Jerry is a warm boy. He complains every time I ask him to put on a coat to go outside. He routinely wears shorts and t-shirts around the house in the middle of winter. He got into the habit last month of climbing into bed with us during the night and I’d snuggle him up under my covers. Later I’d wake up only to find he had kicked all the covers off and was laying there in his summer pajamas sleeping soundly.
I knit him a sweater anyway, knowing full well that he might never actually be cold enough to wear it.
Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Saddle-Shoulderedt Sweater from Knitting Without Tears. The skulls came from Hello Yarn’s free hat pattern.
Yarn: Dale of Norway Falk in colors 9331 (natural) and 0090 (black).
Needles: US 3 circular & dpn bamboo for body and sleeves, US 2 circular aluminum for hem facings.
Start: January 2, 2007
Finish: January 22, 2007
I have much to say about this sweater. Where should I start?
Jerry loves it. It fits him great. Although he was getting tired of trying it on for fittings, he actually wore it to storytime at the library today and he did not ask me to take it off even one time! If he never wears it again, I will still be happy knowing that he likes it.
The pattern was great. You know how you can read through a pattern a thousand times because you’re not sure you get it? That’s what I did here. As I was working on the body and sleeves, I kept flipping to the directions and reading them over and over. It made a little sense, but I wasn’t sure. When I finally did start the yoke shaping, it was all clear on the very first round. I did exactly what she said, it made sense, and within 24 hours I was finished knitting (once you join body and sleeves it progresses “like a house on fire” I think she says).
For the hems, I tried casting on provisionally. For the record I dislike the provisional cast-on a great deal. I think that I am able to do it correctly, but something always goes wrong. The night I began, Gerald actually left the room because I was giving off such a negative vibe. Next morning I just cast on regularly, knit the hem facing in a contrasting yarn, purled a turning round, then began the body. When all the knitting was done, I sewed the cast-on edge to the inside. I am not opposed to trying the provisional cast-on again, but my way came out just how I wanted it to.
The color chart was adapted from We Call Them Pirates, a hat pattern that I’ve made before. I added the stripes on the sleeves to make it more pirate-y. The skulls were amazingly wonky while I was knitting them. So wonky, in fact, that I considered ripping the whole thing out and swatching again. If there’s one thing you need to know if you’re new at colorwork, a good dunk does amazing wonders. WONDERS. Don’t get discouraged until you’ve blocked your work.
To change the pattern to fit my four year old, I did a few things differently. I cast on 25% of the body stitches for the sleeves. When I calculated 20% (what EZ suggests for an adult), it was too few stitches. Basically, I arbitrarily chose 25% and I was lucky that it worked. When I started calculating the numbers for the saddles, it seemed like there would be too few stitches left over for the neck opening. Since I had a pretty good idea of how the sweater was coming together at the neckline, I intuitively did what I thought would work. Again, with luck on my side, it did work.
I did not bind off any stitches at the neck opening. After completing the back of neck shaping, I knit a few rounds plain then purled one round as the turning row. Then I used a smaller needle to knit the facing with a contrasting yarn and sewed down each stitch to the inside. Without a constrictive bind-off, the neck remains stretchy enough to easily fit over Jerry’s head.
I love it. Like all my knitting projects, I certainly had times while knitting that I hated the whole thing altogether. But this one is a keeper. I am proud of myself.