Sewing for Knitting: DPN Case and Zippered Notions Pouch

This week, I spent some time working up some knitting-related storage solutions. When I started knitting long, long ago, I kept telling myself that I was going to bring out the sewing machine and whip up one of those roll-style needle cases. At this point, I hardly every use straight needles since I prefer circular needles and lean pretty heavily on my interchangeable needle set. But I do have a robust set of double-pointed needles (DPNs) that I use frequently enough that my current storage solution–an old shoebox from a pair of shoes that wore out years ago–isn’t cutting it anymore. I also have a pencil case that I keep all of my knitting notions in, but I’ve loved it to death and needed to replace it. Thus, my plans for this DPN case and zippered notions pouch were born.

Double Pointed Needle Case

For this case, I followed this tutorial from Crafty Avocado. The tutorial was really clear and easy to follow. On the whole, this was a simple project–it basically just requires some careful measuring and a lot of straight stitching. And in the end, I’ve got something a whole lot better than my current shoebox storage solution. All of the fabrics are quilting cottons from JoAnn’s.

There is a lot of top stitching on this project and the piece just gets thicker and thicker as you go, so I tried out a technique I’ve seen other people use before and kept a folded up square of fabric close by to put underneath the back of the presser foot to keep it level as I started stitching. I used this when I started stitching, whenever I turned a corner, and at the side of the piece when I was sewing over the closure tab and my presser foot needed to get over 4 more layers of fabric—it was a lifesaver every time. Because you end up with so many layers towards the end, the tutorial recommends switching to a heavier needle like a leather needle. I used an 14/90 universal needle for almost the entire project, but switched to a 16/100 heavyweight needle for the final step when you top-stitch around the fully-constructed case and the heavyweight needle worked fine. If I made this again, I’d probably use a large button and add a buttonhole to the closure tab rather than the recommended magnetic snap. The snap is really easy to install, but it’s also a bit bulkier than I’d like.

As you top stitch across the closure tab, you have to sew through the outer fabric, the lining, the two needle pockets, the two layers of the closure tab, four layers of interfacing, and the seam allowances for all that business. I was able to get through it without a problem, but while I was sewing, I couldn’t help but think of my old, crappy machine and how, if confronted with the same situation, it would have dramatically packed it’s bags and stormed out, letting the door slam behind it. I am endlessly thankful to have a machine with some chutzpa now.

Zippered Notions Pouch

I used another free tutorial for this one–specifically, the Brigitte Needles and Notions Pouch tutorial from Very Shannon. It’s a great tutorial, but this tiny little pouch gave me trouble at every turn, mostly because I’m a newb. I screwed things up right out of the gate by trying to sew while tired. The directions were perfectly clear but I couldn’t process the difference between the “pocket” and “pocket flap.” From there, I managed to screw up just about every step at least once before getting it right. I ultimately had to recut two of the pieces and ripped more seams than I can count, making this little 5×9″ pouch a bit more work than I had anticipated.

Most of my troubles were born out the fact that this is the first time I’ve installed a zipper before so I made a lot of stupid mistakes like waiting too long to shorten the zipper and then shortening it too much. Since I’d never done it before, I also had a little trouble figuring out how, exactly, to sew the lining to the zipper since the lining gets attached to the underside of the zipper. Basically, what I ended up doing was lining the right side of the lining fabric up with the teeth at the underside of the zipper and then pinning it into place from behind. Then I flipped the piece over and sewed the zipper to the lining with the zipper and the wrong side of the lining fabric facing up. It was super simple to sew together (once I figured out how to do it) and I was able to catch the lining fabric without any issues.

Sewing lining to zipper via

So this pouch was definitely more challenging than I expected, although it would probably be a no-brainer for someone with some basic bag-sewing experience. I’m glad I stuck with it—I think it will be really useful given it’s size and handy front pocket, which will be good for holding things like extra needles and such. And I’m proud that I managed to sew in my first perfectly functional zipper.

I know I’m going to get a lot of use out of both of these items, and I’d absolutely recommend both of the tutorials. But I think I’m done with this kind of sewing for awhile. I can’t quite articulate what the difference is, but I think I really prefer garment sewing—it gives me a much greater sense of satisfaction. As a palate cleanser, I went ahead and attached the elastic to the last two pairs of underwear that I cut out and constructed a couple of weeks ago. (You can read more about my underwear-sewing adventures in this post.) And now I’m ready to get cracking on my April garment project!

April Sewing Plans


My plan for this month’s Make a Garment a Month challenge is to try my hand at New Look 6104. I’m planning to make view A (the version the model is wearing), although I’m going to swap out the ruffle on the front with the pin tucks from versions C and D. Ruffles just aren’t my speed. The fabric I’m using is a light-weight chambray I ordered from several months ago. This pattern will definitely stretch my skills. I haven’t fitted a woven garment before. Nor have I sewn pin tucks, attached bias binding, or worked button holes. So, this could be an epic disaster. But one person on Pattern Review made this up as her first-ever garment with great results, so I’m feeling optimistic. (Okay, optimistic might be a strong word. I’m at least not feeling doomed from the get-go, so that’s something.) I’ll probably start working on my pattern alterations this weekend.

The Sew Obsessed group on Ravelry has a year-long sewalong in progress and this month, people are making short-sleeve woven shirts. Plus, this year’s Spring Top Sewalong hosted by Made By Rae starts next week, so I’ll be sort of triple-dipping with this project. After the success of my Day-to-Night Drape Top, I also have the Brigitte Basic Tee pattern on my short list of projects to make, so I should be able to get a couple more shirts made up before the end of the Spring Top Sewalong. I’ve got some gray rayon-Spandex jersey on hand already, but I also have a fabric order in route with some more jersey blends destined to become some basic T-shirts.

This crazy horse print is piece de resistance of my incoming fabric order. I can’t get enough of it. It reminds me of my 14-year-old sister/Tina Belcher, so I ordered it as soon as it popped up on Girl Charlee’s Pinterest page. I’m planning to use this fabric and another print  to make my two youngest sisters some summer PJs. Oh, and I’ve got a stack of towels sitting in my sewing area that I’m hoping to turn in wearable items for a couple other little lovelies. I haven’t been knitting recently, so I’ve instead been spending the time I would be knitting planning a million sewing projects. I’m going to need to get serious about the sewing if I have any chance of keeping up with all my plans. What are your spring crafting plans?


Jalie 2568: Sewing Underwear

Today’s riveting topic: underwear! The six pairs of underwear you see below are the result of the past two weekend’s sewing efforts. Last weekend, I managed to cut out and construct several pairs and this weekend I spent my sewing time applying elastic like it was my job. I still have two more pairs constructed, but they’ll have to wait until I get some thread to match the blue elastic I’m planning to use.

Jalie 2568 via

I absolutely hate shopping for clothes as it is a series of never-ending frustrations at not being able to find clothes that fit me well, that match my style, and that are not made from the worst possible materials. This was my impetus to seriously take up garment sewing—there suddenly came a moment when it seemed easier to me to just make my clothes than to try to find things I liked in stores. While I had been toying with the idea of sewing my own clothes for awhile, it was trying to shop for underwear last year that proved frustrating enough to push me over the edge. There came a moment when I realized that, as a fat woman, my options for buying underwear in an actual brick-and-mortar store were 1) to get the super-thin kind that hit around your ribcage and only come in white or 2) to pay $5-$14 a pair from Lane Bryant, which at the time was featuring a line of underwear that all had spectacularly irritating things like “sassy” written on the butt.

By then, I had already been following the blog So, Zo… and had read her numerous posts about how easy it was to sew underwear, and I figured, it can’t be any fracking harder to make them than it is to try to buy ones that aren’t the very essence of terrible. So I dusted off my sewing machine, dug up a handful of old t-shirts, and dove in. There ultimately came a moment where my old, crappy machine couldn’t manage sewing through two layers of elastic and a layer of fabric, which put my underwear production on hold for a few months. But before that point, I repurposed a lot of t-shirts as I played around with the pattern, tried out some different construction methods, and experimented with elastic in different ways. With this most recent batch of underwear, I’ve finally adjusted the pattern and sewing procedure to yield exactly the fit and finish I want. And that makes this my first tried and true (or TNT) sewing pattern—an important milestone for a sewing noob!

The pattern I’ve been using is Jalie 2568, which has options for either a bikini or hipster style with two different rises, as well as a pattern for stretch-lace boy shorts and a camisole. I picked this pattern primarily because it came in my size, but it also had really positive reviews. I’m really pleased with this pattern—it comes together quickly and it fits me perfectly right out of the envelope. It’s designed for fabrics with some Lycra content and says that your fabric should have 70% 4-way stretch, but I’ve almost always used fabric that has significantly less stretch—for any fabric with less than 50% stretch, I just cut out the next size up. Every pair shown here is the low-rise hipster style. I construct the underwear entirely on a regular sewing machine, using a narrow zig-zag stitch for the seams and a 3-step zig-zag stitch to attach the elastic. While I’ve made the pattern straight from the envelope, following the pattern instructions exactly, with good results, I have made two key changes to the way that I construct my underwear.

1. Using Fold-Over Elastic.

I’ve been using fold-over elastic (or FOE) to finish my underwear because I like the way that it looks, and I like the way that it encloses the raw edge. It’s also relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Most recently, I ordered a bunch of 5/8” FOE from an Etsy store called Elastic By the Yard. They sell elastic in a ton of different colors with lots of options for getting different yardage amounts–I got a couple of different 5 and 10 yard spools, which are really convenient, and the price ends up being under $.50/yard. A lot of sellers refer to FOE as “baby headband elastic,” which I find obnoxious, but obviously not so much as to prevent me from buying it.

As is, the Jalie pattern recommends using 1” stretch lace around the waist of the underwear, which means that some of the finished height of the rise comes from the height of the elastic. Because FOE doesn’t add any height, I’ve lengthened the waist on my pattern pieces by about 3/4”. The pattern also recommends simply hemming the legs of the hipster style rather than attaching elastic. I did this with most of my early pairs and while it’s comfortable, I can attest that if you wear pants with any kind of stretch content, you will seriously benefit from having elastic around the legs to keep things . . . properly anchored. I use the same elastic at the legs that I use at the waist and apply it using a 2-step method similar to that described in this tutorial from A Very Purple Person. While I cut the waist elastic to be 10-15% smaller than the waist measurement of the pattern pieces, I only cut the elastic for the legs a bit smaller (somewhere between .5” and 1” smaller) than the leg opening. I will say that, once attached, the FOE feels stiffer than the elastic you’re probably used to seeing on RTW underwear, but it feels really comfortable while wearing.

2. Changing the pattern to have a separate, sandwiched gusset.

The Jalie pattern includes 3 pieces—a front, a back, and then a lining piece that you sew together with the bottom part of the front. This means that the (and I apologize in advance for having to use this terrible word) crotch is part of the front pattern piece. You can see the original pattern pieces for the front and the lining, which are both cut on the fold, in the photo below. This method works perfectly well, but it does leave one edge of the lining exposed and the longer front pattern piece makes it tricky to eke a pair of underwear out of a small piece of fabric.

While reading underwear-sewing tutorials, I saw several people using patterns with an entirely separate crotch gusset piece that, when sewn together with the lining, completely encloses the front and back seams. I decided to alter the Jalie pattern to use this construction method—it was really simple and took about 60 seconds to complete. I simply laid the original lining piece over the bottom of the front piece and drew a line across the top of the lining piece—this line becomes the new seam line for the front piece. I then added a 1/4” seam allowance to the bottom of the new seam line on the front piece and the top of the former lining piece.

Jalie 2468 Alterations via

The photo below shows my altered pattern pieces. What was just a lining piece is now the pattern piece for the crotch gusset and lining. When I am cutting out my fabric, I now cut out a front (with the altered pattern piece), a back, and two of the lining/gusset pieces and then construct them as shown in Very Purple Person’s underwear sewing tutorial. This method gives a really satisfying, clean finish to the inside of the underwear. The altered pattern pieces have also made it possible for me to get two pairs of underwear out of 1/2 yard of fabric.

So there you have it—a really long post about making underwear. Underwear seems to be to sewists what dishcloths are to knitters—lots of people swear by their me-mades and lots of other people can’t imagine why you’d bother making something so basic that will see so much use and abuse. I’m firmly in the camp of swearing by my me-mades and have set myself a goal of replacing all of my RTW underwear by the end of the year. So onto the next pair!

Day-to-Night Drape Top

Despite a busy month where I didn’t do much sewing, I still managed to finish my March Make a Garment a Month project on time. This is the MariaDenmark Day-to-Night Drape top, which is a very straight-forward PDF pattern. The pattern is for a sleeveless top, but I added sleeves by using the short sleeve pattern piece from the MariaDenmark Brigitte Tee, which is another PDF pattern. I just picked the sleeve size that gave me the upper arm circumference I wanted and was able to set it into the Day-to-Night pattern without a problem.

This is a dead-simple sew. The pattern includes instructions for finishing the back neckline with either fold-over elastic or clear elastic. I had both on hand, but went with a black fold-over elastic for the neckline and I think it makes for a really clean finish. The pattern piece for the front includes a facing that you simply fold over at the shoulder so you don’t have to to do any finishing to the front neckline. After attaching the elastic to the back neckline and then sewing the shoulders together, I attached the sleeves flat, sewed the side seams together, and then finished the sleeves and the hem. Done and done. I did everything except for the bottom hem in a single evening, which is saying  a lot since I am a sewing n00b and rather slow.

I haven’t been totally happy with the hems on my last two knit garment projects, so I decided to try finishing the sleeves with bands, and I’m really happy with the way that it looks. It gives a very clean finish with very little effort. For the sleeve bands, I just cut out a strip of fabric that was 2” tall and just slightly less wide (by about .5”) than the finished circumference of the sleeve. For the bottom hem, I considered using a twin needle, but couldn’t figure out for the life of me how to do so on my new machine. It’s weird because the machine came with a second thread spool but I can’t find any place in the manual where it explains where to actually attach the second spool. So in lieu of using a twin needle, I created a faux-band hem finish like SarahLiz describes in one of her recent blog posts. I’m pleased with the way that it looks and, quite honestly, I think a band finish might become my go-to for simple knit projects like this.

I didn’t make any major fit changes to this pattern, aside from grading from an XL at the shoulder to a 2X at the bust to a 3X at the hip. I have some strain lines at the bust so I probably should have done an full-adjustment (the pattern even links to a tutorial that shows you how to do one on this particular pattern), but I didn’t. I’ll probably give it a try the next time I make this pattern. The only other change I made was to add .5” at the shoulder. Since this is drafted as a sleeveless top, the shoulders are more narrow than you’d want for something with sleeves. Even with the added shoulder width, the shoulders are still sitting too far in, although I think this might be an effect of the way that the elastic is currently pulling the back neckline in. The pattern tells you to cut the elastic 10% shorter than the length of the neckline, but I think that next time I might cut the elastic just a smidge longer.

The fabric is a cotton-rayon slub knit from Girl Charlee. The fabric color is described as burgundy, but it’s closer to purple than red, and the slub knit effect gives it some black texture throughout. (It’s been very gray in Syracuse so none of these pictures do a great job of capturing the color. The very first picture is probably the most accurate as far as capturing the color.) The fabric has good stretch and drapes well, so it was a good match for this project. It’s lightweight but not sheer and it feels very cool. This will be a good shirt to wear in the thick of summer—good news for me since I’ll be teaching during July and August. They have this slub knit fabric in a few other colors and I’m thinking pretty seriously about stocking up. Since I don’t really like wearing prints, it’s nice to have solid colors that have a bit of texture to them.

All in all, I’m really happy with the way that this project turned out—it’s comfortable, it fits well, and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it. I can definitely see myself making this pattern again. I’d love to try making this in a lightweight sweater knit with long sleeves. I’m also so pleased with the fit of this top, that I’m planning to try the Brigitte Tee, which is by the same designer, in hopes that it fits a bit better than the Kwik Sew pattern I tried earlier this year. But for the purposes of MAGAM, I’m going to set the knits aside for a bit and try to develop my skills fitting and sewing wovens. Onward!

March Sewing Plans and Sewing-Related Birthday Shopping

Somehow, March always ends up being my busiest month. And to prove it, I haven’t done much sewing at all. But I’m committed to keeping up with the Make a Garment a Month challenge, so even though there’s only a week left in the month, I’m still planning to whip something up. I had initially planned to try a slightly more challenging pattern for this month, but the fact that there’s only a week left in the month tells me that I need to keep things simple. So my revised plan is to make Maria of Denmark’s Day to Night Drape top, although I’m planning to add some sleeves since I think I’ll get more wear out of it that way. I’ve read that people have had good luck using the sleeves from the same designer’s Brigitte tee pattern, so that’s probably what I’ll do. I’m planning to use some burgundy slub knit jersey fabric from Girl Charlee to make this up–it’s a cotton rayon jersey blend that’s a bit more purple than it appears in this (crappy phone) photo.

March Sewing.jpg

Even though I haven’t been doing much sewing, I’ve definitely had sewing on the brain. Yesterday was my birthday and I celebrated over the weekend with a little shopping spree at JoAnn Fabrics, where I picked up a bit of fabric for an upcoming project, as well as a bunch of sewing and pressing tools that I’ve been wanting for a while. So now I am the happy owner of a tailor’s ham, a seam roll, a set of bias tape makers, some new marking tools, a clear quilting ruler and a new pair of bent-tip embroidery scissors. Unfortunately, JoAnn’s was beset by a huge group of nasal-talking sorority sisters who were buying lots of satin and tulle and ribbon for some sort of mystery event. They were ridiculously annoying–young people traveling in groups have a way of losing all sense of consciousness about what/who is around them–and they kept giving the ladies at the cutting table instructions like, “Measure her head. That’s how much we need.” I was relieved to see that none of them were my past or present students. Still, I’m really pleased to have a tailor’s ham, so it was worth it.

Birthday goods.jpgI also picked up a copy of Christine Haynes’s new book The Photo Guide to Clothing Construction. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers say that this is a book they wished they had when they started sewing, which made me think that this book is exactly what I need. When Craftsy had a big sale on classes a week or two ago, I also bought Gail Yellen’s 40 Techniques Every Sewer Should Know. I haven’t been able to dig into the book yet, but I have watched a few of the Craftsy class videos, and I’m totally in love. It makes such a big difference as a new, self-taught sewer to actually see a clear and accessible teacher demonstrating good techniques. Gail Yellen is the kind of person who is a proponent of taking a bit of extra time to do things right, which is what I’m all about. (Unless it’s something stupid, in which case I think you should totally rush through it. There’s no reason to give your all to washing the dishes—they’re just going to get dirty again.)

I hear so many seamstresses gush about fabric and while I certainly like shopping for fabric, it’s really sewing tools and reference books that make me geek out. I have to keep reminding myself that my skills don’t require owning a sleeve board or a bunch of books about tailoring just yet. But I’m going to get there!


More Home Sewing: Throw Pillows

We’ve been in the process of freshening up our living room. Aidan ordered some new slipcovers for our sad couches and we went out and bought some new “art” (not sure you can call it that if you buy it from Marshall’s) to hang on the walls. Our old throw pillows were basically beaten to a pulp. But even if they were in better shape, they didn’t match the new slipcovers at all. We looked at throw pillows at Target and at TJ Maxx, but the options were truly terrible. They either weren’t in the color we wanted or had terrible embellishments or were made in that satin-y kind of fabric that is seriously the worst possible fabric to have anywhere near cat paws. 

So we put my new sewing skills to work once again and bought some fabric and some new pillow forms from JoAnn’s to make our own throw pillows. We picked out the brown and green stripe pattern for the fronts of the pillows and found a coordinating green for the backs. Both fabrics are decor-weight cottons that were really easy to work with and that will stand up nicely to our many cats.

To make these, I followed the same procedure I used to make the fleece cat bed I posted about awhile ago. I just followed the steps outlined in this video for making an envelope-style pillow case. The pillow forms we bought were 16″ square. I cut the fronts of the pillow to be 16″x16″ and then cut the back pieces 16″x10″. As Dana says in the video, cutting the fabric the same dimensions as the pillow form makes the resulting pillow case fit nice and snug. I sewed all four pillows assembly-line style, which was a little tedious but relatively quick. I did all the work for these in a single afternoon.

Most of the throw pillows we looked at in stores were somewhere around $20-$30 a piece. And that’s for fabric our cats would shred apart. We lucked out and got the pillow forms for 50% off at JoAnn’s, and we managed to get the striped fabric at the discounted remnant price. That, combined with JoAnn’s bizarro coupon system, meant that we walked out of the store with everything we needed to make four throw pillows for $50. 

Of course, right after I finished these, a blog post popped up in my Feedly about adding piping to the edges of pillows. Why didn’t I think of that? Next time.

Blank Canvas

This is kind of a boring, basic pullover, but this project was meant to be an experiment with a different sweater construction method. I’d say the experiment was a success.

I prefer to knit sweaters in pieces and then seam them together, and this is partly because I find knitting an entire adult-sized sweater in one piece rather tedious and partly because I’ve just had better luck getting a seamed sweater with set-in sleeves to fit me well. Raglan sweaters, in particular, have given me a lot of trouble in the past because they just don’t seem to agree with my body. Not only have I found it difficult to get a good fit with traditional raglan sweaters, but I don’t think they look particularly good on me either. I just don’t seem to have broad enough shoulders to pull a raglan sweater off without looking, well, frumpy. While a set-in sleeve helps to define my (relatively narrow) shoulders, traditional raglan lines have a way of making my shoulders disappear. Not good. Still, the lines of a raglan sweater offer some attractive design options (color blocked sleeves, textured sleeves, striped sleeves, lace sleeves, etc.) that just wouldn’t look quite as good with the set-in sleeves I typically prefer.

So I wanted to try Ysolda Teague’s Blank Canvas pattern, which claims that women who don’t typically look good in raglan sweaters might prefer the look of the modified raglan shaping used in her pattern. A traditional raglan yoke is shaped through a series of decreases or increases (depending on which direction you’re knitting) where the sleeves and the torso connect. These decreases/increases are worked at an equal rate across the sleeve and torso, and are usually worked at a consistent frequency, to basically create four straight lines that run diagonally from the underarm to the neckline. The yoke of Blank Canvas switches up the traditional raglan shaping and instead has you decrease across the sleeve and body at differing rates and also changes the frequency of decrease at different points in the yoke to create a raglan line that more closely follows the physical contours of the arm and shoulder. And I can now verify that this kind of shaping does, indeed, look a lot better on we narrow-shouldered-and-busty types who don’t look good in a traditional raglan.

I followed the instructions for the size that most closely matched my upper bust measurement and the fitting through the shoulders is spot-on. This method of shaping the yoke isn’t quite as simple and straight-forward as working a traditional raglan, but Ysolda’s pattern directions are very clear and easy to follow. Now that I’ve worked with the pattern, I feel like I could easily adjust the shaping to accommodate different weights of yarn. I’m looking forward to playing around with this raglan construction more in the future. While I followed the instructions for the yoke shaping and the sleeves, I determined my own cast-on numbers, worked out my own shaping through the body, and added my usual 3” of HBDs. I also swapped the pattern’s crew neck for a deep V-neck. The yarn I used is Berroco Vintage DK in Neptune—it’s a color that says “spring” even if the weather around here doesn’t agree.

The view from our front door last Wednesday. Taken during my “Spring” Break.

There are a couple of other things that I’ve learned from this project:

  • Because I modified the pattern to create a deep V-neck, I worked all of the raglan shaping back and forth rather than in-the-round as the pattern specifies, and this  meant having to work some of the decreases from the wrong side. This turned out to be pretty easy, and it’s a good reminder that I can decrease on wrong side rows whenever I’m knitting flat if I want to—something that opens up possibilities for figuring out rates of decrease in the future.
  • This pattern uses a different increase method than I’ve worked before. I usually work a M1R/M1L, while this pattern uses lifted increases (which are explained at the end of this Knitty article). I was a little worried about how these increases would look in the final product, but they create a very neat finish. The best part is that I think it’s a lot more intuitive to figure out how/when to work a left or right-leaning decrease than it is with the M1R/M1L business. I plan to continue using lifted increases in the future.
  • Finally, I wanted to tweak the fit at the back of the sweater since I don’t think I’ve been using quite enough back shaping. However, I couldn’t decrease on the back any faster than I’d been doing or the fabric would start to bias. So after looking at some other people’s projects on Ravelry (which is a nice way of saying that I spent a lot of time studying other people’s backsides), I decided to add a second dart halfway between my usual decrease line and the edge of the back of the sweater. I decreased an additional half inch on either side (removing an extra inch of fabric overall), and I’m really happy with the result. I’ll definitely be working that second set of darts in the future.

I want to keep expanding my familiarity with different sweater construction methods. I want to try making a circular yoked sweater (perhaps the Van Doesburg Pullover from the Spring issue of KnitScene?), and I’m also intrigued by the top-down method Andi Satterlund uses in her patterns. Do you have a favorite sweater construction method?