This is how my Nordic Urban sweater looked over the weekend – all patched together.
After my failure with the first yoke due to gauge issues, I decided to knit the sweater as indicated in the pattern – body and sleeves first (bottom up), then the yoke.
I started with the sweater body, but my gauge was way off from my swatches (too loose). I went down a needle size and tried again, but it was still way too loose. At that point, I decided to give up and start with the sleeves, knitting them flat. I figured I’d get a more consistent gauge that way, and could use that gauge to decide what to do with the body of the sweater.
After knitting the second sleeve, I could see that the gauge was a bit different even between the two sleeves, and one was a little larger than the other. What was up with that? I’ve never had so much trouble getting a consistent gauge. I can only assume that it’s something about the yarn. I don’t think I’ve ever used a wool/nylon superwash yarn for a sweater before. Blocking got them reasonably close to each other, though. And the gauge was even pretty close to the pattern (slight difference in row gauge, which is not unusual).
I wasn’t really looking forward to knitting the body of the sweater flat, though, and I wasn’t sure about the length. So instead, I decided to go back to the yoke – starting with a provisional cast-on and knitting it bottom-up. Since I knew my row gauge was going to be off a little, I left off the first few rows of the stranded pattern, figuring I could duplicate-stitch that part later if I really wanted to. This time the yoke worked out pretty well, using the needle size specified in the pattern. I wasn’t sure what to do about the neck, though, since I didn’t want to do a turtleneck. I decided to do the short rows and then bind off with a 3-stitch i-cord bindoff. It’s a little puffy in the back above the stranded section – if it doesn’t block out, I may take it out and decrease the stitches before doing the short rows – or changing it to rib to help take in the slack.
So now I had a yoke and two sleeves, and the best way to join the sleeves would be to graft them. Yuck. But it’s black yarn, and I didn’t think the join would really be noticeable. But before doing that, I wanted to make sure the sleeve length and fit was OK – so I just basted them in place. This also made the yoke settle into place properly so that as I knit the body of the sweater, I could get a better idea of the fit of the entire sweater. I picked up the stitches for the body and started knitting downward. Fortunately, everything seemed to look pretty good, so after about 5 inches of the body, I decided to graft the sleeves in place.
Now I’m on the home stretch – just knitting around and around on the body. The end is finally in sight!