Yes, I managed some more rounds on my notorious yoke sweater. I changed both colours at the same time which gave it a new look and feel, and am now ready to seperate the sleeves. That will involve another round of pattern designing, and I’m thinking about doing different patterns for the sleeves.
I have nothing but praise for the yarn. It’s so amazing, it holds up so beautifully to being frogged time and again, it has a remarkable stitch definition, it’s soft enough to wear on the skin, and the colours are so lovely. I believe this is going to be remain my go-to yarn for all sweater purposes. Also, it fits in the budget nicely.
Bottom line: it’s growing, if slowly. But slow progress still is progress, right?
Just look at that, can you believe I’ve gotten so far? Well, I can’t. Still pinching myself to see if I’m awake. Boy, what a path that has been! None of the patterns I tried really worked. I knit some, then frogged some, then knit something else, and none of the attempts looked good. There was one that I thought I might actually wear once it was finished but my tension was way off and it pulled and puckered in an odd way. In the end, I put all my stitch dictionaries and pattern collections back on the shelf, grabbed a sheet of paper and a pencil, and did it all my own way. I drew the wedge frame, starting with nine squares for the nine starting stitches, added one square on either side every eight row, marked a line down the middle „stitch“, and then just started drawing little circles and lines and triangles and adding to them as I went along. Once I felt I had something to start with, I grabbed my knitting needles, yarn balls, crochet hook and stitch markers, and started knitting along to „Downton Abbey“ (many thanks to Netflix for adding the show at just the right moment).
Things I’ve learned this time:
A provisional crochet cast-on really helps to set the tension from the start
Increases are best done with yarn overs that are knit through the back loop in the following row. That way, there will be no puckering, especially if you tend to knit tightly.
Knit slowly. If you rush through the rounds, you’re more likely to mess up your tension.
Take a break every now and then. Managing two strands of yarn, not to mention the growing sweater, and keeping up with the pattern at the same time can be hard on the shoulders and wrists. Besides, you’ll need another cup of tea every half-hour or so anyway, so you might as well get up and get it.
I’ve got about a third of the pattern I’ve written out to knit. After that, I’ll have to check if the yoke is long and wide enough to seperate the arms. Depending on that, I’ll have to decide how to continue the pattern on the body and arms. I might do different patterns since I’ll have to figure out how to include decreases for the arms. I’ll cross that bridge once I get there. All in all, this has been a great experience so far, and quite a learning curve. I won’t say I’ve enjoyed every minute of it because I haven’t. Infact, there were moments when I was tempted to give up. Then there was this one moment when suddenly every single piece fell into place, and I was – still am – so happy with what I was making. I can’t wait for the sweater to be done so I can start designing my next one, and at the same time, I want to enjoy the process of finishing this one to the very last yarn end that needs to be weaved in.
Sometimes, I really like to play with fire. This is one such occasion. Yes, it’s exactly what it looks like – I’m trying to design a stranded yoke sweater. Why did I not simply buy a pattern and yarn, maybe even a kit, and start the yoke adventure the easy way, you ask? Well, my blood pressure has been a little low lately, so I thought this would be a fun way to up it a little. (Translated: „I’m stupid like that“.)
Anyhow. This is my … hmmm, let me think … I guess it’s my fourth attempt to fit some lovely Fair Isle patterns into 16 wedges with a limited but ever changing number of stitches. So here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Forget the stitch count per wedge, just concentrate on the stitch total or you’ll go bonkers trying to squeeze the patterns in.
Don’t forget to place markers between wedges, you really need to remember where to do your increases if this sweater is ever going to fit.
Patterns are loners, they don’t want to co-exist row by row. They need a little breathing space. Plus changing colours is so much neater after you’ve added a few rounds in just one colour.
I highly recommend not cutting the yarn right after you’ve finished a segment or pattern. You do need a little time to see if the colour choices work, and if the patterns play out as nicely in real life as they did on the paper.
Always have a pencil, eraser and some scrap paper at the ready, you’ll need it. There will be lots of changes. Lots of changes. I mean LOTS OF CHANGES.
This is the yarn. It’s my favourite Drops Baby Merino in some really lovely colours. I really love working with this yarn, and it’s quite affordable which is good, considering that first attempts at anything have a tendency to take up permanent residency in the bin. If I succeed, I might actually splurge on real shetland wool but for now, I’ll stick to what I have. Wish me luck!