Monday, October 29, 2007

Autumn Leaves Sweater - the how-to

Finally some photos!

(I also have my Blogstalking posts to catch up on - I think I finally have all the pictures done! Coming soon!)

The Autumn Leaves sweater. Fits a rather skinny almost-2 year old with not much room to grow, but that is OK. It's an autumn sweater after all. She needs to be wearing it right now.

It is knit in Debbie Bliss Wool Cotton, which is discontinued. Its gauge is about 23 sts/10cm. It was knit on 3.75 mm needles, mainly in the round.

I began with 12 repeats of Nicky Epstein's leaf border (from p120 of Knitting on the edge). I did this in the first contrast colour. Then I picked up one stitch in each garter ridge, and knit 2 rows back and forth with the second contrast (brown). I then switched to my circular needle, the main colour, and stocking stitch. To compensate for the extra width of the garter stitch, I made one more stitch for every 10 that I picked up. I ended up with 120 stitches.

Actually now I write that down, I'm not sure I really did have 120 - I think I had 120 garter ridges, but if I made more, I should have had more stitches than that... I can't remember now whether I counted my 120 stitches (I think I did...) or whetherI just presumed that was what I had. Hm.

Either way. Once I had knit round and round in stocking stitch to the armholes I started my sleeves. Using Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system, I calculated I needed 40 stitches in each sleeve. (if I did miscount for the body, that would explain the narrowness of the sleeves... I thought I was just making the whole thing close-fitting for warmth!).
I knit a 5-stitch strip of garter stitch in my first contrast colour. I knit 37 ridges, so that when I increased to compensate for stocking stitch being wider than garter stitch, I would have 40 stitches for the sleeve. I cast off, and picked up one stitch in each garter ridge, with brown. Then I joined to knit in the round, changed to the circular needle, increased 3 stitches evenly and knit in the round to the armhole. From there, I followed EZ's seamless raglan instructions (I have both Knitting without Tears and the Knitting Workshop, and consulted both) to join the body and sleeves together. I started the raglan shaping, but after an inch or so of that, I wanted the front right raglan line to open for easier over-the-head access. So I started to work back and forth on the circular, still following the raglan decreasing. ( I added a stitch at one end, so that the decreases still happened one stitch in from the edge).
When it came to the neck opening, EZ recommends a simple square neckline, and I wanted more of a curve, so I worked a few short rows in order to get that shape. Once I was done with that, I put a few rows of garter stitch on as a neckline - since I had used short rows, I didn't need to pick up any stitches at the side of the neck. On the last row of the neckband, I picked up stitches along the opening in the right front raglan, then continued around and cast off (I think I did it in purl on the right hand side) all around the neck and front opening.
There were no seams - hurray! I love how neat the inside of it is. I did have to graft about 8 sts together at each underarm. I suck at grafting, and I managed to make a row of purl bumps under one arm - and I hate grafting so much that I decided no-one would see it and I didn't care!
Finally I made a frog closure (this was Chi's idea, and it really made the sweater!) using 2 lengths of 2-stitch i-cord in the first contrast colour. I found out how to make the knot for it here (scroll down).
Kittycat loves wearing her sweater and the matching hat - she insists on wearing the hat at home, too!
And... since I put the sweater on Ravelry, it's got 8 hearts - yay! AND I linked to the pattern for the beret on Ravelry and it's in 5 queues! I'm feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Love you, Ravelry!


Blogger Eryn said...

That is so beautiful! I need to read those books....

11:33 AM  
Blogger Holly said...

That sweater is adorable! I'm so impressed with people who are able to create such gorgeous works without relying upon a pattern.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Tina - omme i London said...

WOW - both the wearer and the sweater are absolutely gorgeous! Well done you.

11:44 AM  

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