Update/some technique talk

So Dreamweaver and Dr. F hit a bit of a snag in their technique duel. Both had stuff to do and ran out of time. But! That doesn’t mean knitting was off the table. Dreamweaver finished a couple projects with some cool technique stuff, so in lieu of a duel, here ya go:

A clever illusion-knit baby blanket. From some angles, it looks like a striped baby blanket, but others, a tiled quilt. Very cool way to introduce this type of square colorwork that is seamless and doesn’t rely on intarsia or another technique that makes things complicated or leaves you with a million ends to weave in. The pattern is available for free from Kraemer Yarns, uses just four skeins of yarn, and yields a cozy, machine-washable-and-dryable baby blanket/lap blanket (my version was ~32″x34″).

In other knit news, I finished the men’s sweater I posted about in June!

This sweater helped me perfect a slew of new techniques and taught me a lot about patience… The pattern called for knitting the front, back, and sleeves separately, then seaming everything together. I learned how to do mattress stitch and kitchner stitch to seam together the sides and top of the body, and learned how to properly pick up stitches for the neckline (I’d always just winged it with socks, figuring nobody cared if the arch of your foot was perfect). I even learned how to do a set-in sleeve! And it looked good and felt cool to do. However, when it came time to try the sweater on, there was a serious issue. The body fit perfectly, but the sleeves were massive… like Seinfeld puffy shirt massive.

I knew I had to remake the sleeves, but doing them again from the bottom up seemed risky. Since the initial pattern had been so wrong before, it seemed like it would be a huge headache to try to revise it to be bottom up. However, I’d heard about a technique to do top-down mock set-in sleeves and decided to go for it. I used this tutorial which was comprehensive and easy to follow. To get the measurements, I pinned off excess sleeve-age and then measured what was left:

2-3″ off….

Then, I picked up the stitches along the armholes and did short rows to come down. Photo mid-progress:

Finally, just to highlight how puffy these damn sleeves were, here is the amount of yarn I had leftover at the end (all of which used to be sleeve):

Dr. F suggests using these for mittens, and I might just! But overall, it was good! I love the finished sweater, and so does the recipient. : ) It was relatively easy overall, and ultimately satisfying to take the time to ensure it fit well. There was even something weirdly calming about undoing the two sleeves and just starting over.

However – big takeaways: if the pattern is written for bottom-up, and in all separate pieces, I think it makes more sense to knit the front-and-back in the round until the underarms, then split. Though mattress stitch isn’t that hard, it isn’t necessary if the sides are already seamed together. I’ll probably always knit sleeves using the short-row technique – just makes more sense and allows for more control over the sleeve size, length, etc.

We’ll be back soon with more independent projects (we’ve been busy and holiday knitting season is upon us), an October duel, and updates on our summer challenge knits!

2 thoughts on “Update/some technique talk

  1. Good grief, this was a month when you were busy with other things!!! You both amaze me continually.
    I had that experience once with sleeves, but it was a weird pattern, and I don’t think I could have changed it. I’ll never know . . . but GREAT JOB to you!
    Totally agree about seamless vs seamed; I did see a reason once that some yarns/some designs might need the seam for stability, so maybe not a 100% rule.
    Great fun to watch whatever you’re doing.

    1. Thanks Aunt Annie! I did finish everything but the sleeves for the sweater over the summer, so I definitely did not knit a whole sweater and baby blanket in a month! The blanket was also a great, easy pattern – very easy to work on while in the car or watching something on TV. Good to have projects like that!

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