Through Thick and Thin – progress

I’m almost done with the back portion of the top, and will finish it with a k3p2 ribbing. I’ve been using TECHknitter’s tip for a more uniform, less distorted fabric at the transition from stockinette to ribbing. And I must say it works great! Ah, the magic of slipped stitches! πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to seeing how the transition looks on this top.

Through Thick and Thin top -- progress

Speaking of slipped stitches, I decided to knit this top as separate front and back parts since I didn’t want to deal with jogless stripes. But I guess I’ll end up dealing with them when I knit the sleeves, since I’m gonna knit them in the round. They’ll be pretty short below the armhole, and I’m really not interested in knitting them flat and sewing the seams.

I love the colors in this one, and like the appearance of the pattern on the reverse side too, and I wish I knew of some good ways of joining seams and weaving in ends so this could be a reversible top! Knitting it the Raglan way would avoid seams, of course, but there seems to be no escaping the weaving in of yarn ends. πŸ™‚ (Also, Raglan is fine for sweaters, but for tops, I like the more fitted shape of non-Raglan construction.)

I’m in the stripey mood right now, and for a sweater that I’m planning to make for my sis, I’m thinking vertical stripes! πŸ™‚ My sister is okay with this. (Hurrah!) I’ve still not figured out much of the details yet, and I’m hoping the design will come to me soon. If it ends up being stripes, I also need to find some compatible yarn that would be a good color match — we’d bought just the main color back then.

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Horizontal cables cardigan

The horizontal cables sweater that I started quite a while ago is officially done today! And I ❀ it!

Horizontal cables cardigan

The wide button band that I had in mind eventually ended up being a thinner no-button band — just because the buttons I thought we already had for this cardigan weren’t actually in our stash. I’ve recently been jumping between dealing with things thrown at me and just relaxing when I get a breather, so I knew I wouldn’t have the time to go buy other buttons. And that’s why the poor button band had to be satisfied with being a regular band, stopping its growth when it got wide enough. Also, there’s still some scrunching near the bottom ribbing because of a slight miscalculation on my part. (I didn’t undo it just because…) Consequently, the cardigan doesn’t go completely around my body — there’s still space left along the front.

Horizontal cables cardigan

But. I have no regrets about the bands or anything else in this sweater. In fact, this has been one of the most satisfying of my projects so far. I’m elated to see that the two ends of the horizontal pattern align with each other pretty nicely after I made the final ribbing. And this is the first time my calculated seamless set-in sleeves turned out well-fitted! (There was another time a long while back when they fit right, but that was a lacy sweater, and could tolerate fitting mistakes like no one can. Speaking of which, I should write about that sweater some time.)

I also made the top-down sleeves taper more gradually by decreasing one stitch every N rows instead of two symmetric stitches every 2N rows. I think I’m going to continue doing that in the future for medium and larger weight yarns, because I’m pretty happy with how non-bumpy the sleeve ‘seam’ looks.

And remember the other project that I said in the same post that I would frog? Yeah, I frogged it, and am now making a three-colored triangle-patterned top with the yarns. That’s right, my first time on a multicolor project! I had all the rookie problems with tension, but it’s becoming easier and better-looking as I march on. And I love how it’s turning out. (Finally! A happy project for this fingering weight yarn. It must be heaving a sigh of relief that it won’t endure yet another bout of frogging.) These are two of the three colors —

Triangles pattern

I can’t wait to see how this project turns out! Soo excited!

Ribs and more ribs top

Ribs and more ribs I was never sure about any element of this striped / ribbed top that I knit — do I stop the ribs after the chest, do I then reintroduce the ribs after a while, do I shift the ribs instead, do I want a longer sleeve, do I add an edging in a different color or make a different pattern with the same yarn, do I add something else on the body (like crochet flowers or chain stitches), do I use a bottom-to-top construction…

I was so unsure that I didn’t even snip off any yarn after knitting some starter pieces, thinking that if I have to frog the piece, I’ll at least not be left with a whole lot of small lengths of yarn. I didn’t write about it because I didn’t want a series of undo-redo stories over the weeks. I was unsure until the very last stitch. And now that it’s finally done, I don’t even want to think about the what-could-be scenarios! πŸ™‚

And my biggest satisfaction is that the ribbing is neat — there are no ladders! After trying out many, many tricks and tips to prevent ladders, I’ve finally realized that for me, what works is simply keeping the knit-to-purl transition super-duper-ultra tight. After consciously remembering to do that for a few rows, it just became second nature.

Ribs and more ribs I knit this top using:

  • Saddle shoulder method in a top-down manner. My mom and sis are impressed with how much better this fits at the armholes compared to the Raglan method. One small step at a time towards improvement, Mom and Sis! πŸ˜‰
  • 3×3 ribbing for the body, which I inverted (that is, knits become purls and vice versa) near the ribs and then re-inverted near the waist.
  • I-cords in a different color for the edgings. The yarn was of a smaller weight, and I used a larger needle so I could pick up 1:1 body stitches. This is my first time knitting an I-cord, and I’m addicted! πŸ˜›

I added some shaping at the back using short rows, and at the waist using decreases.

I’d bought enough yarn for a sweater, so I still have quite a bit of it left. I’m sure I’ll incorporate it in a good pattern!

Eyelet-patterned raglan cardigan – the sleeves

The Sleeve

The Sleeve

As I’d decided, I stopped knitting the body of the cardigan when it reached a respectable length, and moved on to the sleeves. My sister, in between trying on the in-progress piece again and again, said sometime that the body actually feels long enough to her. Or maybe she said it because she got tired of hearing “Here, try this on, and let me look and decide about various measurements some more…

I’d originally thought the sleeves would be regular stockinette stitches, but somewhere along the knitting process, I’d started to imagine them ending with the same eyelet pattern near the cuffs. Just a few repeats, no more, but patterned cuffs nonetheless. So that’s what I did, and I’m not disappointed. Now, one sleeve’s done (they’re 3/4 sleeves), and it’s time to think of a border that will look good. I tried out a border in my head and discarded it, and my sister didn’t like another border that I tried for real, but I’m sure I’ll think of something eventually.

While I think of finishing touches, I should mention here an important tip that I picked up after my first top-down cardigan turned out too hole-y at the underarms. The bane of top-down sweaters is a hole or two that usually tends to occur when one picks up stitches at the underarms. This is because the stitches in the column right beside the underarm get stretched way too much. You can see for yourself in a mirror when you lift up your arms sideways — it’s that point in your shirt near the underarm that gets pulled in all directions (literally.)

UnderarmThe trick to avoid the holes, or at least reduce them in my case, is to pick up extra stitches near the ends of the underarm pick-up stitches. If required, pick up more stitches near the ends of the sleeve stitches too. And twist these extra stitches while picking them up. (That is, make the left arm of the stitch lie at the front of the needle.) Very important. Not twisting will create more unsightly holes. Depending on how stretched the stitches are, you may need to pick up 2 or more stitches. Then, to reduce the stitch count back to the expected one, decrement as required. For example, k2tog for right-leaning decrease, or ssk for left-leaning one. If holes still remain, they might need to be sewed up in the end.

Now that this handy tip is out of the way… One more sleeve to go, and then the edgings, and the cardigan will be ready! Exciting times ahead… πŸ™‚