theraineysisters knitting and so much more

January 21, 2010

From Sally — Some Finished Business

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too,Open Cable Cardigan — surly @ 2:26 pm

Today I have a new (well, sort of new) finished sweater to show off. First, however, thank you so much for all of the kind comments about my husband’s Open Cable Cardigan. I really appreciated the response! I know many of you asked whether I’d write up the pattern, and I apologize but I can’t.

When I said I designed it on the fly, I wasn’t exaggerating. Although I have drawings and notes, I didn’t always stick to what I had planned to do and I didn’t keep really great records of my last-second changes. Let me explain a little bit more why recreating the pattern for others to follow would be so difficult.

A rough description of how you knit the sweater:

1. You knit the body up to the armhole. Then you knit the sleeves to the armhole, and join the sleeves to the body.

2. Once you’ve got everything in one piece, you work raglan decreases (taking stitches out of the sleeves and body at four points) until you’ve eliminated approximately half the sleeve stitches.

3. You then knit to the first sleeve, and go back and forth only on the sleeve stitches. At the end of each row, you work a sleeve stitch together with a stitch from either the front or the back. When/where you stop doing this depends upon whether you’re knitting a cardigan or a pullover. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s instructions were for a pullover and included a small diagram of what to do at the neck.

The tricky part of converting those rough instructions into my husband’s sweater was the cable. I had really wanted it to start at the cuff of the sleeve and end identically at the neck. That meant ensuring that the sleeve was the length it needed to be before I joined the sleeves to the body. At the same time, I had to calculate the rate and number of raglan decreases I needed before I switched to the yoke/saddle decreases. Finally, I had to make sure that the row count was such that the cable crossed for the last time right where I wanted it to. In case that wasn’t difficult enough, I used a twelve-row cable, so I had very little room to fudge.

Even having drawn everything out, I had to play with my decreases as I went. There were several points when I thought the sweater was going to be a big fat failure. Susan and I love to share patterns, but when we do we try to make certain that the directions will allow anyone who follows them to have a successful project. I don’t feel comfortable that I could write up this pattern well enough to guarantee that.

But — the seamless hybrid yoke concept itself isn’t all that hard. If you follow EZ’s general directions, but don’t insert a cable on the sleeve or else use a cable with a much smaller row count, it would be much simpler to do.

* * * * * * *

Long, long ago, I started and almost finished a lovely pattern called Baby Cables and Big Ones, Too (Ravelry link). I had it all finished except for one sleeve, and then I stopped. Part of the problem was distraction — I always find something else I want to work on. The other issue is that I decided it was too short. Because it’s knit from the top down, it would be easy to add length, but I just never got around to it. Once I finished all of my Christmas knitting, however, I decided it was time to finish this sweater.

So here’s my Baby Cables with both sleeves:

One reason adding length made me sigh was that I had added a small cable to the hem. To add length, I had to rip back to before the cable started. I liked the detail, though, so when I added length I kept the cable at the hem:

I knit my Baby Cables out of Jaeger’s Extra Fine Merino. It’s a lovely yarn, and I’m sad that it’s no longer available.

January 9, 2009

From Susan — Baby Finis

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too,Updates — lv2knit @ 11:57 am

Finally!  I finished the Baby Cables and Big Ones Too (purchase pattern through Ravelry) before sweater weather is completely over!  I wanted to share some photos showing the wonderful cables and the perfect fit (it does fit — yay!!), but my DH has to be the worst photographer on record.  I am serious.  Fifty tries later and here are the only two shots I saved:

And the “best” of the full body shots:

Yeah — that blurry mess is the best of the lot!  Okay.  Donations to the “Send my Husband to Photography Class” Fund can be sent to post office box…….

Here is Baby Cables on Lettie:

Baby Cables and Big Ones Too in Cascade 220, Color 4009 (8 skeins), US 6 needles

This sweater fits me like a dream — I cannot believe it!  The sleeves are perfect.  The sweater itself is a good length.  All I can say is “whew!”   It is such a rare and wonderful occurrence.  But there is a reason for it. 

I kept wondering why this simple sweater took me so bloomin’ long to knit!  BUT — as I have always said — if you could knit something twice, you could get it perfect the second time around, and I did essentially knit this thing twice.  I started with a totally different yarn and got all the way through the yoke and into the body several inches before I decided to restart with the yarn I ended up with.  I knitted three sleeves…. 

I did the bottom band a total of four times!   Once, as a turned hem, but I thought the sweater might be a tad short.  The second time I tried a gerter border (like the pattern called for) but thought the knitting looked sloppy.  The third time, I reverted to the turned hem and planned on adding a bit of length, but my gauge had changed and was sloppy compared to the original knitting, and very noticeable!  SO, I knitted it a fourth time, tightening my gauge, adding the length, and voila!  Two sweaters for the price of one.  Hey, where’s my other sweater??!!??

But overall I am extremely pleased.  I love the pattern and enjoyed making the first one, less so the second .  What’s next?  A very wee project that I will share in a day or so when it is done.

January 1, 2009

From Susan — Three Sleeves to the Wind

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too — lv2knit @ 9:52 pm

How many sweaters have three sleeves?  Apparently more than you might guess!  In fact, many (most, but not all) of my sweaters seem to need the “three-sleeve special.”

The latest in the sleeve trifecta (or sleefecta, as it were) is my Baby Cables Sweater:

Said sleeve was complete to the cuff.   But I decided it was too long, no, too short (“My sister….my daughter” Chinatown), and then just threw in the towel after re-working the cuff about three times — another trifecta of knitting.  I am now back to the spot I was in the picture above…

Where did I go wrong?  It is difficult to say for sure.  Knitting sleeves is more art than science — math alone will not get you there.  Sleeves defy math.  The “math” got me into this mess!  I measured, calculated, estimated, measured again, re-calculated, knitted, and still came up short (no long!). 

So, I will knit a second sleeve and end up with only one.  This shows tireless commitment to a project.  I was so close to pushing it aside!  But I really like this sweater and (other than the %%$##$%^&& sleeve), it fits me pretty well. 

So, I endure my own “Myth of Sisyphus,” endlessly knitting sleeves that will never be worn.

December 10, 2008

From Susan — Cough, Cough

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too — lv2knit @ 11:29 am

I am home sick for the second day.  Ugh!    I hate being sick, and I hate the guilt of missing work and getting so far behind!  My knitting is suffering, too, because I slept so much yesterday! 

But being home this morning allowed me to see a lovely sight that I usually miss: the dawning of the day:

The streak of red across the sky was actually much more intense.  And, you can see that we are getting a white Christmas this year!

And here is our small attempt at getting into the holiday spirit:

I have been knitting a bit here and there, though this project seems to be moving slowly.



It’s a simple project and now I am just knitting in the round — Oh well.  It will get done when it gets done. 

Tomorrow evening is our annual knitting group Christmas party — an event I cannot miss!  So I am counting on being back to work tomorrow and trying to figure out what to bring.  Great friends, great food, and all knitting related. 

December 7, 2008

From Susan and Sally — Where art thou, Short Rows?

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too,Knitting Tips — Both Sisters @ 6:15 pm

We had a couple of questions about our Baby Cables project.  Alison asked about the position of our short row shaping, and Deirdre wanted to know more about the neck sizing.  Here goes!

First, why did we add short rows — the pattern does not call for them and the sweater looks great, so why bother?  When trying on the yoke during construction, the back neck clearly wanted to ride at least an inch higher than the front.  We were concerned that this would cause the sweater to pull up in back.  Short rows in a top down sweater need to be added before the split is made for the sleeves to add length to the back neck — adding short rows after the break for the sleeves will add length to the back body.  We wanted to complete the garter stitch section before doing the short rows so they would not disrupt the ridges. 

This diagram shows the placement of the short row turns.  We used Japanese Short Rows, which are described very well by NonaKnits.

And here are Susan’s short rows:

Deirdre asked about the size of the neck opening.  It is relatively large – and somewhat like a boatneck fit.   Susan made hers smaller relative to the size of the pattern by casting on the smallest number of sts and then adjusting the increases accordingly.  Some people like the openness of the neck and would not need to adjust.  By casting on in increments of 8 sts, you can adjust the neck opening as desired as long as you account for the difference in your increases.

From Susan: I did not get as far as I wanted to yesterday and today looks unlikely as well!  Bummer, but chores and holiday activities are cutting into my knitting time!

From Sally:  I am doing some stealth holiday knitting, but still hope to get the second sleeve finished in the next few days.

ETA: Jane asked about our doing short rows on the front. Just to clarify, the short rows are adding length to the back. The “x”s on the front show where the short rows ended — where the turns occur. The short rows are knit completely across the back but only partway across the front as indicated.  We hope the revised diagram is more helpful and descriptive.  Obviously, it only makes sense when you are working from the pattern.

December 5, 2008

From Susan and Sally — Fun with Baby

Filed under: Baby Cables and Big Ones too — Both Sisters @ 6:11 pm

We are having fun with Baby Cables and Big Ones Too from Ravelry!  Susan has to take the credit for finding this gem of a pattern, but Sally jumped right in and has almost completed hers.  It helped that she already had the exact yarn called for in the pattern (Jaeger Extra Fine Merino — a discontinued yarn; she had several colors to choose from, no less 😉 ).  Susan struggled to find just the right yarn and actually ended up knitting the entire yoke twice.

The designer of this creative and elegant pullover is Suvi from Finland.  The pattern sells for $6 on Ravelry and may be available via her blog (?).  The instructions are in English.

About the Sweater
The sweater is knit from the top down in the round. There are no seams. The yoke is done in garter and changes to stockinette for the body and sleeves. The sleeves are also knit in the round and have some garter stitch as well.

We did change a little bit of the pattern. Suvi instructs you to do the increases by using the backward loop cast on method on the purl rounds of the garter stitch yoke. We did our increases on the knit rounds of the garter because it is less visible. We also added some short rows to lower the front neckline in relation to the back.  Susan also added 2 sts to the sleeve WITH the cable to account for the compression on that sleeve vs the non-cabled sleeve (and then decreased 2 sts once the cable was complete).   There are no other accommodations for cables made in the pattern.

A word about the lowly “backward loop” increase method. Both of us have found uses for this lowly and unappreciated “make one” method recently. It is the increase of choice for garter stitch because it is virtually invisible when done on the right side of the garter fabric. It also works well when you need to make a lot of increases across a relatively small number of stitches: it does not draw yarn length from the nearby stitches, which can cause puckering. Who knew? This is an increase that people typically write off as the ugly stepchild, but it really does have some great uses.

Sally’s Baby Cables
This is a relatively fast knit. I started knitting it a few days before Thanksgiving, and only have one sleeve left to knit. I could have made it in light grey, but I have 20 skeins of Extra Fine Merino in that color and decided to save it for something that required more yarn. So, you ask, what color did I use? Well, if you are a long time reader of this blog you can probably make a good guess: red. It’s Jaeger’s EF Merino in Shade 920. Here are some shots of its progress from “necklace” to almost sweater. (The first photo is very true to color.)

When I was at the point shown in the above photo, I decided it was too large in the body. It’s hard to tell in that picture, but trust me. When I tried it on, it looked like an A-line sweater despite the waist decreases I had done. So I ripped it back to the bottom of the cable that extends into the stockinette, accelerated my decreases, and added a few more. It fits me (and Lucy) much better now).

Susan’s Baby Cables
After a false start with stash yarn (don’t ask!), I started over with a beautiful shade of Cascade 220.  The weight called for is DK (5.5 sts/in) but Cascade 220 worsted can be knit at a tighter gauge, especially the Heathers which run a bit lighter weight.

I could not get a good picture — the color cannot be captured — but here is a better shot of the yarn:

Cascade 220 Heathers, Color #4009

I am not as far along as Surly, but I hope to make some progress this weekend.  There are people on Ravelry who finished this in 5 days!  Not me, I’m afraid 🙁 .  Also, my sweater will not end up as shaped as Sally’s — I may even keep a straight profile.  We will see when we get there!

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