Not Martha

I’m knitting a sweater: it looks like something!

What I have done:

  • Finished knitting all pieces.
  • Fixed the ribs in the center front, very fun.
  • Seamed, not as difficult as I thought but so much more time consuming. Also, tidier looking than I expected. I left myself long tails where I started and ended knitting, but decided to seam downwards to reduce bulk at the neck. This was a good idea because I had lots of ends to weave in after I had put in the collar and the attached i-cord down the center fronts.
  • Wove in ends, somehow left myself with small holes in the armpits where four seams meet but since I seamed downwards didn’t have any tails left to use. Very small though, not a big deal. Managed to create small pucker at hem near side seams, wove ends too tight.
  • Discovered I made the sleeves oh ha ha too long, they are at fingertips. Could loose an inch and a half. We’ll see though, I might enjoy wrapping them around my hands when the rains arrive.
  • Found I wasn’t thinking ahead and joined the yarn in each sleeve not at the seam, duh, it would have been much tidier to weave in the ends at a seam. Still, is hidden enough.
  • Length of sweater too long to be cute, but good length for sitting.
  • I picked up stitches around the neck line, also not as difficult as I feared and also pleasantly tidy looking. I knit up just over three inches.
  • I bought a black two way separating zipper, plastic, sorta chunky. I also bought soft black twill tape to back the zipper with and black silk thread which I hope will feel softer than cotton or polyester thread.
  • I learned 2×2 rib tubular bind off. All the instructions for this I found were pretty darn confusing. I finally did it by first learning k1p1 invisible bind-off at Crankygrrrl, then “Grafting or Kitchener stitch bind-off” from The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques (which is the same technique separated onto two dpns, but I couldn’t have parsed this without learning from Crankygrrl first), then doing “Another Technique for Tubular Cast-off Double Rib” from Knitting Tips & Trade Secrets (whose instructions refer to a technique a few pages earlier in that book, one I could not understand and itself seems to refer to instructions that appeared in a long distant issue of Interweave Knits). After learning the first two, the third made sense. I’m very pleased, it looks very close to the 2×2 tubular cast-on and it looks very tidy. Also I’m pleased that I’ll never have to go through that learning process again, I felt like an anthropologist digging that out.
  • I learned attached i-cord. I took some advice from Streets and YOs and followed the instructions in The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques and picked up three out of every four rows and used a needle a little bit larger (#6). I simply could not understand the directions in that book, but the instructions and video for attached i-cord at Knitting at Knoon did the trick. I edged both fronts of my sweater, from the bottom all the way up to the top of the collar, and it worked out perfectly but I’m not certain how much good it did. My original edge was pretty tidy looking, and I’m not sure how much extra stability the i-cord edge will create considering I’ll be inserting a pretty chunky zipper. My edges still curl under with the attached i-cord, and since I cannot really block them (cotton and acrylic yarn) I’m not sure if it was entirely necessary. It was good to learn, but it took a looong time.
  • After I finished all the knitting I sewed myself into the sweater and determined that I needed a zipper that is exactly 24 inches. Lucky me, they come in that length. Unfortunately I bought a 28 inch zipper just in case, so now I need to exchange the zipper.


(Attempting to show the 2×2 tubular cast-on at the cuff and the 2×2 tubular bind-off at the collar.)

What I have to do:

  • Insert zipper.
  • Wear sweater!

Other notes:

  • Today I touched some Rowan All Seasons Cotton and dreamed of making my next Ribby Cardi using it. It’s so soft and looks like the perfect weight. I floated back home and my happy bubble popped when I calculated the cost (~ $130). Oh well. Maybe if I make the next one with fewer seamed parts and lovelovelove it, then I’ll save up to buy expensive yarn to make another one using it. (Do I normally spend my leisure time doing something over and over again until it is perfect? Yes, yes I do.)
  • Testing 2×2 cast on for next time – did first four rows in #8, when pulled up switched to #5. Seems stretchier, but worried about splaying hem. Not that worried though, going to use it for next sweater.
  • I’ve peeked at a few cardigan patterns that knit all in one piece, and have considered doing my next Ribby Cardi that way, but the Cotton Ease is so heavy I feel like I should at least leave in the seams where the sleeves meet the body. I could reinforce where the sleeves attach to the neckline, or reinforce the neckline somehow, and hope that is enough to hold everything up. It’ll be an experiment.
  • I am worried that weight of current sweater will stretch it longer, which makes me more worried for seamless body of next one, which makes me want to knit it two inches shorter.
  • I actually like long tail cast-on, it works well with ribs if you get the bumpy side facing the right side of the fabric. However with yarn like Cotton Ease it doesn’t work, the yarn will untwist and split well before you get all the stitches needed for the body cast on.
  • Next time am going to use smaller yarn or cord to seam around shoulders, probably embroidery thread in matching color.
  • Next one I’m going to do provisional bind-off (aka, live stitches) for all the parts where the collar begins and just switch to 2×2. Hopefully the collar will be a bit larger around, and hopefully the switch to 2×2 rib won’t look strange.
  • I might actually make a size smaller next time, there seems to be plenty of room in this sweater. I will probably be wearing it more as a jacket, however, so I’ll wait to make a final decision.
  • I fear that the collar of this sweater will choke a little when zipped all the way up. I might try to figure out how to make a wider collar on the next one.
  • I used eight balls of yarn total including the swatching, experimenting and attached i-cord. I had very little yarn left over.
  • Sleeves could be one or two inches shorter. Body could be two or three inches shorter.

· comments [31] · 09-5-2007 · categories:knitting ·

31 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cho // Sep 5, 2007 at 5:47 am

    I think it would look nice if you folded the sleeves up to wear it.

  • 2 Jen // Sep 5, 2007 at 6:07 am

    Unless lighting is lying to me, your sweater is one of my favorite crayola colors!

  • 3 Brenda // Sep 5, 2007 at 6:12 am

    Silk thread might be a little weak for the weight of the garment and zipper, it may not hold up to multiple washings and long-term wear. I’d go with the polyester thread, at least to sew the zipper in. Besides, the zipper facing is probably nylon… what’s a little more synthetic between friends?

  • 4 KitchenNut // Sep 5, 2007 at 6:20 am

    Oh, my goodness! This is absolutely gorgeous! For years I have thought to try knitting. But, I absolutely love the sweater—love, love, love the style and color!! Well-done!

  • 5 Ashley // Sep 5, 2007 at 6:38 am

    It looks great! I too am a huge fan of the tubular cast-on/bind off. Just so very, very tidy-looking.

    I’d second Brenda on the silk thread–and I’d also run that bad boy through the dryer before you make any length decisions on the next one.

  • 6 Laura VW // Sep 5, 2007 at 6:46 am

    It looks great Megan – well done!

  • 7 Miss Sassy // Sep 5, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Holy smokes – that is amazing! It is so pretty.

  • 8 Junkdrawer // Sep 5, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Megan- This sweater looks AMAZING. Bravo. Just in time for fall.

  • 9 lulife // Sep 5, 2007 at 7:13 am

    You did an excellent job, and thanks for posting all of your notes!

  • 10 andrea // Sep 5, 2007 at 7:16 am

    is it navy or cornflower?

  • 11 Victoria // Sep 5, 2007 at 7:38 am

    I must attempt a knitting project one day. I don’t think I am patient enough though. This looks lovely, well done!

  • 12 megan // Sep 5, 2007 at 7:56 am

    Thanks everybody! The color of the yarn is actually Charcoal, and it seems to confound my camera. The best representation of it’s actual color can be seen here or here.

    Ashley – Washing and drying it before deciding on a next size is a good idea, but I’m not going to be throwing this into a dryer — I line dry most of my clothes.

    Brenda and Ashley – Thanks for the warning about the silk thread. I’m backing the zipper with a very soft cotton twill tape, and I’d like to see if the thread will match that softness. I’ll keep in mind that the thread might not hold up.

  • 13 Patti // Sep 5, 2007 at 8:45 am

    WEBS has a few colors of Rowan All Seasons Cotton on sale – you could overdye to make a very subtle variegation.

    Nice sweater, now I want one. I’m still almost done with Mariah.

  • 14 Bridget // Sep 5, 2007 at 8:48 am

    You did a great job! I often close up small gaps (like the ones under the arms) with another piece of yarn, then weave both ends in.

  • 15 Elsa // Sep 5, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Absolutely lovely. Thanks for making us privy to your notes as you’ve worked on it.

    It might just be the coffee talking, or the steeply discounted yarn I saw at a local surplus & salvage store, but… I think you’ve emboldened me to take another stab at knitting.

    Thanks for that.

  • 16 Bonne Marie // Sep 5, 2007 at 10:20 am

    OH! How I adore your RIBBY!

    It is G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. and I am imagining you strolling in Seattle even as I write.

    Can’t wait to try that stretchy bind off myself either–thanks for all the notes, Megan!

  • 17 Marsha // Sep 5, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Rowan All-Seasons Cotton is a dream to work with! I recently used it for a first time to make a Wonderful Wallaby sweater.

    Yes, it’s pricey stuff. But you can often find good deals on eBay from UK-based sellers. I got my factory-sealed package of ten skeins for $23–with free shipping form the UK. If you look for a deal like this, you won’t get the best selection of colors, but you’re very likely to find something you like. Good luck!

  • 18 Haven // Sep 5, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    Looks great! Now, I must tell you that one of my favorite sweaters has little holes IN the sleeves to put your thumbs through and make finger-less glove-sleeves for winter. When not in use, I fold them up once or twice, no biggie.

  • 19 Lenora // Sep 5, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    Just wondering how much it all cost you?

  • 20 megan // Sep 5, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Lenora – I ended up buying 10 balls of yarn just in case, $50. Two pairs of Crystal Palace circular needles, $24 (you could probably get away without using the smaller pair of needles as the pattern calls for, but your ribbing might stretch prematurely). Zipper and thread, $5. So my total was about $80.

  • 21 ALF // Sep 5, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Very pretty! And for those of us with long arms, we’d die for sleeves that are too long!

  • 22 Kristi // Sep 5, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Wow, that is very impressive.

  • 23 toya // Sep 6, 2007 at 12:57 am

    wow, I love the color and the pattern the ribbing is a classic look

  • 24 chronicler // Sep 6, 2007 at 6:12 am

    Very nice Megan! Knitting has eluded me for years. I just love this sweater, it’ll be great for your neighborhood jaunts.

  • 25 loriz // Sep 6, 2007 at 11:01 am

    It looks fabulous!

    Lion Brand Cotton Ease is pretty similar to All Seasons Cotton and a lot less expensive. You can buy it for ~$3/ball (215 yards/ball) at Discount yarn sale.

  • 26 Amy // Sep 6, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Beautiful job!

    This site is where I order all of my zippers. They are fast! And they have tons of options. I prefer the metal double-ended zippers with the ring pull. It’s classic and goes with everything.
    http://www.zippersource.com/store/

  • 27 Dame Wendy // Sep 6, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Good stuff! All of it, the pictures, the notes. It looks lovely. :)

  • 28 Elizabeth // Sep 6, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    It looks wonderful! I love the color you chose. I say better too long than too short with sleeves – you can roll them up and they’ll look cool that way, or wrap them ’round your hands, as you say. Either way, it’s all good.

  • 29 Jill // Sep 7, 2007 at 5:35 am

    Congratulations! I’m sure you’ll wear it with pride. It looks fantastic!

  • 30 Alison // Sep 7, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    It looks great! I also knit my first sweater this year and it was a great learning experience. Though, I have yet to wear it because I finished it just as it started to heat up around here (Mass.) and it’s wool. ;) Soon!

  • 31 MadCarlotta // Sep 7, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    Oh wow! It looks awesome!!

    I’m glad you did the fix, although I still think it would have looked alright even if you hadn’t. :)

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