It's wierd, the last week or so, have been sweaters all over the place. Knitting Daily and Grumperina and Craftster's Knitting forums have been talking about knitting, or not, sweaters. Knitting Daily especially - how a sweater fits on different people, sizing, adjustments, etc. So many of the comments are variations of "but it doesn't fit me" A designer isn't psychic, she (or he) can't write one pattern that will take into account every possible variation in length, neck-width, bust measurement, waist measurement, looser fit vs closer fit, yarn x instead of yarn z in a different gauge, etc etc. I spent a lot of time reading about knitting to fit.
When I started knitting again a few years ago, I wanted to be the kind of knitter who didn't *have* to have a pattern, that if I wanted to knit a sweater, or socks, or whatever, I could even if I didn't have a pattern. Socks, easy (now). Hats, piece of cake. Scarves, yeah, but I don't like knitting them (I don't mind crocheting them though, go figure)
Sweaters... well those always seemed so hard - so many measurements and I hate how raglans and other round-yoked sweaters look on me, so why bother knitting one of those? Set-in sleeves? I like those, but I can't figure out the shaping when I read a pattern to adjust it to be sure it fits. I saw Elizabeth Zimmerman's set-in sleeves (although I have no idea now in which book) but something about the sweater didn't seem like it would look good on me, so I didn't bother with hers either.
I took a knitter's math class a few years ago with Edie Eckman, turns out the measurements and calculations aren't so hard. The sweater I finished for dh a year or so later came out ok (even if I did have to re-do the lower body since he gained weight since I started the sweater - and now he's lost it again, I haven't decided yet if I'm reknitting it AGAIN) . I used Barbara Walker's set-in-sleeves - except for using different pick-up methods (which look so obvious to me, but probably aren't to anyone else, especially in black yarn) it came out well, and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. There were 2 hard parts - one was getting the snowflake pattern dh wanted centered, and not taking notes so I ended up having no idea what I did on the first sleeve to repeat on the second. I take better notes now.
The Thora sweater I'm working on now for isn't hard knitting either - at least not after I figured out how to center the patterns I wanted. I couldn't follow the pattern for the pattern placement since I was knitting it with a different neck&shoulder, yoke, whatever than the pattern called for. Basically, I'm using the Thora pattern for the stitch patterns, not the sweater shaping instructions. For that, I'm using Barbara Walkers' "Knitting from the Top" and adjusting the fit as I go. Or at least I will once I'm done with the sleeves. Only have 1/2 of one sleeve to go before the sleeves are done.
I'm going to knit now. I don't know if I'll become a sweater-only knitter (I doubt it, not portable enough) or if it'll be 'been there, done that' and Thora is it for sweater knitting. We'll see. But at least, I know I don't need a pattern.
And Stacie loved the baby sweater.