Wednesday, November 10, 2010

While I wait

I'm still waiting for Webs to cough up Norah Gaughan Men so I can get started on Tom's Christmas sweater. Did you know there are only 45 knitting days until Christmas? ACKKKK!!!!!!!!

But there's no sense just sitting here tapping my foot. After horsing around with that giant pile of red alpaca for weeks, I finally cast-on for a completely different cardigan, the Coco Classic. This design appeared in the September 2010 issue of Creative Knitting and is also available from ePatternsCentral.

Why this sweater? Because Amy Polcyn designed it using my exact yarn, Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande. The cardigan is also simple and therefore a fast knit. And it features seed stitch. This is important. After reading about alpaca drooping, I worried that whatever I made would stretch uncontrollably southward. The seed stitch will help the garment keep its shape, as will the basic design. This structured sweater with side seams and set-in sleeves will hopefully keep the garment from becoming a droopy mess.

Before you American knitters start lamenting the difficulty of knitting seed stitch, let me remind you again that it's time to learn Continental. This method makes seed stitch a cinch because it's so easy to move the yarn from the front to the back of the work. I've recently discovered that I am actually a combination knitter, knitting Continentally and purling in the eastern fashion. Watch Annie Modesitt and you'll see how I knit, as well as how easy it is to switch between knitting and purling.

As before, I rewrote the pattern using Sweater Wizard. This time I started with the pattern I used for the Augusta; no sense reinventing the wheel when I know this basic design fits me. I'm making a few mods though, adding a round drop neck, an a-line fit, and an inch of short rows at the hips. I am hoping the short rows will eliminate the sweater riding up on my butt. Regardless, I am very happy with my short rows. I defy you to even find them! I've come a long way since my initial short row attempts.

Finally, I'm going to make the sweater 26 inches long in the front and 27-inches long in the back (thanks to the short rows). According to Amy Herzog, this length will be perfect to me. During her Fit to Flatter class, she told me I was making all my sweaters four to six inches too long. We'll see how this turns out but I hope she's right - that would make a lot less knitting for me.

So what are the chances I can finish this cardigan by Thanksgiving and Tom's pullover by Christmas? Don't know, but I'm going to find out! Stay tuned.


  1. Looks like a fast paced sweater , the Coco.
    As for the Modesitt, I just went over to her site and she has a great slogan
    "“We don’t knit to make things. We knit to make ourselves happy!”
    I am far far far from being able to adopt that saying, for sure.

  2. Hi Julie,
    Really like that sweater! Should be fun and fast to knit.
    I started knitting back in the late 50's. Yes, I'm old! But I was a kid at the time! LOL!!! I got my instruction from a Coats and Clark book called 'The Learn How Book'. They must have shown the continental style of knitting, because that's what I've always done. It does make changing between k and p much easier.

  3. Ooh, can't wait to see how it goes!

    Recommendation: When you think you're ready to cast off for the armholes, slip your knitting onto several needles or some waste yarn and safety-pin the back of your sweater to the back of a shirt you feel comfortable safety-pinning.

    Then you can look in the mirror, move all around, do whatever, to see whether or not you like the new length of whether you want another inch.

  4. What a great idea, Amy. I will try it. I'm tired of frogging everything and starting over.

    I was just using your name in vain with my Ravelry pal, Loraine. She suggested some other mods to this sweater, including decreasing a few stitches in the back waist and doing some short rows in the front bust. Either that or trying darts. I told her yet again that we need Amy to hold that class on making mods. Knowing that you need to do mods is different than actually knowing how to make them!

    Thanks, as always, for all you do, Amy.

  5. Aren't short rows just the cat's meow?! I just love 'em, and I'll be interested to see how they work in this application.

    One of these days I'm going to start another sweater! Or finish up one that I already have going. That'd be smart, wouldn't it? ;)

  6. Shelda, I'm going to put some in at my butt and my bust... I'll have short rows coming and going!

    And yes... where's that sweater you're supposed to be making???

  7. I'm very interested in the way you knit. Could you possibly do a video of yourself knitting. Maybe a little slower than Annie. I would love to learn to knit faster. Thanks for all the inspiration! Terry

  8. Hey Terry, thanks for reading the blog! Let me see if I can get the beloved BF to hold the camera this weekend and I'll show you how I do it. Combination knitting really does make all the difference in terms of knitting speed. I'll go slow! Watch this space... and thanks again for reading and commenting.

  9. Love that book. I'm about to cast on Silures for DH. Already made the Wilson hat. Great stuff in there.