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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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  • Mimi

    I know I’ve asked this question before, but, I just want to be sure I understand. I’m doing my sweater in the round, so am I to K the knits, P the purls in between EACH and EVERY round?

    Zontee says: Hi Mimi, yes, that’s correct. Knit when you see a V and purl when you see a bump.

  • Denise from Portland, OR

    Thank you so very much for all this wonderful information. So far, I have completed row 3 of my 7th 16 row section. I also use lots of stitch markers……it’s the only way I can keep track of where I’m at! I wrote the whole 16 row pattern series out before I got started and it has made eveything so much easier. I am truely enjoying this project…..Thank you again for sharing all that you have.

    Heather says: “Thank you for the nice words, Denise! I’m happy you are enjoying making your sweater. I know we used lots of markers, but for anyone who doesn’t have a few different colors, you can also use markers made out of loops of scrap yarn in different colors. Keep up the good work and thanks!”

  • sarah

    Hi Mimi, Comment 1, I am knitting in the round as well, and yes, you really do knit the knit and purl the purls on all the even number rounds. It works our great! Even the double seed stitch works out that way. Happy Knitting everyone!

  • BWYA

    looking forward to seeing the charts!

  • Kristi

    Hey all, just fyi you can use child size plastic hair binders(my daughter has some no larger than the tip of my pinkie finger)as stitch markers. They don’t bind with most yarns that people would be using for this sweater and are easier on the hands than the hard plastic ones.

  • Carol

    Hi folks,
    Heather, I thought I was so clever in putting stictch markers in between the patterns! Of course that was after taking out the same row three times to figure out where I went wrong… I use the twist ties from trash bags as markers.
    The other crucial step for me, first thing I did, actually, was type up the patterns in a much larger font. That one didn’t take me much time to figure out at all! I am really enjoying my first knit along.

  • Barbara from Nova Scotia

    Hi. I stopped at the ribbing, hoping the charts would be available this week. I may go ahead and just make up a rough charts to get going. I really hate going back and forth between the written out panels.

  • Ashlee

    Hi, I’ve been reading what everyone has been writing and I’m having a fun time making this sweater. I’m using a “baby blanket type” yarn in blue and white. I kept seeing it in the store, finally bought it and have kept it for a while. Since it’s baby soft, I couldn’t Not use it. :) My problem is it’s much thinner than the pattern calls for. And I’m a size 33 bust. So I went with the cast on of 90 (as posted on the past blog) for size 36 bust and hoped the size of the yarn would make up for the other 3 inches. I just finished the first 16 rows of the pattern ak it might be too small. I guess I won’t know until it’s done (because I’m Not starting over…lol.) and maybe I’ll have to add panels. I made my chart with excel. I made all the cables in different colors. (All cable C – red, all panel A – yellow…) And I “merged” all the cables and wrote them out so I wouldn’t need to look at both sheets and I didn’t have to remember symbols. It looks beautiful so far! I wish we could post pictures or files.

  • Wendy

    I am new to reading these kinds of patterns. So I have my ribbing done and my increase. I completed the pattern set-up row, the WS row andthe “Next row”. The pattern goes on to say “Work in patterns established…” Does that mean I go on and once again complete the pattern set-up row, the WS row and the “Next row” continually or does it mean to complete the WS row and the “next row” until the piece measures the desired height?

    Heather says: “Hi, Wendy: You only need to work that “set-up” row once. The next row you knit the knits and purl the purls (as they appear). Then the next RS is really row 1 of all of your patterns. “Continuing in pattern” means that the next row will be row 2 of your patterns – then just work all your patterns, keeping track of rows for each stitch pattern. I hope this helps you and that you will enjoy making this sweater!”

  • Roxanne

    What width should the ribbing be? Should it be stretched or sit at ease for the true width?

    Heather says: “Hi, Roxanne: You don’t need to worry about the width of the ribbing, as it will stretch when you wear it. The most important thing is that you were able to achieve your gauge with your larger needle with the Double Seed stitch. Then just work the ribbing with a needle one size smaller than your larger needle.”

  • Roxanne

    I forgot to add that I am making a small size.

  • Donna

    Wendy, only do the set up row one time. I was knitting it as a pattern row and had to rip it out.

  • Wendy

    Thank you Donna. I am sorry you have to rip out your work. I have been there many times and I am sure I will be there with the project as well.

  • Anna

    Heather, what are the pink and green doo-dads hooked around your narrowest cables in the picture?

    Heather says: “Hi, Anna – Those are a couple of split-ring markers that you can attach and take off later. You could also use a couple of different looking safety pins or colored paperclips. The reason that I didn’t put a marker on each side of the small cables is because there would have been two markers on my needles right next to each other and this could have stretched my knitting. Thanks for asking!”

  • sarah

    Hi everyone! I had to rip out my set up row 4 times before I got it all correct :) Sometimes it is empowering to rip out your work, especially when you get frustrated! Then, when you get it right, it feels so great! I am on row 19 now and it is looking fabulous.

  • Mary Ann

    I copied the pattern to my word processing program and then enlarged the font and made a separate page for Panels A and two pages for B and then I separated the parts or lines of each to make it easier to follow. I also used a Red font the front cables and blue for the back cables. I also made an over all table.

    Knit 1 selvedge
    Double Seed (16 sts) 4 rows repeat
    K1. P2
    Cable C (6 sts) 4 rows 1: Cable 4 Front K2 3: K2 Cable 4 Back
    P2, K1
    Panel A (16 sts) 8 rows
    K1, P2
    Cable C (6 sts) 4 rows 1: Cable 4 Front K2 3: K2 Cable 4 Back
    Small Cable B (2 sts) Cable 2 Back
    Panel B (28 sts) 16 rows
    Small Cable A (2 sts) Cable 2 Front
    Cable C (6 sts) 4 rows 1: Cable 4 Front K2 3: K2 Cable 4 Back
    K1, P2
    Panel A (16 sts) 8 rows
    P2, K1
    Cable C (6 sts) 4 rows 1: Cable 4 Front K2 3: K2 Cable 4 Back
    K1. P2
    Double Seed (16 sts) 4 rows
    Knit 1 selvedge

    I’m sorry that the table didn’t copy as a table nor do the color fonts show but I think you can see what I did. The xxxx is where I have my separating markers. Cable 4 means use 4 stitches and hold 2 in front or back according to whether it says back or front and then knit 2 and then 2 from the cable needle. (terminology that I know from other cable projects).
    I am on my second set of 16 rows and I think that the pattern is beautiful. I haven’t made a sweater in maybe 30 years and I am enjoying it a lot.
    Thanks for the urging to do a guage swatch or I’d be making a too small sweater.

  • lynn893

    I’m looking for the row counter you mentioned at the bottom of your thread. Can you supply a link, or a better description of where it is? Thanks!

    Heather says: “Hi, Lynn: Just go to the pattern on the website and there will be a little gold box that you can click on the + or – symbols to add or decrease numbers. That stitch counter can be moved around and will remember your row when you come back to the pattern!”

  • Linda

    Hi All,
    Just love the pattern. I’m up to the 6th pattern repeat and it really does look nice. Using a grey color and the cables really stand out. Been down the path of ripping out a couple of times, but now the pattern just seems to flow. To make it easier for me, I have written out the directions by row, have columns where I check off when each pattern in the row is done. It is so much easier for me that way.Of course using markers. As you do more of the patterns, you can see almost immediately when you ‘miss’ or do a wrong stitch. Really looking forward to finishing this sweater. Thanks so much for such a beautiful pattern.

  • Holli in Memphis

    I’m getting near the end of the back – 2 inches to go. I have a question about the shaping instructions. Do you do the decreases on a WS row or a RS row? As I read it it seems to be WS but I want to know before I get there.

    Heather says: “Hi, Holli: Wow, you are moving right along! I’m doing my decreases on the RS rows since the pattern says the decreases are worked as k2tog. But as long as you are doing your decreases at the neck edge and every other row, it will work out fine. Hope this helps and thanks for participating in our KAL!”

  • Debbie A

    To lynn893, if you go to and click on free patterns and type in Inishturk Sweater in the Search box, (or click on knitting patterns and scroll down to sweaters, you will find it in the list, and click on it,) the picture of the sweater will come up, then you click on view pattern box. When the pattern comes up, scroll down to the end and you will see the row counter there.

    Hope this helps-it sounds a little confusing, doesn’t it?!

    Happy knitting!

  • Judy in Texas


    I took the shaping rows to be on the wrong side rows and it looks right.

    I got the back off the needles tonight! Yippee! I really like this pattern. It was so much easier to get through the ribbing and set up row this time. I am ready to start the cables on the front tomorrow with stitch markers already in place. Keep plowing through everybody it gets easier and it is well worth it.

  • Mary Ann Mijanovich

    I have finished 2 patterns and feel very accomplished! Is there a time line to tell where we should be at the end of the first week? I really am aiming at finishing in the 6 weeks. It is getting a little easier… and it is beautiful! Glad I plan to keep this one.

    Heather says: “Good for you, Mary Ann! I glad you are having a good time with this KAL. Don’t worry about “keeping up” – just work at your own pace. The back and front will take the most time as those sleeves don’t have all the cables going on all at once. Keep up the good work!”

  • Cristina

    I too am enjoying this project. I am not as far along as some of you–just in the middle of my first 16 row pattern, but can see things developing nicely. I look forward to your comments. I should have read about the markers earlier. I came up with that idea all on my own after ripping my first two rows and the set up row. Then I decided I needed a way to keep things straight. My husband read me the directions as I knitted these rows to redo everything with stitch markers. Having a reader is a help–especially when getting started.

  • Donna

    After my ribbing when I added the stitches, does it make a difference on which stitch you increase. I’m looking at mine and my set up row looks wrong, not so anyone else will notice, so I’m not ripping it out. I just wondered because I want the front to be perfect. I keep studying it to see what I did wrong and I’m just not sure. Would ending with a right side row in the ribbing cause that? I wasn’t sure which was right side and which was wrong since it all looks the same to me. So maybe I ended with right side instead of wrong. How do I tell which is which in ribbing? Thanks

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  • Denise from Portland, OR

    Hurray!! I got the back done. Just got it off the needles and I’m off to start the front. It’s going faster than I throught it was going to. I’m so happy that I found this KAL. My husband LOVES his sweater, and I’m having a wonderful time. Not only with the sweater, but also interacting with everyone here. I love reading the comments/questions……….

  • Donna

    Way to go Denise. I’m hoping to get the back done this weekend. I was just checking out the neck shaping part. I definitely will use a lifeline because I have visions of having to rip out. But I’m going to take my time and hopefully won’t have to.

  • Anne

    I’m not as far along as some of you.. I just finished my first whole repeat of the pattern, and I love it! I live in Greensboro, NC, and today I was sitting in my sunroom with a cup of tea, looking out over the 6 inches of snow we got last night, and knitting. Does life get any better????????? :)

  • Denise from Portland, OR

    Thanks Donna, the neck shaping part ended up not being as hard as I thought to was going to be. A lifeline would be a good backup plan, just in case! I just took my time and worked it out on paper first. Good Luck! Hope you get yours done this weekend also.

  • Kelly

    Phew! Finally started the cable patterns and it’s going great. I had to rip out the set-up row and the increase about three times each–something about me and counting!!! Having a 2 year old doesn’t help. The cables look great even though I chose the Maple Tweed and not a solid because of my coloring. Now that the pattern is established, I should be moving faster.

  • Lisa

    Well, I will be starting over again for the third time tomorrow. Made a few mistakes that alone weren’t that bad but together not so good. You know what they say though third time is the charm. I am now armed with color coded instructions, lots of markers, and new needles so I can make the hat too. I am determined to make this sweater and am learning a lot in the process. :o)

  • Donna

    Well 1:00 a.m. west coast time and I’m headed to bed after scrapping the back I had halfway done and starting again. I kept looking at my mistake on the setup row that I didn’t notice until I really got the cables going and decided I wanted it done right. So I have the ribbing done once again and will start with the setup row tomorrow. Hang in there Lisa, I started several times before too and as you notice am starting again. When I’m done, I’m going to have a fabulous sweater to wear.

    Heather says: “Hi, Donna – I hope you had a good nights sleep and today’s knitting will be better. Once you get that cable pattern set straight, the rest of the pattern will be much easier!”

  • Judy from Austin

    Hi! I am so excited that I finished the back! Heather I measured it again (as you suggested in the last blog post) to see if I will want to add length to the sleeve – and I will. I am over 5’10” and I often make things longer (I decided to add three inches to the length of the body too.) Since the pattern shows a general decrease in width over length for the arms in the pattern how would you suggest I add three inches to the length of the arms? Thanks!

    Heather says: “I’m so happy you’re happy! So make your front, and when that is done, you can sew the shoulders together, and put it on you to see how long you will want to make the sleeves. I do this all the time as my arms are longer than most patterns say they are!”

  • Donna

    Could I just say I’m so glad I found this KAL. I know I have ripped out again and again but I am learning so much and I never would have tried this on my own and I’m having so much fun doing this. Thanks everyone for your helpful hints and suggestions. *hugs*

  • Marie

    I am working on my second pattern repeat, and see my mistake after reading what everyone wrote about the setup row. I did the setup rows, then started with row 1 of the pattern instead of row 2. I doesn’t look so bad, so I will leave it since it is on the back. I am knitting the sweater in Caron Simply Soft forest floor green. (They were all out of fisherman wool, imagine that) it looks great though, and I am very pleased with how it is coming along.

  • Eileen

    I was confused by Marie’s comment re starting with Row 2 of the pattern after the set up row. Is that correct? I started with row 1 of the patterns after my set up row and it looks correct. I have 1 and a half pattern repeats finished on the back.
    I think this is a beautiful design and I am really enjoying my first KAL. Thanks to Heather for keeping us all moving along.

    Heather says: “Hi, Eileen: There was one row of knitting the knit stitches and purling the purls between the set-up row and row 1 of your pattern, but if it looks alright – that’s fine. Sounds like you are moving right along and I’m happy you like our KAL!”

  • Nancy

    Heather, could you please post a picture of the setup row that includes the ribbing? I thought I had it figured out, until now; there are so many questions about it. I doubt I’ll redo the back, but if I see a better example, I’d like to do that for the front. And I wish there was some way to know how many knitters are working on this, including ones who don’t post, but are reading along!

    Heather says: “Hi, Nancy – If your set-up row works out by the end of that row, then you have done it correctly. The ribs on the ribbing do not necessarily match up to the cable patterns, so don’t worry too much about how it looks. As long as your increases are not leaving holes, and you end up with the correct amount of stitches, then you are fine. I hope this helps you!

  • Kelly

    Heather, can I please ask a question pertaining to the sleeve? When it talks about the rows to increase on, would they be rows: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48…etc.????
    I just want to make sure I’m reading this right. Thanks so much for response.

    Heather says: “Hi, Kelly: That is correct! All the sizes have the sleeve increases every 3rd row 8 times, then every 4th row 15 times – so your sequencing is right. After you have finished all your increases you should have 92 (96, 100, 104, 104) stitches depending on what size you make.”

  • Lisa

    Well, here’s today’s story, I was almost done with the ribbing again when my cat grabbed hold of the needle and pulled it out of my hand and the stitching. Needless to say I was a bit distressed as I almost had the 3 inches done and she pulled out the last 5 stitches a couple of them about 3 rows back. Good thing I always keep a crochet hook and a few extra knitting needles handy, I was able to catch the stitches and save the day.

    p.s: Thanks Donna for the words of encouragement

  • Christine-WI

    I’m having a good time with this sweater.
    I’ve seen a number of posts about a lifeline but I don’t know how to put one in. Can anyone describe in more detail?

  • Denise from Portland, OR

    Here is the link that ANNA provided in the last thread. It should answer all your questions. Good luck – – Happy Knitting

    Life line:

  • Denise from Portland, OR

    OOOPPS My last comment was for Christine-WI’s, lifeline question……….Sorry

  • <fb:name linked="false" useyou="false" uid="1447660425">Marianne Gaudio Spencer</fb:name>

    I’m glad to see everyone is doing well with the pattern, it gives me encouragement! After a very bad week and a half away from my knitting, I’m finally starting to get back to this project to take my mind off other things. Unfortunately, I’m still in my first setting of the 16 rows! However, seeing Heather’s photos of the pattern have helped to put the whole thing in perspective, and I am looking forward to the charts as well. I kind of have a chart system, but nothing complicated like the others I’ve seen. My chart just reminds me which pattern description to look at! =) I may not be able to catch up with everyone else, but I hope to at least make it through most of the pattern before this KAL is done.

    And to Lisa (#39) – My cat has been giving me fits by pulling apart projects as well! =) [sigh] What can you do?????

  • Dot

    I’d like to start by saying thank you to Lion Brand for the wonderful pattern and the opportunity to receive assistance with questions. Everyone on this blog has been so kind to share their tips and expertise. I’ve found knitters (and crocheters) to be the most wonderful people, always willing to share their passion with others. Just came back from a Knit In weekend and was excited to purchase a beautiful shade of blue yarn that, according to the shop owner, will make a beautiful sweater. Anxiously I dug out my needles and created a swatch with size 10’s. The gauge is perfect so I began the ribbing. As of last night I was 12 rows into the first sequence when I discovered I’d make a mistake on the small cable somehow. I was really hoping the chart would be on last weeks post. I’ve tried charting it in excel then writing out row by row instructions but I must have messed something up somewhere.

    Oh, well, guess I’ll rip it out, recheck my instructions and start over. With all the useful tips already presented, I should get through the back in no time at all. This is definitely my most complicated project so far. The sweaters I made for my grandchildren at Christmas were my first real attempts at sweaters and I was really pleased at how well they turned out so I know I can do this pattern.

    Thanks again to everyone/.

  • Kim

    Hi Everyone, well, I’m about a quarter of the way into the pattern and everything is coming along nicely, I have been knitting for years but it’s been a very long time since I’ve done such an involved pattern and I’m excited about picking up new tips! I am using markers but my issue is how to make less paper, I seem to be doing more shuffling than knitting! I have used index cards for panels A and B, use the actual pattern for the other charts and then have a chart to mark off what rows I’m on, so much paper! Any suggestions on how everyone else is keeping track of things would be appreciated!

    Thanks so much and happy knitting :)

  • MaryAnn M-Shelton WA

    Re: 45 Hi, Kim! It took a little while to do but I hand wrote odd rows on 4×6 papers with all the patterns written out on each row paper. I keep them in order in a clear paper cover. (Row 1, 3, 5, 7,…15) I have a stitch counter on my circular needle to keep track too. Then I just change the direction paper each odd row. I am on repeat #7 and haven’t messed up yet! I can even watch TV and keep it right! Hope that helps :)

  • Donna

    Well my new back is started, ribbing is done and 16 rows, I don’t see any mistakes. *smile* Here’s how keep track of the pattern Kim. I enlarged the font and made every other group of stitches in red and blue. I also put mine in page protectors and have two little page holders that I just slip the pages into it (one for the main pattern and one for the stitch explanations) and it holds them up. I put a sticky note under the number of row I am working on so I don’t look at the wrong row. Then when I’m done with those rows I just move the sticky note. I tried to do the chart thing but just couldn’t figure it out. This is working fine for me and it’s going much faster than I expected. Have fun.

  • Kristyle

    I know this is a dumb question, but I think I’m “overthinking” the pattern. When it says “knit the knit and perl the perl” stitches, does that mean if the row above was a “knit” then I should knit again? I know this should be an easy part, but I don’t want to mess up the pattern and have to redo it over something silly!

    Zontee says: Hi Kristyle, in patterns “knit the knits and purl the purls” means that you knit a stitch if it APPEARS AS A KNIT STITCH on the side FACING you. In other words, if it looks like a knit stitch (a V) as it’s facing you, then knit it. If it looks like a purl (a bump), then you purl it. Don’t forget to check comments on previous blog posts (such as Donna’s here) as often times someone else may have asked the question previously. The important reason for learning to visually identify the stitches as they face you is that (a) it’s easier than remembering what you did in the last row and (b) it works in both flat and in-the-round knitting.

  • Karin Perkins

    I am so excited about this project as a knit along because it is only my second cable project. I am using Wool-ease in wheat. The 25 % wool gives it a nice ease without the itch. The color is quite subtle – cream with little threads of charcoal and rust to give it a natural wool look. Since I started a couple of weeks late, I had the advantage of a lot of blogger advice – I want to thank all of you for your helpful hints, especially Heather’s advice regarding markers and Christina’s suggestion of initially using a reader – brilliant! I only had to unknit a few rows and my curses are subsiding now that I am half done with the back panel. My reader has asked anxiously if I am really enjoying myself – I am!

  • Holli in Memphis

    Kristyle – Knit the knit and purl the purl basically means do the opposite of what you did the previous row. As you look at the wrong the side row if it looks like a knit stitch, the v stitches, then knit it and if it looks like a purl, a bump, purl it. I experimented with a little piece of waste yarn on some spare needles until I could see it for myself. Hope this helps.