sampling the sweater sampler; part one: the basics

A couple of years ago, I picked up a copy of Jacqueline Fee’s The Sweater Workshop at a local library sale. I’m always looking to learn new sweater knitting techniques (and new knitting techniques in general) plus the sampler pictured on the cover looked like it would be fun to try.

Last year, Thanksgiving weekend to be more exact, my project basket was experiencing a bit of a lull (aka waiting for the yarn to complete my holiday gift knitting to arrive) so I decided to cast on said sampler and got about 9 inches in before it started it’s slow descent to the bottom of the basket. Where, I am not pleased to report, it has languished ever since.

Fortunately this blog gives me an excuse to knit and write about any random thing - and I must admit, although I am enjoying the process so far and look forward to getting to the part where I learn new skills - this is a petty random thing to knit. Which means it is the perfect time finish this off!

Although I didn’t have the forethought to take pictures of my progress as I went, I did jot down some notes / thoughts on each small section as I completed them. (See, I told you this blog was destined to be.) So I figured I would share those now and try to do a better job with the photo aspect of documenting this experiment moving forward.

A couple of random side notes: for the record, the author recommends a light color worsted weight yarn but I wanted to use something I had on hand (and I’m not much of a light color person) so I went with some Knit Picks Wool Of The Andes that I’ve had in my stash forever and never used; because I’m also not much of a bright color person. And this color is SO. EFFING. BIGHT. (Haha! Such are the pitfalls of shopping on the internet.) I didn’t have the recommended 16” circular needle either so I elected to go with the magic loop method. And now, on to the knitting…

Cable Cast On: I’m kind of confused about this cast on – for this purpose and in general - because the You Tube tutorial I watched said this technique “creates a fairly stiff, non-stretchy beginning” whereas the book recommends this particular cast on for bottom up sweaters because of it’s elasticity. Either way, this was my fist time trying it and, so far, I’m not a fan. It’s super fiddly and takes a lot longer than a long tail cast on. (Although that may have something to do with this being my fist attempt.) On the bight side, it does look nice and since you don’t have to figure out how much yarn you need to cast on there’s no waste.

Garter Stitch: What is there to say about good ol’ garter stitch? Except I think it looks weird as a border for a sweater. I’m more of a ribbed border kind of girl.

Stockinette Stitch: Repeat the fist sentence of the last paragraph, swapping stitch names. Honestly I didn’t need to practice either of these but figured, hey - if I’m gonna do this, I should do it. Know what I mean? I did skip breaking and reconnecting yarn though because it just seemed unnecessary.

K1, P1 Ribbing: I’ve always felt my knit stitches looked sloppy in k1,p1 ribbing; this sampler didn’t change that.

Twisted Rib: For some reason, I’ve never tried this stitch; it definitely looks better than the 1x1 ribbing but it takes a minute (or two) to get the rhythm of it.

K2, P2 Ribbing: Still kind of sloppy but better; if I had to chose I’d probably go with 3 x1 rib as my favorite but you really can’t go wrong with K2, P2 rib.

Stripe In Ribbing: I’ve never heard of this technique so I figured I would share it. On the round you want to change colors, instead of continuing in the ribbing, you knit every stitch thus creating a nice smooth transition between colors. The change in stitches kind of disappears into the ribbing and all of the bi-color bits you can see on purl stitches are hidden in tidy rows on the flipside. (And look cute in case you wanna make that side the outside.) It’s kind of genius actually. Try it out sometime.

The next step is to add a little extra length to one side using shot rows which, at the time, made it seem like as good of a time as any to set it aside for a week or two in order to tackle the aforementioned holiday knitting. And it would have been, except for the whole not having touched it since Thanksgiving and tomorrow being Valentine’s Day part. On the flipside, in retrospect I set myself up for a perfect break point for this multi-part post so let’s assume that was meant to be as well.

Anywhoo, I’m gonna get stitching and will report back when more progress has been made.

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