Not Martha

I’m knitting a sweater: three worries and some research

Worry #1: The 2×2 rib cast on row isn’t stretchy enough. The only way I can think to make it even more stretchy was to do a 1×1 rib cast on, but that looked sorta funny.

Worry #2: It’ll be an awfully heavy sweater. 50% cotton/50% acrylic isn’t exactly lofty, fluffy wool.

Worry #3: The color will always look like something else. I got Charcoal colored yarn but in some lights it looks dark navy blue and in other lights it looks like a faded black. And it photographs it always looks way off.

I was doing some research and came across these entries on the Ribby Cardi knit along site about combining parts so there are fewer seams: the body and the sleeves. It looks pretty easy and I might knit the sleeves in the round. I wish I had come across this before I cast on for the body. Maybe I’ll make some terrible mistake and have to start over? I’ve only gone through two balls of yarn and it’s cheap enough. Nah, I’ll make this first sweater according to the pattern to see how it goes. I have never seamed before so I could use the practice anyhow.

During my research I came across a few people who said the sweater turned out a little short on them. Despite most readymade clothing being too long for me, I decided to compare the length of my back piece to a sweater I like the length of. I’m glad I did, I know for sure I have about an inch to go before starting the sleeve shaping.

Previous entries about this here sweater: first, second, third, fourth.

· comments [13] · 07-24-2007 · categories:knitting ·

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Christy // Jul 24, 2007 at 6:45 am

    First, let me preface this by saying that I am far from a knitting expert! But in regards to worry #1, I’ve found that I’m a very tight knitter, especially when casting on, so I usually cast on with a needle one to two sizes bigger than the needle I need for the rest of the project. I’ve never done a 2×2 rib, so I don’t know if it would help, but it might be worth giving a try (on the next project of course!).

  • 2 Chris // Jul 24, 2007 at 6:57 am

    I made the Central Park Hoodie from Knitscene out of Cotton Ease and it’s not heavy at all, fyi :)

    http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=794497149&size=m

  • 3 megan // Jul 24, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Christy – I thought about doing that but I was afraid the end would be too loose, and splay out. I should have tested it before I cast on though.

    Thanks Chris!

  • 4 Emily Cartier // Jul 24, 2007 at 9:06 am

    A cast on over two needles always looks far too loose, for at least 3 rows, sometimes up to 10. After washing, it looks normal. I usually do a cast on over 2 needles for socks, because I find a regular cast on can be uncomfortably tight. Red lines on my calf from my hand knit socks are *not* a good look!

    I wouldn’t worry so for a cardigan sweater, unless you always plan on wearing it fully buttoned/zipped.

  • 5 Sharyn // Jul 24, 2007 at 9:27 am

    I am also in the midst of knitting my first sweater / shirt (hoping to have it done in time for a Maryland winter!), so I’ve been looking forward to all your sweater updates – keep ‘em coming! I really appreciate the little tips and advice you’ve shared and passed along.

    (This is the pattern I’m working from, I’m extending the sleeves though.)

  • 6 susan // Jul 24, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Ooh, if you’re worried about the weight of the sweater, DEFINITELY do not forego the seams! They’ll give it structure and help it to keep its shape.

    The color looks lovely!

  • 7 Shelly Kang // Jul 24, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    #1 Your cast on is beautiful in the picture, but if you think it looks too tight now, I will definitely look too tight when you try to wear it. The only good solution is to rip back to the beginning. Go up a couple needle sizes just for the cast-on as Christy suggested.

    #2 Cotton does tend to hang a little heavier than wool. Just keep in mind that it will lengthen as you wear it, and lose some width as it lengthens.

    #3 Colors will do that weird shifting thing. That really comes down to personal preference.

    If it were me, I would rip back to the beginning (painful, I know), and cast on for the back and fronts at the same time. Just remember that you should eliminate one stitch from either end of each piece where a seam would have been because that stitch would have gotten eaten up in the seam. Also, if you’re going to knit it in pieces, make sure you’re starting and ending with a knit two on each piece so that everything will look right after seaming.

    The good news is that you *can* re-use the yarn with no problem! You may just have to deal with crinkly yarn for a while, unless you want to wash the yarn out before re-use, which is not all that difficult. Let me know if you want instructions.

    Also, before ripping, try holding the piece up to your waist and see just how far that cast-on stretches. If it makes it halfway around, you may not have to rip at all.

    I hope this makes sense! Keep up the good work!

  • 8 Emily // Jul 24, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    The first sweater I ever made was the Ribby Cardi from ChickKnits. I have never worn it. It’s likely I never will. My BIG mistake was not blocking each of the arm pieces nearly well enough. All of those ribs have serious staying power and are rather form fitting because of it. Oh well. Live and learn. It’s a really adorable sweater so don’t give up on it. I found that the pattern worked pretty well for me. I don’t think I made very many if any changes.

  • 9 megan // Jul 24, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Susan – Good point about the seams adding stability.

    Shelly – Thanks for the advice. The cast on edge is stretchy enough to work with the sweater. I’m going to keep it as is. If I finish the sweater and find out it I really should use large needles for casting on I won’t cry, the yarn only came to about $40.

    Emily – I am keeping this in mind. I’m not sure how much Cotton-Ease will take to being blocked, but I’ll report on it.

  • 10 barrie // Jul 24, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    this is my problem with sweaters and probably the reason why i won’t make them yet. they usually seem bulky, unless you purposely make them baggy and only so many people can pull that look off without looking huge.

    i guess what i’m trying to say is good luck.

  • 11 Jenny // Jul 24, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Okay this is off the subject of knitting but I do want to thank you for the how to list. I was making surprise balls and unhappy with the hollow plastic balls I was using… 1) more junk that can’t be recycled 2) expense and 3) limited by their size- BUT thanks to you I am now making small paper balls for the insides out of starch and matte medium. Wicked cool.

  • 12 kim // Jul 25, 2007 at 6:39 am

    tubular cast-on! can be challenging, but is SO worth knowing. harder in the 2×2 than the 1×1. going up a couple of needle sizes (i’m a tight knitter, so if i’m using US8s, i’ll cast-off with at least a US10.5) … nothing worse than an inflexible edge.

  • 13 Emily // Jul 26, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Not sure how Cotton-Ease will react to blocking either. I made mine with Cascade 220 so blocking should have been my priority. But before making this sweater all I had knitted was a million scarves and hats; no blocking required. May I also mention that I am becoming more than a bit obsessed with your site. Not in a scary way I promise but everything you put on here is FANTASTIC!!! Keep up the great work!!

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