When I asked about your all-time favorite posts, lisakoby said: “I have the post regarding swatching to get the fabric you like and using the gauge to adjust the fit bookmarked and I refer to it every time I swatch for a new pattern. Every single time. It has been invaluable in my knitting life.” That makes me so happy! I do find this to be a really important lesson for sweater knitters to learn, since often you simply cannot match both the pattern writer’s stitch and row gauge, so then what? It’s pretty critical to know how to think through the implications of knitting at a different gauge and making adjustments as needed — and it’s not even hard! So today that’s the post I’d love for you to read: How to account for gauge differences.
p.s. That post was tied to the knitalong for my Anna Vest, and I’ve had several people recently asking about that one. I’m aiming to get it published as a standalone pattern this fall!
(Bento Bag and ruler from Fringe Supply Co.)
If there’s one past post — or set of posts — that I believe to be endlessly useful and also of particular relevance at the moment, it’s Pullovers for first-timers: Or, an introduction to sweater construction and its lesser-known sequel, Cardigans for first-timers: Or, how button bands work. As we head into Summer of Basics, I hope to see a lot of people knitting their first sweater, and so I offer you these bits of guidance in choosing where to start. But whether you’re participating in SoB, maybe just thinking about getting started at some point the future, or have knitted a sweater before but want to gain a better understanding of the different sweater construction methods/types and their respective pros and cons, give these posts a read. And of course, they’re also chock full of pattern recommendations of every variety!
PICTURED ABOVE clockwise from top left:
• Basic Round-Yoke Unisex Pullover by Hanha Fettig: top-down circular yoke
• Sweatshirt Sweater by Purl Soho: bottom-up seamless raglan
• Dwell by Martin Storey: fully seamed, set-in sleeves, sewn-on bands
• Casco Bay Cardi by Carrie Bostick Hoge: seamless, bandless, collarless
The Summer issue of Pom Pom is all about stripes, and it’s astonishing how many distinctly different ways the designers have managed to deploy them, even though the majority of the patterns are simple little summer sweaters! My favorite details among them:
TOP: Anna Maltz’s swingy little Tarmac tank with it’s striped edging!
MIDDLE LEFT: Tina Tse’s simple little Deauville with it’s perpendicularly striped hem
MIDDLE RIGHT: Gina Rockenwagner’s deft plaid Anni
BOTTOM: Amy Christoffer’s log-cabin inspired Riley (I am obsessed with this photo!)
BELOW: And the cross-hatching on Julie Knits in Paris’s Vasarely wrap
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Thea Colman on a roll
The lovely and talented Thea Colman seems to have really hit her stride lately. Witness these three recently released patterns:
TOP: Brennivin is a gorgeous and cozy cardigan with a narrow shawl collar (pictured unfolded) and just a little bit of non-lacy lace patterning up around the shoulders
BOTTOM LEFT: Oban Sweater is the pullover version of her Oban hat, with such a simple but highly effective stitch combination — even more effective spread out across a sweater
BOTTOM RIGHT: Water is a Flint MI fundraiser in the form of a hat pattern — a fabulous cable hat at that. All proceeds are going to help kids affected by the water crisis in Flint, via an initiative led by an 11-year-old — just go read about it! And there’s also a campaign afoot to actually knit hats for these kids; more on that in Thea’s Ravelry group.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Sweatshirt sweaters
The discussion of my sweatshirt vest (and its V-patch neck detail) sent me looking back through my favorites for sweater patterns I’ve seen and loved with similar sweatshirt-y details. Here are my all-time favorites:
TOP: Polwarth by Ysolda Teague is the one I had mentioned in my post, and reader Karen C. alerted me to the existence of Ysolda’s tutorial about the brioche V detail (from a top-down perspective)
ABOVE LEFT: Redford by Julie Hoover is an older gem I’d forgotten about, complete with side panels and really beautifully executed V-patch (perfectly unisex)
ABOVE RIGHT: Gable by Hannah Fettig turns the whole idiom upside-down
BELOW: Sweatshirt Sweater by Purl Soho is one of the more oft-mentioned patterns in the history of this blog, with the ol’ kangaroo pocket rather than the neck detail
p.s. Yesterday was A Day and I haven’t had a chance to read carefully through all of the amazing thoughts on moths, but I’m getting there!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Summer blues
I mentioned when I first envisioned this little sweater vest that it was inspired by a jersey garment I once owned and adored — a sleeveless fleece top modeled on a classic sweatshirt. Unlike my version (full post here), that one did have a waistband; and I don’t remember whether it had the side panels or not, but I believe it did. I’m certain, however, that it had that classic sweatshirt neck detail of the little V patch just under the ribbed collar. Does anyone know if there’s a proper name for this neck detail? I don’t believe I’ve ever heard one, which is surprising given how ubiquitous it is. It must have a name — and I’m sure one of you will know. Anyway, I knew I wanted this vest to have it, and it was simple enough to do!
I’ve seen various such treatments in many knitted garments over the years (a favorite being Ysolda’s Polwarth sweater), but rather than studying them, I just measured the V on a sweatshirt in my closet and got out my trusty pencil and Knitters Graph Paper Journal and charted it out. Because of the marl here, I was concerned about the V having enough contrast with the main fabric, being rather small, so to help it stand out I worked the adjacent stitch on each side as a twisted knit stitch (knit through the back loop, in other words) holding only the grey yarn, then worked the stitches within my V in reverse stockinette. For the first few rows, I thought the grey stitch wasn’t accomplishing anything meaningful (and you definitely can’t see the lower ones shown in the chart below, meant to mimic the overstitching), but in the end I think that subtle frame of grey twisted stitches does help set it off just enough.
Mine is basically 13 sts wide (and 8 rows tall), which is slightly more than the number of stitches I bound off at the center for the start of the neck shaping. That was a conscious choice and meant the V business continued upwards at the neck edge for a couple of rows into the shaping, as you can see in the upper chart below — which made it a little more complicated. (And I have no idea why I didn’t BO an odd number so it was perfectly centered; told you I was apathetic!) But the easiest thing to do would be simply to make your patch the same number of stitches wide as the center neck BO called for in your pattern, as shown in the lower chart below, and then all there is to do is begin knitting it that many rows before your neck BO. In the totally hypothetical 13-st example shown, 8 rows before you reach the neck BO, you’d start this. Make sense?
IN SHOP NEWS: We’ve got the indispensable Cocoknits Knitter’s Block back in stock, plus a full complement of Bento Bags once again, and all the other beauties over at Fringe Supply Co.
PREVIOUSLY in The Details: How I sew elastic waistbands
This little sweater vest — or sweatshirt vest, as I’ve been calling it — turned out so incredibly cute. It bored me to tears while I was knitting it, but I’m completely in love with the finished garment and will be wearing it to death. And best of all, it was a clever use of great yarn sitting idly in my stash: the grey Balance from my abandoned cardigan, held together with ivory Pebble left over from my striped raglan. I actually still have enough of both yarns to make another one just like it. And you know what? I might!
I knitted it on US8s, at 4.25 sts/in, and the fabric is an absolute dream. The Balance is 50/50 organic cotton/wool, and the Pebble is recycled silk, merino and cashmere — just a whisper of that blend wrapped around the cotton/wool. I highly recommend you try it sometime!
I did not take good notes while doing this, I think due to the apathy at the time, so don’t expect there to be a pattern. But you really don’t need one! You could take any plain sweater vest pattern — like this one, for instance — and simply leave off the waistband, work three or four inches at each side in reverse stockinette, and add the little V detail at the neck. I’ll post The Details tomorrow about that bit.
I’m actually not 100% sure I’m done. I’ve tested assorted waistband/hem treatment possibilities, but I like it like this — the slight roll of the stockinette reminds me of a cutoff sweatshirt, which is a common feature of my closet — and I love the length, especially when worn over a camisole as seen here. (This is the spring equivalent of my favorite winter outfit this past season.) So for now, at least, I’m leaving it. And as noted, there’s ample yarn if I ever want to add on!
• Pattern: No pattern / Like it at Ravelry
• Yarn: Balance in Talc and Pebble in Ivory, held together throughout
• Worn with: Natural canvas pants and ikat camisole
PREVIOUSLY in FOs: Hipster painter pants