Progress Report #4

Day 6: I’ve done the 2nd rep in the 2nd direction on the first shoulder.

2nd rep in 2nd direction

2nd rep in 2nd direction

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Picking Up at the Seam

Picking up sts at the cast-on

Picking up at the seam

Day 5: I’ve gone back to the first shoulder, and picked up the cast-on stitches.

Seam pick-up, full view

Full view

I could have done a provisional cast on, but I think that doing a regular cast on and then picking up those stitches might give the shoulder “seam” a little more strength and stability. Everything hangs from these two points (the shoulders), and sometimes the provisional join in this area gets a little stretched or stressed. Even this won’t be as stable as shoulders with the reinforcement of a sewn seam, but I hope it will help a bit.

I then knitted the first rep in the new direction.

2nd direction, 1st shldr

The same, only different

Progress Report #2

Start of second shoulder

Second shoulder next to first

Day 3: I started the second Saxon Braid shoulder and did one pattern repeat. Hard to believe, isn’t it, that such a tiny thing takes an hour? It’s because there is so much going on in Saxon Braid. With most cables, you have a few rows in which you just knit again whatever is in the previous row. But in this braid, every right-side row moves something to a new position, and that takes additional time, which all adds up.

I’ve done so many swatches of this Braid that my time is starting to improve now. In the beginning, each row took about 5 minutes. Now, the wrong-side rows are 2-3 minutes, and I’m starting to shave some time off the right-side rows as well. But in round numbers, including stopping to pet Buttercup and sip a smoothie at the end of every row, it all still takes about an hour.

Progress Report #1

2nd rep - Saxon Braid

Second rep of Saxon Braid

Day 2: I did the second rep of Saxon Braid on the first shoulder.

There isn’t much to report; it all went smoothly. But in keeping with the theme of this blog, I need to post this entry as today’s installment. Again, it took about an hour. (Believe it or not!)

Let the Fun Begin!

First row

Midway through the first row

I prefer to do my cast on with a dp (double-pointed needle), then knit the first row onto my circulars. It’s just easier that way for me to keep the cast-on stitches in a straight, untwisted line.

Ever since I discovered the Tubular Cast-On for Single Rib¹, this has become my go-to cast on, even when I won’t be knitting ribbing. It’s as fast as the provisional cast on² but is permanent, and gives a nice-looking edge. I always used to hate casting on, but this method is much more pleasant, and I think it looks better, too.

The first rep of Saxon Braid

The first rep of Saxon Braid

It doesn’t look like much, but each rep of the Saxon Braid takes me about an hour. (Making it with Cestari yarn takes a bit longer, because of the extra work involved in knitting rope.) I can put in only about an hour a day, because I’m not a professional designer, and have other things that require my time, and also because I don’t want to reactivate my carpal-tunnel problems. Some days, I’ve gone ahead and worked longer than one hour, but in general, if I can knit one hour each day, I’ll be doing well.

I’ve been working on this so long already! Is it a sweater yet??

1  (Stanley, Montse, Knitter’s Handbook, Reader’s Digest, 1993, p. 78)

2 ibid, p. 77 (called Looping Provisional Cast-On)

2 also, Walker, Barbara G., Knitting from the Top, Schoolhouse Press, 1996, p. 72

Problem Solved

Well, one of the problems, anyway.

The Saxon Braid is a 30-stitch pattern. When I did my test swatch with the Cascade 220, I cast on 36, putting 3 of the extra stitches on each side.

In the post titled Dilemmas, I worried that moving up from worsted to bulky would result in a shoulder that’s too wide. And I was right — it did.

test swatch — WOTABS

test swatch — WOTABS

But, as you can see in this picture, somewhere along the way in my test swatch of the WOTA yarn (Wool of the Andes Bulky Superwash), I remembered that those 6 extra stitches were extra stitches, and not part of the pattern. So I bound them off, and continued the swatch on just the basic 30 stitches. When that portion of the swatch got big enough, I ‘tried it on’ (laid the swatch on my shoulder) and voila, it fits beautifully.

[If anyone were interested in trying this design, I would point out that the segment that sits on the shoulder does not have to cover the entire shoulder. In fact, my main concern was that it would be too wide, because I dislike the drop-shoulder look. It’s unflattering on anyone, but is particularly unflattering on someone who is overweight, with narrow shoulders. (Guess who!) The shoulder on this sweater will be deepened and pushed into place when we add the collar.]

After such a slow start, I am on my way!