Work complete

Whole lotta learnin

I finished the stranded colourwork sampler a couple of interesting* weeks back. There’s a whole lotta learning in this piece. I worked through tension issues, pattern issues and an ugly cast on border. The last one I dealt with by picking up stitches above the border, cutting off the ugliness and refinishing the edge. Very good experience.

Here’s a somewhat blurry photo.

I don’t yet know what it will “be.” Here it is posing as a photography model for more blurry photos. This blurring was intentional but ill placed. More learning required here.


I’ve embarked on a new one-a-day challenge for photographs to improve my skills, over on my my Instagram page. You can also find pictures of our not-soon-enough-to-be new house†.

Oh, I forgot, the title… did you ever play Warcraft?


*See †
† Big news causing *

Plan B Final Revised v2

It’s another plan, Stan

I started with knitted cast on and seed stitch. I should have gone down a needle size I think. I hated the way it looked. I ripped it out.

I started with knitted cast on and garter stitch. Cleverly, I didn’t join the work until I was done with the garter stitch. No purls. Positioned the unjoin in the middle of the steek and joined. No cut required. Good thinking, 99.

Knitted cast on looks shit. Just the odd stitch but enough to ruin the overall look of the edge, which may also be too narrow. I meant to start with a provisional cast on so I could learn that skill and deal with the edge treatment later.

I am not starting over. This is a sampler. Get over it.

Lucy Neatby helped enormously with steeks, especially with the “conjuring trick” to eliminate yarn tails and the advice to be generous with the steek. I changed to a six stitch steek: B A B B A B. She wouldn’t actually consider this generous, BTW.

I haven’t decided about the single colour row issue and whether to carry another colour to continue stranding. Many people consider this a waste of yarn. OTOH, it is no longer completely stranded, which is kind of the point.

I did the right thing and bought the Sheila McGregor book, Traditional Fair Isle Knitting, instead of looking at poor quality, crooked scans from the inter-webby-net-thing. Well worth it: good quality scans and loads of patterns. The history part was an interesting read.

Photos to follow…

Or not…

Stranded colourwork sampler project plan

It’s a plan, man

Pattern Design Sampler of fair isle motifs, peeries, and all-over designs
Source Traditional Fair Isle Knitting by Sheila McGregor
Anthology by Tin Can Knits
Yarn Name Heirloom Merino Fleck, Shade 568, Lot 1808281
Heirloom Merino, Shade 581 (dark red)
Heirloom Merino, Shade 217 (light blue)
Heirloom Merino, Shade 235 (green)
Heirloom Merino, Shade 509 (yellow)

Heirloom Merino, Shade 218 (dark yellow) – maybe
Heirloom Merino, Shade 512 (red) – probably not
Heirloom Merino, Shade 526 (pale blue) – probably not
Fibre 100% wool
Ballband 8 ply, 105 meters / 50 gm, 4 mm needle, 22 stitches / 10 cm
WPI 10
Amount TBD × 50 gm balls (x oz)
Gauge Stitch 4.5 / inch
Row 6.5 / inch
Needles KnitPro Symfonie 4.5 mm (US 7)
Construction Method Work stranded colourwork in the round, then steek
Cast-on knitted
Bind-off crochet
Steek 5 stitch solid stockinette panel
single crochet edge preparation
Edge treatment Cast on + 1 round knit then seed stitch x rounds
Calculations Width 120 stitches = 26.7 inches
5 × 24 stitch panels
5 steek stitches
Length 24 inches = 156 rows
Cast on 125 stitches
Measurements Length TBD
Width TBD

Exploratory surgery

There were peeries and a steek

Wouldn’t it be cool to knit a stranded-colourwork-sampler-wall-hanging-thingie?

I have lots of blue left from the jumper. There was a trip to the wool shop for more all the colours. Sadly they had no orange or purple, just an insipid lavender that didn’t make the cut. But I bought more of the red, light blue, and green that matched the blue so well.

Or not, as I discovered when I got home. Colour memory is really lousy. The green was right, the light blue was slightly wrong and the red was especially wrong. Most annoying; I could have used my phone to look them up here, where I cleverly recorded the colour numbers with the swatches I knit from them.

There were calculations to determine how many stitches were required to knit in the round on the shortest cable, in multiples of 24—so neatly divisible by so many numbers. It is very hard to connect the minimum number. There were last minute miscalculations about how many stitches should be added. There was knitting. And knitting and knitting. And knitting and knitting.

Perhaps more a mural than a wall hanging…

There was frogging and the discovery of another benefit of the knitted cast on: the stitches hold their shape and are easily picked up. It is very hard to connect the minimum number, but do it anyway. It works itself out.

There was knitting of a few rounds and then purling of a round to stop the rolling, which resulted in a stupid border. But then there were peeries! In all the (wrong) colours!

There was a go/no go analysis.

A practice steek won out on the no go side. Decision made, there was a too-quick bind off. Border anyone? Maybe something elegantly rolled to match the bottom? So you don’t have to use playing cards in the photo?


Mr. Bookman agrees that the especially wrong red was an especially poor choice for that particular motif.

There was a steek. The crocheting and the cutting were unremarkable, but the sewing and the bulky edges were painful. I’ll show you the back with the floats, but I won’t show the sewing. No, please don’t keep asking.

Nice floats
Nice floats.

Now to decide what to do with what I learned.

More exploration

Featuring an attempt to defy the laws of knitting

But first, here is #104, Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible, completed. The central cables were successful, but I should have done a few more stitches on either side so the edges wouldn’t look so chewed-by-rats.

Anyway, I’m over lace and cables, at least for a while.

I went a different direction, determined to use all the colours in my next project. I have lots of blue left over but it needs company.

I learned that if you purl every five or six stitches you get a cool edge that won’t roll too much. I like this for the next jumper. I also became enamoured of the little hidden gap. Wouldn’t it be really cool if you could have colour in that gap that might show depending on how you moved?

Unfortunately, no matter how many tools employed, the gods of knitting were having none of it. They gave me amorphous blobs, disconnected from the rest of the knitting. I did learn how to make vertical stripes by crocheting in the ditch, but that destroys the ditch, so what’s the point? And it shows all the time. No, no, no.

Thoroughly disheartened, I turned to drink.

Actually I turned to Craftsy/Bluprint. First Eunny Jang’s Choose Your Own Sweater Adventure which was a great accompaniment to the books I recently purchased. Among other things, I learned the knitted and cable cast-ons, which will definitely feature in the next project.

Then, I might have looked at some colourwork lessons and learned how to strand more evenly.

Yes, Virginia, there will be peeries.

Explorative swatches

Not completely aimless, just mostly

Now that the jumper is done, and I’m wearing it, and I’ve established that it’s the most comfortable item of clothing in the world universe, I’m trying to work out what to do next. Another jumper, but what.

I’m not a pattern follower; I need to ride my own bike. The online tutorial I followed for the first jumper was perfect. Earlier this week I bought Amy Herzog’s Ultimate Sweater Book, which has instructions and ideas for dropped shoulder, raglan, yoke, and set-in sleeves and The Twisted Sisters Knit Sweaters which has instructions and ideas for up-and-down and side-to-side construction for dropped shoulders. Between the two of them I should be able to figure out anything I want.

I also got the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible from the library and I may have to buy my own copy of this little treasure.

So I’ve been swatching and thinking.

#185, Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible. I stopped because there were myriad mistakes but mostly because I was using too big a needle and it just looked sloppy. Later, because this yarn is meant to be washable, I threw it in with a load of clothes. Obviously this is not what they meant you to do.

Garter stitch, all the colours. I did a garter stitch swatch with all the colours. In stockinette, the stripes looked like bad sports socks, but in garter stitch both sides are interesting. I love, love, love knitting back and forth garter stitch. I love, love, love feeling its firm squishiness. But it is so stiff, even when I went up a needle size.

#55, Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible. This time I knit “in the round” on circulars by sliding the work back to the original needle and carrying the yarn along the back as a float. This pattern required K3T and I was barely managing K2T with general purpose needles. At one point, I thought I didn’t drop the three stitches off the needle properly and “fixed” it. Later I discovered (at least) two dropped stitches, so clearly I created the issue rather than fixing it. I wasn’t sure how to recover from this, so I abandoned this swatch as well.

Campfire cardigan cable. I didn’t abandon this swatch, but I didn’t do the world any favours by finishing it. Supposed to be a cable pattern from Herzog, but please don’t blame her. It was disastrous enough before I got off by one.

#2, Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible. I finally finished one! It took a ridiculous number of do-overs to get going. You wouldn’t think a person could invent so many ways to mess up, but I have great talent. At one point about halfway through the yellow section I had a serious mistake that took forever to fix, but I did it! I was just going to skip the bobbles because they are actually crocheted, but when I got to the first one I made myself read the instructions and it wasn’t really hard. There was some interpretation required, but I got through it!

#104, Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible. This one is a WIP. I deliberately choose one with cables. Obviously I need cable practice. Also, I successfully fixed another mistake. I think I may have some YO challenges* to overcome though, as some of the holes don’t look quite right. Overall, I feel very confident now in selecting patterns from this book that I can succeed with.


  • Read the pattern with your eyeballs
  • Always try to fix your mistakes
  • Don’t be afraid of scary symbols when selecting patterns
  • Patterns with only knits and purls on the wrong side can be knitted flat
  • Patterns with symbols that have different meanings on right and wrong side rows should be knitted in the round if you value your sanity
  • Maybe don’t change colour in the middle of a swatch, especially when you have more of the first colour
  • Invest in some ChaiaGoo or Hiya Hiya lace needles if you continue with the JKSB
  • I can’t imagine anything in garter stitch that I would want to wear

*ETA I found everything you always wanted to know about yarnovers. This information confirms my theory about why my holes are different sizes and advises exactly the sampler I was intending to try. Maybe I am learning something.

The jumper, summary

Just the facts, ma’am

Pattern Design top down seamless raglan
Yarn Name Heirloom Merino Fleck, Shade 568, Lot 1808281
Fibre 100% wool
Ballband 8 ply, 105 meters / 50 gm, 4 mm needle, 22 stitches / 10 cm
WPI 10
Amount 9 × 50 gm balls (16 oz)
Gauge Stitch 4.25 / inch
Row 5.75 / inch
Needles stockinette – KnitPro Cubics 5.5 mm (US 9)
ribbing – KnitPro Cubics 4.5 mm (US 7)
Construction Method Work flat through neck drop, adding two stitches at raglans and one at each end. Cast on remainder at end of neck drop (to match back count), join and continue in rounds. Separate sleeves and cast on underarm stitches. Continue in rounds. Work sleeves in rounds, decreasing to wrist target. Add edge treatments.
Cast-on long tail
Bind-off crochet
Raglan increase KFB
Sleeve decrease K2T | SSK
Body stockinette
Edge treatment 2:2 ribbing, 1 inch at neck, sleeves and hem
Calculations Back neck width 7.5 inches / 32 stitches
Shoulder width 10 stitches
Markers 1 | 10 | 32 | 10 | 1
Neck drop 3 inches / 17 rows
Chest circ 44 inches / 188 stitches
Sleeve circ 18 inches / 78 stitches
Separation target 50 | 78 | 100 | 78 | 50
Underarm 10 stitches
Post separation 110 | 78 | 110 | 78
Sleeve decreases 2 stitches every four rounds to target 48
Measurements Back neck 6.7 inches (at neckband)
9 inches (excluding neckband)
Neck drop 2.8 inches
Body circ 50 inches
Length 21.3 inches (shoulder to hem)
11.9 inches (shoulder to underarm)
9.4 inches (underarm to hem)
Sleeve length 14 inches (underarm to wrist)
Sleeve circ 18 inches (at underarm)
Cuff circ 9.4 inches

The jumper, day 27

In which the knitter is bored

Blocking is boring.

Boring like sitting around waiting for paint to dry, only it’s a jumper and you want to wear it because it’s the last cold day for months and months. Uh, yeah, right, I live in Tasmania. (For another three weeks and three days.)

Boring like aimless wandering. What do I do now I’m done knitting this? Wasn’t there supposed to be a party or something?

Dry, dammit, dry
Dry, dammit, dry.

I can’t tell until I put it on, but it looks wider and shorter. I was hoping for longer and skinnier. (Aren’t we all?)

It also doesn’t look like blocking did much for the boo-boo in the centre front. You can tell me you don’t even see it, but I know better. I even used Wendy Bernard’s trick from My First Seamless Sweater and beat it with a wooden spoon. Nup.

But it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

The jumper, day 26

In which the knitting is completed

I gave up on deciding how long the jumper should be and just started knitting the ribbing. I finished the ribbing. I finished the sewing in of the ends.

Gary commented on how he liked the look of the rolled neck. I do too, but not on this jumper. This one is traditional, dontcha know.

So it was time to pick up the stitches. I found a good video on YT for picking up stitches around the neck. I used an IC crochet hook for this so they could go right on the cord without any fiddling. A few goes were necessary for the sloped area at the front neck, so it took several hours and many solitaire stress breaks.

It didn’t seem enough stitches on the slopes and there were puckers on each side, but I ignored all this and forged ahead, safe in the advice that “you can always rip it out and do it over.” (In my heart of hearts I knew I was never ripping out a single stitch ever, cause I’m over it.) Fortunately it turned out fine. I think the puckers were the normal ones from the transition between stockinette and ribbing.

I did get off in the ribbing in one spot and have to drop two stitches to ladder back up properly, but that was no drama.

I used a crochet hook for all the binding off. It works really well for me and all my edges are neat and stretchy.

Construction details
Construction details.

I wore the sweater for quite some time and it is very comfortable and warm. Actually it was hot and I finally had to take it off.

Knitting complete
Knitting complete.

Now for the washing and blocking.