Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Have You Finished Your Homework?

Your homewark was to swatch with the yarn you want to use for your sweater, changing needles until you match the gauge given in the pattern you are using. If you have done that successfully, you are ready to START! If not, keep swatching or use the Comments to ask for help :-)

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to read through the pattern, even if you don’t understand all of it - we will take it step by step, but it is good to have an overall perspective. For instance, I know the pattern is going to have me knit from the neck down, but, at the end, I will be picking up the neck stitches - see section titled Neckband - and adding a few rows (or a hood) to finish the edge.

Since I am going to work both down and up from my cast on edge, it makes sense to use a cast on that is provisional i.e. has live stitches on both edges, unlike the cast one you normally use (long tail or knitted or loop) which has one finished edge and one edge for the working stitches.

I will do a provisional cast on, in the easiest possible way, by crocheting a chain and picking up stitches through the back of the chain.

I use plain white string for my crocheted chain and chain the number of stitches I need to cast-on PLUS ten stitches. The extra stitches allow me to skip any chains that might be malformed plus not have to use the beginning and ending chains. The knot is at the end of my chain where I cut the yarn and pulled it through the last loop. This is a reminder of which end is the one that will zip off when I am ready to remove it.

Turning my chain over, I use my knitting needle to pick up one stitch through every purl bump on the back (skipping the first and last few bumps.) The back loop looks like a purl bump.

Oooops - the instructions tell me to put markers on in the cast on row - let’s try that again...cast on, pick up two stitches, place marker, cast on 16 stitches, place marker, etc.

Looking at my half circle of knitting the center section is the back of the sweater, the sections on either side of it are the tops of the sleeves, and the two stitches on each end of the needle will grow into the front section(s).

I’m using ring markers - you can use anything you can see - rubber bands, paper clips, twist ties. As you come to them in a row when you are knitting, you simply slip them from the left needle to the right. In this pattern they are marking the places you will be increasing.

What you are doing for the first few rows is shaping the back of the neck - if you look at any shirt, you will see the front of the neck is lower than the back - we are working the extra section of fabric in the back.


On Row One you will do you first set of increases - the pattern asks you to increase by knitting into the front AND the back of the first stitch - you are turning one stitch into two stitches. To do this, knit into the front of the stitch. Before slipping the stitch off the needle, place your right needle behind your left needle and knit again into the back of the stitch. Slip original stitch off left needle. There are now two stitches on your right needle.

This increase leaves a little bar (looks like a purl bump) on the right side of your knitting but it doesn’t create a hole. Those of you who are making the Summer Cardigan will be doing a Yarn Over (YO) as your increase because you want a light and airy look. The YO will leave a hole.

Look at the arrow on the right side and you see the little bar that marks where I increased.

Back to the pattern

In the first row, the instructions are telling you to increase before and after each marker AND in the first and last stitch in the row. Turn you work when you reach the end of the row - we will be working back and forth for a few rows before we start knitting circular.

Row 2, which is the inside of you sweater - all you have to do is purl back. Increases are usually done on every other row.

Continue to increase on the odd number rows and purl back on the even rows until your center back section has the number of stitches called for in your pattern.

Next we will cast on stitches at both ends of the needle to add to the front neck section.

To Be Continued :-)


Debra in NC said...

My question concerns the left and right edges. I've noticed that on my swatches the edges sometimes look rather ragged. Do you have any hints/tips that I can use to keep them neat and tidy? Thanks so much!

9:17 PM, March 16, 2005  
erica said...

The secret to tidy edges is...after you do the first stitch on a row, stop and push/pull all the "collar" of the stitch around to the back of the stitch - at the same time, pull as much slack out of the yarn as you can, You should be able to pull at least an inch of yarn out of the stitch.

9:22 PM, March 16, 2005  
Debra in NC said...

Thanks! I'll give this a try! :-)

9:25 PM, March 16, 2005  
Knight said...

Please add me to the knit-along.

I also have a question. I'm working on the KP&S v-neck t-shirt. I am to increase the first and last stitch of the knitting row by knitting into the front and back of the stitch. The increases on the left side of the sweater leaves a wonderful smooth edge. Doing the same increase on the right side leaves the edge rather choppy looking. I don't think it's due to my tension, but rather the increase itself. Would a different increase look better? Or does it matter? And is it too late to change mid-stream? Thanks! Knight

9:43 AM, March 17, 2005  
erica said...

You will be picking up stitches on both edges to do your collar - ribbing or whatever so one full stitch will disappear under the edge treatment.

And it is also possible you are not snugging up the yarn after the first stitch of every row (see previous comment :-)

9:27 AM, March 18, 2005  
Carrie S. said...


I'm doing great so far with the hoodie (#244) I'm working on the body now which is nice and relaxing! I've tried it on, and the size seems about right. I'm already thinking ahead, though...

My question is about a modification I'd like to make in the pattern. I would like the sleeves to have a slight bell shape rather than a taper to the wrist. Can I do that by changing needle sizes? Or if I just don't decrease, will they come out way too wide?

Thanks for your help, and for inspiring me to try my first sweater!

8:58 AM, March 22, 2005  
pbarnett said...

I have finished the Summer Cardigan in Cotton Twist, except for the right front buttonhole band. I worked on it a good amount of time while on vacation last week. I did not have the directions with me for sewn cast off, so had circular needles hanging out everywhere. I got the pattern for a long sleeved cardi today, and am thinking of making it.

7:34 PM, March 28, 2005  
erica said...

Carrie - If you make the sleeves wider by using larger needles, you risk have fabric that is loose or sloppy. Better to taper the sleeve down to a point where you want the bell to start and then increase at 4 - 8 points. Work one row even after every increase row.

11:13 PM, March 28, 2005  
Steph B said...

Once you have the crochet chain ready for the provisional cast on, do you hold the yarn and the chain in your hands while casting on? I was doing it with both the chain and the yarn laying on the table, but it's taking a long time and I'm thinking this isn't the best way to do it! Thanks for any help. :-)

3:21 PM, April 02, 2005  
Steph B said...

Looking for help on the provisional cast on, I found the video on this page, which seems like it could be more straightforward than the crochet method: http://www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/basic_techniques/ (scroll down to see the provisonal). I don't know how to crochet at all, so I wasn't really getting it right. Is there any reason why the video method wouldn't work for what we're doing here?

6:44 AM, April 04, 2005  
erica said...

Steph - you may use whichever method you prefer - the on in the video looks great :-)

6:57 AM, April 04, 2005  
Anonymous said...

I followed the pattern instructions for casting on for the underarm stitches, but wondered afterwards if these, too, could have been done with the provisional cast-on. Would that have worked?


12:51 AM, April 05, 2005  
erica said...

Yes - if you use a provision cast on for the underarms, you will not get a ridge there when you join them together. It will make the underarm area more stretchy.

9:47 AM, April 05, 2005  

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