Friday, February 29, 2008


I finally have a swatch to show. As you can see, my gauge in the lower portion is different from the upper. I'm making this sweater for my 3-yo son and used the weaving method to prevent longer floats (floats and wild 3-yos don't go together). I wonder whether or not that makes the difference in gauge or if it would be that way regardless. In either case, I suppose I'll just go up in needle size when I get to the motif. And I'll probably do a zig-zag pattern along the bottom. Anyway, I love my colors (except the brown) and the yarn I'm using, which is JaggerSpun Maine Line fingering.

I also played around with a crocheted steek. This was my first time steeking so I've got a few questions:
  1. What steeking method are you all using? Does it matter in this case?
  2. When I get to the point where I do my checkerboard border stitches (is that what they're called?), do I bind off a certain number of stitches and then start them?
  3. Do I do the sleeves first, measure and then determine the length of the steek? Or is there some way to calculate how long the steeked section should be ahead of time?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The attack of the gauge grinch

My sweater sleeve grows slowly. Many of you know the feeling. Knit, knit, knit, measure. No change! Knit, knit, knit. measure again. I have done all the increases that I calculated. The sleeve is still too narrow and shorter than expected. Check the gauge on the sweater body in the lice section. I wish I had measured the gauge on the swatch before its bath. I think it relaxed. Refigure using the new figures. I've almost finished the "extra" increases and the sleeve width looks good. I'm at 16" long and close to the 20" circumference that I aimed for. Lice will continue until 19" and then the zigzag pattern like the yoke peerie. The sleeve will be worked straight after I finish the increases. I'll count the rows of lice to make the other sleeve match.

No Knitting, But a Sketch

Okay, I've decided to start working back and forth from the underarms up. I'm just waiting to be in the right frame of mind to check my gauge and perhaps do a bit of decreasing for the upper body, and figure out what that means for the sleeves.

In the meantime, here's a rough sketch of my sweater. The red in the drawing represents the trim and the red hatching that only shows at centerback is the fabric facing.

The two bits of trim are samples from Norway. I'm leaning toward the one on the right with a bit of green in it, although I like the handwoven look and feel of the other. I found a source for buttons here in the U.S.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Here is a photo of how far along I am - almost to the armpits. I have no idea why I did the steek all in white, I planned stripes.

This gives a better idea of how it will look. The buttonholes will be bound in red, and hopefully the edge will lay down when blocked.

Now I have to decide how to proceed. I originally was planning on doing the whole thing in the round, with steeks at the armholes, and cutting out the neckline. But the Fana book says to work the front and back separately from the underarms. This makes sense because the neck isn't a "V", it is actually a very large "U", which I like, but I would end up cutting out a lot of knitting. However, it will mean purling, which I try to avoid (and not sure if my knitting will "match"). It will give a nice bound off edge to graft the sleeves onto, though.

Also, I wanted to do some shaping because the sweater that fits me well is 46" at the bottom, and 42" at the chest. I have to figure out how that will affect my sleeves. I've been studying Ethnic Knitting Discovery, Knitting in the Old Way, and Fanatroyer to decide my next steps.

I guess I can start a sleeve while I think about all this. The cuffs are worked flat because there is a slit and button effect, not sure why one wouldn't just steek, though. At least that will be some practice on working the shoulder star motif flat.

Sleeve progress

The body of the sweater is ready for steeking. I just need to finish a sleeve to know how long to make the sleeve steek. The sleeve is about 10" now, but each row gets longer for a while. The finished sleeve will be about 20 1/2" long. A long way to go, and lice pattern is not as interesting as the other patterns. The upside is that 3/4 of the rows are just knit in one color. This is working well for the sleeve increases. I'm increasing every 4 rows and the lice pattern is an 8 row pattern. I am putting the increases in the row before the lice. It's a lot easier than increasing in the pattern at the wrist. When the sleeve reaches the target width, I'll work straight up to the shoulder seam.

What is all that stuff on the top of the sleeve? The sleeve is too big around for the dp needles, so I added a circular. There are 3 dps and one circular on the sleeve right now. I really need a 2nd circular, which is on order from KnitPicks. The side marker is where I started on Sunday morning. It helps to know how much progress I've made. It is on a circular earring finding. The other marker is at the start of the increases and makes it easy for me to count how many I've done.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The light is even closer

I know the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train!!I have 5 rows to go on the body and 3 of them are knit plain. What you don't see here is more zigzag pattern. I had to rip out 3 rows because I wanted it to mirror what is below the yoke. Next up is sleeves. After I knit one sleeve, I'll probably sew the steeks. At that time, I'll know exactly how wide the sleeve top is. I'm doing a round neck, as I don't look good in boat necks and this is a cardigan. The top of the sweater looks like it pulls in, but it is still on the needles. My shoulders are narrower than my hips anyway. I have a better picture of the yoke pattern, but don't look too closely at the zigzags. They are mirrored now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Moving ahead. Finally!

Hi, All. I finally am moving forwards instead of backwards. Sheesh. I got my gauge with the headband and worked out the math quite easily. Then I start knitting totally wonky...either too loose or too tight. ARGH! I had to tear it out 5 times. That's bad when you are a wide body using not so heavy yarn. The yarn was beginning to look pretty frazzled. Anyway, I've got my gauge correct and am finishing up the bottom pattern. Then I'll start the lice. I think I will be putting in gussets at the under arm. I have no idea what I'll be doing for the chest patterning. I'm just winging it. I've got 10 inches or so before I have to decide.

No way will I be ready to steek at the end of the month. I'll just hide and watch while I'm slowly knitting away.

Body Progress - near the end

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I finally got the yoke pattern centered (It took 3 tries, requiring frogging 10 rows each time). I have the peerie pattern lined up with the other pattern so that the diamond ponts match with the zigzags. I'm using a 30 row pattern which I will repeat once and then add the peerie pattern again. The body measures 16".

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A bit done

Okay, so far my work is looking a little wonky. I've started the lice there at the top but you can't see it very well in this picture.
There are several issues going on:
1. I decided to have my large motif on the bottom and I'm still not sure what I'm doing on the top.
2. The hem facing is out of a yarn with a slightly different gauge and I'll have to re-do that later.
3. Clearly, I need of lot of blocking, but I think it should even things out.
4. I have 16" knitted and have 14" more to go so we'll just see....

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Starting our sweaters

It looks like at least one person has gotten started on their sweater. I'd love to see more pictures of the swatches, too! A lot of you who have signed up for the blog haven't poste yet, so get those photos uploaded to inspire the rest of us!

If you followed the last post I wrote and made your headband swatch, you'll have a pretty good idea about how I organized the projects:

Get Ready -- Select your yarn and needles. If you made the swatches already, then you've already gotten this part completed.

Get Set -- Gauge and sizing. You should have your gauge figured out, and you'll use the sweater schematic and/or the worksheet in the book to figure out the nubers you need to get started. If you have any questions about this important part of the process, feel free to post them in comments here or on the EthnicKnits Yahoo! Group.

Knit! -- That's what we've all been waiting for, right? Using the sweater schematic (for those who already are familiar with sweater design and who like to wing it), the worksheet (for those who like to figure out all the numbers in advance, or the step-by-step instructions (for those who like extra notes that help with the details and keeping your place), forge forward with excitement and bravery!

Here's a tip about row gauge from page 125:
Although row gauge is not critical in this sweater, knowing the total height of all your chosen pattern stitches lets you check to be sure they will fit within the length of the sweater body. In addition, if your rows are very tall or
very short, the pattern stitches may look distorted. You can troubleshoot this by knitting the swatches. If you prefer, you can choose your pattern stitches as you go along and wing it, in which case you may not be able to complete the chart for the pattern at the shoulders. If it looks like you won’t have enough room for a larger pattern in the allotted space, work the small diamonds or stripes here. If you are going to wing it, I trust that you can make the necessary adjustments!

But don't be afraid to ask if you need help!

Note that there are 2 different Norwegian Sweaters in the book. The bodies and sleeves are pretty much the same on both -- there is little shaping and no special preparations are made for cutting the armholes and necks. However, there are a couple of differences that you'll need to take note of when you get ready to finish the body.

One sweater has a boat neck with a facing, the other has a cut out crew neck with a neckband. If you make the boat neck, you can make a separate cowl and stitch it into the neck as a turtleneck if you desire. I got this idea from a 1970s Dale of Norway book. I like the flexibility of this design, because you can remove the neck and wear the sweater in warmer weather or where the winters are less severe, and reattach it for a weekend of skiing of a winter in the mountains.

From the book on page 113:
The sweater on the right has been designed in worsted-weight yarn with 5 stitches and 6 rows to the inch (20 stitches and 24 rows to 10 cm). The sweater on the left (and opposite) is in chunky-weight yarn with 3 stitches and 4 rows to the inch (12 stitches and 16 rows to 10 cm). Both sweaters have a 40-inch (101.6-cm) body circumference and 24-inch (61-cm) body length (including 2 inches [5 cm] of ribbing). There are extra plain rows between the design bands to put the patterns where the knitter wants them.

You don't need to worry about that now, but when you get closer to the top of the sweater, you'll want to consider where your upper body motifs will fall and, if you'll be cutting out a crew neck, think about how far into the motifs the neck outline will cut. More on that later, just keep it in mind for now. It should take a little while to get that far!

From the book on page 123:
The illustrations above and opposite show a sweater with a 40-inch (101.6-cm) body circumference and 24-inch (61-cm) body length (including 2 inches [5 cm] of ribbing) in chunky-weight yarn with 3 stitches and 4 rows to the inch (12 stitches and 16 rows to 10 cm).

Illustrations by Illustrations by Joyce M. Turley,

Knitting Along

I did my swatch in December, washed it, blocked it, let it dry, and ignored it. I started my sweater on January 23, with a slightly different border pattern from my swatch. I'm using vintage fingering yarn from Candide, acquired in a guild swap. My main contrast color was the only thing available locally that looked good. I guess that if I want to knit multi-colored fairisle, I'll have to hit the internet. There's very little wool fingering yarn in this town. The peerie (small) pattern is the same yarn as the MC, left from another project. I do like the muted colors. The first picture show 3 1/2" of work with a picot hem. Needle sizes 2mm for the inside of the hem and 2.5 mm for everything else.

I'm making a cardigan and will steek the front, as well as the armholes. As of this morning, I'm just short of 9" on the body. I need at least 14", probably more before I start the yoke pattern. You can see my 6 st steek in this photo. Total stitch count at this point 351 sts.