Documenting my work in progress for my upcoming sweater pattern
Last update: 07.07.2020 (scroll down)
For some reason, I am living through an intarsia phase right now. After my love socks, I got it into my head to knit a sweater in a similar design. It’s pride month after all, eh?
Eventually, I will release a free pattern, so definitely subscribe to my newsletter, so you don’t miss it (and get another free pattern on top of it!)
Now, I actually don’t know why I want to knit another intarsia project. My last one already brought me to the brink of insanity. That’s probably why I continue knitting it, cuz how hard can it be? It’s like playing a level of Super Mario for the 30th time because you just couldn’t finish that one boss, I guess (read my intarsia knitting guide if you want to brush up your technique a bit).
For this project, I picked a fabulous yak yarn by Pascuali. Right now, they are by far and wide my favorite manufacturer of fine wool and they certainly live up to their high standard. I already knit my cable cowl with one of their yarns and will probably add some more to my stash. They are somewhat expensive, but it’s so worth it!
Plotting the chart (see below) for this sweater was quite a nightmare. It took ages to fit in the slogan and pictures I had in mind into my pattern. I knitted a couple of test swatches to get a good feeling for the gauge…and missed it. My first attempt was 6 cm (!!) too small. So, I had to frog (let me tell you, frogging intarsia is no fun!).
Despite it being all stockinette stitch, it’s painfully slow to knit. For the “Peace” part, I was working with 17 bobbins at one time. It felt like one sneeze could cause yarn barf of epic dimensions. But I persevered and now look at that beauty.
On my first attempt, I tried to mix in a bit of fair isle to finish the smaller areas (of the P, A and the upper and lower part of the C), but as Fair Isle has remarkably different stretchiness, I dumped that shortcut and I do not regret it. Yes, it meant 6 more bobbins and 12 more tails to sew in, but in the end it will be worth it.
The lower part of the C was knit with fair Isle and you can tell the difference. I accidentally forgot to switch and noticed far too late to knit it a third time. But I can live with that minor blemish (I think). Besides, once things are blocked, I am sure all minor irregularities will vanish.
The backside looks a bit like some macrame wall art, so weaving in all those tails is going to take quite some time! But then again, I was never one of these knitters who shied away from sewing and actually somewhat enjoy it (probably because I spent my youth in the bespoke tailor workshop of my granddad).
As I said, there will eventually be a free pattern here. It will probably take a couple of more weeks to finish this sweater (not my only project and some travel plants in between). For now, I can show you the chart for the front of the sweater. I will probably change it a bit as I knit along. Also not sure about the twigs. Theoretically, I could fair isle them, but not sure if I want to. Never liked the look of fair isle to begin within. It doesn’t drape very well.
So, I finally finished the front of my sweater. It has been quite some process that actually pushed me quite to my limit. I also heard from many fellow knitters how they struggle with this technique, so it prompted me to publish some advanced intarsia knitting tips with 10 important tips and tricks for better results.
The top section of the chart, where the leaves hang into the text, was quite a challenge to knit. At one point (see picture below) I had 25 active bobbins on my needle. It felt a bit like one glance in the wrong direction would cause major yarn barf. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, though.
In the process, I also had to adjust the chart a bit. As you can see, I enlargened the heart and the oil twigs quite a bit, so they would show better. There were also some sections that would have been difficult to knit with intarsia and I tried my best to eradicate them. I am keeping both charts in this post for now, so you can see the progress.
The backside of the front is quite a nightmare. There are just solo many tails to weave in. And quite frankly, I am quite scared to finally get started. For now, I rather started with the backside of the sweater.
Originally, I planned to add a further small message on the lower back that said “no hate”. I kind of liked the idea that people on the street passing by and just seeing my back would get to see a little slogan as well. But I didn’t want it to be as big as in the front because I felt that would look a bit weird. So, I got a bit lazy and decided to Fair Isle it.
But I really wasn’t satisfied with the outcome. It’s probably a bit harder to see on the picture below, but you can really see the black floats peeking through under direct sunlight. Also, it looked very weird when stretched. So, I frogged it and decided to knit the back in plain stockinette stitch.
Maybe, I’ll try some embroidery once this is finished. But then again, the front is already intense enough and I don’t want this sweater to get too busy. I’m already half-way through and can hopefully start knitting the neck next.
I decided against casting off the neckline and hold the stitches on a cable instead. I already did some tests, and I’m positive this will look a tiny bit better.
Oh, and one more thing. Not sure how it happened, but when casting off for the armpits, I accidentally didn’t slip stitches for an even diagonal cast-off line. Now I got a little stair there. It probably doesn’t matter and hopefully won’t show once everything is sewn up. Still, what a blunder! No idea where my thoughts were when I knit that section *sigh*.