But what pattern? I did an advanced search on Ravelry for my three must-have characteristics:
(i) TOP DOWN CONSTRUCTION I am very tall - over 6 foot - so I'll need to try on my WIP and adjust as I go. I'm anticipating that I may need extra rows between the neck and the bottom of the armhole, and I'm definitely going to want extra length in the body and sleeves.
(ii) RAGLAN SLEEVES I have very wide shoulders. I've never found a woman's shirt or jacket that fits in the shoulders, except those with drop shoulders or raglan sleeves. As much as I moon over all those sweaters in "Hot Right Now" with round colourwork yokes, that kind of sweater doesn't fit me at all. My hope is that a Raglan will give me the fit I'm looking for.
(iii) DK WEIGHT YARN I want a nice squishy fabric but the thought of a worsted sweater just makes me feel hot and uncomfortable.
That's when I saw this pattern: Fall Line. It ticks my boxes and in addition, I like the plainness of the neck, chest and shoulders areas. No need to add bulky patterning in those areas!
Next step? Yarn. Remember that comment about "a nice squishy fabric" ... so that's wool, right? I chose Cascade 220 Superwash - a nice, reasonably priced wool yarn. It's listed as a Light Worsted, but the knitting gauge is right on where I need to be. Colour-wise I was wavering between 1235 Red Wine Heather and 1918 Shire. Gavin preferred the Shire, and there 10 balls of the same dyelot left, so I ordered them all. I'll need extra for lengthening the sleeves and the body, and besides, it's also the perfect weight yarn for fingerless mitts should there be leftover.
I picked up the yarn from the post office on Tuesday and then bought the pattern. The pattern calls for (2) 4.5 mm circular needles (eek!) - one 24" and one 40". Going through all my supplies I found a 40" Addi Turbo 4.5 mm circular - google confirming that the measurement is from needle tip to tip and NOT just the cord - so I used that to swatch.
The pattern instructions indicate that the swatch is knitted in the round, so that was my first challenge. I cast on 50 sts and learned magic loop from this tutorial by TinCanKnits. Turns out it's a lot easier than I thought and I got the hang of it quickly. I knit 16 rounds and then measured. Looks like my gauge is almost perfect - both stitch gauge and row gauge looks good! I'm feeling very lucky as I was dreading all the math to adjust for that too. A question though... do you suppose that I even need to buy the smaller circular needle? Or can I make do with the 40" long circular?
So I guess that's the groundwork done. Tomorrow I cast on for real!!