Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Absolute Simplicity

Yarn: Dream In Color Smooshy,
color -Absolute Magenta 2.25 skeins.
Needles: US #2, US #6.

After working on "High Sea," a lace stole that required a lot of attention. a simple mindless knitting was in order. I came up with this sweater that was all st st except for neck and sleeve edgings, and very minimum increases/decreases, only 3 rounds of decreases, one on the neck edge, one on each sleeve.

Talking about super easy, I got to watch movies with subtitles while knitting this!
It was knitted from top down. with the same width at top as it was at armpit. The narrowing of neck was done by pleating at the very end ( it took about 5 minutes to do the pleating)

I ended up with a bit too long of depth from neck to armpit, so after I finished the sweater I cut off an inch from top and pick up stitches from there. Realizing the stretchiness of the knit fabric is making the neck a bit wider than I'd prefer even with pleating, I decreased 10%, also switched to smaller needles to finish the neck edge.

The neck edge and the sleeve edges were done with 3 rows of seed stitches, and the bottom edge was folded over hem, while the rest of the body was nothing but st st.

I wrote down my notes for this sweater (except I modified the CO from what I actually did to what I would do the next time.)

Since this is as easy as it gets, I thought I'd also write down how the CO numbers and sts for dividing sleeves from body were calculated so it can easily be modified for different size and different yarn gauge.

I began with the measurements of bust and upper arms and gave it 2" positive ease to body and 3" positive ease to each sleeve. And of course the gauge of my swatch.

38" bust, 12" upper arm, 2" ease for body, 3" ease for the bust and each arm.
gauge: 5.5 sts = 1"

For CO sts numbers :
  • 38 (bust) + 2 (ease) + 12 (right arm) +3 (ease) +12 (left arm) + 3 (ease) = 70 (width in inches at neck and at armpit right before sleeves separating from body.)
  • 70 (width) x 5.5 (gauge, sts per inch) = 385 (number of sts at armpit)
  • I rounded it down to 380 knowing I get a lot looser as I knit so might as well round it down a little.
  • Then, 380 (number of sts at armpit area) - 40 (total number of CO and pick up sts at the armpit area when sleeves are separated from body) = 340 (number of CO sts.)
  • That's the CO number.

When dividing up sleeves from body:

  • 12 (upper arm measurement) + 3 (ease) = 15 (width of sleeve in inches)
  • 15 (width) x 5.5 (gauge) = 82.5 (number sts for each sleeve after adding on the pickup sts. rounded it down to 82)
  • 82 (sts for each sleeve) - 10 (sts to be picked up and added on as seam to body.) = 72 (number of st for each sleeve to be put on waste yarn when separate sleeves from body.)

Here are my notes:

Yarn: I used sock yarn (Dream In Color Smooshy, color - Absolute Magenta. Love the color, not crazy of the yarn quality) for a very drapey fabric using needle #6. I can also see using sport weight yarn. Keep in mind the pleats add bulk to the neck area, so heavy yarn may not be ideal.
2.25 skeins = 1012.5 yards
Gauge: 21st = 4" (row count does not matter much here.)
Needles: US #2, and US #6
Size: 40.5" (with 2.5" positive ease)

CO and Upper Body:
Use provisional CO method and CO 340 sts with larger needles.
Join round, and place 1st marker at the beginning of the round.
K half of the total sts (170 sts,) place 2nd marker, k to end.
K all rounds until it measures about 8 1/2" (try it on to see what depth suits your body. It's better too long than too short. Because of the provisional CO, you can always rip back if it's too long.)

Put sleeves on waste yarn and join front and back in round:
K to 2nd marker, put 72 sts (number of st for each sleeve to be put on waste yarn) on waste yarn, use backward loop method and CO 10 sts, K to 1st marker.
Put 72 sts on waste yarn, use backward loop method and CO 10 sts. K to end.
K all rounds until 12" or whatever length desired.
P 1 round.
K 8 rounds.
BO round. You can either BO all sts then fold along the purl round and sew the hem to the back. Or, use another circular needles and pick up the back of sts of 8th row above the purl round and BO by k1 st tog with 1 pick up st and pass over the next k 1 tog with 1 pick up st.

Sleeves (I used two circular needle method to work in round, you can do 4 dpn, or shorter circular needles or magic loop):
Pick up 10 sts from the CO sts at the armpit and slip the sts from waste yarn on to the needles. Place a marker between the 5th and 6th pick up st to indicate beginning of round.
K all rounds for 6"
Next, make decrease and work 3 rounds of seed sts by:
round 1: (k1, p1) 6x, (k2tog, p2tog) 14 x, k2tog, (p1, k1) 6x. - 53 sts total. (note this is essentially the first 1/6 of the sts are worked evenly in seed st without decrease, then k2 tog, and p2tog in every seed st, to the last 1/6 of sleeves, then work the rest without any decrease again.)
round 2 : *p1, K1 rep from * to last st, p1.
round 3: *k1, p1, rep from * to last st, k1.
BO all sts

Use smaller needles and pick up all sts from provisiional CO.
Begin seed st, at the same time, decrease 1 st every 11 st by:
*(k1, p1) 4x, k1, p2tog, rep from * to last 10 sts, (k1, p1) 5x.
Next round: *p1, k1, rep from *
Next round: *k1, p1, rep from *
BO all sts tightly.
note: the reason I'd pick up sts and make decrease at the end instead of work the neck edge at the beginning is so that I can see if I want to adjust the decrease numbers. Also, so I can bind it off tightly.

Blcok the sweater.

Sewing Pleats:
Mark the 4 spots along neck edge that are directly above where sleeve separates from body at the armpits. Measure 2" to either side, fold the fabric towards the mark and then again fold it away to create pleats. Sew along the top edge to secure the pleats.
Sew on the buttons right on the pleats.


  1. Lovely sweater! Great idea to cut off the top to fix the yoke length.