Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

As you may know, I’ve been neglecting my official knitalong sweater (above) the last couple of weeks in favor of finishing up one of the two other Improv sweaters on my needles — the black cardigan. (Which I’ll post details and numbers for very soon!) But I’m now back to my cable sweater and making slow-but-steady progress toward my stated plan. My fellow panelists, however, have been having all sorts of adventures with their planned sweaters. So I thought today would be a good time for a little check-in!

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Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

JEN BEEMAN (@jen_beeman)

How far into your sweater are you?

Currently I’m about 2″ down on the body, below the split for the sleeves. Unfortunately, fisherman’s rib is slow going and even slower when you’re knitting a man’s sweater. I definitely understand why more ladies don’t knit for their dudes — it’s like 2x the sweater!

Have there been any stumbling blocks or setbacks along the way? And if so, how were they resolved?

Ohhhhh yes. My first mistake was casting on during the Olympics. Apparently I am completely unable to count while yelling at the TV. After I got that sorted I accidentally pulled out 5 rows of knitting right at the front neckline increases which meant 2 increases were pulled out. I couldn’t fix it well enough, because of the fisherman’s rib pattern, so I ripped everything out and started over, but with a lifeline this time.

This weekend I had to rip back again when I realized I’d cast on a few too many stitches at the underarm. Jon has very wide shoulders which are disproportionate to his arm and torso width. This means garments either fit him through the shoulders and are huge in the arms and torso, or they fit him through the body but are super tight in the shoulders. The amount of stitches needed to fit over his shoulders is greater than the amount of stitches I need for the body and arms so I’m in the middle of trying some fancy/strange shaping that I’m kind of figuring out as I go. I’ll update you guys on whether this bizarre plan of mine works or not once I figure it out. [Editor’s note: As this is a lifelong struggle of mine, I look forward to those notes!]

Upon looking at the photo of Jon wearing his sweater, I also noticed an issue with the ribbing that was not apparent while the sweater was laying flat. I’m currently blocking it to see how severe the potential problem is. I’ll get back to you on this situation later!

Has your plan changed at all from where you started, or are you still charging toward your original design?

Still charging! It’s been a lot of trial and error so far but I’m still excited about finishing this sweater for Jon … hopefully before the weather turns cold.

. . . . .

Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

BRANDI HARPER (@purlBknit)

How far into your sweater are you?

I have one needle going on the sleeve about to hit the elbow and one needle going just at my hips. I created hourglass shaping on the side. So far I’ve ripped out one area or another at least 4 times!

Have there been any stumbling blocks or setbacks along the way? And if so, how were they resolved?

I was going to make the body about 14″ long, stopping at the waist. I picked up lengthwise at the border to start closing up the cardigan at the front, using the same lace and needle size I’m using for the body. It looked awful. LOL. The border was baggy. So I tried taking it down two needle sizes and it looked much better. After trying it on, I no longer liked it as a cardigan. With the lace, the border, side shaping and the crochet detailing I plan to add as a finishing, the whole thing started to feel like the ornamental sweater “I would only wear with” kind of garment. So I’m ditching the cardigan idea for a turtleneck pullover and I’m really excited!! Now it’s the “I always wear this sweater when” kind of knit. It’s not a layering piece for an outfit; it is the outfit!

Has your plan changed at all from where you started, or are you still charging toward your original design?

I planned to use 4 balls only. When I started to imagine the sweater of my dreams, I hopped a train to Purl Soho so fast and snagged 3 more balls of the Flax Down and lucky me they had the dye lot! I thought I would have to do some fancy short-row or bust-line shaping, but a simple 2 to 3″ border on each side will work perfectly and add some ease to bring it together. The cardigan is now a pullover, and since I have enough yarn I’m going to make it hip length like a mini sweater dress! Scratched the short sleeves for long sleeves with a slight bell at the cuff maybe. I couldn’t foresee any of these changes, but it’s evolving into something more than I could have ever imagined!

. . . . .

Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

JESS SCHREIBSTEIN (@thekitchenwitch)

How far into your sweater are you?

I’m about 3 inches in. Ha! I cast on the neck for my funnel/mock-neck sweater using a tubular cast-on, instead of using the neck-shaping method in your tutorial, which has led to its own challenges. Nothing that hard, but it’s led to a lot of trial and error.

Have there been any stumbling blocks or setbacks along the way? And if so, how were they resolved?

I think I’ve ripped this sweater out to the shoulder-shaping section about six times now. Here’s why:

Frog 1: Raglans seemingly increasing too fast (working them every other row for front, back and sleeves)
Frog 2: Raglans increasing too slow (working them every third row for front, back and sleeves; did the math that I should have done, ahem, at the start of this project and realized that the armholes would be at my waist once I got enough stitches on the needles)
Frog 3-6: Decided to return to the first raglan increase method and add neck-shaping via short rows (which I had avoided before), which I ripped out a lot to get them to look right

After the latest and near-successful short-row shaping (wrap-and-turn method, neck-shaping length about 1 inch, or 4 rows), I still wasn’t satisfied – you can see in the photos why. The short rows are very visible despite my multiple rip/redo efforts, and it was bugging me. Then I hung out with my friend Olga Buraya-Kefelian (@olgajazzyknits) for an evening and picked her brain a bit, and she recommended two alternative short row methods: German short rows and Alice Yu’s method for shadow-wrap short rows. I’m hoping to give these a try early this week to fix the visible short row problem. There will still be a jog, since the short rows change the direction of the stitches by a slight angle, but I don’t mind that as much.

Here’s to the seventh time being the charm!

Has your plan changed at all from where you started, or are you still charging toward your original design?

Design is still unchanged – if I can make it past the yoke! Still aiming to finish my sweater by the time I head to Rhinebeck, but that’s looking like an increasingly challenging deadline to meet. Wish me luck!

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Thanks, everybody! And of course, you can keep up with all of the knitalong sweaters on the #fringeandfriendsKAL2016 feed on Instagram or by checking out the projects linked to the Improv pattern page on Ravelry.

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PREVIOUSLY in Top-Down Knitalong: WIPs of the Week No.4

23 thoughts on “Top-Down Knitalong: Panelist check-in

  1. Hurrah for yarn. You can rip out and reknit. You can’t do that with fabric. Karen, you were right that having my raglans bend would look good. Now I am worried about my arm holes. I’m not sure if they are too big. I am only about two inches below the join. I think I may try and knit a sleeve to see how that will look so if it is wrong I can rip out and add less stitches under the arm. Hope that won’t screw up the body, if I do. I am wishing I had done something less plainer but know that this whole process will teach me and I can do fancy later. This is giving me lots of respect for real designers who know what they are doing. I noticed a stitch marker on one of your ribs.?????

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  2. I feel so much better reading this. The fourth time I had to rip out my collar because of a very silly mistake I put my project into time out so I could cool down. I’m back into this project as I really want my dark grey grandfather cardigan for the fall. I can see it! And now I’m re-inspired to make it happen. Thanks for the timely check-in post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve frogged my sweater seven or eight times too but now it’s *perfect* although, I’m not sure why Jess is using short rows on a turtleneck??? like I don’t get the leap from increasing too fast to short rows.

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    • Unrelated issues. The short rows are for neck shaping (as opposed to doing it the old-fashioned way I describe in the tutorial). She wanted to cast on in the round and knit the mock neck, and have the sweater be continuous knitting from the neck stitches rather than picked up from the cast-on edge. So in order to do neck shaping, she had to use short rows.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. For Jess, I really like Cat Bordhi’s “thanks ma” short rows—so easy, and nearly invisible!
    And I also really like hearing that other people/more accomplished knitters rip things out a lot too. I recently had to rip a fairly big section of the sweater I’m working on because I was trying to do it in a chaotic situation and when I was too tired … it’s always a balance between wanting to use the time I have to knit, and realizing when I need more mental space & quiet to figure out the next step!

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  5. It’s so interesting to see how people’s plans change with this KAL. I had to rip out and redo the neck and shoulders a lot at the beginning, but now I’m trundling along with the rest of them. Don’t know if you saw it, but I wrote a bit about my plan changes this week, too. I’m starting the bottom ribbing in the next few days, because of an epiphany of style!

    It’s here, in case you missed it. :) https://ajamakesthings.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/improv-sweater-week-five-changing-course-a-bit/

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  6. Pingback: WIP of the Week No.5 (+ mandatory Slotober reading!) | Fringe Association

  7. Pingback: I’m joining the start-over club! | Fringe Association

  8. Pingback: Top-Down Knitalong FO No. 2: Brandi Harper | Fringe Association

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