Last Saturday was the inauguration of my new site “Thematic Stitchings”, dedicated to the crafty arts and creative colours that I love. It’s my intention to spread the joy of creativity throughout the galaxy and beyond – one crafter and reader at a time. Hmmm. Might take awhile…
Meanwhile, I’ll settle for reaching out to anyone who might benefit from my small creations, whether through reading my books or through enjoying my crafting journey. Most of you already know that I also love to play the clarinet, but I’ll spare the galaxy that particular pleasure for the time being! ;-P
Last week’s mittens were actually created as a companion piece for this week’s sweater, using leftover yarn from the James C. Brett “Marble” Chunky shown here.
I found the stitch pattern in the Vogue® Knitting Stitchionary Volume One: Knit and Purl. (Out of respect for Copywrite laws, I won’t reproduce the actual stitch here, but you can easily search and find it.)
My Tip #1: When “casting on” stitches for any pattern that results in a “scalloped” edge, be sure to cast on more loosely than you might otherwise do. This will soften your scalloped edge so you can flatten it when the piece is complete.
I’m not fond of straight needles for heavy projects – they tend to hurt my wrists. For this chunky sweater I used 4.5mm circular needles, which allowed the weight of the fabric to rest on my lap while I worked.
As you can see, the soft, wintry variegated colours of the yarn travelled in a wonderful zig-zag fashion across the fabric.
My Tip #2: With high quality variegated yarn, it’s possible to predict the flow of the colours as you knit. Cast your 2nd sleeve on from the same colour-starting-point as you did your first sleeve to produce sleeves that match closely in colour waves. Do the same for the front and back pieces of your sweater.
The pattern calls for a multiple of 11 stitches “plus 2”. Always produce a test gauge to be sure how many stitches you will need to fit your size comfortably. When reducing the number of stitches to shape your armholes, revert to a stocking stitch for the armhole area, rather than knitting that area in pattern. This will allow you to more easily maintain the integrity of your pattern structure as you build the upper body.
For the neckline, I opted for a deep plunge meant to be worn with something underneath. Because the fabric was heavy and warm, this allows for better breathing. To continue the warm look despite the deep neckline, I used a wide collar-trim in a K1-P2 pattern, picking up stitches from the sides of the neckline for the “lapels”.
My Tip #3: Be sure to test your “lapel” to be sure you’ve picked up a correct number of stitches. If you pick up too few stitches, the lapel will “gather” or “pucker” the neckline in an unattractive manner. If you pick up too many stitches, the fabric will begin to “wave”. Don’t be afraid to unravel your lapel and start again if necessary.
For the collar, I continued with the warm look of the K1-P2 ribbing, taking care to reverse the pattern from what I did on the lapel, so the right side would show the K1.
My Tip #4: With a scalloped edge, blocking the fabric is necessary, but it will only help to reduce curling upward, it will not eliminate it. To further reduce the curling effect and help the edges to sit flatter, I stitched each edge from the wrong side using a simple whip stitch. See how the darning stitch pulls back the scallop to flatten it?
Finally, here is my Split Palm Leaves skating sweater, fully designed by me with help from Vogue® Knitting Stitchionary Volume One.
By the way, I don’t earn any advertising money from Vogue. I’m plugging them only to be sure they get fair credit for their pattern. As it happens, I own and adore the complete set of Vogue® Knitting Stitchionaries, including their lovely Crochet volume.
If you want to ask me any questions about this or any other project, feel free to reach me directly through my contact page.