Posted in knitting

Finished Object – Passages cardigan

Despite the long gestation period, this cardigan came out pretty well. I went with silver buttons to add a little bling to this teal blue sweater.

And now if you will indulge me, I would like to share some tips on how to make a sweater that fits. These nuggets of learning were revealed to me the hard way – through many years of experience and the making of several ill-fitted sweaters.

1. Start with the right measurements. For a sweater, these include hip, bust, cross-back, neck to wrist, armhole depth, upper arm width, and length (shoulder to garment hem.) TIP: If you own a coat or sweater that fits you well, you can take these measurements from it. If you don’t, get a friend to measure you.

2. Consider ease. Different body areas require different amounts of ease. Also different styles and yarn weights require more or less ease – thick yarns should have more ease, thin yarns can have no ease, or even negative ease. You may want a lot of room in your hip area, but a close fit at your bust – or vice versa! For an average fit, allow 2 inches at bust and hips and at least 1 inch at upper arm. Then use the schematic of your pattern to choose the right width to match your measurements and desired ease. TIP: Never add ease to the cross-back measurement. This is the distance across your back at the top of your armpits. If your sweater is too loose here it will slide off your shoulders.

Photo shows the cross-back area.

3. Make a swatch. Or two or three. While EZ says to swatch in stockinette stitch, I like to swatch in the same stitch that I will be using for the garment. Always wet-block your swatch. I know, this seems like an extra step. But it’s important because certain yarns (superwash) and quite a few stitch patterns open up a lot with blocking. If you take your gauge from an unblocked swatch, your sweater will invariably end up too long and too wide.

4. If you are curvy, incorporate waist shaping. Adding a decrease section and then an increase section between hips and ribs eliminates bulkiness while making room for your breasts. You can also use short rows under the bust area to add more fabric where it is needed in the sweater front.

5. Block the finished pieces before assembling. It makes the sewing up much easier. For this sweater, I wet-blocked the body and sleeves. I then sewed the shoulder seams with back-stitch and the sleeve seams with mattress stitch. Next I knit on the button band. To set in the sleeves use yarn and back-stitch up from the underarm to the shoulder seam. Tie off yarn and sew up the other side.

I hope that you have found something of value in my long discourse. For those who are wondering, the pattern is called Passages from and the yarn is Camino Alpaca Premium 6-ply from Bremont. It is a wool, alpaca and nylon blend.

Posted in knitting

Sweater Weather?

Well, not really. The morning started as sunny, breezy and temps in the 70s. But I am encouraged to think about cooler times with the arrival of the last day of September.

I’m also encouraged by the fact that I’ve moved to the blocking stage a cardigan that has been on my needles all summer long. Here she is, drying under a ceiling fan.

The pattern is called Passages and is from Knit Picks. I purchased it for my daughter over a year ago. She was unable to make a lot of progress on it with the new baby and all. So I thought I would try it.

The stitch pattern, called Gull and Garter, is an easy stockinette variable over five stitches and four rows. Row 1: Bring yarn to front, slip five stitches. Row 2: Purl. Row 3: Knit two stitches. Insert right needle under loose strand and into next stitch. Knit normally then bring the new stitch out from under the strand. The loose strand is caught up behind the third stitch. Row 4: Purl. This Gull pattern is interspersed with three garter stitches. Here is a link to the sweater pattern on KnitPicks.

The only adjustments I made to were to gauge for a thinner yarn and add some waist shaping. After sewing up the shoulder seams I will knit on a 2 inch button band-collar and sew on the sleeves. This WIP will be DONE.

Posted in colorwork, knitting

Project Unearthed

Yesterday, as I was tidying up my studio, I came across a project bag. In it were four small balls of sock yarn and this inspiration photograph:

Technically, this project is half finished. I knit my first pair of gloves last winter, using an eight stitch square stranded knitting pattern that I had designed. They turned out great and I wore them frequently during the cold months that followed.

Grey is merino wool and nylon, white is alpaca

But I had intended to make patterned mitts to wear over the gloves, as a fashion statement and to give some extra warmth when needed. Today I will start this project. I don’t want to copy the inspiration photo slavishly, rather, I’d like to make something unique. ┬áIt will be a bit tricky, because 1: The design must be about 8 inches around because that is the diameter of my hand, 2. The mitts are knit in the round, and 3. I don’t know the gauge yet. I will need to determine the gauge before I finalize the design. Here is the chart that I drew:

This design suggests palm trees to me. Notice that the pattern stitch repeat and the pattern row repeat are both multiples of eight. My plan is to cast on 64 stitches, assuming that I will get a gauge of 8 stitches per inch. At least that is what I usually get with sock yarn and stranded knitting. So here is my 64 stitch swatch fresh off the needles:

Hm, it seems a little bit big.

It knit up pretty well. I kinda like the design. Here is the swatch blocked:

If you have sharp eyes, you will notice that the blocked piece is 4 and 1/2 inches across, making it 9 inches around. Too big! While I could try to get gauge with smaller needles, I’m not sold on this design for the mitts. The scale is too large.
I’ll go back to the drawing board and try again. Thankfully, the cold weather is over for the next eight months.