Then came the debate. I had two patterns and two yarns and which sweater was I going to do first? I decided to start with the one that I thought would require the most modifications--Cassidy. Then I could sort of "zone out" (ha!) on the other one.
When I look at a sweater pattern, I look at the pattern photo and then what people on Ravelry look like in that sweater to see what I will have to modify. I know now that I always have to make the sleeves shorter and the shoulders narrower. On this pattern, the sleeves also looked large in circumference on the model and some of the knitters who made it. The problem is that if you make the sleeve narrower, how do you change the sleeve cap shaping? When you change the size of the sleeve and the cap, you also have to change the size of the armhole on the body of the sweater.
These types of modifications require math I didn't even know how to do but I found an article on Knitty.com and then a Craftsy class on Handknit Garment Design by Shirley Paden. All I can say is Thank you, God, for Shirley Paden. There was a lot of math to be done, but with her class, I was able to make a very fine sleeve and it fit in just perfectly to the armhole. I can't recommend this class enough. When I had a question, she answered it thoroughly and quickly. I also bought her book and it is excellent. It has made me feel confident enough that I would like to try designing my own sweater in the not distant future.
I made a lot of modifications to Cassidy--some of which worked out really well and others that didn't work out as I had hoped. If you would like to read a bit more about what I changed and what worked and did not, you can check out my project page on Ravelry.
Remarkably, this sweater only took me a little over a month to knit and, believe me, there was A LOT of ripping and re-knitting to get the sizing right. I was getting a bit of tendonitis and had to take a knitting break after I finished.
I am now working on the other sweater, Miss BB. I actually knit this sweater years ago (see here) but I think the sweater was knit too loosely--it droops, is a bit too big, the sleeves are way too long and then the shoulders are so wide on me that the sleeve seam droops down my shoulders, making the sleeves even longer.
So you know how I joked about zoning out on this sweater? Not. I have re-knit the first part of the sleeve five times now to try and get it the right width. Mostly, it seems too narrow. I am knitting it at a tighter gauge than called for, which is making it a little more difficult. I am hoping the fifth time is a charm!