Monday, December 28, 2015

Guess what? Another TS Christmas knitting project!


This one is more complicated. I made a zipped cardigan for my son (details on my Ravelry page). The yarn is Briggs & Little sport in a dark grey. It's a one ply with a manageable tendency to bias. It is very rustic, complete with bits of what looked like wood and straw, and wild hairy bits. Off the skein it's oily and stiff but washed, it has a fluffy but very seriously woolly quality that I like. It left my Passap full of lint. Maybe I should plan to do a deep clean once a year...

A nice variety of things went wrong with this project:
  • I made a PDF of the pattern quite a while ago (from a library book) but when I went to start my project, I only had the last of five pages. I still have no idea how that happened.
  • I requested the book again and it took days and days and days to get to my branch.
  • My parents visited. (This isn't really anything "going wrong" but it was another source of delay.)
  • Stitches delighted in jumping off the needles.
  • (This is totally just between us.) I knitted an extra rib up the side of one front. Didn't notice for the longest time that one piece has 4 ribs instead of 3...
  • In converting my hand-knitting pattern for my machine using basic knitter's math, I failed to note that the sweater is supposed to be 45cm from the bottom of the sweater to the armscye, including 6cm of ribbing. I knitted 6cm of ribbing and then 45cm of stockinette. And then I washed and blocked the first front and DID IT AGAIN before noticing.
That last one cost me a good night's sleep. My inner dialogue at 2AM: "Leave it as is?" "He'll hate it if it's too long." "Cut 6cm out of the middle and kitchener stitch?" "Frog back, rehang and reknit?" "Leave it." "But if I do he'll never wear it." "Cut 6cm out and kitchener?" "Frog back?" (Repeat endlessly.) 

By the light of day it was obvious I should frog back because he would not like a sweater that was too long and let's face it - if you have a knitting machine, reknitting is a lot easier than connecting two bits of knitting invisibly by hand. And in the end it was really fast; so not worth losing hours of sleep over.

Given all of this, I'm really pleased with the finished project. I managed to go straight from the ZZ cast on row to a 3x2 ribbing pattern (this involves lots of transferring stitches between beds). I managed to knit ribbing up through the body of the sweater without any obvious gauge problems (I knit the back bed purl stitches on stitch size 6 when the front bed was SS 8). 

I accurately (subject to my mistake noted above) graphed the pattern and worked from these diagrams. 

I can knit anything!

But the source of most happiness is how well the collar turned out. The pattern called for a standard hand knitted collar which in part (at CF and CB) was knitted straight from the body pieces rather than from cast off edges. The collar is in the 3x2 rib pattern and doubled (i.e. knitted 12cm, then the cast off edge is sewn to the neck edge on the inside). This would make a facing to hide the top of the zipper tape on the inside. 

Cashmere turtleneck sweater 
I wanted a single layer collar (2 layers of Briggs & Little would be too much), and I wanted it to attach the same basic way as the turtleneck of a commercially made cashmere sweater I own. See, there is a single layer of ribbing, and it is knitted directly to a few rows of stockinette - both inside and out - and those stockinette stitches are neatly sewn together through the body of the sweater. Neat huh?

Except I am lacking the machine (a linker) that does this kind of sewing, and I wasn't 100% sure how to knit the little stockinette flanges directly onto the ribbed collar. 

But I did it! I'm so chuffed! For anyone with a Passap, here is how. After knitting the number of rows of ribbing I needed for 6cm, I filled in the missing 2 stitches of each purl column on the front bed by hanging the purl bump (from the row below) for the adjoining stitches on the empty needles. I did the same re the missing 3 stitches of the knit columns on the back bed, but I left the centre needle empty. Then I set the lock to knit circularly (CX/CX) at a stitch size between that of the ribbing (6) and the main knitting (8) - just to keep it a bit firm. I knit three rounds (6 passes) and then some rows of waste yarn. 

Right side
Wrong side
To attach the collar, I hand basted the wrong side flange to the inside of the sweater neckline. Then I very carefully chain stitched the three layers together with a crochet hook, making sure the hook went through the matching loops of the last row of the Briggs & Little. I had to fudge a tiny bit at the CF edges to keep them relatively straight. Subject to that, IT WORKED PERFECTLY!

I sewed the sweater together and installed the zipper with my sewing machine. To keep the inside of the neck neat and make it soft, I added a little fleece facing.  


  1. Beautiful work. As a beginner knitter, I am in awe!

  2. So beautiful and the fit is perfect!

  3. I second KimP...I am also in awe! I've been wondering where you were...missing your sewing posts. But you were knitting away, making top secret Christmas presents. Good elf. Wish I lived closer for help with my projects! But thanks so much for sharing what you are creating.

  4. The sweater and model is gorgeous and you were da bomb for unventing the collar attachment technique.

  5. Wow! That is gorgeous. Great job!

  6. Beautiful piece of knitting. Your finishing is perfection!

  7. Beautiful sweater! I'm a handknitter and I'd still usually rather frog and reknit than kitchener across the fronts of a sweater. I'm in awe of your charts, those are very impressive.

  8. What a nice sweater for your son. I hope that he was as impressed with it as we were.
    Also,good save on the dress with the hole in the fabric. Great dress.

  9. Missed this here, but I finish my collars similarly, as instructed in the early model books. Only, I hadn't thought of chain stitching. I backstitch through both front and back open loops. Which will NEVER come out (not that I'm saying your chainstitch will). Backstitch is the toughest stitch ever.