Yes, designs should always be refreshing, but I’m speaking about freshening up–giving new life, reimagining, seeing with new eyes. Refreshing designs you know is an excellent way to revisit something you’ve done before. Don’t just redo, do something to create a fresh and new feeling.
Refreshing the Yarn
This is kind of a no-brainer, but what if you did something radically different? Instead of finding another wool to redo a favorite pullover or cardigan or shawl, what about trying it in linen, silk, or a viscose blend? This is going to take some fiddling to get the right gauge and needle size–I’m talking swatching–but you could achieve a lovely drapey fabric, in a silhouette you already know, that is suitable for a different time of year. Now it isn’t going to be exactly the same as your familiar wool piece, but it would be exciting to see how the different fiber reacted, which would make the whole project new.
Refreshing the Fabric
You are probably in a summer-knits frame of mind, so what about making a change to a simple summer top? This one, Western Addition, is simplicity itself, but seems to beg for something more interesting to happen to it. Choosing a simple knit and purl stitch that didn’t change gauge is one approach, but what about a simple lace or eyelet pattern? This will make this an entirely different piece! Changing the stitch pattern in the trim would also really change the look of this piece. It needs to be dense and flat, but nearly any 1×1 rib variation could be awesome. Or what about changing both using Ringlet Stitch. The diamond could go up the center, or off to one side (favoring the left) and replace the existing trim with the Ringlet Stitch itself. The patterns are in Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.
Refreshing a Design Element
The shape of this top is so basic that there is room for other changes. What if you just got sick of doing the stockinette as you were working along? You could make a yoke by beginning the neck trim two or three inches early.
You could make stripes a la a Breton nautical tee if you had two colors. Don’t want stripes all over? Just start the stripes at some point above your waist. Vary the width to make them more flattering. Here are some ideas. If it were me I’d do the red stripe version with the bottom dark, and the stripes at the top.
Adding a Design Element
Adding a pocket or two could change this into an even more casual look. Make the body of the pocket of the trim pattern and fit it into the lower left corner. Make the pocket even more different by making the opening on the side.
Here are things I’ve refreshed recently: