Sunday, June 10, 2012

Steppe Sweater Progress

The Wool-Aid group on Ravelry is having a 2-month KAL (knit a-long) to create larger children's sweaters to send where they are needed. The group often has KALs and knitting campaigns of specific sizes and types of items to help increase their stock of particular garments. It is a fun way to have virtual knitting group where we chat and compare what we are doing online.
I decided to participate in the 'Steppe Ahead Sweater KAL' using as a basic pattern Irina Makarow's Steppe Ahead Sweater. It is a pattern which can be easily modified, and I took a great deal of liberty when making mine. I used bulky yarn as the pattern specified. (The green yarn was sent as a gift to me, specifically to knit with for Wool-Aid by Susan, a fellow Wool-Aid knitter. She also sent some beautiful purple and blue yarn.)
-I decided to use a thermal stitch pattern which should make the sweater very warm, very stretchy, and also kept the knitting interesting for me.
-I picked up extra stitches around the sleeve area, and used the excess stitches in a gusset under the arm so it can be worn comfortably during physical activity.
-I added a front button placket, as well as an extended collar with buttons to enable the wearer to fasten the collar around their face as a face muffler/gaiter.
-I wound up knitting the lower portion of the sleeves flat, so I didn't need to haul the rest of the sweater around the circle.
I also (as many do) added extra inches of length to the sleeves and torso of the sweater with generous ribbing, This will allow it to be worn for many years, and will fit early teens to young or small adult hood. Without stretching the fabric the sweater measures 34 inches around.
If I had used a smaller gauge yarn, it would take me months and months (and months) to knit it. The bulky yarn means that it is warm, but also that I can complete the sweater by the end of this month!
I learned that although knitting in the round in one piece sounds appealingly efficient, actually hauling the entire rest of the sweater around while working a sleeve is really hard if you have arthritis. It is also NOT the best choice for summer knitting as it keeps your lap extremely warm.
When I make other sweaters, particularly larger sizes I plan to use a more dressmaker-ly approach, knitting the sweater in sections then seaming it together.
I will likely still knit them in the round for babies and toddlers, though.
Anyway, I took photos of the sweater as it was yesterday against that fallen tree limb. I have since finished all but the ribbing on the second sleeve and the bottom hem. Next I will choose buttons from a collection my dear friend Ysabeau sent to me. I am looking forward to that part with almost inordinate joy...
Perhaps after we move I will start collecting jars of buttons. I remember playing with the jars my grandma had with fondness. I kind of crave my own collection!


Anonymous said...

that is a great sweater - wish I had that skill! I can barely knit a scarf using a simple stitch. Now, Crochet I can do, but I'm hoping to learn some more knitting after we move. I am delighted you enjoy the buttons, may have some shell ones and some small antique bone ones to share, if I can find the durned things in all this chaos! The sweater is gorgeous, and so are you. Hugs, Ysabeau

Don Meyer said...

As you know, I know nothing about knitting. I've stopped saying that to Alison. But that is a gorgeous combination of colors!

Anonymous said...

I saw this on Ravelry --love the colors!