater. Sometimes I sit down and sketch out shapes. Sometimes I just picture things in my head while I’m in the shower.

idea sketch colorOnce I decide on a general sweater shape, I think about how I want it to be decorated. I thought that for this sweater I would make the design interest come from color but keep the stitching fairly simple. I started thinking very Pacific Northwest with lots of green, water (Blair lives on an island), and grey clouds. Then I remembered that I just sent my stepmom my green yarn, so I wouldn’t be able to knit from my stash. I thought about scaling down the green and making a tree, but it just didn’t feel like a good fit for Blair. I liked the idea of the brown earth at the bottom of the sweater and thought about filling the rest with sky. It felt just right when I added a sunshine in too!

idea sketch detailsAfter figuring out the look I’m going for, I start to hash out details. I remind myself that babies have giant heads and if I’m doing a pull-over, I have to make sure to leave enough room. Knitting the ground out of moss stitch would add some fun texture. What if I embroidered rays of sunshine on top of the finished sweater to make it easier to knit? I love knitting in the round, but it seems the clouds and sunshine should be intarsia. Still not sure what to do about that.

yarn and start of baby sweater

At this point, I figure out basic measurements, do a swatch or two for gauge, and cast on the sweater. I know there is plenty more to figure out, but I like to jump in, get started, and figure out more specifics as I progress.

What about you guys? When starting a new project do you figure everything out at the beginning? Or do you make it up as you go?

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