theraineysisters knitting and so much more

February 16, 2007

From Susan — Stripes

Filed under: Oregon Cardigan — lv2knit @ 10:09 am

This is the part of knitting that I find exciting when it works (“What a gripping life you must lead.”) and extremely frustrating when it doesn’t.  All the planets need to align when knitting fair isle stripes:

1) body length = 25-1/2 inches (determines where the armhole steek starts because the armhole depth must be reasonable)
2) sleeve length = 21-1/2 inches (AS has unnaturally short arms and mine are unnaturally long)
3) the start of the sleeve pattern is 100% determined by the armhole placement (last body round before armhole opening = first round of sleeve)
4) the END of the sleeve MUST match the pattern at the bottom of the sweater = the large leaf border plus ribbing.

In other words, the sleeve had to be one exact length AND start on one particular row AND end on one particular row — no substitutions and FEW opportunities for fudging.  And I wanted the sleeve to start at a good spot (the bold red/navy stripe).  About the only fudging I could do would be on the ribbing.  With a pattern repeat of 48 rounds, there is very little wiggle room — any change would add or subtract ~4″ to the sleeve length (though I could maybe stop in the middle of a main pattern repeat — still 2″).

Anyway, all the planets DID align — perfectly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


As you can see, the sleeve matches up perfectly.  It is the exact length I wanted (21.5″).  All the stripes match, even though there is an additional repeat in the sleeve to attain length. 


I did adjust the placement of my steek to guarantee that the planets would align.  Thank goodness the shoulder placement did not matter or that could have screwed up the whole thing. 

This background planning is the kind of thing that people don’t “see” when they look at your knitting.  They don’t realize how much time is spent poring over row gauge and stripe placement and sleeve planning.  But it sure bugs ME when I don’t get it right.

Thanks for letting me share the back story.  Non-knitters (and probably 99% of you!) glaze over when I talk about this stuff!! 😉



  1. Heck, if you didn’t talk about the nuts and bolts of how to do it right, how’d we ever learn? It’s quite beautiful, by the way!

    Comment by Karen B. — February 16, 2007 @ 11:15 am

  2. Once again you show me something I never would have thought about. It is gorgous.

    Comment by Gale — February 16, 2007 @ 11:55 am

  3. Yee ha! Go Susan!

    Comment by June — February 16, 2007 @ 12:30 pm

  4. freakin’ amazing.

    Comment by AuntieAnn — February 16, 2007 @ 12:32 pm

  5. Hmm, a lot there to think about! I mostly agree with #4 but #3? That will take a bit of work or you’ll end with a beautiful sleeve that is too short or long.

    Comment by Marina — February 16, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  6. That is just *gorgeous*!

    Comment by Romi — February 16, 2007 @ 1:45 pm

  7. Very nice. I’m looking as I am stuck at the airport. My flight to surprise the recipient of the red cashmere glovelets for her birthday is delayed. I’m on my second Cosmopolitan. Hey — it’s afternoon. Right?

    Comment by surly — February 16, 2007 @ 2:45 pm

  8. Is it experience that allows you this knowledge? I just received my first fair isle project, the baby blanket Sally knit from Virtual Yarns. I have a “no fear” attitude with my knitting which allows me to explore all knitting types. Even so, I’m wondering if I should just jump in and knit, take a class, or seek out someone close by for a tutorial. Beautiful work, just lovely. Alison

    Comment by Alison — February 16, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

  9. I just found your blog this week and have been reading through it from the beginning. I see several references to a free beaded bag pattern, but have not been able to access it from your links. Is it still available? Thanks!

    Comment by Tonya — February 16, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

  10. I. Am. In. Awe. If I appear glazed, it’s caused by my stunned, mouth-open amazement at how you pulled this off!

    Comment by Cathi Myers — February 16, 2007 @ 8:21 pm

  11. A veritable work of art! It’s such a thrill when the plan comes together as it should. Oregon is simply beautiful.

    Comment by Melanie — February 16, 2007 @ 10:56 pm

  12. WOW!

    Comment by Connie — February 16, 2007 @ 11:42 pm

  13. And that’s how it should be done! Gorgeous! When/if I finish mine, you can all troop over to see What Not To Do…..

    Comment by Carrie K — February 17, 2007 @ 7:57 pm

  14. Speechless. I am speechless.

    Comment by kmkat — February 18, 2007 @ 12:55 am

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