Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sweater Project Update 2: Vale Cardigan Back Section & Fronts

I've finished the back and front sides of my Vale sweater for the Very Shannon Summer Sweater Knit-Along.  I think I'm right on track to finish this cardigan by the end of the KAL on Sept 8.  I'm excited to have this sweater complete in time for Fall.  I think I'm really going to love it and get a lot of wear out of it.

And because I'm a nice person (sort of), I thought I'd put all my notes for knitting the back and front pieces in one post in case they help someone else :)  So here we go:

the back of my Vale sweater

1.  As I said in my previous post, this sweater can look a little different depending on the size you make.  The smaller sizes have only three columns of cables across the back, instead of the four shown in the model shot.  I really like the sample sweater, so this was a little disappointing, but I understand that this would change depending on the size of the garment.

2.  Be sure to knit your swatch in moss stitch, not Stst.  I had knit my back piece up pass the underarms when I measured and realized it was going to be a bit small.  When I looked back at the directions, I had realized my swatch was off, which threw off my sizing.

To give myself a little more room in the hips, I cast on again with a #9 needle, and changed to #8 on row 4 of the cable chart.  I knit most of the chart with the size #8, then to tighten up the chest and shoulders, I changed to a #7 about an inch before starting my underarm decreases.

3.   I've lengthened this cardigan a bit too, which I hope I like in the end.  I've added about 1 1/2 inches to the length by starting my underarm shaping at 13 inches instead of at 11 1/2 inches.   

4.  I think the beginning of the charts for both the back and the fronts is a little confusing.  When starting the cable charts (for both the back and front pieces), you need to use Row 1 of the charts TWICE as your set up row (once as the right side, then once as the wrong side).  This will make sense when you knit the pattern.  By using Row 1 twice, it sets you up to do the rest of the charts with the even rows being the right side of your work.

5.  This is a picky thing that might only bother me - but try to pay attention to the cable chart when it comes time to bind off for the shoulder shaping.  I didn't want to end the cable chart and bind off in a weird place where I was halfway through a pointy arrow or something in the design.  I thought this might would look even weirder when I seamed my front and back pieces together.  So when I was a few inches from binding off, I looked at the pattern and chose a point just after doing a cable cross on one of the arrow designs to begin my binding off.  This way, at the shoulders, I'll have two points coming together.

my Vale progress - overlapping the pieces as if they were seamed


I followed my notes from above for the front pieces too, so the cable pattern and my decreases would match up.  I only have a few additional notes:

1.   I think there's a mistake on the directions for the decreases on the side seams of the two front pieces.  The directions say you should start the decreases on Row 20 for the back portion.  But the directions for each front piece say you should start the decrease FOR THE SIDE SEAMS on Row 2.  I chose to ignore this and did my side decreases on the same rows as my back decreases so they match up.

2.  Because I lengthen my cardigan by an 1 1/2 inches, I had to adjust where I started shaping the front lapels too.  I honestly don't remember how I figured this out, but I shifted them up about an 1 and 1/2 inches.

3.  This is another weird thing that happens depending on the size you make:  after doing your shoulder shaping for the front pieces, the directions say to "work straight"  to create the neck band.  I think in the larger sizes, this will have you knitting moss stitch for 13 sts and then garter stitch to maintain the neck edging, which is fine and looks good.  However, in my smaller size, this would have me continuing only half of my cable, moss stitch for a few sts, then continuing my garter edge (see the tippy top of my photo above at the shoulder bind off).  This would look very strange as it wraps around the back of my neck.

So for the smaller sizes, this leaves you with two choices:  after finishing your shoulder shaping, you can purl the next 9 sts (which would continue the background of the cable column) then do your few moss sts and then maintain the garter edge.  Or you can switch to moss st for all 13 sts and then do garter st for your edge.  I think either choice is fine.  You just need to decide and stick with it for both front pieces.

I went with switching to moss st for all 13 sts.  After looking at the pattern photos, where they continued the moss st from the front, and other finished projects on Ravelry, this seemed like a good choice.  I thought purl, then moss, then garter might be a bit busy for the neck band when seen from the back.  But honestly, most people would never notice this detail.

And an update on my buttons decision:  After going back and forth on adding buttons to the upper part of the front pieces, I decided against it.  For my size, it just won't work.  To make my decision, I laid out my sweater pieces as if they were seamed (I did this just before I started my underarm decreases on my right piece) to see where I might place my buttons.  As you can see in the photo, I'd have to place my buttons in the middle of my column of cables to have it match up with the right hand edge.  So that's out.  I'm secretly happy.  I didn't really want to figure out how to add buttons in just the right place so that they looked like they belonged there.

So now I begin my sleeves - 3/4 length or long sleeves?  I can't decide.  But I'll let you know :)

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