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,

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