I learn by doing. Each project has lessons for me and I embrace them with joy. Each less than perfect spot in a project means the next project will be just that much better because I’ve learned something.
Each sweater I’ve knit has taught me a lot. I can lay a sweater out and show you where I learned something, like how to do intarsia in the round, how to improve the back neck shaping, tweak the shoulder shaping for a flawless fit, perfect faux sleeves . . . the list goes on. I can’t conceive of working a project and not learning something new, not *trying* something new. It’s how I’m wired.
I had a lot of yarn left over from the Sunset sweater. The sun took less than a yard of two different colors. Each block of color used up only a portion of the supply I bought. What I had left over was *almost* enough for a sweater . . . almost. So I bought a couple more skeins of purple and waited for inspiration to strike. And it did!
I saw a sweatshirt on Pinterest that spoke to me. *This* color blocking was what I wanted to knit. Ooo, the challenge!
You can pop this off in raglan . . . it would look great! If you’re interested in trying this, here are the skills you’ll need beyond basic top-down sweater knitting.
What? You thought this was hard? Nope. Tedious? Yes. Hard? Not even. The result . . . yeah, that’s pretty spectacular.
The tips on what I will do next time (assuming there is such a thing) are at the bottom of this post. The following instructions are for what I did on *this* sweater.
The angle is created by working a short row turn every fourth stitch starting six stitches from the point at which you want the angle to start. For this sweater it was right under the arm after working the underarm caston.
Place a marker where you want the center top of your angle to start. Work six stitches and then work a SRT (short row turn). Turn your work and work in the opposite direction past the marker and six more stitches, then work a SRT. This completes your angle setup. This next bit is the repeat. Turn and work to the previous SRT. Work the SRT and three more stitches before working another SRT. Repeat until you have ~12 stitches remaining. This is the low side of your angle.
Now work three rows of the background stripe color in the round working all the stitches. Knit the first row, purl the second, knit the third. That’s the separation border between body and striped section.This will be repeated at the end of the horizontal color stripe section before the vertical stripe section.
Now work the horizontal stripes doing the same SRT sequence changing color every second row. Once all the horizontal stripes are complete, work the separation border.
To prep the bobbins for the vertical stripe portion, knit a two-stitch swatch. Do *not* slip any edge stitches. The goal is to get a good estimate of the yarn required for each vertical stripe of color. Knit to the length you want the vertical stripe. Put a temporary knot in the yarn and frog it. Measure from the start of the yarn to the temporary knot. Multiply by 2. Add 10%. If you’ve lots of yarn to spare and are worried that you won’t have enough, add another 10%. That’s the length of yarn you will need for each *pair* of stripes.
Use the *carrying yarn without floats* technique to connect the bobbins to the live stitches. I need to do a video on this. It’s super easy to do but really tough to explain. I’ll add it to my *to do* list. Soon. Maybe.
I worked six rows of seed stitch at the bottom edge of the sleeves and used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Castoff in the stripe colors. I used an invisible closure and worked the ends in. This, too, needs a video. It’s a tiny bit fussy but the join where the start and end of the castoff occurs truly does vanish, like it was never there.
If I were to do this color blocking sweater again I would make the following adjustments. I would . . .
- extend the angle up/down onto the sleeves for a more harmonious color break. I would start the SRTs on the upper sleeve prior to the separation of the sleeve. This would require a bit of calculation. It would go something like this. Count the sleeve stitches at the underarm caston point. Subtract 12 (for my measurements – it should be about 1/3 the total count) stitches for the top of the angle. Divide that number by 3 (working with the new numbers – see below). That’s the number of SRTs/rows before the underarm caston where the angle must start.
- make the SRTs every third stitch to give the angle just a little more heft.
- start the color change under the arm with a jogless stripe connection at the center of the start of the angle so the end of each stripe on back and front matches exactly in technique.
- knit three rows of horizontal color so the width of the color bands more closely matches the width of the vertical stripes.
So, there you have it. What I did, what I would do in the future . . . it’s a thing.