Tuesday, February 13, 2007

As Promised

Lucy's Valentine Sweater. Made with just over 4 balls of Fiorito, 80% Acrylic, 20% wool. It is soft, but does have a bit of a plasticy feel. Notice how the bottom of the back, and the top of the front, appear to be a little darker? Indeed, I checked the 4 labels I could find, and one is a different lot. And the almost whole ball, and the whole ball left, are of the same lot as the majority. So, out of 6 balls, I just happened to use the one that was the odd one out! I thought after I bought them that I should just check to make sure, but then said nah, it's all mottled anyway. I didn't notice when it was on the machine because it was a very sunny day, and you work looking at the backside (purl) side, so it gets much more blended. But I WILL check the lots before I use the other colour I bought!!!

The neat thing about this sweater is that except for grafting the shoulders, and seaming, I did it all on the machine! I picked up the sleeves along the armholes and knit downwards. This is great if you're short on yarn and don't mind short sleeves (bracelet length, LOL). It also means less seaming. Here's a breakdown of the steps, much of which can be used for designing your own handknit sweater too.

1) Measured a sweatshirt that fit her. Chest, body length, arm length, armhole depth, cuff width, and neck.

2) Made a swatch. On the machine, I did KP 30 and KP 40. The KP 30 was a tad stiff, the KP (keyplate) 40 was a little too loose. So, I knit it with KP35. I did all the calculating based on the gauge from the KP 30, because Lucy is growing, and I certainly didn't mind that it would work up a touch bigger!

3) Knitted the front. I started with 6 rows for the roll (forgot to take this into account--the roll--when I figured out how many rows, although I KNEW it would roll and had planned that! So it ended up a touch shorter than expected, LOL). Then I did 8 more rows, and converted those to ribbing. This prevents the roll from rolling too much, particularly in the middle of the front/back--it can only roll as far as the bottom of the ribbing. Eight rows was probably two too many though. I left the bottom neck sts on waste yarn.

4) Knitted the back. Again, left the back neck sts on waste yarn.

5) Grafted the right shoulders together. One of these days I'm going to remember to put a marker in so I know exactly where this seam is, so it makes doing the arms easier!

6) Rehung the sweater to do the neck. I started one open edge, picking up 3 sts for every 4 rows, down to the front neck (there were only 10 rows from the start of the neck shaping to the shoulder), put the 'live' sts on the latches, and the same number of sts as the first shaped edge up the other side of the front neck, and the live sts from the back neck on the latches. This is just like if you were HK and were picking up the sts around a neckhole.

7) Knit 6 rows for a rolled neck. Cast off. Seam up the other shoulder and neckband.

8) To figure out the arms, some math. Take the armhole depth times two, and figure the number of sts needed. From MK you know how many rows you did for the armhole (as in MK you work with row numbers instead of inches). If HKing, count the number of rows, times two. Divide the number of rows (the bigger number) by the number of sts needed for the top of the sleeve. You'll get a number like 1.4. This means that for every st of the sleeve, it will connect to 1.4 rows of the armhole. Now, we know that's not exactly possible. In most cases, you are safe to pick up 3 sts for every 4 rows (but look at your numbers from your swatch--you might be able to see the ratio easier from that depending on the numbers. If you have 12 sts and 16 rows to 4 inches, that's a 3st to 4 row ratio. But if you have 12sts and 20 rows, that's a 4st to 5 row ratio. Remember ratios?).
Pull out the number of latches needed as calculated by the number of sts you need for the upper sleeve. Hang the left edge of the armhole on the left most latch, wrong side facing you. Hang the right edge of the armhole on the right most latch. Find the center two latches (if working with an even number), and hang the sts on either side of the shoulder seam (which is why you should mark it when seaming!). From there, pick up the edge sts, both loops, and put on the latches, working with your ratio. If you start at the center, and pick up 3 sts, then skip one (not skip a latch, skip a st on the sweater armhole), and continue, any fudging you need to do will happen under the arm (if it's a 3 to 4 ratio, which is very common).

Figure out how many sts you need to have at the cuff. For kids, most of the decreases should happen in the upper arm, for adults, it can be more gradual. Figure out how many decreases you'll need (don't forget you're working with all the sts when you get this number, but half of those decreases will be on each edge!). Figure out how many rows you need for the arm. How many of those rows need a decrease? There are calculators online that will figure it out for you. Generally speaking, you'll do a decrease on every 4th row, with some plain rows at either end. I usually use a piece of paper and a pencil and figure out every row that needs a decrease. You can get really custom this way, LOL. I ended the arm with 4 rows converted to rib, and then another 6 rows to roll.

Seam it all and poof! It's finished!

One note on Lucy's sweater. I made it drop shoulder, like a sweatshirt, but I cut the body in by an inch and a half (all depends on what works well with the gauge, anywhere from one to two inches) at the bottom of the armhole. This eliminates a lot of bulk under the arm. BUT, you must remember to ADD to the sleeve length, whatever you subtracted from the body!!


smariek said...

Looks cute with the pink pants.

z said...

she's so co-ordinated :D the pullover turned out great!