The year 2017 has proven me to be the sweater king. I have finished eight sweaters and I have now started number nine, a purple cardigan. The orange crochet sweater has been done since last week. I just need to take really nice photos of it to go with the pattern I’m writing up as well as to find a time to get the wearer of its brown cousin to model his sweater for me. You might recall that the brown one does not fit me in a flattering way.
The purple cardigan looks like a crumpled blob right now because it’s yet another top-down raglan. I have been using the numbers from Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters as a guide, only modifying the button band, which I preferred to knit along with the body rather than as a final step. This has required some experimentation because I couldn’t cast on any extra stitches for the neckline as the instructions indicate. I decided to double increase along the neckline gradually. We shall see if my decision was a good one or a total fail soon enough! My plan is to knit the yoke in moss stitch and then the rest of the body in stockinette. We’ll see if I tire of purling when the yoke is finished, too.
I’ve dived deep into the depths of my stash for the yarn. It’s Cascade Quatro superwash, a discontinued item. I bought it five years ago (gasp!) and I forgot I even had it (double gasp!) As far as my stash goes, I am being a very good boy. I haven’t added any yarn to it for several months and I actually have an empty plastic container because I used all the yarn it was storing. It’s a good thing because I’ll need it to store the sweaters I’m finishing.
I’m also knitting on a Hitchhiker scarf, the now world-famous Martina Behm design. I’m using Malabrigo Sock in the Caribeño color way. This is my last skein of Malabrigo.
I made this same exact scarf in the same color as a gift a couple of years ago. I liked how it looked so much I bought another skein to make one for myself some day. Some day is here.
I’ve made lots of progress on my orange crochet sweater. I’m halfway through the body already. Even though I just finished a brown pullover with the same stitch patterns I haven’t got bored yet!
Sizing has also been very easy. I started off with the same number of stitches as I did for the medium-sized sweater and just added an inch to the arm holes to give myself extra ease. The fabric doesn’t bunch up under the arms so when I write this up I’ll keep the numbers the same for these two sizes. I think I’m going to include instructions for an extra large size, too, which will be easy to calculate.
The brown crochet sweater I invented is finished. Its owner is unavailable for modeling, so I decided to don it and photograph myself. We must keep ease in mind to appreciate it to full effect: on me it has about 1 inch of ease but on the wearer it has 4 inches extra. With less roominess on me it seems to have a mysterious slimming effect on the view from the front even though the stripes are horizontal. On the back it has no effect. I look the way I do, a little too much so to my liking.
Honestly, I don’t like how this sweater looks on me with 1 inch of ease. My instincts were correct, which is nice to know, because I began the orange one for me planning on having 4 inches of ease. The wearer tried on this brown one before I washed it and dried it. It looks far better on him with these measurements.
I of course took some detail photos:
I decided to border the cuffs, bottom, and collar with a few rounds of single crochet because I didn’t like the idea of this sweater having ribbed edgings. It makes for a roomy and comfortable collar that doesn’t ride up. At the hem it ends in a comfortable and casual finish with no need to adjust or fiddle with how the sweater will ride on the hips.
I can’t wait to finish the second one in orange that I’m working on. The cooler temperatures have arrived and I want to wear it in autumn when orange, red, and yellow are in season. Even with less ease it’s a comfortable design, so I’m psyched to find out how it will feel to wear mine.
The brown crochet top-down sweater I made up all by myself is drying. That one is for my partner. I want one, too, so I got going on it straight away, using Cascade fingering in the color way Jack O’Lantern. I’m very happy with this shade, which will show off the texture of the stitch patterns even more. I’m also happy with how the yarn feels. It’s very soft and drapes even better than the brown yarn does.
I’ve also cast on the Zaria shawl for my mom, which I should have started months ago. It was going to be her birthday gift. I’m sorry, mom! I started off making a shawl from another pattern and it wasn’t right, so I searched for another one. I’m very happy with Zaria.
Right now I’m still in the garter stitch part of the pattern. The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the color way Arcoiris. Now, only one hank of Malabrigo remains in my stash. I love making shawls and scarves with it, so I might just order some more pretty soon. For the lace section I’m going to use a light gray sock yarn which I think will show off the stitchery very nicely.
If you look at my in-progress photos often, you might notice that I have different needles. KnitPro (or Knitter’s Pride) Symfonies usually can be seen in my pictures of garments and other things while Hiya-Hiya sharp circulars are often in my sock photos. For years, Symfonies have been the only needles I’ve wanted to knit with. I like their semi-sharp tips and the feel of them in my hands. I started to change my mind about them as all-purpose when I was in the middle of my blue lace scarf. For some reason, and at least according to my subjective observation, the 3 mm Symofonies, just like the US size 2’s, have blunter tips than on the larger sizes, making increasing and decreasing a real pain. I decided to give KnitPro Karbonz a try because I needed sharper points, but not too sharp to stab myself and bleed. The Karbonz are now my favorite for lace knitting. They get the job done and, as I prefer knitting “continental” style, I don’t have to worry about accidentally stabbing my finger tips. I bought interchangeable needles in the sizes that I use most often for lace knitting. If anyone else has been looking for needles with that “just right” tip – neither too sharp nor too blunt – Karbonz could be the solution. The nice thing is that they work with the same cables as Symfonies, so if you already have KnitPro (or Knitter’s Pride or Knit Picks, all the same) cables or an interchangeable set of Symfonies, there is no need to buy new cables.
August is a month when my teaching responsibilities typically diminish. I have plenty of free time. I’ve devoted it all to this top-down crochet sweater.
The body is done. That means tonight I’ll be busy on a sleeve.
Just so you know, there is no pattern for this sweater. I’ve made it up on the fly. The yarn is from the shop and yarn factory El Gato Negro, based in Madrid.
A while ago I reviewed Dora Ohrenstein’s book on top-down crochet sweaters so I took her advice in the section on how to design one and just made up my own. It’s very easy to make, alternating crunch stitch with up and down stitch. In between those patterned stripes I put a round of back loop hdc on the wrong side, a round of dc on the right side, and another round of back loop hdc. On the yoke I increased in hdc on the corners except whenever I did a round of dc.
I had considered writing a pattern for this, but the yarn weight is fingering (sock) and most people don’t have access to the Madrid shop where it’s sold and so, you know, it would be a waste of my time to write it because nobody would feel encouraged to make it. Crocheters seem to me to be adventurous with their yarn choices, but still, the idea of using fingering weight yarn for a sweater would put a lot of people off. I’m toying with the idea of giving instructions on how to figure out one of these using any yarn or gauge. That would probably be useful to more people, especially since this is a unisex crochet sweater. I haven’t seen a lot of crochet patterns for sweaters like this that would be appealing to a man to wear.
I plan on making two. This brown one is for my partner. I’m going to use Cascade fingering to make one for myself. The color way is called “jack o’ lantern.” I love it.
The best part about crocheting a raglan sweater top-down without using a pattern is that it isn’t terribly important to count much. Sure, I figured out my gauge and measurements and started with a set number of foundation stitches, but after that you just increase on your marked corners on the yoke, then fold and attach the front sleeve corners to the back ones, and proceed to zip round and round to the bottom. We’ve done a lot of try-on sessions so I haven’t had to measure much as I’ve been working on it, either. I’ve got my sleeve decreases already calculated and I did count my stitches around the arm hole, so that’s it! The only planning left is to figure out how I want the collar to be.
I finished yet another sweater. This year I have now completed six sweaters.
In case you forgot or didn’t know, the pattern is “Telegraph Sweater” by Peter Franzi and it was published in Interweave Crochet magazine.
I really like how this fits and the color is perfect for combining it with khakis, jeans, or other color pants, even my purple pants. It’s also very warm. I couldn’t wait to be done with taking photos of myself in it. I think I broke a sweat. Although the pattern calls for sport weight yarn, I got away with using fingering weight wool sock yarn by El Gato Negro.
My WIPs are moving forward and if I ever consider starting a new project I sit on my hands like someone who wants to quit nail biting. I currently have zero knitting projects and I’m keeping it that way until I finish my sweater and my cross stitch pumpkin.
Since the weekend I’ve been alternating between my hexagons afghan and my “Telegraph” sweater. Suddenly, the afghan seems considerably larger!
Yesterday I finished shaping the raglan on my sweater and joined the front and back sleeve seams together. From here it’s just round and round to the bottom.
I think the sweater will be done soon if I work on it diligently.