Skip to content

83 and sunny

April 30, 2007

Secret Inside Joke Picture for Holly

(h-spo to the t, this picture is for you)

Yup, it is 83 degrees and sunny today and my wool sweater is finished. There is much to say. I don’t blame you if you skip all the text and just look at the pictures. There will be headings, if you want to read selectively.

The overwhelming feeling I have is pride. I know that people knit sweaters every day and they’ve been doing it quite a while. But for my first sweater I’m allowing myself to feel proud and a little boastful. At least for a minute or two.

Technical Things
Pattern: Based on Plan 12 – Sweater with Full Yoke in Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts and Deborah Robson. I made up the color patterns by using charts from books, then graph paper and crayons.
Guage: 5.33 sts/inch over stockinette, 5.5 sts/inch over colorwork.
Size: Fits ME!
Needles: US 5, US 3 for hem facings.
Yarn: Brown Sheep Top of the Lamb in colors Graphite (the heathery brown), Natural, Oak (dk brown), and Blue Blood Red.
Start: Actual knitting began March 11, 2007 after months of planning in my head and on paper.
Finish: April 29, 2007


My favorite thing about this sweater is that it came out just exactly how I wanted it to.  I made sketches early in the planning process and the sweater actually looks like the sketches.  Imagine that.

Short Row Shaping & Raglan Decreases
Not sure where I read about it, but immediately after I joined the sleeves and the body, I decreased for about five rounds as you would for a raglan style sweater.


There was an unreasonable number of stitches on the needles and decreasing away eight on every other round seemed like an okay idea.  The short-row shaping is also pictured above, but you can’t see it and I believe this is a good thing.  I used a technique that PGR describes as her “favorite short-row technique.”  There is no wrapping involved; instead, when you knit the first round after completing the short-rows, you fold the work to expose the back side when you come to the gap, and tighten the slipped stitch.  Hard to explain, confusing to execute, beautiful result.  I messed up the first time and had to unravel and do the short-rows a second time.  This set me back about three days, but I’m glad I fixed it.

I made five sets of short rows just before starting the yoke pattern, and did not do any back of neck shaping.  Worked like a charm.

More Feelings
When I finished, I wanted to call my sister, my mom and my grandma.  I wanted to notify my second cousin once removed.  I thought about writing to the local paper, or maybe making an announcement over the loud speaker at the grocery store.  The postman drove by and I wanted to tell him.  I’ll stick to telling you, for the postman might not see the beauty in a hand knit sweater…


The Steeks & Zipper
Honestly, the steek was no big deal.  There are great examples of steeks online, and resources as well so I felt good about doing it.  I only left 4 steek stitches, which I later realized was not really enough.  The yarn is pretty sticky so I don’t think it will be a problem, but next time I’ll use more.  You can see the fuzzy ends sticking out from under the zipper.


The top of the zipper is the only part of the sweater still unfinished.  Not sure exactly how to deal with it.  I also might sew some grosgrain ribbon over the back of the zipper to hide my stitching, but I sort of like to look at the stitching (it took a while, and I’d like to acknowledge it).

Feelings, again
I loved this project even though it took me a really long time.  Next time I make myself a sweater I’ll just find a nice pattern and follow directions.  There were many times I wished I had done just that.

Thank You
I must thank Gerald for the pictures.  He was not very enthusiastic about having a “photo shoot.”  I told him when the sweater was nearing completion that I would need his help getting a good picture of me wearing the sweater.  I left out the part where getting a good picture would mean taking a whole bunch hoping that one would be usable.  He was a good sport.





Sadly, I’ll have to fold up my sweater soon and put it away for the summer.  First, though,   I’m going to enjoy it a few more days.







32 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2007 5:41 pm

    Congratulations! It fits you perfectly, the colors are awesome together – great job!

  2. April 30, 2007 5:49 pm

    Wow ! You should be proud. Very proud! Both the designing and knitting are top notch. You know, I just got that book, but haven’t gone through it carefully yet. Your sweater makes me want to run home and read it!

  3. April 30, 2007 6:20 pm

    Mandy… you’re amazing!!! Wow!!!!!
    You have every right to be proud. What a wonderful accomplishment! It’s beautiful, and it’s beautiful on you. Perfection!!! Congratulations.

  4. April 30, 2007 7:23 pm

    Amazing. I really want to type in all caps. You SHOULD have called me…. You are an amazing knitter. Congratulations on your first sweater (for you–dreamed, designed, and knit).

    It is really beautiful. I would type more, but my peeps need to head to bed!

  5. April 30, 2007 7:48 pm

    oh please call me and share all good news of knitting and sewing. i have found that with three kids and a education i have little to no time to do either. I woudl love to share someones good craafting vibes! and it is WONDERFUL!!

  6. Sarah permalink
    April 30, 2007 8:38 pm

    YOUR SWEATER IS AWESOME. It is the coolest sweater I have ever seen, ever.


    I am working on a sneaky summery present for your young woman there. Hint: It will match something I am working on for my own young woman.

    Hey, did you know woolite has bleach in it? What gives?

  7. April 30, 2007 9:20 pm

    Bravo! Beautiful job. Great fit!

  8. May 1, 2007 1:01 am

    Your sweater is beautiful and it fits so well. You should be proud, it’s gorgeous.

  9. May 1, 2007 7:32 am

    Wow, Mandy! You’ve been *busy*! I *love* that sweater. I love the fair isle on the cuffs and the zipper and how well it fits you. Oh, I would be so proud of myself if I had knit that! Now we know (we who don’t really “know” you) where Maggie gets that gorgeous red hair! Beautiful colors on you. Continue to wear it with the air conditioning cranked–you so deserve it.

  10. May 1, 2007 7:35 am

    Hey wait, did you do an i-cord finish around the zipper? Inquiring minds need to know…

  11. May 1, 2007 8:22 am

    Beautiful! Love the colors and the fit. Congrats!

  12. May 1, 2007 9:15 am

    GREAT job! It fits you perfectly!

  13. May 1, 2007 9:41 am

    !!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!! I LOVE it!!! It looks FABULOUS on you! I cannot believe what a masterpiece you created for your very first sweater. I am really bowled over by all the great details. You really should be proud. I wouldn’t blame you for writing the local newspaper or telling your postman!

    Btw, kudos to Gerald for some great shots! They are all beautiful – as are you, Mandy!

  14. Richelle permalink
    May 1, 2007 9:44 am

    When you finish a sweater that awesome, a phone call to a friend at 2 am is not at all unreasonable! Well done!

  15. May 1, 2007 10:55 am


  16. May 1, 2007 12:43 pm

    Congratulations! It truly is a great sweater, and it’s fantastic. Great fit and excellent colors! You should feel proud! Go ahead, tell the post man.

  17. May 1, 2007 6:57 pm


    your sweater is just perfect! i kwym about wanted to call people to tell them about your accomplishment. 🙂 so glad you shared the details with your faithful audience.

    the colors are great.

  18. May 1, 2007 11:32 pm

    Your sweater is awesome! I love it, and it looks fantastic on you, even at 83 degrees. I love the color choices–so very classic. As an zipper idea, when I knit myself a cardigan last year, I knitted facings for the zipper. It’s kinda hard to explain, but I knit two long strips of stockinette about 5 rows wide, slightly longer than the zipper. On each cardigan edge (where the two parts of the zipper were supposed to go) I put the strip at the edge, purl side facing, and sewed the long end not at the cardigan edge and the two short ends to the purl bumps on the sweater itself, then I tucked one half of the zipper between the facing and the front edge of the sweater. Then I basted the zipper ‘sandwich ‘ and sewed through there. It really seemed to stabilize the edges and looks prety good too, in my humble opinion.

  19. H-Spo permalink
    May 2, 2007 1:42 am

    Dude, let’s get the rules out. Is this an item of clothing that I can “take over”?

    Because I will. If you don’t watch it VERY CLOSELY.

  20. May 2, 2007 11:18 pm

    Fantastic, beautiful sweater! You SHOULD be proud! Thank you for sharing all the details. I’ve been thinking that there’s a cardigan in my future. What an inspiration this one is.

  21. Sandy permalink
    May 3, 2007 12:58 pm

    I thought I’d keep my knitting-ignorant comments to myself (just meaning that I’m sure I have no idea what all it took to achieve this beauty, and it all looks equally lovely to me, etc…) but you look and sound so pleased that I’m happy to add my praises to the pile, even if they’re the least weighty. Well done! and it IS lovely, and I’m sure that if you MUST wear it, you could always pay a visit up north with a 50/50 chance of perfect or miserable weather on any given day.

    Plus, I like the rare picture of YOU.

  22. May 3, 2007 5:02 pm

    You have every right to be proud! It’s spectacular, and it’s your first sweater. I’m still afraid to make one for fear of not liking the FO.

  23. May 3, 2007 11:37 pm

    It looks great!! I would definately be shouting about it all over the town if I were you.

  24. May 5, 2007 6:49 am

    CONGRATULATIONS. That was one brave knit/steek and you pulled it off. It is amazing!

  25. May 5, 2007 1:36 pm

    Definitely worth announcing over a loudspeaker! Beautiful!

  26. kathleen permalink
    May 5, 2007 11:01 pm

    Goooooooollllllleeeeee that is a BEEEYOOOOT! I think you should hire one of those sky-writing guys. I would if I was you….and you know it’s you that I want to be when I grow up and have time to knit….

    -your SIL with five children and loads of knitting envy.

  27. knittyme permalink
    May 6, 2007 12:19 am

    That is one fine looking sweater and it looks great on you.

  28. May 6, 2007 8:52 am

    your sweater is awesome! I love the way you talked about the process. wonderful. you should tell all. colors are fantastic. you are so brave to cut. I have never done it. perhaps I’ll take a class.
    ps- you can wear in the summer in the air conditioning. its usually too cold…

  29. June 19, 2007 10:30 pm

    Congratulations …. it’s WONDERFUL!! And it looks great on you.

    Well done.

  30. Rachel permalink
    June 25, 2007 4:10 pm

    Your sweater looks fantastic! I’ve been toying with the idea of designing a cabled cardigan for myself, but I want to practice set in sleeves first. The thought of making all of those calculations is intimidating, but seeing your amazing result is inching me closer…

  31. August 11, 2007 7:22 pm

    Your sweater looks absolutely fantastic. It suits you well. You mastered the steeks well too, and were so brave to cut into your knitting. I dont think I would have the heart to do it, although seeing yours makes it a bit easier.


  1. For My Sister « Zigzag Stitch

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: