I’m losing self-control

When I consider a knitting pattern, there are some red flags, if you will, which immediately cause me to raise an eyebrow and turn the page of the knitting mag or pattern book. For example, if a knitted garment is described as a “stretchy, sheer, large-needle knit,” I say a resounding, “No thanks.” My dislike for such a pattern can only be intensified if the designer takes the time to state, “Note that the fabric is very stretchy when choosing size,” and then makes choosing a size impossible by writing the pattern to have finished chest dimensions of 25 1/2″ or 28 3/4″. Exactly how stretchy would this top have to be if 28″ is the chest measurement of a 10-year-old?

Of course I’m not making up this hypothetical scenario. The pattern in question is the ballet t-shirt by Teva Durham, which is available on her website, and in her new book Loop-d-Loop currently available at stores near you and on Amazon.com.

I love the simple look of this top. Wide neck, wide straps, not quite cap-sleeved, which can be unflattering on some bodies.

That’s where the love stops.

The shaping down the center of the sweater body is questionable – I’m just not sure what that will look like on a curvy-figured woman like me. The big, loose, stretchy stitches over any semblance of a bust are a huge no-no. The sweater’s length is for women with perfect abs, but that’s easy enough to fix…. the length of the sweater, that is, not the imperfect abs, hehe.

The bug hit me, though, the cuteness and simplicity were deeply implanted into my soul, so there was no choice but to fix this puppy up and call it my own.

Inspiration #1: Stash

When I was a young and naΓ―ve knitter, I bought some aran-weight cotton on a whim. I didn’t buy enough for a sweater, and it’s been lingering in my stash ever since.

Warning! Warning! Do not adjust your computer monitors! The yarn depicted is not red or burgundy or pink! In fact, it’s baby blue (with a tiny hint of green). The yarn is called Tivoli Santos Aran, and it knits at 19-20 sts/4 inches on my US 7 needles. You know how I feel about short-sleeved tops knit from heavy* yarns – ‘not happy’ is an understatement. Still, this is much more reasonable than the 10 sts/4 inches called for in the pattern. I don’t know what I’m thinking, but I want to use up this yarn, and I have enough for a top like this and not much more (*heavy, as far as summer knits are concerned, is anything heavier than thin t-shirt material).

This takes care of the “large needle knit” issue.

Inspiration #2:

Hey, look at the clever darts on this sweater:

(I know Colleen “loves” this picture)

Making two columns of darts like this instead of one column down the center of the sweater would make it quite slimming and probably better-fitting.

This takes care of the funny shaping issue.

Inspiration #3:

My wardrobe! I took measurements of a sweater knit in cotton of the same gauge, a ballet-top sweater, and a top shaped with two darts just like the Katia sweater. This allowed me to put some numbers to this insanity and took care of the “knit the 28″ chest size and hope it fits” issue.

Here’s what I’m thinking:



  • wide neck and wide straps, reminiscent of Teva Durham’s original design
  • knit in the round from the top down: no seaming, and ability to try on as you go!
  • 2 bust and 2 back darts
  • length appropriate for a real-sized woman
  • a top that doesn’t have to stretch some unknown amount in order to fit
  • Stash busting!

What do you think? Considering that this should be a quick knit, should I make it as soon as I’m done with the AV sweater, or should I make Fibo first? Maybe I should start even before the AV sweater is done because, man, AV has a way of disabling me for days.

Wait, don’t answer.

Certifiably insane. I have lost all self-control and have become one of those knitters who has 1,400 WIPs at any given time.

P.S. Today’s entry is brought to you by my fabulous new scanner, because using the camera to photograph doodles/writing sucks big time.


28 thoughts on “I’m losing self-control

  1. Ariel

    You are way too cool!

    I won’t be there Sunday cuz I’ll be at a wedding this weekend, but you’ll have to update me on the details of this pattern. Could I totally steal it and modify it to fit me? Maybe I could do it in pink since you’re using blue. πŸ˜‰

  2. Danielle

    I love your sketch! I’m currently reshaping a sweater from Rowan 37 to use a different gauge and fit my body shape better, so I’ll be peeking back here to see how your redesigns are going!

  3. PumpkinMama

    Looks to me like the Katia photo has nipple bobbles – don’t forget those in your design. Seriously, your version looks like a good idea, and no worries about the 1400 WIPs – you’ll be done in no time I’m sure.

  4. Karma

    I *love* your idea. You’ve potentially solved all of your problems while keeping the parts that you like. It will be interesting to watch you continue working with the ideas and solutions. Bonus: pretty color!

    Yeah, and don’t forget to incorporate those nipple bobbles. πŸ™‚

  5. Carolyn

    yes, i love it…are you going to make this a free pattern on your site?? Hint, hint….This would definitely do some stash busting for me! Please no bobbles…I’m bobble out.

  6. Jenifer

    Wow, looks like you’re having fun … and that’s what counts! I like that cap sleeved top, by the way, and it’s about 8 projects away from me casting on for it! ha.

  7. Agnes

    You are definitely the intellectual type … every one of your knitting projects sounds like a PhD thesis in Mathematics or Architecture to me!

    Just wondering if the model in the ballet t-shirt is wearing a bra … Never would I imagine myself wearing something that much like second skin in such thick yarn … which I don’t like much either, BTW.

  8. Ann

    Wow, I stand totally in awe. I saw that picture in the book, noted the gauge, muttered a string of expletives and just turned the page. You’re a solver, you are.

    I do love the shape — and the shaping — and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

    Signed, yours in crazy-startitis-and-multiple-project-land.

  9. Tara

    YAY! Excuse me while I giggle to myself for awhile…

    Grumpy, I’m so glad you’ve come over to the *Dark Side*. Even if you are one HUGE step ahead of me b/c I’m way too lazy to attempt such a feat of pattern re-writing! The color of that yarn is really nice. I bet it’ll be hot on you!

  10. Stephanie

    Fabulous. I could totally wear something like that to work. If I buy the pattern, can I talk you into providing your motifactions? I’d love to have such a quick simple knit top to wear this summer (and I might even be able to find some yarn).

  11. Diana

    Wow, you’ve got it all figured out!

    I was *just* trying to figure out how to modify this sweater for a smaller gauge yarn. Then I got stuck on the 29″ stretches to fit 36″. You got much farther than me! Looking forward to reading more about your modifications, and seeing the final product!

  12. Mary Tess

    An almost identical sweater with long sleeves and longer in the body is on page 46 of the Summer 2004 issue of Interweave Knits. It’s called Ballet Pullover and designed by…… Teva Durham. Ironically, I was looking through a stack of IKs just last night, came across this sweater and thought to myself, “I bet [Grumperina] would like this sweater, but she’d have to do a lot of modification to the bust.” You are way ahead of me.

  13. paula

    The breasts! The breasts! So many breasts…and all so “happy.”


    I love your idea. If it works out well, I may just have to try it myself — sans nipple display. πŸ˜‰

    Oh, and don’t even get me started about WIPs. I think I have about six going on now and another one in queue for a gift.

  14. LouVFS

    I love the way you can describe your thought process as you evolve your design. I am very envious of your drawing ability! I can’t decide which I’m more interested in seeing you knit first, this or Fibo. Maybe you should do both at the same time!

  15. nona

    Great post! I love the description of your inspiration process and how you came up with your pattern. And, my friend, your scanned in sketch knocked me off my chair — what a wonderful alternative to digital pictures. I just found your blog through purly-whites and am thoroughly enjoying myself!

  16. corine

    this is the pattern i’ve been searching for all my knitting life. and we have the same measurements! thanks for sharing

  17. Shelley

    Oh my God. I just found your site and this LOVELY pattern. I’m hooked. I must make it! Thank you so much for your efforts. Beautiful!

  18. ck

    Love your idea. I hope you will share the pattern in some form when you are finished. I would love to make it. Hmmmm, maybe you need a test knitter? πŸ™‚

  19. E

    Late to the party, I know, but I just wanted to say a hearty “THANK YOU!” for investing so much time and thought in this project. As a curvy person whose abs are decidedly imperfect, this is absolutely wonderful — and inspirational — to read.

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