Sunday, June 26, 2011

Laser Sweater WIP

There is a charming little store on the main street of Caledonia called Henny's Yarn Shop ( The proprieter, Henny Stauffer, had talked me into knitting up something masculine for her to display at the shop. I was more than happy to do it, both to show off my knitting prowess and to get the yarns at a discount.
I've decided to design and knit a sweater of an unusual construction. Some parts of it would be a challenge, but I think I can pull it off. I will be charting my progress on this blog along with some technical ideas or hints in case someone gets stuck on the pattern
The sweater will be first knitted from sleeve to sleeve in the flat. This piece will then be lightly blocked to even out the edges for easier seaming. A neckhole will be cut into the piece using a pair of scissors, the stitches picked up and a neckband knitted from that. The sleeves would then be seamed to the underarms, stitches picked up around the chest and back, and the rest of the sweater knitted in the round to the waist. I have heard or read of a sweater made this way before, but can't remember where I got this in formation. So, I will be making everything up as a knit along.
I casted on using a tubular cast-on method. This gives a sharp, professional looking and elastic edge, especially if 1x1 ribbing is involved. I chose this cast-on because it matches with the tubular bind-off. So, both sleeves will have tubular edges.

The tubular cast-on and knitting is exceptionally loose. For one row, only the knit stitches are knitted while the purl stitches are slipped, so it takes 2 rows of tubular knitting to come up with one row of 1x1 rib. For this reason I always do tubular 3 needle size smaller than what the rest of the sweater requires. The tubular portion of the cuff was knitted in US size 4 needles, and I switched to US size 7's for normal 1x1 ribbing. As you can see, the stitches are the same size and everything looks sharp.
The increase between the cuff and sleeve was done in the ribbing portion. Increases were evenly spaced (more or less) using the k1f&b method on the knit stitches. This way the bar to the left would be hidden int he purl gutters of the 1x1 ribbing.
The sleeve, obviously, is heavily cabled. These cable patterns I got from Barbara Walker's treasuries. There aren't any official meanings assigned to the patterns, but I picked them out out because they meant something to me. The four cables reminds me of the sheets and lines in the Laser sailboat, of which there are plenty. Here's hoping that they stay tidy and organized, not all in a tangled mess. The waves or ripples are the waters the Laser sails on and the wind it harnesses. The central gullwing pattern looks to me like the wake made by a speedy Laser. If these pattern don't appeal to you, you can choose your own.
The yarn for the sleeve is a Cascade 220 in light grey. With textural work I favor solid and light colors. Veregations or yarns with colorways would not work since the horizontal color bands would detract from the vertical cables. You can probably get away with yarn that is lightly heathered, and that's about it. Dark colors should be discouraged since it absorbs light and makes it hard to see the cable patterns.
Smooth yarns of 3 or more plies are excellent for cabling work. Save your novelty yarns for a different project where the texture of the cable patterns are not critical. If you want your cables to lie a bit flatter, then use a 2-ply yarn.
There will be more to discuss later as the project progresses. If you have any questions, let me know. I'll try to answer them on my next post.
Keep on knitting.


AllyB said...

Holy cow you've been a busy boy! Congratulations on your implant, I hope it's everything you were hoping for. I hate the sound of plastic bags also, give me paper! Your knitting is as stunning as always. It's great to read all about what you've been up to. I miss seeing you. Perhaps I'll run into you at A Grand Skein sometime. Take care.

Suzanne said...

Really interesting. Lovely knitting. I will be following along as you go. Can't wait to see you cut into the neck. Hope you have lots of pictures.