Stripey Raglan Sweater.

New Project!

Time to start a new project! Mission: Create for myself a striped raglan sweater, knitting freestyle, using varying shades of pink cotton. The first thing I've ever knitted for myself, and in pink stripes, to boot. I don't believe I've ever worn pink stripes before. Pray for me, friends.

Minty fresh.

I'm halfway through the back of the sweater (check the pictures for the latest), and have decided that:

1) Knitting "freestyle" is as fun as knitting from a pattern.

2) I kind of like pink.

3) Knitting with cotton and sparkly thread is my new favorite thing.

4) My stripey sweater reminds me of peppermint candy.

The first rows of the sweater are in double ribbing, and I decided to use a different cast-on method this time: the cable cast-on. Before I tried it, my cast-on method of choice for ribbing used to be the slingshot, or double cast-on. But after trying out the cable cast-on I think I'll use it all the time for ribbing, as I find it to be just as elastic, and more decorative than the slingshot method.

The invisible increase rox.

I finished the back of the sweater, and am through a good portion of the front. Despite the constant color changes, I'm moving along quite quickly on this project, thanks to the swiftness that is the stockinette stitch. I feel like Speed Racer on the needles.

The sweater requires increases for shaping, so I decided to try the invisible increase instead of the horizontal increase, which used to be my preferred method of increasing. I'm really glad I changed! The horizontal increase was looking a wee bit funky (but not the good kinda funky) because of the different yarn colors. With the horizontal increase, the yarn from the previous row gets pulled up into the new row, which means that if an increase is made at the same time as a color change, please say hello to ugly apparent increases. So the invisible increase works out much nicer for this particular garment, although there is some pulling of the fabric. But I only increased once every 14 rows, so pulling is minimal. All in all, the invisible wins over the horizontal. And don't I sound fancy, with my knitting lingo!

Ode to Rounded Necklines.

I'm having so much fun knitting this sweater that I am flying on these needles. I finished the front of the sweater, and learned a new way to create a nicely rounded neckline that is being shaped by binding off stitches by groups (my preferred method of shaping necklines), yet avoiding entirely that dreaded "steps" effect:

First row: Bind off your first group of stitches. Continue knitting to the end of the row.

Second row: Knit the second row as required by the pattern. When you reach the last stitch that comes before the row of stitches you bound off in the previous row, leave that stitch on the left needle. Turn your work.

Third row: The stitch you didn't knit should be on your right needle. Slip the next stitch (the one that has the working yarn) onto the right needle, and then slip the first stitch (the one you didn't knit) over it. Finish binding off the second group of stitches.

Continue knitting the following rows in this manner until all your groups of stitches are bound off to shape the neckline. And it works! It really makes for a perfectly rounded neckline! Pardon my exclamation points, but I got excited when I saw how nicely rounded my neckline came out. I deserve a toy surprise.

...but why bind off the neckline at all?

I never place my stitches on a stitch holder, and then pick up stitches to knit on the neckline ribbing. To shape my necklines, I bind off stitches by groups every two rows. Then, after the garment has been sewn together, I knit the neckband ribbing as separate piece. When I reach the last row of the neckband ribbing, I'll knit one last knit row (all knit stitches, not ribbing) on the right side and then knit a few rows of stockinette stitch using a contrast yarn. Then I sew the neckband to the garment stitch by stitch, unravelling the different colored yarn as I go along, and using my knit row stitches as the "foundation" to sew neckband onto the garment.

I learned this method from Phildar's patterns, and it may not be the quickest way to finish a neckband, but I find it useful in lots of cases.


I've finished one sleeve, and am halfway through with the second one. I decided to not knit both sleeves simultaneously on one circular needle because the sleeves are raglan, so they're not identical, but mirror images of each other. Besides, I figured that I'd work faster if I had only one sleeve on the needle at a time.

Meanwhile, I blocked the back and the front of the sweater and I nearly had to put on some shades when I saw how bright these colors really are. I'm going to shine like a beacon in the sun when I wear this stripey bright pink baby.

Piecing together.

I'm now piecing together my sweater, and you know what that means. Procrastination. It always takes me days to piece together a garment and weave in loose ends because I dawdle too much. However, from what is put together so far, my sweater looks pretty good. If I want to pretend that I'm Britney, that is. I know it's supposed to be a spring style, but I fear it may be just a tad short in the front. If I pick up my arms, hello belly button! It could do with one or two additional centimeters, I think. Let's see what happens when it's completely sewn together and blocked, as this type of cotton stretches when it's washed, which is why I was hesitant about making it too long in the first place. If it does turn out short, I'll just get a belly button blinking light. Or something.

No matter what, thank heavens for blocking.

The finished garment!

Alas, my stripey sweater in all its blazing pink glory! I'm pleased with the way the sweater came out, although was a bit concerned about the length when I finished piecing it together. It looked really tiny and I immediately regretted not having knitted a few extra rows into the body of the sweater. The biggest surprise of all, my husband (Mr. Conservative) loves it! And he digs the screaming pink stripes. Who would have known? So I'll be experimenting with more bright colors in the future. It's fun!