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Inishturk Sweater Knit-Along: Beyond the Ribbing & Sorting Out Patterns

January 28th, 2010

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It has been a lot of fun to see so many of you already starting the Inishturk Sweater and sharing your ideas and experiences with the rest of us.  Probably the hardest part of this sweater is the part I’m going to talk about today – going from the ribbing into all those cable patterns!

I found working the ribbing went just fine until I saw that I had to increase 22 stitches on that last ribbing row (which is a WS row).   I’m making this pattern in the medium size that had me working 106 stitches for the ribbing.  So I took my handy, dandy calculator and divided 106 by 22 and found out I should increase a stitch every 4.8181818 stitches!  OK, that is pretty close to one increase every 5 stitches, so looking at the ribbing, I decided I would mark 22 of the ribs with pins — skipping one here and there.  Then I just increased at the top of these ribs.  I know that increasing doesn’t have to be perfectly even for this pattern, but they should be fairly evenly worked across that row.  I worked my increases as “make 1” (m1) increases, but I also could have just knit into the front and back of those 22 stitches to increase, and that would be fine for this pattern.  I just wanted to make sure I didn’t have “holes” where I made my increases (which would happen if you worked your increases as yarn overs).

So, I finally had my 128 stitches to work my patterns.  I carefully worked the set-up row and the following row which had me just knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches.  Then on Row 3 of the back, with stitch markers in hand, I carefully worked that row, placing stitch markers on my needle on each side of the larger cable patterns.  Until these patterns are established (and even after that!) these markers will make sure that my patterns will line up – and just make knitting them a whole lot easier.

Another way I sorted out the patterns was to place different color markers on my needle on the side of each type of cable.  Then I wrote down the color and corresponding cable on a sticky note and attached it to my pattern.

This sweater is a beautiful combination of some very different, but traditional Aran cable patterns.  However, not only do these patterns have a different number of stitches, but rows as well!  Some of you have been keeping track of that with Excel or another spreadsheet program — but here’s something to remember:  the largest of these panels (Panel B) has 16 rows.  All the other patterns have row repeats that go into 16:  some have 2 rows, some have 4 rows, and Panel A has 8 rows.  What this means is: every time I start Row 1 of that large Panel B, I should also be on Row 1 of all the other patterns.

Now as for that center Panel B — I have been following the row instructions written, but I do love charts.  So, I’ve decided that this week I will make charts and share them with you next week.  For those of you who have never worked charts before, I’ll include a little tutorial on how to do that as well.  Meantime, keep those stitch markers and row counters at hand!

Don’t have a row counter? If you go to the pattern on, you’ll notice that there’s a built-in row-counter right on the pattern page! It’s handy if you are working on your sweater near a computer OR on a mobile device.

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  • Sandie

    This is so much fun! I’ve never made anything more ambitious than a scarf so this is really jumping in with both feet. I would have never tried this on my own!

    Kristyle – no such thing as a dumb question. I am new to knitting and I had the same question! I did the same thing Holli did, knit a small square and played with it until I could tell the difference by looking.

  • Kristyle

    @Holli – thanks for the response! I actually thought that was what was intended, but it seemed a really awkward way to say it. But I’m a “self-taught” knitter so there are some things that are obvious to most knitters that I’m clueless about!

  • Judy Bishop

    Keeping track of rows – I’ve used a row counter often but just as often forget to change the number if it’s on the “other” needle.(right hand at the bottom of all the stitches) Out of sight – out of mind. So I tied a pieces of scrap yarn through it just big enough to fit around my finger so now the row counter sits on to of my left hand like a ring, where I can easlily check it any time and (ususally) remember to change it after each row. Numbering the stitch pattern instructions with all rows up to #16 so they match panel B helped, too.

  • Marie

    To #45 and anyone else having a problem with row count. I charted out the 16 rows in excel from start to finish, with different colors for each pattern. I didn’t print the wrong side rows, just left them blank so there is a space between the rows. Then I only have to worry about 8 rows, and when I finish a row (right side) I put a check mark at the beginning of that row to know it is complete. Then I always know where I left off and only have to count 8 rows, then just keep repeating the pattern as I work the sweater, it is (only) 5 pages, but they flow one right after the other and other than the initial bobble I made (see earlier post lol) I haven’t made any mistakes. Hope this isn’t too confusing.

  • Anne

    Hi All,
    I love this KAL because I so enjoy reading about everyone’s progress — the joys, and frustrations!! I read that quite a few have had to rip out and start over. I did too!! But it seems the projects that I am the most proud of are the ones I had to start over several times. As with most endeavors, it is either about the journey, or just the destination. If you are all about the destination, then starting over is a real stressor. But if the knitting project itself is what brings you joy, than it is all about the journey.. in which case, ripping out and starting again isn’t so bad — it’s just an interesting detour (and learning process) along the way.

    And to Lisa (#39) — who has a cat that loves yarn, I feel your pain!!!! I have an 8-month old puppy that is the same — I never quite know what design changes he will add to my projects from one day to the next! :)

  • Donna

    I just realize I rock the whole time I’m knitting, if I’m in my rocking chair. *chuckle*

  • Christine-WI

    For the comment about reduced number of pages for the pattern:
    I wrote on the odd rows (1,3,5,etc.)-all stitches all patterns. I use a dash at pattern changes to make it easier to keep track of where I am.
    Handwritten my instructions are slightly more than 2 pages.

  • Christine-WI

    Oops, I wrote out the odd rows. Sorry.

  • Ashlee

    I have a question for those of you with the back off the needles. I’m doing less than small…lol. 90 sts instead of 98 and I took out the double seed as was suggested in one of the other posts. But I like things longer so I’m sticking with the 20 1/2 inches for the small size. Roughly how many sets of 16 did it take? I’m only on 7 and it’s taken me a while to get here…lol. I know this number probably wouldn’t be the same as what I need but it’s nice to have a goal…you know?

  • Anne – Palo Alto, CA

    Hi Ashlee,
    I’m making size medium, 21 inches, and it took 7 1/2 sets to get there.

  • Anne – Palo Alto, CA

    Hi Ashlee, I should add that the size needle you’re using will make a difference. I’m using 9.

  • Holli in Memphis

    Ashlee I’m making a Large, got gauge with 8s and it took me 8 full repeats to get off the needles.

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  • Ashlee

    I’m glad you wrote about the needle sizes. I started freaking out because (I recounted…I’m only on the 6th set) I’m barely halfway done. But I know my gauge is messed up. My yarn is small and I did the cast on with bigger sts than I needed so it works out length wise…maybe an inch off but the yarn is stretchy enough. It just looks like I’ll have to do more work…lol. I suppose I should have gone with size 9 instead of 8 but they will work and I’m to far through to start over. This is my first sweater and there are mistakes that I see…so I probably should start over but…I just don’t want to! Lol.

  • Kari

    I wish I wouldn’t have knit ahead of this post–I knit the front and back of stitches to increase, but still got holes. I’m too far up the cables to turn back now. It would be nice for the pattern to note the best way to increase.

  • Leslie Buff

    I never did get gauge, and I became so frustrated about it after working for a week trying to get gauge that I finally gave up and started on the ribbing. I choose to do needle size 9 for the size 40 but when I had it done it was not 20 inches unless I really stretch it so once again more starting over again. So I made an executive decision and decided to stay on 9 needles and move up a size so that I could do the rest of the sweater on needle 10’s instead of 10 1/2 needles even though they did not give me gauge either. So now it will be a matter of time before we see how this executive decision works out. I finally have gotten to the cableing which I love to do but not before I made a few mistakes and then finally decided to write out the instructions, so now it has been smooth sailing. Sometimes I can hardly wait to get to the wrong side, to knit the knits and purl the purls to give my brain a rest. Like someone above said it is all about the journey, and if you love to knit then it is truly a loving journey.

  • Kaye S

    Wow! I finished the back last night. It is gorgeous. I had a few ripouts, but only a few! Like the others have said–it got easier the further I went. Today, I will start the front. I am really enjoying this.

    Thanks for the pattern and the encouragement.


  • Cristina

    I have some mistakes. Straightening out cable and cross-over mistakes is very very difficult. Does anyone have any good ideas about how to fix things once you notice a glaring error a couple of rows later? I am not sure I want to rip any out because then I will be really lost.

  • Marla in Bellflower, CA

    One of the earlier bloggers asked what we did with our cable needles in between cables. I would stick mine in the buttonhole of my shirt. But if I wore a blouse I had no where to put it. I recently purchased, from Costco, a table top 2010 knitting calendar with 100+ patterns. Fridays pattern was a knitted cable needle holder attached to a 3 stitch L cord. The holder is egged shaped, stuffed with scrap yarn and the L cord can be knitted to the length most comfortable. Well, I took time out to knit one of these and I love it. Designed by Marlyn Ibele, published in Cast On magazine.

  • Norma Van Natta

    To Christina (#68) I understand about not wanting to rip back rows because of getting lost. This is where a “life-line” comes in handy. Every few rows and at the end of a wrong side row, take a tapestry needle, thread it with some nice slippery scrap yarn or maybe some tapestry thread and run it through all of the stitches on your needle. Then continue working your pattern. Then if you need to rip, you can do so with confidence because all your stitches will be on that string (life-line) and you will know where your were at that point. Because the stitches are secure on the life-line, you can just pick them back up and away you go. I learned this lesson the hard way when I was knitting a very, very complicated lace sweater pattern. I hope I succeeded in making this clear.

  • Mary Ann

    I am about half finished with the back. I keep having to use various ways to fix mistakes. Some that I have discovered a few rows later, I have just left. It is a good reason to keep the sweater for myself. I couldn’t possibly give it to another. :-)

    Question: I looked at the directions for shaping the neck today and I’m confused.
    “dec 1 st at each neck edge (by a working k2tog 1 st from neck edge) every other row 3 times –
    36 (38, 40, 42, 46) sts remain for each shoulder”
    How many rows will this be? Do I decrease in a right side row? If so, do I do a reverse side tow and then bind off when I have made the 3 decreases or do I do the bind off in a wrong side row?