Sunday, May 22, 2011
I fell in love with this baby sweater as soon as I saw it. It’s known as Trellis and it’s a free pattern at I made it for my friend Heather who was expecting her first child. The yarn is Rowan All Season Cotton (60% cotton, 40% acrylic) in color #236 scarlet. Heather knew her baby was a girl but I chose this gender neutral color so the sweater could be easily passed down to future siblings!

My notes:
  • Ribbing - The ribbing was written to be worked in seed stitch with the same size needles as the body. Seed stitch is not a true ribbing so its choice is decorative rather than functional.
         Unfortunately, the ribbing rippled once the body of the pattern was knit. It wasn’t bad enough to start over (and a fair amount of the rippling eased with blocking) but I did switch to needles two sizes smaller for the sleeves and front pieces.
  • Back/Left Neck Shaping – The setup for the right and left neck shaping doesn’t result in both being knit exactly the same and as written is a little awkward. By changing the last row of the back to the following – Next Row [WS]: Work in patt as set for 18 st, BO 11,work in patt to end place remaining stitches on st holder – I was able to work the Left Neck Facing using the same instructions as the Right Neck Facing.
  • Sleeves
         1.   In order for the seed stitch of the sleeve’s ribbing to align with the seed stitch of the sleeve’s cable pattern, the first row needs to start with a purl instead of a knit. This is not noted in the pattern and should be errata.
         2.   The top of the sleeve uses a portion of the cable pattern from the body and the underside of the sleeve is reverse stockinette stitch. This design feature is not explicitly stated in the pattern but only mentioned as purls in the two startup rows of the sleeve, so I started purling all of these underarm stitches and this resulted in a purl garter stitch. Because my sleeve wasn’t matching with the pictures (pictures ARE an integral part of a pattern!) I had to stop and figure it all out. I’m ambivalent about apportioning blame here. The pattern is listed as “tangy” (meaning for advanced knitters) but I believe it still should have been noted that the additional stitches of the sleeve’s underside are worked in reverse stockinette stitch but I’ll concede that this may be an assumption that advanced knitters are suppose to be able to make.
         3.   The increases for the sleeves were made on the wrong side with M1’s and made holes on the right side. – (and if you have followed me this far into my notes, I’d love for you to leave a comment just saying hi!) – Tim Gunn’s rule to “make it work” always echoes in my head so I used needle and thread and sewed among the stitches to close the gaps. If I make this sweater again, I’ll look into other types of stitch increases. I'm thinking purl increases on the right side should work.
         4.   From the reading of other blog posts about this sweater many knitters chose to pick up the sleeve stitches and knit the sleeve from the top down (so they could avoid sewing the sleeve in). However, I couldn't figure out an easy way to do this and make the cables run in the same direction as the body of the sweater, as well as figure out the right spot to put the increases.
  • Collar – The collar is the area that gave me the greatest agony and angst. The collar is knit in two sections with stitches starting from the left and right plackets. The instructions call for knitting the two sections, grafting them together at the center back and seaming the collar to the body.
         Instead of having to seam the collar I decided to knit into the edges of the body as I knit the collar. I really had no idea how to achieve this (I was just tired of seaming!) I picked up a stitch in the body of the sweater at the end of a row and then, in order to keep the same number of stitches, worked two stitches together at the beginning of the next row. That worked and looked very good on one side but “funny” on the other, so once again, I fiddled around with needle and yarn to make it look more like the other side. Next time I would just seam the collar.
         The difficult part for me, and the technique that I didn’t get right, was grafting the collar(see photos at bottom of blog post). I’m very comfortable with grafting, but it’s always been with two stockinette pieces. I’ve never grafted seed stitch and it took hours of research on the web to find an approach to the problem. The answer is to knit a swatch with one row (the one that will be the grafted) in a different color of yarn and then to use the swatch as a “map” for the grafting. Below are pictures of my swatch and the collar edges which need to be grafted. There were two problems with the grafting, one was keeping the stitches turned in the correct position (once off the needle, they wanted to twist) and the other was the difficulty of looking back and forth between the swatch and the collar and remembering where I was and what I needed to do.
         I never did get it exactly right. At some point I decided I would follow the example of Navajo weavers – I would make the mistake intentional so I didn’t offend the gods.
  • Shoulder Seams – I chose the three needle bind-off for the shoulder seams. I like the structure that shoulder seams provide and I’m a big believer of putting them in. This is pure personal preference and grafting the shoulder seams is certainly a possibility but it would involve the same process as the collar (making a swatch) and after my “issues” with grafting the collar this wasn’t a consideration for me.

    I have a love/hate relationship with this sweater. I love the design. I hate the pattern. With its cables and shawl collar, this design is cute sophistication but there was a lot of frogging, Macgyvering and redesigning because of the pattern. So I don’t know if I’ll make another one until I have resolved some of the knitting techniques. However, I have a feeling when Heather sends me a picture of Anna wearing it I’ll forget all the pain and problems and fall in love all over again.


    Amy said...

    You my dear, am a much more patient knitter than am I.

    Well done, it's lovely!

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