Wherein we show off a pretty sweater with some really crappy photos.
Sorry for the none-too-great photos, but it’s not likely that I’ll have anything better before the weekend, if even then. You can click them for larger, though they don’t get much better.
Pattern: Fair Isle Yoke Sweater from “Knitting Around” by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Knitted for the SLC SnB EPS knitalong.
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool. Main body of the sweater is in burgundy. The Fair Isle patterning is done with black, white, light gray, and dark gray. I used duplicate stitch to put in a little bit of gold in the first pattern (Cascade 220). I pretty much followed the Fair Isle charts in the book, although I added a couple of rows to chart B, and didn’t work all of chart C. The yarn looks and feels nice, although I suppose it’s probably going to pill easily.
Needles: US 7 (4.5mm)
Size: 36″ (zero ease). I wanted it to be fitted, since I’ll most likely only wear it over sleeveless tops or thin clothing. I normally would knit a pullover with around 2″ of negative ease. This is still loose enough to wear over a thin long-sleeved top.
I did a little bit of waist shaping, and used 2×2 ribbing for the hem and cuffs (about 2.25 inches in both cases). It was knit in the round and then steeked.
I worked 3 sets of short rows across the back, a couple of inches apart. Then I worked 2 more sets right before starting the yoke pattern. For these, I worked them all the way across the back and sleeves, to a few stitches into the front yoke. Then I did another two sets after the colorwork was done. On these last ones, I just did them to the center point of the sides.
I used 7 steek stitches. The first and last stitch I did in purl, my own “unvention”. This worked out great – the purl column not only helped the steek facing to flip back neatly, but it also gave me a great ridge to follow when picking up the stitches for the button band.
I knew that a crochet steek wouldn’t be sufficient to hold the smooth, worsted-weight yarn, but I didn’t know how to deal with the raw cut edge of the steek otherwise, so I did a crocheted steek using a lighter weight wool (Knit Picks Telemark), but then also machine stitched it. After I’d already done the crochet, I saw on Meg Swansen’s “Cardigan Details” DVD how she tucks in the raw edge of the steek and tacks it in place – if I’d seen that first, I might not have bothered with the crochet. But since it was already done, I left it as it was.
I did the crochet first, and the machine stitching afterward, but it might have been better to do it the other way – I ended up sewing over the crochet in a few places. The crochet really makes it easy to see where to snip the threads, and it makes a very neat edge. For the machine stitching, I attached the walking foot I had from when I was quilting – it helped guide the sweater through a little bit easier.
The steek facing folds back very nicely, and after blocking, it lies flat and doesn’t even need to be tacked in place.
For the button band, I picked up a stitch for every 2 out of 3 rows on the front, and every stitch around the neck. I picked up from the wrong side, as suggested by Meg Swansen. I knitted 4 garter stitch rows (not including the pick-up row), and then bound off with a 2-stitch I-cord bind-off – this made a very nice edge. I did one-row buttonholes on the 3rd row. Also on the 3rd row, I decreased heavily along the back neck (K2, K2tog). Note: when I was knitting along the colorwork section, I noticed that I was getting little purl bumps in the colored yarn. Remembering that I saw a tip about this (not sure if it was the “Cardigan Details” or the “Knitting Around” video), I grabbed a crochet hook and reversed the stitches already on the needle to make them knits as they faced me, instead of purls. That eliminated the little purl blip of color that I would have gotten otherwise, and made a nice, clean line.
I really love how this turned out, and I learned a lot! Thanks to Margene for thinking up the EPS KAL.