I figure if I actually plan to knit a dozen sweaters next year, I'd better do a bit of preparation. Also, the weather in Seattle right now (1" to 2" of snow last night, high of 29 today with 15 to 25 mph winds and a low of 19 tonight - very cold for us) definitely feels right for sweater planning, especially bulky sweater planning while I catch up with everyone after a couple of days with no internet.
I've browsed sweater projects on Ravelry and added a bunch to my favorites for later consideration/ideas. My plan for the year involves working with Elizabeth Zimmerman's bottom-up EPS 'patterns' and Barbara Walker's top-down ones. I like the design-your-own, seamless style of pattern and have knit several of Karen Alfke's Unpattern, and I'll make at least one of those for the Seattle Knitters Guild KAL, but I want to get comfortable with both of these other types in a couple of variations. I also want to do two or three things using cables and get nice and comfortable with them, too.
I bought enough of this sale-priced bulky-weight Cascade Tweed 109 for four cozy-soft house sweaters. I also ordered a copy of the OOP Rowan Plaid book for some patterns and ideas in this gauge. I haven't done a lot of bulky-weight stuff so thought a guide to what works would help.
I started swatching for my first sweater of '09, a ribbed and elongated-cabled Cowl-neck saddle-shouldered EPS, in a 3spi yarn blended from alpaca and lilac gray Jacob. This should be a fairly quick project to give me a nice mental boost at the start. More on that with photos tomorrow when one of my swatches has dried.
And I assembled a selection of yarns to swatch so I can dive right into a project as I need one. Here I have the Tweed 109 in the center with, clock-wise from the top right corner, a dark gray Jaegar Extra-fine Merino Chunky, Tahiki Donegal Tweed, Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran, Noro Silk Mountain, and Rowan RYC Alpaca Soft.
In some of these yarns I have more than one color and project's-worth. Besides these I have a life-time supply of Jaeger Extra-fine Merino DK, with a sweater's worth of gauge swatch, and my Jaeger E-f Merino Aran EPS/giant swatch that I need to frog and restart plus two more project's-worth of that yarn.
I think I'm ready to get ready.