The official plan for the Amanda Knitalong

The official plan for the Amanda Knitalong

Ok! I’m excited about how excited you all are about this Amanda knitalong, and grateful to my partner-in-cardigans Anna for getting the momentum going on Instagram while I’m rowing up the ducks. There’s a lot of information I need to cram into this post, so forgive me if it’s a bit massive.

PATTERN SELECTION

The panel of experts I’m putting together will be focused on knitting Amanda, the sweater Anna and I originally planned to knit. I had said and thought that I would suggest some alternate patterns to choose from. I was looking for things that were A) reasonably-traditional fisherman sweaters, B) the same construction method as Amanda, which is knitted in pieces from the bottom up, joined at the underarms and the yoke knitted in one piece, and C) available for download, since Amanda is only available in a book. Unfortunately, everything I’m finding and love that meets criteria A and B does not meet C.

You may knit any cardigan you like. With our panel of experts, I’m going to be really exploring the construction more than anything — ways to make a variety of mods (most notably knitting it seamlessly) as well as merits and techniques of seaming, button band thinking, and so on. So if you were to pick any raglan cardigan that’s knitted from the bottom up to the underarms and then joined into one piece for the yoke, you will benefit from all of the construction and modification guidance we’ll be presenting. If it’s a cable cardigan, even better! We’ll be talking about cabling techniques as well gauge and seaming with regard to cables. And I want to note that it’s just been revealed that the Brooklyn Tweed Fall ’14 collection is inspired by fisherman sweaters (!!) and thus may very well include some good candidates for this knitalong. That collection will be published on the 9th, so if you’re one of the people looking for an alternative to Amanda, you might want to hang tight for a minute until that publishes.

SCHEDULE

We are not knitting on a schedule. I repeat: WE ARE NOT KNITTING ON A SCHEDULE. I’m going to be publishing content relating to this every week for about eight or nine weeks. The panelists contributing to those posts will be attempting to knit at a pace that will allow for relevant photographs along the way. But we all know I’m not going to finish a cable cardigan in eight weeks, and I’m not even going to try. It will take each of us as long as it takes — for some that might be two months or four months or a year. And that’s FINE! The content relating to each step of the process will be here when you need it.

That said, I’m going to kick this off with a Meet the Panel post on Friday the 12th, followed by a post about starting your swatch on Monday the 15th. Kate Gagnon Osborn will be taking the lead on that one, talking about issues relating to gauge, and specifically measuring gauge with cables. So that will be swatch week! If you can’t wait, feel free to start swatching.

The following week we’ll look at body construction — we’ll talk to our panelists about who believes in seams, and why, plus who will be avoiding them, and how. Then after that, the content will keep coming and, like I said, you just knit at whatever pace works for you.

ERRATA

Note that that there is a known error in the Amanda pattern. The sizes are mislabeled on the sleeve chart on page 123 — make sure you download the PDF with the corrections. But there’s another error not noted in that PDF. The cable cross at the center of the diamond is charted as a right cross but described in the stitch guide as a left cross. The sample worn by the model in the photo was knitted with a left cross, as you can see. You can do it whichever way you like, or even mirror the two sides if you want. I just wanted to note that the description doesn’t match the chart for that one particular cable cross.

YARN SUGGESTIONS

There are dozens of lovely yarns that would work for this sweater — from BT Shelter and Quince and Co Lark to the budget-friendly Cascade 220 — and our panel will be knitting with a variety of different choices (which I’ll include in the Meet the Panel post once they’ve all swatched and decided). You want a worsted-weight yarn, hopefully in natural fiber(s), with a nice twist and stitch definition. If I had all the time in the world to swatch with a variety of yarns, these are the ones I’d try:

O-Wool Balance — this is the yarn I’m using for my Channel cardigan and will almost certainly be using for Amanda. I love that the wool-cotton blend will make it a three-season sweater, plus it’s washable without being one of those squeaky superwash wools. O-Wool is offering 10% OFF Balance through 9/30 with code FRINGEASSOC.

Sincere Sheep Bannock — I love this yarn, and you can see how beautifully it holds a stitch in the sample for Jane Richmond’s Spate mitts. Her Shepherdess, which I love, would also be fantastic. Brooke is offering FREE SHIPPING for the knitalong. Use the code FringeKAL at checkout.

Camellia Fiber Company Merino Aran — I just bought a skein of this from Rebekka the other day and it’s gorgeous. The slightly heavier weight, knitted at pattern gauge, would make a wonderfully dense fabric, which a fisherman sweater should be. In keeping with classic fisherman-ness, Rebekka is offering 20% OFF the undyed. Use code FRINGE at checkout.

Purl Soho Worsted Twist — as I’ve said before, this is my favorite yarn I’ve yet knitted with. The idea of a sweater as luscious as my beloved Gentian hat makes me drool. Just look at those cables!

Fibre Company Knightsbridge — the newest yarn I’m dying to knit with, and again, proven to be a beautiful cabler.

BUT HERE’S MY BIG IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I have not knitted or even swatched this sweater with any of these yarns — I cannot say with certainty that any of them will be the perfect yarn for you or the sweater. Buy a skein and knit a swatch and see if you love the fabric! That’s what swatches are for.

PRIZES

Some have asked if there will be prizes, others have offered to donate some. So yes, there will be prizes. How they will be won I do not yet know, but I’ll tell you when I figure it out!

HASHTAG

Since it’s really the Amanda knitalong but not everyone will necessarily be knitting Amanda, let’s use the hashtag #fringeandfriendsknitalong. Anna and I want to see your sweaters everywhere, but especially on Instagram. So hashtag it up!

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TOTALLY UNRELATED: If you were off having a holiday weekend on Friday and missed it, the second bag in the Jen Hewett series is now available in the webshop — there are still some left, and preorders for #3 are open. And the amazing Bookhou box is back in stock.

25 thoughts on “The official plan for the Amanda Knitalong

  1. im gonna wait to see what bt has on the 9th- maybe it will be the perfect thing for this group since i really prefer to knit the same sweater that others are knitting.

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  2. sounds like fun! I’ve loved the Amanda sweater….good incentive to get it on the needles. I’m sort of ‘running’ a very informal knitalong for the Hitofude cardigan…..nothing quite this structured, of course, but it does keep you focused (and this is a person who has MAJOR wanderlust in the knitting department!!!!!)

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    • How funny — I am swatching for a Hitofude this week. Since I have no experience with cabled sweaters, (and am so excited to try through this KAL), I figure I can spend some time on Hitofude as my “relaxing knit” when I need a break in what I expect will be a fairly intensive project for me.

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  3. I have never done a knit along. I am thinking that I may try it. I have never knit cables and only knit a couple of sweaters. I like that I would be part of such a large knitting family and would have the opportunity to learn from so many knitters. Thank you for putting this massive yet exciting project together.

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    • Awesome. Your swatch will be a good chance to practice your cables. There’s nothing difficult about cabling, but there are a few different kinds of cables in this chart, so you’ll want to knit a swatch that covers them all and gives you a chance to get comfortable with it before you start the actual sweater.

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  4. I’m in! This will be my very first knitalong experience. I love cables so this will be so much fun!
    I just ordered the book and downloaded the corrections. Thanks for doing this.

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  5. What a great knitalong, Karen. Just reading about your yarn suggestions has me so excited. And seriously, who doesn’t NEED a fisherman sweater in her or his wardrobe!?

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  6. I too want to wait until Brooklyn Tweed releases the latest collection rather than purchasing the book with the Amanda pattern in it. And I’ve never done a knit-along so am looking forward to joining! Thank you for planning it and listing some yarn suggestions.
    Margaret

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  7. Deep breath… OK, I’m in. I’ve never knit a sweater and this is my first-ever knitalong, so it will be quite an experience! I may even need to join Instagram…

    My first idea is/was to knit Stour, a men’s cardigan b Martin Storey. After months of searching (even contacting Rowan directly in the UK), it has finally become available in the United States. And, as luck would have it, one of my local yarn stores has a copy of the book AND a floor sample they’ve already knitted up that I can try on before buying the book and yarn. AND they’re having a big sale this weekend.

    But now you say that Brooklyn Tweed has a new collection coming out on the 9th? Hmm… what to do? I really like BT’s men’s designs, and Jared’s patterns are so detailed. Maybe I can get the yarn on sale in the approximate amount, then wait until I see BT’s patterns on the 9th before committing to a pattern.

    This will be fun. Thanks for putting it together!
    David

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  8. Can we/you/someone start a ravelry group for this knit along? Or does that come later? I am so excited for this knitalong! But there are so many choices I have to make – what yarn? What pattern?? Maybe a forum discussion would help me decide. ;)

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  9. Oh, this looks fun. I’ve had a few fisherman’s sweater cardigans, including this pattern in my queue for a long time as well.

    Another pattern I’ve had in my queue for near over a decade(?!) and might be a good option for this KAL is Patons Must Have Cardigan. It’s usually a free download (right now it is but sometimes Patons removes it from the free section so grab it while you can).
    Here’s a link to the pattern: http://www.yarnspirations.com/must-have-cardigan-197017.html
    Here’s a link to its Rav projects page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/search#page=1&query=must%20have%20cardigan%20yarnspirations&view=thumbs&sort=favorites

    Also for the Amanda Cardigan pattern, I think someone mentioned it elsewhere but it bears repeating, check your local library for a copy of the book (Essentially Feminine Knits by Lene Holme Samsoe). I live in an area with 5 library systems and there are at least 8 circulating copies of that book.

    I’ll have to think on yarn choices now…something super wooly and classic, I think. Cestari, Bartlett Yarns, Briggs & Little are some options…all traditional workhorse yarns that are also incredibly affordable.

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  10. This is great! You know, I was already planning to knit a BT sweater – Svalbard – out of some Shelter I bought with birthday money, but now I think I’ll wait for the 9th too before I get started on anything. I’ve never done a knitalong either so I’m looking forward to it.

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