The Sweater Challenge

Been a while since my last update. Apparently grad school + work = too busy to do the things you want.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine proposed that I take a look at a much-loved sweater of hers to see how I felt about trying to recreate it. At this stage in my knitting, I feel confident enough to take a shot at reverse-engineering a shirt, so we’re going to give it a go.

I apologize for the crappy photos. I need to change the lens on my camera, because this one does not like to get too close.

The original sweater.

Overall, the shirt is knit flat in pieces and seamed together. A basic knit 1, purl 2 ribbing for the body of the shirt. It gets interesting where the sleeves are joined, however, as stitches are added gradually for the process of the braided cable. I’ve figured out that 3 stitches are added on each side, over 3 rows, before the braid starts.

Mattress stitch, seaming the front and back together.

Seaming on the inside of the sleeves. As you can see, the seam is perfectly lining up the rows.

I think the hardest part is going to be figuring out the sleeve measurements. They are beautifully and flawlessly attached around the shoulders, so I’ll need to get the decreases just right.

Looking at the shoulder from the side (sorry, it’s blurry).

Last but not least, the neck line is first folded over and seamed so that the stitches make a horizontal line around the inside of the neck. Then, a separate braided band is stitched around the outside.

Note the line of stitches around the inside seam.

The cowl neck.

That’s the break-down. I’ll keep you posted as soon as I get started. This is going to be an awesome learning experience and I can’t wait to begin!


The Purple Purse

The purse is mostly finished and I can say it was definitely another learning experience.

Not the greatest purse.

I’ve already taken it for a couple of test-drives and it serves the purpose I made it for, so I would call it a success. It holds my wallet, keys, cellphone and is just deep enough for pens (or certain feminine products).

I ended up making the strap a little too long. The problem with measuring a strap is that you have to take into account the fact that it will stretch depending on how much you put in the purse.  At this stage of knitting, I should have known that, which is why I shouldn’t knit when I’m tired! It should be pretty simple to fix. All I need to do is fold it over and take it in either at the center or on each side.

I did not end up working the beaded part onto the front because the beads that I bought were too small. I’m working with some other ideas, like making a beaded embellishment with a thinner yarn and sewing it on or sewing on a patch.

This is not a pattern, but more of a general idea of what I did to make it:

Worked in stockinette stitch.

  • Cast 30 stitches on size 6 needles (enough to equal 5 inches) with Caron Country yarn. Worked 48 rows (enough to equal 6 inches).
  • Switched and picked up knitting with 2-ply fine acrylic yarn and size 4 needles, adding 1 stitch to each side to make up for the gauge difference. Worked 45 rows. I used the thinner yarn for the center because I didn’t want the purse to be super thick.
  • On the 46th row, I worked 3 stitches, bound off 26, worked 3 (for zipper hole).
  • Row 47, work 3, cast on 26, work 3. Then worked another 64 rows.
  • Switched to size 6 again and picked up to knit with the Caron Country yarn again for 48 rows. For this back section, I added 2 stitches to each side for it to be wider when I seamed the front and the back. That should equal 36 stitches (because of the 2 already added when working the thinner yarn).
  • On the 48th row, bound off 3 stitches on each side (back to 30 total).
  • I worked the next 48 rows with a 3 stitch garter-stitch border on each side, plus 6 rows of garter stitch at the end. I realized the closing flap was not going to lay flat, so I picked up with the thin yarn again and worked enough rows to have a lining for the inside of the flap, then bound off.
  • Now for the finishing. I started by sewing the 4 inch zipper in place. Next, I accordion-folded the purse and pinned the seams. First, I seamed the bottom of the middle pocket, then I mattress-stitched the sides of the middle pocket.

The zipper pocket.

  • I seamed the middle pocket to the inside/back of the purse by seaming the sides of the middle pocket to a vertical row of purl bumps on each side (hopefully that makes sense).

This is how the bottom ended up looking. I suppose it would be better to use the same color yarn or seam it differently.

  • Last, I mattress-stitched the front and back sides of the purse and seamed the lining onto the closing flap.

Side view.

  • I added snaps to keep the front closed, then made a handle out of the thinner yarn (I ran out of the Caron Country) and seamed it to the inner sides of the purse. My handle was about 17 stitches across worked in ribbing.

Inside flap and snaps.

I know it’s not the greatest description, but I’m not exactly thrilled with it, either. Feel free to ask if you have any questions.