Tag Archives: cardigan


Last week, we went on a day trip to visit family. My husband and I take turns driving, so that means I got three good hours worth of knitting time. I finished the body of the sweater the night before so I was excited to be working on the sleeves.

A tangled mess of needles. Tough to manage, but so worth it.

A tangled mess of needles. Tough to manage, but so worth it.

The pattern calls for decreasing two stitches every three rows at the top of the sleeves. For my size, it goes down from 81 stitches to 49. It turns out this is a pretty rapid decrease. I knitted and knitted and knitted, then when I got the decreases done, I tried it on… and it was too tight around my upper arm.

Now, I’ve said before that I am not a small woman. I want this sweater to be my comfortable, wear-everyday sweater. Three inches of negative ease around my upper arm just isn’t going to work. I read through the rest of the sleeve instructions and realized that the pattern is written for 3/4 length sleeves – that’s also something that I don’t want. I want full-length sleeves with some room to layer.

So I had to do some math and rip out three hours’ worth of work. It’s disappointing, but I wanted to be able to wear the sweater, so it was worth it.

I’m still getting the same gauge (even though I felt like I was knitting tight on the sleeves – I was excited and listening to fast music, ha!) so I had to rework the design to decrease more slowly and get the length I need.

My gauge was 17.5 stitches and 25 rows over 4 inches. 17.5 stitches divided by 4 inches = 4.375 stitches per inch. 25 rows divided by 4 inches = 6.25 rows per inch.

The pattern was decreasing two stitches every three rows, so that works out to almost one inch decrease in circumference every inch of length. 49 stitches (this is the number of stitches you end up with after all the decreases are done) is 11.2 inches in circumference. I measured my arm a few inches above my elbow, and it was 14 inches. No wonder it was tight!

I started out with 81 stitches and decreased to 49, so that’s a total of 32 stitches decreased. Every decrease row subtracted 2 stitches, so that’s a total of 16 decrease rows. The pattern states that every third row is a decrease row. That means that as the pattern is written, it takes 48 rows to do all the decreases. With my gauge of 6.25 rows per inch, the length of the sleeve after all the decreases are done is 7.68 inches.

I decided I wanted the sleeve to be about 15 inches in circumference at the point where I measured. 4.375 stitches per inch times 15 inches = 65.625 stitches. I decided to round up to 67 stitches to make it even. 81 stitches down to 67 stitches is 14 stitches decreased, which is 7 decrease rows. The length where I measured was about 7.5 inches down the sleeve, so decreasing once every inch will get me close enough. That means doing a decrease row every 6 rows.

So close!

So close!


I continued working a decrease row every 6 rows until I got down to the 49 stitches. That got me to a sleeve length of about 15 inches. I have really long arms, so I estimated I need to work the sleeve for 22 inches. I needed to continue to decrease the sleeve down the arm to make the taper just the way I wanted it. I worked three more repeats of the decreases for a total of 19 repeats. Then I did the ribbed cuff for 3 inches.

Only 17 more rows to go.

Only 17 more rows to go.


The knitting is all done, now and I’m finishing up weaving in all the ends. Then it needs a wash and a block, to make it look all pretty. THEN I can get good pictures of the final product and show it off to you. I’m so thrilled!


Filed under Knitting

Sweater Sanity Check

Remember how I told you that gauge was important? When making a garment, knitting at the correct gauge will ensure that your garment will fit the way it’s supposed to.

Because of that, it’s a good idea to make sure that the gaugeĀ  you got when you swatched is the gauge you’re getting when you’re actually making your project.

After I knitted a bit of the stockinette back, I decided to do just that.

Stitch gauge - 17.5 stitches over 4 inches

Stitch gauge – 17.5 stitches over 4 inches

Row gauge - 25 rows over 4 inches

Row gauge – 25 rows over 4 inches

The pattern calls for 18 stitches and 25 rows over 4 inches. I’m half a stitch short and spot on for the row gauge.

So, to check the fit, let’s do some math…

For the size I’m making, the pattern states that the back width at the bustline should be 26 inches at the stated gauge. 18 stitches per 4 inches, over 26 inches comes out to 117 stitches across the back. 117 stitches at a gauge of 17.5 stitches over 4 inches comes out to 26.74 inches. This pattern is designed with two inches of positive ease, which means that it should fit loose. That extra 3/4 of an inch won’t make much difference. I feel pretty good that the sweater will fit me across the shoulders and back.

Let’s talk for a minute about ease. Depending on the style, a sweater may be designed with positive or negative ease. Ease means that the sweater measures larger (positive ease) or smaller (negative ease) than the actual body measurements. Merle was designed with two inches of positive ease and the pattern instructions say to measure the bust and choose the size that is two inches larger than your measurement. Understanding and paying attention to the ease and the gauge will go a long way to producing a finished garment that fits well.

Since this sweater is knit from the top-down and all in one piece, it will be very easy to try it on as I go. In fact, I can get a rough idea of how it will fit already.


Silly Sweater Selfies


You should have seen the other faces I was making.

At this point, you can see that it’s a high collar sweater and the cabling is stiff right now, but it’s already softened up quite a bit.

I just keep knitting and knitting. On Thursday, I got to the point that I split the sleeve stitches off and I’m working on the body.


Happy. (Thursday)

On Friday, I did the waist decreases. Saturday and Sunday, I just knitted and knitted and knitted.


Happy (but sleepy) Saturday night.

At this point, I’m starting to want something else to do to break up the monotony of all the stockinette. I have at least 9 more inches to knit just of the body, then I’ll make the sleeves. But I’m really afraid if I stop knitting on this, it’ll be put off again and again and it’ll be another endless WIP. I have at least one commission project I know I’ll be working on, so I’m trying really hard to get as much done as possible before I set it down.

It turns out, it’s really great TV knitting, though. I can do several rows in a 45-minute tv show (we’re currently watching through Stargate: Atlantis again) so maybe I can finish it in a few weeks.

P.S. – Most of my knitting happens at night, when Jellybean is (supposed to be) in bed. My in-progress photos are usually cell-phone quickies taken in my little nest. I’ll get my husband to take a great photo when it’s all finished so I can show it off in all its glory.


Filed under Knitting

Sweater Project – Choosing the Pattern and Yarn

I haven’t gotten much response about the sweater pattern, but I had pretty much already narrowed it down to two.


and Merle

And while I love Yakushima, Merle is just too perfect for what I want right now.

Jennifer responded and said she also loved Merle. She asked if buttons could be added to keep it closed. Yes, they can! If I were going to add buttons, I would probably go for a loop style buttonhole along the edge in order to keep the cable pattern intact. Other closure options would be a belt or a shawl pin.

I will probably not add any closures. I am wanting an every day cardigan, and I almost never button outerwear sweaters, so this pattern will work just fine for me as-is.

The next step is choosing yarn. I mentioned last week that I had some yarn, but I knew I didn’t have enough and I wasn’t sure about the color. With the Merle pattern, I would be able to do the cable in a coordinating or contrasting color and do the body in the yarn I have. I got the yarn out and looked at it again.

Lambs Pride Superwash Worsted Maroon

I don’t think that’s my color, really. It’s 1100 yards, so it’s lots of yarn, but I will need to find something to do with it other than a sweater for me.

(There’s also this, that coordinates and was sold with the above as a package deal. It’s *REALLY* not me, so if you would like it, make me an offer.)

Lanartus Moonshine Sparkly Maroon

I was digging around in my stash when I found this:

Bramblewood Vest

I made it back in 2010 and I have NEVER WORN IT. It’s such a shame, too, because it’s a beautiful vest. I’m just not a vest person. The yarn is Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed. It was intended for another project (a long sleeved sweater!) that I didn’t have the skills or patience to make when I bought the yarn, so there’s more of this yarn in my stash. All told, I have 12 3/4 balls, about 1326 yards. That *might* be enough, but remember I have long arms, broad shoulders, and I want the sweater to come down to my hips, so I’ll need extra.

The pattern says I need 1836 yards of the suggested yarn at a gauge of 4.5 stitches per inch in stockinette stitch. Gauge is very important for a fitted item, so I spent some time swatching. I started with the suggested needles – US 9. My gauge was about 3 stitches per inch… that’s not going to work. I ripped that out and started again with a US 8 needle. It still wasn’t the right gauge. I had to go down to a US 6 to get the right gauge.

Now, the difference between a size 6 needle and a size 9 needle is 1.5 mm in diameter. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you hold the needles, the difference is noticeable. It makes a real difference in the knitted fabric, too. The Silkroad yarn is the same weight as the suggested Berroco Elements yarn, so I was a little concerned that I had to go down so far, but I still liked the way the yarn knitted up on a size 6 and when I looked at other people’s Merle projects on Ravelry, I wasn’t the only one who had gauge issues by using a different yarn.

So, back to the amount of yarn I need to make myself a Merle. I definitely don’t think I have enough of the Silkroad. This is where Ravelry saves the day, again. Not only can you catalog your projects, you can also enter your yarn stash. There’s even an option to say you’re willing to sell or trade some of your yarns. I originally bought the yarn in 2007. It’s color 126 and dyelot 99. I looked around online to try to find the yarn, but the dyelot is up to 280-something. The yarn has also more than doubled in price per ball. Oof. So, I decided to see if anyone on Ravelry had the same color available. I was very excited to find someone who had 9 balls of the exact color and dyelot I was looking for!!! It didn’t look like she had been active recently, but I sent a message anyway and made an offer for the yarn. In short, I have 9 more balls, which will give me a total of 2262 yards. I feel confident that I can make a cardigan out of that.

I know what needles to use, and I have all the yarn I need. It’s time to get started on a sweater!




Filed under Knitting