Lately, I've been playing around with different design ideas in my head and while I still have a couple of stole designs that I want to work up as patterns (in addition to the descriptively named Pattern 15), I'm wanting to do some garment design. Take a look at what I'm thinking and if you have a minute, please leave a comment and let me know what you think at the end of the post.
I'm thinking of designing primarily classic sweaters - both pullovers and cardigans. I'm thinking simple lines with some tailoring details. I don't want to get into too many details here (and they aren't all filled out in my head at this point anyway), but I want to design things that can be worn by women of any age and would look as appropriate on today's woman as it would on Audrey Hepburn.
OK, so all that sounds great, but here's the catch. I'm thinking of designing these in fingering weight yarn. Yes, 7-8 stitches an inch. Now before you all click on to whatever you read after my babbling and delete me from your bookmarks, do one thing - go look in your closet and look at the last 5 sweater type garments you bought. That's what I thought - they're all knit at a fine gauge aren't they. Yes, they were knit on a machine, but they're also probably knit at a finer gauge than I'm proposing here.
See here's where I'm coming from: I love to knit and I love wearing my knits, but when I'm looking for something to throw on and do whatever it is that I do all day, unless it's really chilly, I grab a fine gauge sweater that I bought. There are always times for the heavier weights of handknits, but you really can't wear them year round (and this applies to more than just Texas - I could only wear the heavier weights for a brief time in Virginia too). A lighter weight sweater will work for more months out of the year, can be layered with a heavier garment for truly cold weather, and if it's a cardigan, will even work for summer - either in over air-conditioned spaces, or cool evenings. If you look honestly at what you really wear, I think you'll agree that this weight is the one you choose more than a worsted weight or heavier garment. There just aren't many designs at this lighter gauge.
I realize that the idea of taking on an entire garment in fingering weight yarn requires a certain amount of Intestinal Fortitude, but I'm not really thinking of designing for beginners. I still plan to make the pattern directions as clear and as easy to follow as possible so a beginner could knit one, but most beginners need a more instant gratification type of first sweater. I'm wanting to be able to grab a handknit on practically any day of the year, without dying of heat stroke and as a knitter, it's ridiculous how many fine gauge sweaters I've purchased.
So, let me know what you think. Am I out of my mind? Should I just design for my own garments and leave everyone else out of it? Or is this something that you'd be interested in seeing and possibly interested in doing?