Cocoknits Sweater Method

Lizzie is a sweater pattern in Julie Weisenberger's Cocoknits Sweater Workshop.  It wasn't easy to get my hands on a copy (well, it was expensive) and there doesn't seem to be a digital version available, which is a shame. 

  Image from Cocoknits

Image from Cocoknits

This is seriously a genius method and book -- it is really the coolest thing I've knitted in a long time.  You end up with a really strong, seamless, top-down sweater that fits beautifully over the shoulders.  Julie Weisenberger has carefully chosen the techniques employed for picking up stitches, making increases and decreases, and to ensure that the sweater looks and feels fabulous.  

The instructions are complicated (at first, anyway) because they will be new to many.  The pieces you start knitting look like nothing at first, but if you keep faithfully following the patient and lucid instructions, you end up with a sweater.  It's kind of like one of those 3-D puzzles:  it's so hard to see how each individual piece contributes to the final structure, but at the end, everything makes sense. 

The book also extensively covers techniques in an extremely clear fashion; each technique is illustrated with many pictures and if that's not enough, you can find videos of all the techniques on Youtube.  My only (very minor) complaint would be that for some techniques (I'm thinking in particular of the increases and decreases), it would be more helpful to use a contrasting yarn so that it's easier to differentiate "old" stitches from "new" ones. 

The signature Sweater Workshop worksheet is a revelation.  I have done something similar myself (writing down line-by-line shorthand), though mine was never this detailed and I never formalized it in such a visually arresting way.  The worksheet is kind of fun (like math homework!) and though it's confusing when you look at the whole thing, it's easy to put together because you do it one section at a time.

I do have a few quibbles with the worksheet too:  like, does it need to include the wrong-side rows?  If you never have any shaping on the wrong-side rows, you can probably leave them out (like those lace charts where all the WS rows are just purled, so only right-side rows are included in the chart).  It would make the worksheet a little more compact, though that could be at the expense of readability.  On the other hand, maybe other sweaters get shaped on the wrong rows, just not the one I'm knitting. 

As well, having six colours of stitch marker seems a bit excessive.  However, these things could just be because of the particular sweater I'm knitting: because it's flat, it's easy to keep track of where you are.  I could see it being harder when knitting in the round, thus necessitating six different colours of stitch marker. 

Overall, I love the worksheet -- I am loving the whole Cocoknits Sweater Method, so far.  I'm very excited to get back to working on it, as soon as my shoulders get on board with the idea.