alala

rope. tree. fan. spear. snake. wall.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Step 5: The body

The body is actually the simplest part. As you may recall from Step 3,
Finish the left sleeve, cut the yarn, and then start at the base of the left sleeve and work the back stitches to the center-back marker. That was round 33.
As you cross the center-back marker you begin round 34. Knit to the right sleeve and pick up five stitches in the base of the gusset stitches you created for the sleeve. Work across the front and pick up five more stitches in the base of the left sleeve gusset.

Work two rounds even and then work paired decreases in round 37 to mirror the decreases in the sleeve gussets on both sides. Work another two rounds even and then work paired decreases in round 40.  Work another two rounds even and then work a double decrease in round 43.

From here work even in the round until you have knit a total of 80 rounds from the beginning of the yoke.

Change to a 2.5mm needle and work 16 rounds of ribbing. Bind of stretchily.

Work in ends, wash, block, hug.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Step 4: The sleeves

Argh, I keep forgetting to take pictures! Why does it get dark so fast?

So in the previous entry. we put the front, back, and left sleeve stitches on a holder and now we have 45 stitches on the needle. Now we start a 5-stitch gusset. I generally place a stitch marker before the last sleeve stitch (on the right needle) and after the first sleeve stitch (on the left needle), so that with the gusset I have 7 stitches between markers.

Magic-loop the needle and pick up or make 5 gusset stitches. I usually do as follows:
  1. Knit into the stitch below the last stitch on the right needle, 
  2. Pick up a stitch in the ladder between my needle and the holder, 
  3. Make one backward loop, 
  4. Pick up another stitch in the ladder between the needle and the holder, and
  5. Knit into the stitch below the first stitch on the left needle. 


I find this makes fewer holes. But you can do 5 backward loops or whatever you like best.

From here, work three rounds even and then decrease in the fourth round: slip marker, ssk, k3, k2tog, slip marker. There should now be 5 stitches between the stitch markers.

Do a second pair of decreases in round 7: slip marker, ssk, k1, k2tog, slip marker.

In round 10, do a double decrease: slip 2 knitwise, k1, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the k1.

From here, knit 9 rounds even and decrease two stitches on round 20; either a double decrease like on round 10, or paired decreases on either side of the center stitch.

Knit 9 rounds even and decrease two stitches on round 30.

Knit 10 rounds even, for a total of 40 rounds, and then change to 2.5mm needles and ribbing to match the collar.

Bind off as stretchily as possible. I recommend Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off. Cut the yarn.

From here, as I mentioned in the previous entry, start knitting at the base of the right sleeve, leaving a tail long enough to tighten up any holes that appear in the underarm. Knit across the front stitches and the left sleeve, then place the front stitches back on the holder and knit the second sleeve in the same way as the first. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Step 3: Dividing the body and sleeves

More stalling, because, hm, well. There is more than one way to do this, and I'm not sure how much nerdy detail to go into.

Ever so basically, somewhere between round 28 (the last increase round) and round 32 (the last round of the yoke), move the markers to mark off a back and front of 55 stitches each, and two sleeves of 45 stitches each. The center-back marker should remain at the center of the back, if that makes sense. Each sleeve will have a 5-stitch gusset that is mirrored on the body.

Once round 32 is complete, you can place the body stitches on a holder and continue on the sleeves, or place the sleeve stitches on a holder and continue the body. I usually do the sleeves first.

Here's the process I've developed, over, I dunno, 20 or so tiny sweaters:

Round 33, knit across the right half of the back (should be 27 or 28 stitches), slip the marker, and knit across the right sleeve (45 stitches). Thread a length of quilting ribbon onto a tapestry needle and slip the front stitches, the left sleeve stitches, and all the back stitches onto the ribbon. Tie it off.

Knit the right sleeve (see next post: Step 4, The sleeves), cut the yarn, and then start knitting at the base of the right sleeve. Work across the front and left sleeve, and then put the front stitches back on the holder. This leaves a tail at the base of the right sleeve for sewing up any holes that appear in the underarm.

Finish the left sleeve, cut the yarn, and then start at the base of the left sleeve and work the back stitches to the center-back marker. That was round 33.

From here you work the body in the round, for which refer to Step 5, The body and finishing. (I'll turn that into a link once the post is written).




Thursday, October 04, 2018

Step 2: the yoke

Oops, don't have a picture for today's entry. I'll try to remember to add one tomorrow.

So we've knit round 1 in the self-striping yarn, and re-set our row counter to 1, if we're using one. In round 2, insert the stitch markers, dividing our 80 stitches into 8 sets of 10. I put the row counter in the center back, because that's where I change colors, start increase sequences, etc; for the center front marker, I try to use something distinctive, because that's where I count rounds if I need to double-check. This is because short rows will mess up your row/round count at the back, but no short row crosses the center front.

So as simply as possible, I do a short row in round 3, 7, and 11, and increase 4 rounds per section at round 4, 12, and 20, and three rounds per section at round 28.

Pretty simple, huh? Yeah, no. You probably want a bit more detail.

More detail on the short rows

I don't like to count (that's why I use stitch markers), so what if we number the stitch markers? The first marker after the center back row counter is #1, the center front marker is #4, and the row counter is marker #8.

So then, in round 3, you knit to marker 3, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Work back across, until you reach marker 5, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn again. Work all the way around, working in the wraps as you go. Note that you will pass the row counter twice without changing the row count, because all of this is round 3.

Round 4 is an increase round. See below.

In round 7, knit to marker 2, knit 7, wrap the next stitch, turn. Work back across until you reach marker 6, purl 7, wrap the next stitch, turn. Knit all the way around, working in the wraps as you go. When you have worked in both wraps and arrived at the center back again, you have finished round 7,

In round 11, knit to marker 2, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn. Work back across until you reach marker 6, slip the marker, wrap the next stitch, and turn again. Knit all the way around, working in the wraps as you go, until you reach the center back. That was round 11.

In my knitting, the wrapped stitch tends to get a little loose, particularly on the left side of the sweater. Just thought I'd mention that.

And that's all your short rows. Boy, aren't you glad to be done with those? Whew.

More detail on the increase rounds

It doesn't really matter where you increase, as long as the increases are more or less evenly distributed over the section. It also doesn't matter much how you increase. I favor what the Craft Yarn Council calls the M1 increase, or Knitting Between Stitches (the second set of diagrams on that page), but any increase will probably do.

In round 4, increase 4 stitches, evenly distributed over the 10 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 14 stitches. 

In round 12, increase 4 stitches, evenly distributed over the 14 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 18 stitches.

In round 20, increase 4 stitches, evenly distributed over the 18 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 22 stitches.

In round 28, increase 3 stitches, evenly distributed over the 22 in each section. When you're done, each section will have 25 stitches. Your total will be 200, and it'll be time to decide where to stop striping and switch back to the solid color. This will depend on your taste and the striping sequence, so I'll leave it up to you. 

In summary: 
Round 3: short row!
Round 4: increase! 
Rounds 5 & 6: just knit. Whew. 
Round 7: short row!
Rounds 8 - 10: just knit. 
Round 11: short row!
Round 12: increase! 
Rounds 13 - 19: just knit.
Round 20: increase!
Rounds 21 - 27: just knit.
Round 28: increase! And start thinking about where to change back to the solid color.
Rounds 29 - 32: just knit.

In round 33 we'll divide the sleeves from the body, but that's for another entry.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

YES, I am stalling

The next bit includes increases and short-rows! Can you blame me?

Here's another sweater pic to tide you over. I'll try to use the holiday tomorrow to tackle the yoke pattern.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Step 1: The ribbed neckband

We want a fairly close-fitting neckline for warmth, but it needs a lot of stretch to accommodate that big baby head. I don't remember where I learned this method (Maggie Righetti?) or what it's called, but you basically work twice the height you want your neckband to be, and then fold it over and knit the top stitches together with the bottom stitches. No idea what this cast-on is called, so I couldn't find any YouTube tutorials, but I'll try to describe it in more detail.

Using any provisional method, cast 80 stitches onto a 2.5mm circular needle using the solid-color yarn. Work 2x2 rib for 16 rows our rounds...

If you use the provisional crochet cast-on, it's fairly easy to work this in the round, BUT remember to knit the first row. If you work 2x2 ribbing in the first row, unpicking it will be a nightmare. I speak from bitter experience.

Judy's Magic Cast-On will require you to work back & forth. At least, I haven't figured out a comfortable way to work in the round from JMCO, but on the other hand, it does make the next step much easier. On the other-other hand, you will have to sew the edges together, and I never sew when I can knit.

Once you've finished the 16th row/round, change to the self-striping color and knit each stitch together with its base. Here's a YouTube tutorial that shows the procedure. The relevant bit is from 1:44 to about 3:30. After that she talks about inserting elastic. Do not insert elastic.

This is where you start knitting in the round, if you haven't already. So now you have your snuggly, stretchy, ribbed, folded-over neckband in the plain color and the first round in the self-striping color. Tune in to the next entry for round 2!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Basic construction

Let's start with a basic overview. The sweater starts with a folded-over neck ribbing for maximum snuggliness and stretchiness. The whole thing is knitted in the round with no seams. There are short rows in rounds 3, 7, & 11, and four increase rounds, in rounds 4, 12, 20, and 28. Then you separate the sleeves from the body, add some underarm gussets, and then decrease them out. You finish with 2x2 ribbing at the wrists and waist, and cast off as stretchily as possible.

Right now there's only one size - newborn - because I can't take time away from reading to do the grading, but if you'd like the help with that, I sure wouldn't mind!

Supplies

Yarn 

I've been using Aldi sock yarn, but you can certainly substitute Regia's 4-ply, and have a better choice of colors, not to mention being able to buy it any time, not just twice a year. One baby sweater uses nearly a whole skein of the solid color and about a third of a skein of the self-striping color.

Needles

2.5mm for the ribbings, 3.0mm for the yoke and body. I use a long circular needle, at least 80cm, and magic loop for the smaller circumferences and traveling loop when it gets large enough. Also one 2.5mm dpn may come in handy from time to time. 

Notions

a row-counting
stitch marker
See here's where it gets tricky. I'm a big fan of stitch markers, so I use 8 of them to mark off sections. One is a row-counting stitch marker, at the center back, because I don't like spending a lot of time counting. A friend says the fiddliness would drive her crazy; another friend says row-counters are for chumps, so, you know. Use it if you want, don't if you don't.

A tapestry needle, for weaving in ends and also for when you separate the sleeves and the body, to put the waiting stitches on a length of quilting ribbon or mercerized cotton or something. Oh yeah, so a length of quilting ribbon or mercerized cotton too. 

Also, a crochet hook, size 2.25-3.0mm. I also use it for the provisional crochet cast-on, and if you do that you'll also want a length of scrap yarn for the cast-on. Or you can use Judy's Magic Cast-On. I use the crochet hook for my stretchy bind-off, but if you'd rather use Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind-off, you can skip the crochet hook entirely.

You see why I've struggled with writing this pattern. Everything is optional!

What should we call this thing?

And we need a name. I mean, usually you come up with a name somewhat later in the design process, but I think it would be helpful to have a tag, so people can find all the posts related to this baby sweater without getting bogged down in all the other posts about unrelated things that I will definitely be writing as soon as I've escaped grad school no really I mean it.

It's constructed sort of like a Lopapeysa, but not really - it's knit top-down, for one, and there is no fair-isle, just self-striping sock yarn for the busy part, so is it a Faux-papeysa? Heh. A Lazy Lopapeysa? Nearly all the math involves multiples of 8, which is a lucky number in China, so maybe Lucky Baby Lopapeysa? I dunno. I could use some better ideas.