Welcome 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!
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!
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!
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:
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!
Each 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!
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:
|MSC Extra Soft Wool Blend||7||8||9||10||11|
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!
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!
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.
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:
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!
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!
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!
This certainly was a good week for me to work on two sleeves that are both identical and symmetrical. It is that time of the year I find myself at college swimming meets for my daughter, which gives me time to enjoy watching her swim and also work on a great take-along projects–like sleeves to the Saturday Morning Hoodie!
Whenever I finish knitting the fronts and back for a cardigan, I think about how I can work another part of the sweater before I sew in the sleeves. If I could have started the hood at home while my sleeves-in-progress were in my knitting bag, I might have done that but…this is a “raglan” sweater, which means that the top edge of the sleeves are part of the neck. In raglan sweaters, there are no shoulder seams just the diagonal seams that connect the sleeves to the back on one side and a front on the other. So, I have to complete the sleeves and sew them to the fronts and back before I can work on the hood.
One question I always ask myself when making a sweater is whether the length of the sleeves will be long enough. I have longer arms than most, and usually I have to add an inch or more to a pattern. For a cardigan that does have shoulder seams, I have my knitting students (as well as myself) sew up the shoulder seams and try on the sweater before they start the sleeves. Then we can measure how long the sleeves for their sweater should be. But for this raglan, there is another easy way to if you need to make the sleeve longer or shorter. Remember that the reason that raglan sleeves look so long is because they are knitted all the way up to the neck.
If you look at all the schematics for all sizes of the Saturday Morning Hoodie, you can see that the length of the raglan itself is the same on the sleeves, back, and raglan edge of the fronts. Looking again at all the sizes, I see all the total length of the sleeves are 2″ more than the total length of the back. So, if you have already made your back the length called for in the pattern, just hold up that back to yourself (as if it were the sleeve) with the top up to the neckline. When I did this, I could see that a couple more inches in length would be just right – so I kept the sleeves the same length as called for in the pattern. If you do want to shorten or lengthen the sleeves, then you only have to add or subtract length before you work your raglan shaping.
After I worked the sleeves, I lightly blocked them like my back and fronts and using detachable markers, I have attached one of my sleeves to the front and the back.
I always use markers when sewing up any seams and just work from “marker to marker.” This makes finishing a little less daunting and I won’t have to worry about one side ending up longer than the other.
I sewed together the stitches that were bound off for the underarms by sewing stitch to stitch as shown below:
But for sewing up the raglans, I use the “mattress stitch” (below), sewing together the “bars” of the stitches.
I also always sew up my raglans with the right side facing me and since I worked my raglan decreases a stitch in from the edge, it makes for a much neater and easier seam to work!
Now, I will just sew in that other sleeve and then I’ll be able to pick up stitches and start the hood!
With the back of my Saturday Morning Hoodie finished, it’s now on to the fronts! It certainly is not too late for any of you to join in, because with a stitch gauge of 2 1/2 stitches to the inch, this hoodie “grows” very quickly. I really like working the back of a sweater (especially a cardigan) first for a few reasons. Usually, they are symmetrically shaped and for a cardigan, you can just work the fronts to correspond the back when it comes to the underarm and side raglan shaping.
A great addition to this hoodie pattern (since it became our Winter KAL) are the detailed instructions for the right front as well as the left. Many times, knitting patterns with a left and right front won’t include full instructions for the second front, but rather tell you to just “reverse” the shaping directions of the first side. Sometimes this isn’t a problem, but this hoodie has the pocket facings (the fronts of the pockets) made simultaneously with the rest of the front, so it can be nice to have them spelled out for you.
The instructions start with the left front, and I thought I would take some pictures along the way to show how that front along with the pocket facing progresses. Sometimes a picture (or two, or three) makes the instructions much easier to comprehend.
OK, so I worked the ribbing for my left front then after a couple rows of stockinette stitch, I placed the side stitches called for on a holder. The ones on the needle are for the pocket facing (which is the outside, or front of the pocket). Then I knit on just those stitches for 9″. (To enlarge any of these photos, simply click on them.)
Then, the facing stitches were placed on another holder, and I did a “switcheroo” by placing those originally held stitches back onto the needle. Then I cast on stitches to this needle that will be the part of the left front – behind the pocket.
The front stitches are knit up for 9″, and then the stitches I had just cast on are bound off. (This creates the back of the pocket.) On the next row the stitches on hold for the pocket facing are joined with the rest of the stitches. This makes a nice, seamless join–and as long as I am careful sewing the inside of front to the facing–it will look great. (I’ll do that a little later.)
Then, after working a few more inches of stockinette stitch, I followed the instructions for the raglan shaping when the front measured the same as the back to the armhole. Of course, I will only shape on the armhole side. The pattern calls for shaping at the neck about 2″ less than the back. I found I still had to do about 3 more decreases at the raglan edge as well before it was all finished. When I had 2 stitches left, I just worked them together and fastened off.
The right side is worked just like the left, only that the pocket facing is on the right side as you can see below. The instructions give all the numbers – so it is much easier! Both of the fronts curled quite a bit, so I again just lightly blocked them with a spray bottle and let them dry.
Later, I will be picking up along the pocket edges and lightly sewing those pockets on the inside. Since this is a raglan, I’m really not able to do any seaming yet as I need to make those raglan sleeves to join the fronts and the back. The sleeves are both the same, so no reverse shaping will be necessary this upcoming week. Forward, knit!
I think that if there ever was a “Winter to Knit” contest, this winter would take 1st prize! It’s great to see so many of you join our Winter Knit-Along (KAL) and it certainly is not too late to join making the Saturday Morning Hoodie. Some of you have ordered your yarn, or already have your yarn, or may still be wondering what yarn to use. In last week’s post, I wrote about how this sweater uses Wool-Ease Chunky – a category 5 yarn – which is a bulky weight. I had also suggested some other bulky yarns that would work great for this pattern. Then I saw the blog post here on the Lion Brand Notebook talking about using two colors (two strands) of yarn to make beautiful colors. I brought out some of my worsted weight yarns and found that holding two strands together of worsted Wool-Ease or 2 strands of Fishermen’s Wool, works up great at a gauge of 10 sts = 4” (the gauge in the pattern.) If you don’t mind holding two strands together, and haven’t found the yarn you want to use, or would like to use two colors together, this is a great option. Just remember that you will need double the yardage of yarn called for the Wool-Ease Chunky.
Before I talk about how far I was able to get on the Saturday Morning Hoodie, please print out an updated version of the pattern if you haven’t already. There are a few corrections to the original (they appear in red type in the “Corrections” section and are incorporated in the pattern below), but there is a great addition to this pattern: Many times a pattern for a cardigan will instruct you to work the second front by working it the same as the first front, but tell you to reverse shaping. For some knitters who have done this before, it doesn’t cause too many problems, but to make this pattern even more accessible, the reverse instructions for right front are now a part of the pattern! Next week, I’ll talk about how the pockets are knit at the same time the fronts are worked, but all the instructions are there for both fronts now.
So, this week I worked and finished the back of my hoodie and I was happy how it worked up, but even happier when I blocked out my back piece. When I was finished with the back, it, like many other stockinette stitch pieces curled:
This can make the finishing more difficult, but there are ways to make your pieces more “finishing friendly.” When I finished my back, I dampened it with a spray bottle and then just pinned it to the correct measurements (see below). Many times after I dampen the pieces, I can just gently pull them out to the correct size. When the pieces dry, they are ready for finishing. (I didn’t pin the ribbing so it wouldn’t stretch out–but it looks like the schematic to me!)
The other way I made this back “finishing friendly” was to do work my decreases a stitch in from the edge (see below). In other words, I worked an edge stitch, then either knitted or purled the next two stitches together. This makes an edge that it much easier to sew to the raglan edges of the sleeves. I’ll make sure to work the other raglan edges like this on the sleeves and front raglan edges as well.
I’m on to the fronts now and will work that left front with pocket first (I’ll also keep the back handy to compare to the fronts), so let’s continue on together. Keep those fingers busy and keep warm!