Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Upcoming knitting projects and a request for advice

Having finished my Myrna, and with a holiday coming up pretty quickly (knitting on the plane FTW!), last weekend I pored over Ravelry trying to choose my next knitting project. I eventually managed to narrow it down to 6 options. So on Sunday I dragged the boy to Morris and Sons to look at my yarn options, make a decision and buy the yarn.

After much indecision, I ended up buying yarn for two sweaters and a beanie. I blame the boy for ending up with yarn for two sweaters; he encouraged me to get them both if I really liked them, rather than going through all this indecision again next time. As seems to be my new usual, all the yarn is merino.

"Scarlet Twist" Corazon Sweater
This Morris and Sons Empire 8ply yarn in "Scarlet Twist" will be made into the Corazon pattern, a lovely simple lace detail raglan sweater I've had my eye on for a while. Previously I've been concerned that I won't wear sweaters with a high neckline like this one, but after making the Aiken and seeing how much I wear that I don't have that concern as much any more.

Some more Morris and Sons Empire 8ply yarn, will become a Lysa Sweater, with "Seascape Twist" for the main colour, and "Biscuit" for the contrast. This pattern has also been in my favourites for a while, but I was a little cautious about the colurwork as I've never done it before. However, my knitting confidence is slowly growing so that doesn't scare me too much anymore, the only potential limitation was choosing a nice colour combination. 

As soon as I saw the grey(ish) colour that's for the main body of the sweater I loved it; it's made of a twist of pale blue and beige threads, so it's a really interesting colour up close. We spent quite a while choosing the contrast colour, there were many different possibilities. I didn't want anything too strong a contrast on the pale solid as I was worried how that would look, giving an illusion of footballers shoulders or something. I also wanted to keep the sweater neutral. There was a lovely olive green yarn that looked great with the grey, but I'd told myself that I wasn't going to make another blue or green knit. In the end we settled with the 'biscuit' colour as it complements the beige colour in the grey twist, and hopefully will stand out just the right amount.

Lastly, this Manos Maxmia in Royal will become a Aesderina beanie. I'm inspired by Tasia's versions of this pattern to give it a go, and will hopefully knit it up before, or on the way to, my upcoming trip to Canada, so that my softy Aussie-aclimatised head will be kept warm while we're there.

Since buying the yarn on the weekend I've knit a couple of gauge swatches; stockinette for the lysa and the lace for the corazon. The lace for the corazon seems spot on for the pattern. However the stockinette isn't quite right for the Lysa. It has the right number of stitches (19) but the rows aren't quite right - I have 28 stitches over 4" but the pattern calls for 26.

And here comes my request for advice...

Knitting experts; is this different enough to worry about adding extra rows to the pattern or will I be ok? I'm mostly concerned about the circular yoke and raglan section of the sweater, as I'll work out exactly how long I want the body and sleeves of the sweater to be and check the numbers of rows.

I've checked the pattern, and there are about 51 rows in the shoulder section before I split for the sleeves. In the correct gauge this would be 7.85", and in my gauge it's 7.28". I'm currently thinking of just following the pattern as written, knowing that it'll be a little shorter, but figuring that I have fairly small shoulders for my bust size and therefore it'll hopefully be ok being a tad smaller. Does this seem reasonable?

I've not made anything in this kind of style before (circular yoke), so I have no idea how to measure myself to work out the sizing for the shoulder area ... any tips or useful links for this?

Similarly, does anybody know of any good books about sizing (or design) of knitted garments? I've got a couple of knitting books but they're fairly basic and not helpful in this case.

But, to end with something a exciting rather than a problem, I had a little practice with the colourwork design with some scrap yarn and it's worked out really well, hooray!

Thanks for any advice!


  1. Ysolda Teague's Little Red in the City has information on doing the maths to get a good fit, but I don't own it so don't know how good it is.

  2. Ysolda's book is probably the best I have seen for fitting and knitting. A few other things too keep in mind, soft and more processed merinos can grow like crazy when washed and worn. Make sure you knit a large gauge swatch and hang with weights (Ysolders book exp!wins this); your second yarn slelction looks similar to some yarns I have experienced problems. Also, you will probably have a tighter gauge for the color work sections. 0.5" doesn't seem like enough to notice in the yoke section ; but don't be afraid to add row or two, probably closer to the arms. Knitting isn't as exact a science as sewing, the fabric is usually stretchy and forgiving.

    If the sweater is bottom up, consider knitting the sleeves first. This allows you to knit a bigger swatch and decide if you like your needle choice. I also lime to get the sleeves out of the way first because when am near I g the end of the body, I want to be finished.

    1. You've sold me on it - I need to get it.

    2. Thanks for the tips guys!

      Naia; Thanks for the tip about them growing. I've discovered that with some of my other makes so am hopefully prepared.

  3. I have that book, Rachel, if you'd like me to bring it on Saturday for you to look at.


    1. That would be AMAZING, yes please and thank you!!

  4. I have got Sally Melville's Knitting Pattern Essentials and whilst the patterns at the end are not my thing, it has about 160 pages on the maths and techniques behind knitting. I bought it after getting my first thing totally wrong and it's been good although a little intimidating at the beginning if I am honest :-)

  5. I found "Fit to Flatter" by Amy Herzog useful - probably available at your local library. Her blog is good too, although I don't know that she does many circular yoke designs.

    For understanding construction methods, Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts is educational, although it doesn't cover some of the recently popular construction methods (such as contiguous).

    Oh, and for circular yoke designs, I would recommend borrowing "The Opinionated Knitter", a collection of Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns with notes from her daughter, Meg Swansen. There is a useful diagram of how to shape the yoke, with various decrease options.


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