Thursday, October 19, 2006

looks like a norwegian, knits like a fair isle...

So here at the house of "we like netfix a lot and its cold outside", I've been making much progress on the floral sweater from Poetry in Stitches. Exciting things have happened involving scissors and even a crochet hook and now I can wear it like an ill-fitting vest. So specifically for the technically-minded or the curious - here's the low-down. As I worked my way of the body I decided to definitely make steeks for the front and back of the neck instead of casting off and knitting back and forth as the pattern suggested. Then when I was pretty far along I thought it might be more educational and more interesting (you have to keep the interest level high in a sweater!) to try knitting the sleeves "fair isle" style. The only problem is that I was too far up to add sleeve steeks, and there was no way I was going to rip back. In a traditional Norwegian sweater one would machine secure the body where the pre-knitted sleeves would be inserted and happily and fearlessly cut open the body and sew in the sleeves. Wendy has a great turtorial of this process.

I decided to try crocheting the body stitches as if they were steek stitches and cut open the sleeve holes, then pick up the sleeve stitches and happily knit away. This worked fairly well as I'm using traditional sticky yarn that wants to felt the second it touched its friends. Unfortunately since some of the floats in the back were fairly long I had to tack them down with some basting, a problem I would have avoided had I added steeks. Next time steeks for sure. Otherwise the crochet edging worked like a charm snugly holding all the cut stitches together. Complete magic.

I also picked up and knit the picot edge for the neck, since its much easier to do when you just have the body of the sweater in your lap, not the whole thing, plus its nice to be done when you finish the sleeves.

The last bit of pattern adjusting I'm mulling over is the pattern for the sleeves. As you can see from the photo of the sweater body, the design motif is HUGE, which makes it hard to use on a sweater, but also makes the sweater interesting. For the body I decided to make it a bit longer - about 25" long to get a full 5 rows of the flower design. The sleeves are another matter. What's shown in the book is 4 rows of the flower design, but that would make the sleeves about 20 1/2" long. In the photo you can see that the model has the longer sleeves "artistically" pushed up. The pattern is rather vague on the matter, stating that you should knit the sleeves to be 18 1/2" or desired length. With the drop shoulder design, 4 rows of flowers will be too long for me. What to do? Start the sleeve in the middle of a flower row? End the sleeve in the middle of the flower row? or a mystery third option? Stay tuned!



Blogger tomoko said...

YAOW! the sweater looks stunning...!!
sorry it's me again. i cannot help myself. i'll leave the technical stuff for seasoned knitters...

7:21 PM  
Blogger cheryl said...

Somehow it looks much better in the photo than in real life - all of the small puckering bumps are not visible - just like photographing design work!

12:12 PM  

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