Well, I've finally done it! I've cast on for my very first sweater! And the coolest thing about it is, I have absolutely no idea what it will look like.
Although it probably won't be much of a mystery to anyone who has designed a sweater (or who has made enough of them), this sweater is certainly a mystery to me. I'm basing it very loosely on the OSW pattern (the 18" size, so as to be fitted but not skintight). My mods:
1. I cast on 2 extra stitches for each sleeve, so they can be worked in 2x2 ribbing in the round.
2. I added 6 stitches to each side for fronts, which I am increasing by 2 stitches every right-side row (just like the back and sleeves). The raglan lines between the sleeves and fronts are exactly like the lines between the sleeves and back. For the outside edges of the fronts, I am doing an M1 increase, two stitches in from the edge. I am slipping the first stitch of every row to get a chain stitch selvedge. I am very happy with this edge - it's pretty on its own, but also looks like it will be easy to pick up stitches from it.
Here's my plan: Work as specified in the OSW pattern (obviously with the additional increases for the fronts), until the back has the number of stitches required for the 18" size. On the OSW, this is the point where the sleeves would be worked, and this is where I will work my sleeves. I'm thinking 3 to 4 inches of 2x2 rib - about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way to my elbow.
Then I will try the thing on, and see what is going on with the fronts. My reasoning tells me that one of six things can be happening:
1. They just touch (give or take half an inch). In this case, I will join and work the bottom of the sweater in the round, ending with about 6 inches of 2x2 rib, and get a nice v-neck. Depending on the size of the V, I will add either a short crochet trim (just a single row of SC or crab stitch), or an inch or so of 2x2 ribbing.
2. They fall a couple inches short of touching. In this case, I will cast on enough extra stitches to join and work the bottom of the sweater as in Case 1. Then I will work 2x2 ribbing around the neckline for a crossover v-neck (see the Honeycomb Henley in Knitting Nature for a good visual, although mine will probably not be that deep).
3. They fall way short of touching. I will work the bottom of the sweater back and forth in rows, with no further increases. Then I will pick up stitches up one front, around the neck, and down the other front, and knit as much 2x2 ribbing as necessary to close the sweater with a small overlap. Then I'll wear it closed with a brooch (although mine will not have that cutaway bottom). When working the bottom of the sweater, I'll start the ribbing so that the length of the bottom ribbing matches the width of the ribbed trim.
4. They overlap slightly. I'll work straight down in rows, as in Case 3. Depending on the amount of overlap, I'll add a short ribbed trim or just a row of SC/crab stitch around the neck and fronts. I'll wear it closed with a brooch, as in Case 3.
5. There is a significant overlap. In this case, I'll work the bottom in rows, and continue to increase for the fronts until they reach where the opposite side seams would be, if there were side seams. (Like the Ballet Wrap Cardigan from the Winter 2005 IK.) Once that point has been reached, I'll work straight down in 2x2 ribbing until I reach the desired overall sweater length. I'll fasten with one inside and one outside button, and applied buttonloops. (Side note - these are the buttonloops I used for Darrow.)
6. They already overlap past the side seam point, and/or the thing just doesn't fit for some reason I have not foreseen, in which case I'll have to rip it out and try again with a different number of starting "front" stitches.
Current Status: 12 rows to go before I start working the sleeve ribbing.
Other OSW-Related News
I made a second OSW. A coworker saw my cousin's when I wore it last week, and said such nice things about it that I offered to make one for her in some stash charcoal grey Lamb's Pride Worsted. I didn't know what I was going to do with that yarn otherwise - I had bought 2 skeins of it intending to use it for a hat, then discovered that a hat actually takes less than one skein. (I have since learned to actually look at the yardage before I buy yarn.) I didn't want another hat in the exact same yarn, so the second skein plus a partial skein were just sitting there taking up my (very limited) storage space. I made the exact same OSW that I made for my cousin, same size and everything, except that I added a chain stitch selvedge on either side for ease in picking up stitches. Picking up stitches was easier this time, but instead of too many stitches on each front, I got 6 stitches too few. It doesn't pucker, so again I don't care. I will say that this one, with too few, feels slightly better on than my cousin's, with too many. I used one full skein plus about two yards of the partial skein.
True to form, I forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it to her. Maybe I'll start taking my camera to work every day, and sneak a shot in if she ever wears it. It's way too hot now, though; it will probably be a couple months at least.