Saturday, January 9, 2010

Handstrikket Primavera

Yesterday I blogged about the Norwegian cardigan my mother gave me 35 years ago and how I'd like to re-create it in new colors and a new (yes, much larger) size.

Today, I'm supposed to be working. I've got a ton to catch up on and I was going to use Saturday to work in peace without phones and interruptions. But the Handstrikket kept swirling around in my head... okay, I said, I'll just chart a little of the yoke, just to get it started. Just 15 minutes, maybe a half hour...

Six hours later, I'm done!

The earth-toned original morphed into bright colors for three reasons. One, I'm sick to death of the freezing weather - aren't we all? I could use some spring colors about now. Two, because my skin is so pale, I look best in clear, saturated colors. And three, I have the yarn in my stash. I read somewhere that fiscally responsible knitters use their stash skeins before rushing out and buying even more yarn. I wouldn't know myself but I thought I'd give it a try it.   ;-)

The yarn? Knit Picks Merino Style and Swish DK. Inexpensive plus I love that company's merino yarn. Just don't machine wash it! Turns into a fuzzy mess even if it's supposed to be machine washable.

I used Microsoft Excel to chart the fair isle designs. It's a great knitting tool, especially if you have some familiarity with the program. Start by creating a new spreadsheet. Then select the columns and click and drag to make the cells square. Then select a cell, right click, and click Format Cells. Click on the Fill tab and select a color. Click OK and Excel changes the cell's background color. From there, you can add additional colors and use cut and paste to fill in the design. It's fun. A bit tedious, perhaps but a great way to plan and play with your chart.

Next, I'm going to figure out the pattern. I think I'll use Elizabeth Zimmermann's Percentage System for making seamless yoke sweaters. Another option would be Sweater Wizard, but it would be fun to figure this out for myself from scratch. I'm excited. But I still have to finish that baby blanket first...


  1. I love those colors, Julie. The sweater is going to be beautiful. I'm taking an Excel for Knitters class at my LYS in March and really looking forward to it. You may have inspired me to try a similar sweater. Got my new Knitpicks catalog today and saw all the great colors; I need to start playing with design ideas.

    I don't mean to be "anonymous"--I can't get it to just put my name since I don't have a URL. Sorry.

  2. Great colors! I'm looking forward to seeing this in progress.

  3. I don't want to be fiscally responsible, it's just too much fun to buy new yarn! I got around the budget problem by teaching classes at my LYS, that way I earn "yarn money"! wooooohoooooo! Oh! and great colors by the way :)

    I think it would give myself the trouble of calculating everything from scratch after making a gauge, it's not the planning stage that's the problem with me, it knitting full size adult sweaters, I only seem to finish children size garments, I run out of steam when it comes to garments for myself, my projects always end up in the UFO forever pile.

  4. I love the design and colors you have chosen.
    Great job, you talented gal,you!
    (6 hrs are addicted to the craft...welcome to the club! LOL

  5. Thank you, girls! I appreciate your support - and that you read this damn thing!

    Michele, what a great idea to teach knitting classes for yarn money. And I bet you could finish a sweater for yourself... it's an ordeal, but you learn so much in the process. I haven't made a sweater I'm completely happy with - yet! I persevere...