Approaching sweaters

Because knitters are diverse, inventive, and also often very stubborn people, we have at least a dozen ways of doing any one particular thing. I was talking about this with Austen the other day in reference to socks and heel construction – you could go on for days with the variations. So it is with sweaters. You can go in the round, in pieces, top down, seams, fake seams, yoked, cardigans, whatever you’re feeling like that day. I still like to go bottom-up with my sweaters, and don’t mind a good seam or two for structural integrity if it is so called for. This Hourglass Pullover, though (pattern in Last Minute Knitted Gifts), has appeal for being in the round and entirely stockinette. It’s pretty quick to knock out if you are so inclined, and I’m happy to report that I’m already at the halfway mark or possibly just past it.


One thing I like doing with sweaters, if I have the presence of mind and it makes sense at the time, is to begin with the sleeves and get them done before beginning the body (whether or not the whole thing is in the round or not). It doesn’t actually give you any advantage in time, but it does offer a wonderful psychological advantage of letting you finish the two quickest bits while you have that period of new-project momentum. You’re going to hit the “oh good gracious why is this project not done yet” doldrums during the body at some point, so you may as well get there with nothing else left to do but the rest of the body, rather than having to psych yourself up for the sleeves still to come. Also, if you are the sort of person who sometimes resists gauge swatching (not that you would be, of course, but you might know someone who is, you know ::cough::), the sleeve is usually a pretty low-stakes part of the garment, so you can take the first half of the sleeve as a sort of working swatch, and adjust things from there if you need to. It all works out.

I was pleased to discover that indeed, I am getting gauge, and indeed, the alternating Noro Silk Garden colourways are doing their crazy thing and coming up with their own colour plan as they usually do. I’m trying hard not to engineer the pattern and to let it fall as it may, since everything will eventually repeat itself. And a colour muddle, if repeated enough times, becomes a design feature, as Sally Melville says, so I will give control to the yarn and let it produce the sweater it wants. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Happy knitting this Wednesday!


  1. JulianaS · ·

    I’m never happier than when I’m knitting with Noro!

  2. That looks so fun!

  3. I’m with you on the sleeve thing. Ever since I started getting the sleeves out of the way first, my sweater knitting seems so much faster and more fun!

  4. I love how the color and texture is shaping up!!!

  5. I tried out this philosophy with my Beatnik sweater (still a WIP) and it definitely works! I finished the back panel because I was in the mood for cable craziness, but the thought of doing it all over again for the front was slightly disheartening so I did the sleeves instead. Now my mind has put it in the “almost done!” category 🙂

  6. What a clever idea, I have never tried this before, but will definitely give it a shot in the future.

  7. Eeeek! I didn’t realize you were a Noro Whoro! ;o)

    Good idea on the sleeves-first method.

  8. Pretty pretty colors! I’m still enchanted by the whole Magic Striping Noro Scarf idea (still working on my second one), so I’m really looking forward to seeing what your sweater turns out to look like. If I ever do that, I’ll have to turn the stripes on their sides, tho’ — simply haven’t the figure to pull of horizontal stripes at this point in my life. YOU will look fab, though. 🙂

  9. Are you alternating every other row or every 3-4 rows?
    Looks great! Inspiring, too. Thanks for your insight and comments.

  10. Great advice – I’m a bit intimidated by knitting sweaters and it’s one of my goals to overcome this year so your suggestion to work on the sleeves first makes a whole lot of sense.

  11. I just *LOVE* this line: “And a colour muddle, if repeated enough times, becomes a design feature.”

  12. Look at all that stripey goodness!! Lovely bright stripes like that are perfect for the tonnes of stockinette of the Hourglass. I bet it’s going to look amazing on you.

  13. I’m a sleeve swatcher!!! Much easier to just start a sleeve and work on the gauge then. And I don’t always rip it out if it’s slightly off and I need to adjust, I just make sure it will fit the wrist and continue on.

  14. Please do a book about fine gauge knitting. We’re not all size 4 and I look better in fine gauge sweaters. Please, please, please. There’s not enough out there to work on in this vein.

    Thank you !!

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