zoey cardigan

Zoey Cardigan KAL - Week 6

YIPPEE! We're on the last step of the KAL! And pretty soon you're going to be able to wear your own, one of a kind, made FOR you, BY you sweater. Amazing!

This week, along with finishing your sweater, you get to see some more tidbits of my house. I know it's no secret that most knitwear designers work from home... this week you just get to see more of it. You're welcome. You also get a lot of videos because, well, it's kind of fun for me, but also I hope they're helpful. Not everything is easily done with words and pictures so hopefully the videos are both funny and educational. 

Prepping for the Front Band

Now that we're all finished with the sleeves and have tried the sweater on a million times to make sure it really is THAT awesome (I assure you, it is) it's time to get this baby finished. And that means picking up the edge stitches for the Front Band. I know picking up stitches isn't everyones favorite task but I think its magic. To get prepared for it I've prepared a little video for you (can you see Zoey?)

Picking Up Stitches

Whether or not you decide to use the steam block method to prepare your edges for pick up, you're still going to have to pick up the stitches. In the following video I talk about how to pick up all the sts. Below I'll talk a bit more about the math of the ribbing. 

How was that? Did you love picking up all those stitches? I sure did. But I'm a bit weird like that.

As you picked up the sts you likely noticed that you were picking up with the RS facing. This forces the seam that occurs with picked up sts to be on the inside of the sweater. As a result, your first row of sts will be on the WS. 

Now that you have all your sts and are ready to start with the WS facing, you need to figure out how to work your ribbing. It's similar to the bottom hem situation. If you count up all the sts (and it better be an even number) and divide by 4, do you get an even number or a half number?

  • If you get an even number, you'll p3, (k2, p2) to last st, p1.
  • If you get a half number (i.e.: 46.5), you'll (p2, k2) to last 2 sts, p2

By working in this manner you'll have knit sts at the beginning and end of your hem on the RS.

Binding Off

Binding off the front hem is something that should be done with care. It's the final edge of the sweater so you want to make sure it's not messy. The bind off is done with the RS FACING!  

There are two options for binding off, in my opinion, and you can choose which you think better suits you. 

OPTION 1 - Going Up a Needle Size (or two): This is the most common recommendation as folks like a nice clean bind off edge and just going up a needle size or two allows for a standard bind off by knitting a st, knitting a second stitch, and then passing the first stitch over the second. NOTE: if you choose this option, ONLY the needle that you bind off with (i.e.: the RH needle) needs to change sizes. The needle you are knitting OFF of can remain the same. 

In the case of this ribbing edge, you'll want to work in pattern for the bind off which means you work thus (assuming working in 2 x 2 rib):

Step 1: Knit the first stitch. Knit the second stitch. Pass the first stitch over the second stitch (1 st dec).

Step 2: Purl a stitch. Pass the first st on the RH needle over the knit st (1 st dec).

Step 3: Purl a stitch. Pass the first st on the RH needle over the purl st (1 st dec).

Step 4: Knit a stitch. Pass the first st on the RH needle over the purl st (1 st dec).

Step 5: Knit a stitch. Pass the first st on the RH needle over the knit st (1 st dec).

Repeat steps 2-5 until all the sts are bound off 

OPTION 2 - Jeny's Surprisingly Stretch Bind Off: If you are a sock knitter, you're likely familiar with this technique of binding off. It's a bit more time consuming and "yarn consuming" but it provides the stretchiest bind off available and doesn't require a needle change. Here is a link to the Knitty.com tutorial that shows this technique. You would still work the bind off in the rib pattern. 

Fixing the Underarm Holes

Yay for more videos! Here comes another one where I show you how I clean up the gap under the arms where the body and the sleeves are joined. Some research has indicated that most people use a modified Mattress Stitch which is what I've done. 

Weave In the Ends

If you haven't already done so, you can now weave in your ends. I posted a previous tutorial in the Week 4 post. You can check it out or wing it on your own. There's really no right or wrong way to do it, just a matter of your preference. 

Blocking Your Sweater

Ewe Ewe Yarns is a great yarn for wash and wear items. When I made the first cardigan, the one shown on Heather in the pattern, I threw that finished garment into the washing machine (since that's how I'd washed the gauge swatch) and let the machine do all the work for me. If you plan to do this, I highly recommend that you DO NOT put anything else in the machine with your sweater. 

I also highly recommend, that regardless of whether you soak your sweater by hand for blocking or whether you put it in the machine, that you use a Wool Wash. My favorite is SOAK in the "Yuzu" scent, though I have yet to find a smell that I don't love. I do know that I DON'T particularly like the smell of wet wool so I use this every time. If you have sensitive skin, I recommend a scentless version. Anyway, if you plan to put your sweater in the wash, do a COLD LOAD ON A DELICATE CYCLE and add a tsp or so of SOAK to the washer right in the drum. 

I decided for this sweater to do it in the sink since I did the first one in the washer. So, similar to the washing machine, I run a COLD sink of water and add a tsp of SOAK, throw the sweater in, watch it bubble, and then forget about it. For like an hour. But mostly because I had to go watch Jensen Ackles on Supernatural. Normally I'd only leave it for about 15 minutes. Mmmm... Jensen Ackles...

I digress.

If you're using the washing machine, it'll be ready to go on the blocking mats right out of the machine (it will spin it enough to get the majority of the water out).

If you're putting the sweater in the sink you have to use your Wheaties power to squeeze as much water out of the sweater as possible. NOTICE I SAY SQUEEZE - NOT WRING! I end up pushing the mass of the sweater into the side of the sink to push as much water out of it. It's still pretty darn wet when it comes out of the tub so I grab the largest beach towel I can find and go to town. 

Lay the sweater out, roughly in shape, on a large beach towel. If you have the ability to fold the towel, or lay two on top of each other, I recommend it. You're about to get a lot of water out of this. 

Roll the towel and sweater up like a yoga mat making sure that you have a layer of towel between each roll of sweater.

STOMP THE CRAP OUT OF IT!

OK, not really. But the best way to use our "knitters weight" to our advantage is to go from side to side across the roll squeezing the water out of the wool and into the towel.

Yes, those are my pajamas. And yes, I knit those socks. Also, I didn't notice that my pajama pants are that long and baggy. The things home videos can show you!  

Block and Wear

Last but not least, it's time to actually block the sweater out. Much like with our gauge swatches, which we lay out to dry (rather than pinning it out), we're going to just "lay the sweater out to dry". Obviously you're not going to just toss it on the blocking mats and run away. Shape it out to its natural dimensions. Don't try to stretch it or pull it. Unless you want to do that every time you wear it. Just lay it out, preferably under a fan since you want all those layers to dry as quickly as possible. And then voila! Once it's dry, shake it out, wear it out, show it off and love this sweater! 

And that's it, kiddos. You just made a sweater. A freaking SWEATER!!! I hope you had fun knitting along with me. I know it's a lot of work to make a sweater and I'm honored you chose to take the journey with me. If you have questions about sweaters in the future don't hesitate to contact me. I'm happy to help you figure things out. 

Stay in touch!

To stay in touch with me and the other folks participating in this KAL, join our group on Ravelry, tag me on Instagram and use #zoeycardigankal and #unapologeticknitter. 

And by all means, if you have questions, email me at meaghan@unapologeticknitter.com or message me on Rav (SoCalMeaghan), leave a comment here, or leave questions in the Discussion board.

**NOTE**

To make sure I see any immediate questions or concerns on Ravelry please be sure to ear-burn me (despite me being the owner of the discussion board, I don't get notified when people comment unless I'm tagged). So,  if it's urgent, please be sure to ear burn me. 

To do this enter my username in square brackets and follow it by tying the word "person" in parenthesis: [socalmeaghan](person).

Happy Knitting!!!

Zoey Cardigan KAL - Week 5

It's Sleeve Week. It's Sleeve Week! (in my head I'm picturing Jim Carrey in "Bruce Almighty"...). It's probably just me. 

Anyhoo... now that the body is done it's time to start picking up stitches for the sleeves. I'm going to show you how to start the sleeves for both case of held stitches - with a cable and an interchangeable needle or on waste yarn. I have both instances on my sweater for purposes of example. In the tutorials below you'll also note that I'm using different yarn colors to start each sleeve - this is based on the design with one set of stripes at the top of the sleeve and one set of stripes at the bottom of the sleeve on the other side. Please read the pattern carefully for which sleeve has the stripes at the top and which has the stripes on the bottom.

Stitches on an Interchangeable Needle (my LEFT sleeve):

So on my left sleeve I have my stitches on the cable of an interchangeable needle. I know that the left sleeve has the stripes at the top of the sleeve so I'll be using the Stripe color of yarn to start knitting my sleeve. 

I have removed one of the two caps on the cable and have attached a needle so now it's just like knitting normally, except when we get to the end of the held stitches we won't use the short needle anymore. 

Here's a caveat - even though I wrote the pattern to use DPN's for the sleeves, I don't use DPNs. They are the bane of my existence. I sit in admiration of all you knitters who can use DPNs. Something about them just makes my head hurt so I always use Magic Loop. If you are using DPN's for your sleeves, instead of knitting all the stitches on with your long needle like you see in the picture, use your DPN's, ensuring that you divide the sts evenly over the four needles. For example, for a size Large, I have 60 sleeve sts - so I'd place 15 sts on each needle for the sleeve.

IMG_3378.JPG

So using our Stripe yarn I'm going to start knitting the first row of the sleeve stripe right off the held stitches needle. It really couldn't be any easier. Once you get to the end you won't need the interchangeable needle anymore and you'll have all your stitches ready to go.

As I mentioned above, I'm working using the Magic Loop technique so I have the first half of the sts on the "front" needle and the second half of the sts on the "back" needle. As you knit the sleeves you're going to notice a big hole under the arm. It's ok. Don't try to close it up now. In next weeks post I'm going to show a video on picking up the stitches to close the gap. 

Sleeve Length Maths!!!

The sleeve length in the pattern is based on industry standards for "average proportions". I HIGHLY recommend you measure your arm and make sure you know your target length for the sleeve is - measure from your underarm to your wrist. I'll bet you almost anything it's not the same as what's in the pattern. I, for example, am known as T-Rex arms. I need to knit a size large because I'm curvy, but I'm also short... and therefore have proportionally shorter arms. Like way shorter. I need my sleeve to be 16.5" rather than 18.25" as the pattern calls for on a size Large. 

Since we'll want both sleeves to be the same length once we're done knitting, we can bring some math into the equation. Sure, you could use a tape measure and measure every so often but it's not particularly accurate. I rely on math as often as I can when I need things to be the same... like the exact same. 

So, as an example: my arm, measured from the underarm to my wrist, is 16.5". If I divide 25 rows by 4" (since my row gauge is 25 sts over 4") and then multiply that by 16.5" I get 103 rows (I rounded down from 103.126).

Knowing my target sleeve length, I can figure out how many sts I need to decrease, where to start the stripes on the second sleeve (shown under the Right Sleeve section below) and how many rows our Cuff color we need. Stick with me here.

I know, for example, that I want my cuff to be 5". At 25 rows / 4" I do the math and find out that I need 31 rows of cuff. I'm going to add my 1 bind off row to that so I'll make my total cuff 32 rows long. So 103 total rows minus 32 cuff rows = 71 rows. This means that all of the shaping of the sleeve that happens before the cuff has to be done over 71 sts. BUT!!!

In addition to the cuff, we have 6 rows at the top of the sleeve that have no decreases in them. So 71 - 6 = 65 rows. So THAT'S the number of rows we have to work our decreases over: 65!

With that in mind, we now have juuuuuuuust a bit more math to work out. I start with 60 sts at the top of my sleeve and have to decrease to 36 sts for the cuff. If we subtract 36 from 60 we get 24 sts to be decreased. Because we work decreases in pairs we then know that we have 12 decrease rounds that need to be worked (24 divided by 2). 

If we divide 65 rows of sleeve by 12 decrease rows we get 5.416... which we're going to round down to 5 rounds. This means we're going to work a decrease round every 5 rounds over the 65 rows of our sleeve. That also means that by row 60 of the 65 needed (because 12 x 5 = 60) we'll work 5 rows even before we start the cuff ("even" simply meaning with no decreases). 

Here's a recap so you can do the math to figure out your total sleeve details:

  • Total sleeve length = 103 rows

  • Total cuff length = 32 rows (including bind 0ff)

  • Decreases worked very 5 rows

  • Knit 5 rows even before starting the cuff.

 

Stitches on Waste Yarn (my RIGHT sleeve):

Moving on to the right sleeve, where I have stitches on waste yarn.

In this case, we're going to have to pick up all of the live stitches off the waste yarn and place it on to a needle. Grab a nice long needle to hold all the stitches if you're going to work Magic Loop, or use your DPNs right away - though I do recommend, if you have them available, grabbing a smaller needle than the one you're knitting the sweater with. Here's a video to help.

Once you have all of the stitches picked up and on your needle you can pull out the waste yarn. It should just pull right out.

The Right Sleeve Maths

Using some of the math from the left sleeve above, you have a bit more work to do on this sleeve since the striping comes at the bottom of the sleeve.  It's much simpler, however, now that you've done the work above. 

I know that my sleeve, before the cuff, needs to be a total of 71 rows. The shaping will be worked the same (knitting 6 rows even, then starting the decreases every 5 rows) so that's easy. What we DO need to know is when to start the bottom stripes. 

71 total sleeve rows minus 30 rows of stripes (because we have a total of 5 stripes with 6 rows in each stripe) is 41 rows. So I know, now, that once I reach 41 rows from the first row of the sleeve, that I will start my first stripe. 

TIP: Before you start the Right sleeve, clip a removeable marker into the first row of the sleeve so you know how many rows down to knit before the stripes. 

So knit your sleeves and then totally try on your sweater. You'll love it! Next week we'll wrap things up with the front band, closing up the holes under the arms and then blocking the sweater. And yay you! You're almost there!

Stay in touch!

To stay in touch with me and the other folks participating in this KAL, join our group on Ravelry, tag me on Instagram and use #zoeycardigankal and #unapologeticknitter. 

And by all means, if you have questions, email me at meaghan@unapologeticknitter.com or message me on Rav (SoCalMeaghan), leave a comment here, or leave questions in the Discussion board.

**NOTE**

To make sure I see any immediate questions or concerns on Ravelry please be sure to ear-burn me (despite me being the owner of the discussion board, I don't get notified when people comment unless I'm tagged). So,  if it's urgent, please be sure to ear burn me. 

To do this enter my username in square brackets and follow it by tying the word "person" in parenthesis: [socalmeaghan](person).

Happy Knitting!!!