Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Archive for the 'Knit-Along' Category


Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover KAL: Working the Collar

October 26th, 2011

Pin It

Welcome back to the Wisteria Pullover Knit-Along! My sweater pieces are knit and blocked, and I’m ready to get this pullover finished! In getting started to put mine together, however, I realized there are quite a few different finishing techniques involved and quite a large collar to knit, so I’m going to break the finishing work down into two posts, this week and next. Let’s get started on the shoulder seams and collar!

The first step is to seam the shoulders in order to create the back neck opening for the collar. To do so, I recommend a type of seam called the mattress stitch. There are three different types of mattress stitch: horizontal to horizontal stitches (side seams), vertical to vertical stitches (shoulder seams), and vertical to horizontal (the collar and part of the sleeve cap). As you can see, we’ll be employing all three along the way to finishing our sweater! Starting at the outside edge of your shoulder seam, pin your front and back pieces together and begin seaming, working your darning needle under both legs of the V on one piece and then under both legs of the V opposite on the other piece, as shown in the following image. I’ve used a golden yarn so that you can see the stitches, but keep in mind that these will be visible, so you should use the same yarn as for the main body. For more information on seaming click here.

Seaming

I like to keep the tension of this seam similar to my knit stitches, instead of pulling it tight so that the seam looks like another row of stitches, but it’s entirely up to you. Here’s why mine looked like after seaming:

Shoulder Seam

Repeat with the other side and voila! Starting to look a bit more like a sweater? Now you can start to picture where this collar is going to fit in. So now it’s time to pick up stitches to start knitting the shawl collar. The way the collar is constructed is this: you pick up and knit a certain number of stitches along the back of the neck and begin working in 2×2 rib; gradually more stitches are cast on at the beginning of both rows to elongate the collar but give it a nicely-shaped curve, then it is knit until it is wide enough to fill the gap we created in the front.

To plan mine, I counted how many bind-off stitches I had along the back of the neck opening and found I had 32 – 2 short of the 34 I needed to pick up. I accounted for this by picking up my first and last stitch from the shoulder join, then used the 32 stitches I bound off before ato get my 34 stitches to start the collar. Working from right to left, pick up and knit each stitch until you have the number required. By planning ahead, you can evenly space these stitches instead of getting to the end and having to stretch across or cram in a bunch of stitches. For more information about picking up stitches, click here. Here’s what the process of picking up and knitting looks like (again, I’ve used contrast yarn, but you’ll be using your main body yarn):

Picking up stitches

To add the stitches at the beginning of the row, one simple method is the backwards loop cast on. Click here for more information on how to do this cast on. Just as a word of advice: once you have your added stitches, the pattern says to work in K2, P2 rib as established – be aware that on your right side rows, you will need to start with 2 purls, or you will throw off the rib pattern.

If you made your neck opening deeper or more shallow, now is the time to adjust your collar length to fit your opening, keeping in mind the collar is sewn in with the ribbing slightly stretched. I worked the pattern as written, and my collar fit well. Although the opening looked very deep, it worked out very nicely. Keep working in 2×2 ribbing until the side edges of the collar are the same height as the bound-off opening in the neck, which for me was just over 4 inches. Remember the back section of the collar will be wider than this, which creates the shawl collar.

Now it’s time to sew it into place. We’ll be using a different version of the mattress stitch for this: the vertical-horizontal type. This method combines the technique of the other two versions: you work under the V of the vertical piece, then under the bar one stitch in from the edge of the horizontal piece, back and forth, then pull them together to make the seam disappear. Again check out the page we have about seaming by clicking here, where you can see what I mean between the different horizontal and vertical stitches (disregard the garter stitch seams since we have stockinette and ribbing.)

I chose to secure the bottom of the collar first, then attach it down each side so I could fit it in smoothly. I joined the left side of the collar (your left, the sweater’s right side) first, using a simple whip stitch between the side of the collar and the bound-off stitches of the neck opening, since this part of the seam will be covered up by the overlap. Next I attached the other side of the collar on top, carefully working my vertical-horizontal mattress stitch to make the join as invisible as possible, resulting in this:

Seam

I applied the same type of seam to the sides of the collar, pinning the collar in place first: one in the middle, then two on either side of that, to ensure that I could make the collar lay flat and even. It takes some patience to make it look right, but it’s worth it! Here’s a picture of my finished collar and I couldn’t be happier!

Collar

As I mentioned last week, once I finished knitting the sleeves it was time to get those blocked and ready for seaming. As with the front and back of the sweater, it’s very important to have your pattern schematic and a measuring tape handy when blocking so you can shape and size the sleeves to the exact measurements you want in the finished piece and it makes seaming much easier. My sleeves are all pinned out and drying, ready for next week!

So enjoy your week and completing the collar of your sweater, and next week we’ll set in the sleeves and seam up the sides, then enjoy our finished pullovers!
Related links:


Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover KAL: Time for Sleeves and Blocking

October 19th, 2011

Pin It

Welcome back to the Wisteria KAL! I hope working the front of your sweater went well and working through the “at the same time” was a success. Now that the body of the sweater is done, it’s time to give it some sleeves! When working sleeves I find it helpful to work them both at the same time for two reasons: it helps ensure they turn out the same shape and length, and they are both done at the same time! Personally I’m not a big fan of knitting the same exact thing twice, so it’s really nice to get them done all in one go. After working the top of the front piece at the same time, working on both sleeves is a snap!

To set up for knitting both sleeves at once, you’ll need two separate balls of yarn and a long needle, preferably a circular needle at least 29″ long. Using one ball, cast on the instructed number of stitches for one sleeve, then drop that yarn. Now using your second ball, cast on the same number of stitches for the second sleeve. Now start knitting across both sleeves — just be sure to use the yarn attached to each sleeve and not carry the same strand all the way across both! Here’s a shot of my sleeves in progress:

Knitting the sleeves

The sleeves begin with 3 inches of ribbing, just like the body pieces, then increases begin immediately in the stockinette section and continue for most of the sleeve. The increase used for the sleeves is the knit into the front and back (kfb), and you can learn more about how to work this stitch by clicking here. There are many repeats of the increase row as you work your way up the sleeve, so it’s important to keep track of how many you have done. The nice thing about the kfb increase is that it makes what looks kind of like a purl bump (a little bar) on the right side of your work so you can count your increases if you lose track. Once the increases are completed, work even until the indicated length (or your desired length, measured from wrist to underarm). Afterward it’s on to the sleeve cap!

Sleeve caps can be a bit tricky, but we’ll make it through with the help of our row gauge. Remember back in the post about gauge when I told you to go with the needle size that gives you stitch gauge but to know what your row gauge is? This is when it comes into play: the instructions for shaping the sleeve cap are based on the row gauge of the pattern (6 rows/inch) so that the finished cap will fit into the armhole depth we already knit. If your row gauge is off, you may end up with a sleeve cap that is too tall or too short to properly fit into the armhole. But don’t despair! It takes a bit of math so bear with me, but we can figure out how to make your sleeve cap fit based on your own row gauge.

After the initial bind-offs every row, the pattern says to repeat the decrease row every other row (every right-side row), which is the same as saying every 1/3 inch (2 rows at 6 rows/inch gauge, 2 rows divided by 6 rows/inch equals 1/3 inch). To calculate when you should work your decreases, multiply your row gauge by 1/3 inch to find out how often you should increase. However, from your comments in the gauge post, it sounds like that most of you are getting a row gauge of just slightly over 6 rows/inch – somewhere in the range of 26-30 rows over 4 inches, which will give you an increase every 2.5 rows or so. In that case, I would advise that you throw in a regular knit row (with no increase) a few times along the way (and purl back) to make your cap a bit taller, then you can block it to the exact shape later. If your row gauge is looser (less than 6 rows/inch), you may need to make a few decreases on the purl rows so your cap doesn’t get too tall before you complete your decreases. My best advice is just to keep an eye on how tall the cap is getting and refer to the schematic in the pattern to make sure you are on track for the right size. Your sleeves should end up looking roughly like this:

Sleeves

As you are working on your sleeves, it’s a good time to block the front and back of your sweater so they can dry while you keep knitting. To block my pieces, I fill my bathroom sink with lukewarm water and a cap-full of wool wash (why not clean it while I’m at it, right?). I leave it for 10-15 minutes then drain the water and gently squish the pieces to remove excess water. I carefully transfer my knitting to a towel, scooping them up so they don’t stretch out of shape when wet, and then roll them in the towel to get out more of the excess water. I lay out my blocking boards (a yoga mat or layered towels work, too!) then get my blocking wires, pins, a measuring tape and the pattern schematic. Being careful to follow the schematic measurements, I pin out both pieces of the sweater to the size indicated, measuring each part as I pin and adjusting as necessary. I personally don’t block out the ribbing and instead start my pins and wires above the ribbing because I want it to retain its natural tendency to pull in. If you want to the bottom of your sweater to be less shaped, you can also pin out your ribbing, but keep in mind that it will have less elasticity. This is how it looked once I was done:

Blocking

Now let the pieces air dry. Repeat this process with your sleeves once they are knit as well, and next week we’ll be ready to seam the pullover and knit the collar! A finished sweater is soooo close! Have a great week!

Related links:


Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Knit-Along: Working the Front!

October 12th, 2011

Pin It

Welcome back to the Wisteria KAL! I hope your progress has been going well and your pullovers are coming along nicely. I know I’ve been enjoying seeing the colors change in Amazing. Now that we’ve tackled the back (the largest piece by the way – congratulate yourself on completing it!) it’s time to move on to the front. As I mentioned last week, the front is worked much like the back for the first 11.5 inches, if you are following the pattern as written. Alternatively, if you have altered the size of the sweater, work the front as for the back until the length is 2.5 inches shorter than the back was to the armhole shaping. Time for neck shaping!

The initial shaping for the neck opening is achieved by binding off 18 stitches in the middle of the row, leaving an equal number of stitches on either side to continue working. However, in order to work both fronts at the same time, you will need to attach another piece of yarn to one of the sides to keep working. After the bind-off row you will work back on the wrong side with the yarn still attached, but once you reach the bind-off gap you will notice there is no yarn to work with!

gap

To remedy this, simply join a new strand of yarn by using it to purl the first stitch after the gap and continue across, just as you do to join a new ball when your yarn runs out.

gap 2

Now the fun begins – if you look ahead in your pattern, you’ll notice 2 things: one is the description of how to proceed with the neck shaping, and the other are those four little words we all should be hunting for when working a pattern: AT THE SAME TIME. What this means is that while you are keeping track of decreasing at the neck edges every 8 rows, you also need to notice when your piece measures the same as the back to the armholes (14 inches or your desired length) and simultaneously work the same armhole shaping as we worked for the back. Knowing your row gauge is also very useful at this point – I knew that I was getting 6 rows/inch and I had started my neck shaping 2.5 inches before I needed to worry about the armholes. After 12 rows past the neck bind off (about 2 inches), I measured after every row to be sure I wouldn’t miss the 14 inch length point. When I was sure I was there, I pulled out my completed back piece to measure against so I was sure they would match.

Now comes keeping track of two sets of instructions at the same time. This is why it’s nice we already did the back with just armhole shaping because you already have a sense of how to work the armholes. At this point I’m keeping notes so I know where I’m at: I make a hash mark for every row I complete so when I get to the 8th row, I do my neck decreases then start a new set of hash marks for the next row. By doing so, when I have 6 (7, 7, 8, 10) groups of marks I know my neck decreases are complete! While this is going on I am also referring to armhole shaping instructions from the back section of the pattern, which is worked over a total of 8 (12, 16, 18, 20) rows. My best advice is to make whatever notes you need to in order to keep track of what is going on so you don’t miss any of the decreases.

Once you have completed your decreases, count the number of stitches remaining on each side of the neck to make sure they match what the pattern says you should have left for binding off – 17 (18, 20, 21, 22), then do a happy dance – the shaping is over and you have the stitches you should! If for some reason your numbers don’t match, see if you can determine where the mistake was made and rip back to correct it, keeping track of how many rows you rip out so you know where you are in the pattern. Once you’re all set with the decreases, work even until the armhole depth matches that of the back (this may be quite soon after the neck decreases are completed) and bind-off both sides. Another piece done!

front

Next week we’ll move onto the sleeves and talk about blocking your pieces for seaming. Have a great week and enjoy!

Related links:


Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Knit-Along: Working the Back and Armholes

October 5th, 2011

Pin It

Knit-Along BadgeWelcome back to the Wisteria KAL! I hope your swatching efforts went well and you are ready to get started on this sweater! As I’ve mentioned before, this pullover is worked in pieces and it starts with the back. Start the back by casting on the indicated number of stitches, then work in 2×2 ribbing (K2, P2) for 3 inches. Next, continue in stockinette stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side) for 14 inches, or until your desired length to the underarms. Make a note of the length you decide to work because it will be important when it comes time for the front. Time to shape the armholes!
Back

Armholes are generally shaped with a large decrease worked by binding off stitches on each side, then working decreases for a number of rows for shaping. Depending on the size you are making, you will bind off 5 or 6 stitches at the beginning of each row; this is because you can only bind off at the beginning or in the middle of a row, but not at the end of a row. To follow this instruction, begin your row by knitting 2 stitches, then pass the first stitch on the right-hand needle over the second and off the needle. This is the same way you would normally bind off when finishing a project, but only do this process 5 (6) times. After binding off the indicated number of stitches, knit across the rest of the row. Repeat this process at the beginning of the next row as well. For more information about how to work a bind off, click here. The result is that you have 10 (12) fewer stitches and a notch at each side of your sweater for the underarms.

Following the bind off rows are a series of decrease rows. The decreases, as described in the pattern, are worked one stitch in from edge, making seaming easier because the edge stitch is worked normally. Two different kinds of decreases are used because each of these decreases has a slant or lean to it; using them on their appropriate sides creates nicely shaped armholes. A k2tog (knit 2 together - right slanting) is used for the left side and an ssk (slip, slip, knit – left slanting) is used on the right side of the sweater. You can see more about how to work these decreases here. Once you have worked the decrease row on the knit side, follow it with a purl row and repeat the indicated number of times for your size.

Once these decreases are finished, you’re home free! Just “work even” until you have reached the indicated length, creating the depth of the armhole. “Work even” means go back to working in stockinette stitch with no decreasing, as you did for most of the back. Done! Bind that piece off and admire your work – one piece down!
Finished back

Once you have completed the back, feel free to start on the front; it starts the same as the back, but the neck shaping starts 2.5 inches before the armholes. If you are working as written, this means the neck shaping will start at about 11.5 inches, but if you worked the back for 16 inches for example, you would work the front to 13.5 inches. We’ll pick up there next week by continuing the front with both neck and armhole shaping!

Related links:


Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Knit-Along: Gauge Swatch and Casting On!

September 28th, 2011

Pin It

Hello and welcome back to the Wisteria KAL! Hopefully you’ve had time to get your yarn and needles together because it’s time to dive into the the pattern with the all-important gauge swatch. Determining your gauge is crucial for getting on the road to a successful finished sweater. When you take to time to find the needle size that gives you the gauge of the pattern, you will be on your way to a sweater that actually turns out the size you want it to be!

The gauge of this pattern is 17 stitches over 4 inches (4.25 sts/in) and 24 rows over 4 inches (6 rows/in). To make a gauge swatch for this project, I recommend casting on at least 25 stitches and working for at least 30 rows so you have a nice large swatch to measure over. After I bind off my swatch, I measure both the stitch and row gauge by lining up a rule at the edge of one stitch and counting how many stitches fill 4 inches (see photos below). Make a note of these numbers, then wash and block your swatch. This is important as many yarns change slightly after washing, either shrinking slightly or very often “blooming” and getting a bit looser, so if you ever plan to get your finished sweater wet, wash your swatch! To do so, I soak my swatch in a sink of water for 10 minutes, gently squeeze out the excess water, then lay it out flat to dry. If you are using a cotton yarn for this pullover, you may want to spray block your swatch instead by laying it flat and wetting with a spray bottle. Once dry, re-measure your swatch as shown:
Stitch gaugeRow gauge
Before blocking, using a size 8 needle with Amazing (in Constellation) I had 18 stitches and 25 rows over 4″ x 4″, but after blocking I (magically!) had the exact pattern gauge of 17 stitches and 24 rows! It is not always possible to get both the stitch and row gauge on one needle size, so use the needle size that gives you the correct stitch gauge, but make sure to make a note of your row gauge with that needle size because that will become important when we get to the sleeves. If your first swatch does not result in the correct gauge, make another! If you have more than 17 stitches, your gauge is too tight so try a larger needle; if you have less than 17 stitches, your gauge is too loose so try a smaller needle. You can see more about gauge here.

Once you have determined the needle you need to use to get gauge, let’s talk about the pattern itself. Some of you have been posing questions about knitting in the round and the use of circular needles, so let’s start there. As far as choosing what type of needle to use, straight needles are perfectly fine for this project as all pieces are knit flat, but you also have the option of using a circular needle to better accommodate the number of stitches for each piece. Since I do a lot of my knitting on the subway in very cramped quarters, I tend to knit most things on circular needles to avoid jabbing the people next to me! My preference is for 29-32″ circulars, but for this pattern anywhere from 24″ and up will hold the number of stitches just fine. Just because you are using a circular needle does not mean you are knitting in the round. Instead, treat them just as you do your straight needles by turning your work at the end of each row and working back.

Some of you, however, have asked about converting this pattern to work it in the round, so let me talk about some pros and cons. I know many people dislike the seaming involved in making a sweater in pieces, and I understand the feeling. Often times, however, when a pattern is written in pieces instead of in the round there is a reason: seams provided structure to a sweater so it is less likely to stretch out of shape. This is great to keep in mind for any sweater but especially in this case where the pullover already has a relaxed fit. Although I love knitting in the round as well, I’ve learned from doing other sweaters that sewing seams isn’t that bad and can actually be a very rewarding finishing step. A later post will cover all of the different seaming techniques you’ll need to finish this garment beautifully.

Another important consideration if you still want to work this sweater in the round is to keep in mind what type of yarn you are using: self-striping or a solid color. When working a sweater in the round, you will eventually have to transition to working flat after dividing for the neckline and armholes. If using the recommended yarn, Amazing, the stripes will be much thinner when working the round and will then become much wider when you start working back and forth in rows, which may not be a look you want your sweater to have.

If you are using a solid yarn this is not a concern, so feel free to work as you wish keeping the stretch factor in mind. To convert to in-the-round, you generally want to take the cast on number for the back plus the cast on for the front, subtract 4 (2 stitches each side allowed for seaming) and cast on that many stitches. Adjust this number as needed to make it divisible by 4 so that the 2×2 ribbing still works out. Please keep in mind if you choose to work in the round that I will be working my sweater in pieces and the upcoming posts will focus on pieced construction.

As you start by casting on for the pullover, one final consideration to make is how long you want the body to be. As written, you work for 14 inches to the underarms, but this length is easily adjusted. The pattern does not have waist shaping, so you are free to make the body as long as you wish – this is why this is such a great unisex pattern! If you are following instructions for the similar Newcastle Pullover, the body for that version is already written as 17 inches to the armholes, 3 inches longer than the Wisteria. I suggest measuring a sweater you like the fit of, this time for length, to figure out how long you want to make the body of your sweater. Make a note of this length (I like writing all over my copy of patterns!) because if you make a change it will come into play when we work the front in a couple of weeks.

For now, figure out your gauge and then feel free to get going on the back of your sweater! It starts with three inches of a 2×2 rib (knit 2, purl 2) followed by your desired length to the armholes of stockinette stitch (knit one row, purl one row). Next week I’ll talk more about the back of your sweater and how to shape the armholes. Enjoy and see you next week!


Announcing our Fall Knit-Along Featuring the Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover!

September 21st, 2011

Pin It

Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover KAL BadgeEach season we host a knit- or crochet-along, a virtual event in which yarncrafters come together here online to work on one pattern together, share their experiences, and to learn together. There’s no need to sign up; simply follow along with the blog posts at your own pace as you knit your sweater.

We asked you to vote on what knit garment you’d like to make, and you picked our Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover!

My name is Kendra and I’ll be your knit-along (KAL) host! I work at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, Lion Brand’s unique retail and education center in New York City, where I am a crochet and knitting instructor. Click here to learn more about me. Each week I’ll have a post here about my progress through the sweater full of information I’ve found helpful and hope you will as well. This is meant to be an interactive process so please ask questions here and in our Ravelry group so I – and the other knitters involved – can help! I can’t wait to work through this project with you!

To get this knit-along going, this week is about gathering your materials so that we can jump right in next week. This pullover is made in our Amazing yarn, a beautiful wool-acrylic blend that makes smooth transitions from one color to the next resulting in a beautiful finished product with minimal effort from you! The fiber blend makes for a sweater that will be really warm but still machine washable, which is great when it comes to a wardrobe staple! This version of the sweater is knit in the Wildflowers colorway, but we’ve also made similar versions in Ruby Amazing, Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend, and Wool-Ease (pictured below). These solid versions make fantastic unisex garments!

Amazing - RubyMSC Extra Soft Wool Blend - Gray PearlWool-Ease - Avocado

Martha Stewart Crafts Extra Soft Wool Blend and Wool-Ease are both great yarn substitutions for this pattern because they’re soft, easy-care wool-acrylic blends. Vanna’s Choice is also easy-care and comes in a fantastic color palette. For a warmer weather alternative, you could also use Cotton-Ease.

As with any yarn substitution, you’ll also need to figure out how many skeins of the yarn of your choice the pattern will require. Here are the number of balls for our other recommended yarns:

Size S M L 1X 2X
Amazing 8 9 10 10 11
Wool-Ease 6 7 8 8 9
Vanna’s Choice 7 8 9 9 10
MSC Extra Soft Wool Blend 7 8 9 10 11
Cotton-Ease 6 7 8 8 8
Approx. yardage 1200 1350 1450 1500 1650

As an aside, if you plan to make the pullover longer, I would recommend you purchase an extra ball or two to make sure you have enough yarn. It never hurts to have extra (think matching hat!), but it’s such a bummer to run out of yarn near the end of a project!

This unisex pullover (guys, you can pick a solid color or a more masculine color of Amazing like Cobblestone) has a slightly relaxed fit, so a little positive ease (i.e., more inches around than your bust size) is okay. I think of this sweater as fitting similarly to a comfy sweatshirt, so you may want to choose a size accordingly. When choosing a size, sometimes it helps to find a sweater (or sweatshirt) that you like the fit of and measure this garment to help you choose a size.

Starting next week I’ll be posting my progress through the pullover, starting with the all important gauge swatch! In the following weeks we’ll work through the back, then the front of the sweater, followed by the sleeves and then the collar and finishing work to give you a beautiful pullover just in time for cold weather. So pick up your yarn and needles and come back next week for information regarding gauge and getting going with this wonderful sweater!

Please introduce yourself below–let us know who you are, where you’re from, and who you’re making this sweater for!


Vote for the Fall 2011 Knit-Along!

September 14th, 2011

Pin It

Nothing says September quite like a new sweater, so it’s time for a new knit-along! We want YOU to help us decide on a pattern. Click on any image below to view its accompanying pattern. Submit your vote here by Tuesday, September 20th. Remember, you must submit your vote through SurveyMonkey for it to count!
Wisteria Shawl Collar Pullover Raglan Sleeve Topper Textured Topper

We’ll announce the winner here on Wednesday, September 21st. We’re excited to have our friend Kendra hosting once again. We can’t wait to see what the winning garment will be!

New to knit-alongs? Check out our guide to knit/crochet-alongs for some helpful advice. Crocheters, we’ll be having another crochet-along in the coming months, so keep an eye out for an announcement.


Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along: YOUR Projects!

March 11th, 2011

Pin It

Thanks so much for joining us during our Winter 2011 Knit-Along! It’s been so great working with everyone on your projects, and we’re excited to see the photos that are appearing in our Ravelry group, our Flickr group, and on the LionBrand.com Customer Gallery! Here are just a few of YOUR versions of the Saturday Morning Hoodie:

On Ravelry, Anne stuck to the recommended Wool-Ease Chunky (but in the color Nantucket), creating this great toggle-less version:

Barbbbacca on Flickr made this Homespun version with buttons instead of toggles:

sat morning hoodie

Susan K. posted her finished hoodie, made with Tweed Stripes, in the Customer Gallery:

Once again, if you’ve finished your hoodie, we’d love to see photos! Be sure to post them in one of the places listed above. If you’re still knitting away, don’t worry — all of our blog posts will be archived under the “Knit-Along” heading, found under the “Categories” in the left-hand bar of the Lion Brand Notebook. Good luck as you finish this sweater, and we hope you’ll keep commenting and keep sharing photos!


Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 6: The “Finishing” Line

March 3rd, 2011

Pin It

In the 15 years I have taught knitting, probably the #1 fear (and reason students come for help) is what this week is all about: finishing.  In fact, it is the most unloved part of a project for many knitters and a reason there are many UFOs (unfinished objects) in closets.  I actually love to get to this part (although I didn’t years ago) because it is the part that makes the garment look so great when the time is taken to do it right.

After I finished the back, fronts, sleeves and hood last week, all I needed to do was the ribbing that goes around the fronts and hood, the pockets and button loops.  I am working the second size of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, and the pattern calls for me to pick up 200 stitches for the front band that starts at the lower right front, goes up all the way around the hood and back down the left side.  So, how do I evenly pick up 200 stitches? I’m going to do this the same way I picked up for the hood last week.  I placed a marker at the middle of the hood and at each lower edge of the fronts.  Now, I need 100 stitches on each side, so I folded each front and marked that spot with a detachable marker.  Each of these quarters were folded and marked and once more to create 8 sections on each front and back. (As always, you can click on the photos to enlarge them.)

So, the way I figured it, I will need to pick up alternately 13 stitches and 12 stitches all the way around.  Working from marker to marker makes picking up stitches a lot less daunting!  Starting at the bottom edge of the right front (with the right side facing), I picked up my stitches and ended up with the 200 required.

The pattern calls for a 29″ circular needle to work all of these stitches, and there are a lot of stitches on the needles.  One thing I do to make sure I work these stitches back and forth (rather than connecting them in the round) is to place a marker on my needle that will remind me to turn my work around when I get to end of the row and go back.

It would be so easy for me to make this mistake and especially as I wanted to do this ribbing while watching the Academy Awards.  After many “thank you” speeches at the Oscars, I finished all 3″ of the ribbing!  I also made sure to bind-off in ribbing, for a nice, flat, edge and not to bind off tightly.  (Binding off in ribbing is the same as normal binding-off, but knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches while working your bind-off.)

What makes this “hoodie” so different is the amount of ribbing that actually becomes a part of the sweater.  Half of the fronts of the pockets are ribbing, and since I needed to pick up 26 stitches for each pocket ribbing, I just divided each edge into 2 parts and picked up 13 stitches.

The 3″ of ribbing for the pockets and the front bands really adds so much to this hoodie!

After the pocket bands were finished, I neatly sewed the top and bottoms of the band to the fronts.

Many times, I use yarn ends for finishing and I found some of the ends left on the pockets in perfect places to sew them down.   After the fronts of the pockets looked good, I turned the hoodie to the inside and lightly sewed the pocket backs the front, making sure that my sewing would not show through to the other side.  (I do this many times by only going into half the yarn, and just be careful while working it.)

All that is left now is the button loops!  The instructions in the pattern have the buttons on the right front which is for a man’s garment, but nobody has been admiring this hoodie more than yours truly.  Having tried it on, I think I will be wearing this often – so I am going to have the buttons on the left front and the button loops on the right front.  I marked the placement for my buttons and button bands with markers (again!).

The button loops are made as a crochet chain that is folded in half and sewn on top of a rib (it almost looks like a rib itself).  I found that the 43 chains called for in the pattern for some reason made too long a chain, so I made each chain 8″ long leaving ends to sew them in place at the beginning and the end of the chain.  The loop is supposed to extend 1″ past the edge.  So, I just used each end and sewed it with a running stitch on top of the marked ribs.

I really love these button loops!  I found some “toggle” buttons perfect for this hoodie and then showed it to my knitting students.  And (drum roll…) here it is:

I will definitely be wearing this tonight as single-digit temperatures are coming again.  It has been wonderful hosting this Knit-Along and seeing all of your hoodies “grow.”  Thank you all for being a part of our winter KAL! Be sure to share your photos with us in our Ravelry group, our Flickr group, or on the LionBrand.com Customer Gallery!

Related links:


Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along, Part 5: Now the Hoodie has a Hood!

February 24th, 2011

Pin It

I must be getting near the home stretch of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, because I have finally reached the part that that makes it one: the hood. This last week I sewed in the second sleeve, and then I decided to sew the side and sleeve seams together as well. (This just makes the piece a little more manageable to work on.) After the fronts, sleeves and back are all sewn together at the raglan edges, I can pick up stitches for the hood.

I am working on the second size in this pattern and it tells me to pick up a total of 45 stitches around the neckline. Sometimes, knitting patterns tell you exactly how many stitches to pick up for each section of a neck, but for this pattern the total number is given–and I have an easy way to evenly pick up stitches! (As always, highlighted photos can be clicked on to enlarge.)

I really do like using detachable markers (or safety pins) to mark off sections and all I did was fold the neck in half, and place one marker at the center back. Then I folded each of these halves into quarters and marked each of these sections off. So, with the neck in quarters, I only have to pick up 11 in each section, and one extra (probably at the center back). By working from marker to marker, this makes the job easier than to just hope to have the total number picked up by the time I get to the end of the neck. Another tip: I also like to pick up my stitches with my smaller needle for a neater look and then work with the larger needle for the rest of the hoodie.

After working the hood for 11″, I shaped the top of the hood to create the top of the hood. Then I worked even for another 5” (for the top of the hood) and bound off.

Look! I just sewed the bound off edges to the sides of the center piece and a hood emerges!

All I have to do this next week is the ribbing for the front bands, sewing the pockets to the fronts and working the bands of the pockets. Oh, and one of my favorite things to do – find some great buttons!

How is your hoodie coming along? Leave a comment and let us know!

Related links: