Update! I've been calling the cardigan project for mom The Flamingo Cardi, not just because of the yarn color, but because the sweater itself actually reminds me of a flamingo. The long lines, the graceful sweep of the upper back, and the broad, folded back "wings" that make up the sides and lower back - all it needs is some black leggings! :)
I knit from both ends up, so that the slip stitch columns would go the same direction, and kitchenered them together at the center. Looking at the photo, the original sweater clearly just has a regular seam there, but I wanted something with a lower profile that would lay comfortably on the back of the neck, and not add bulk to an already considerably bunched collar. The graft isn't completely invisible, since I couldn't mimic the slipped stitches, but it is neat, smooth, and will be largely hidden when worn anyway.
The photos of the original sweater were a great place to start for some of the basic shaping needs, but there were two major problems - 1) Mom didn't move the sleeve, so several columns of stitches were completely obstructed, including the underarm shaping; and 2) it's a 3D shape, and as neatly as she had it spread out, I still can't see the shape of the flat knitted piece without actually ripping some seams out.
So, I turned to draping to help me work it out. Draping, in sewing and garment making, is the process of ruining a cheap piece of fabric by pinning it to a dressform where you need the final garment to hang, making sure to pin down where you need folds, darts, etc, marking the armholes and so forth, and then using that as a mock-up or pattern for cutting your nice fabric. It can also be useful in knit designing, because once you get all your outlines marked while the fabric is on the dressform, you can then take it off, lay it flat, and use the measurements to math out exactly what you need to do with your needles to make that odd shape.
I do not have much experience with draping. I am a lazy costume maker and I usually just dive right into my nice fabric. However, I recently acquired a very large lace dust ruffle at Goodwill, and the center of it (the part that usually gets hidden under your mattress) is a perfect source of throwaway material. Still, my first attempt at creating a draped mock-up for the wings was very Frankenstein:
|I am terrible at draping.|
Sadly, based on the size of this panel and the fact that I have already consumed more than 40% of my yarn, I know now for sure that I do not have enough yarn to do the sleeves. I will contact Knit Picks to see if they even have any left in this dye lot, and then figure out what I'm going to do from there.