A Sweater from Scratch

Knitting a sweater has to be one of the greatest achievements that a knitter can do (asides from crazy lace things).  It’s what many people aim for when they first start out..”I want to be able to knit a sweater’

In my 13 years of knitting I have done maybe 3 sweaters 2 were piece sweaters, and 1 from the top down.  They were all very simple patterns, nothing fancy.  This time I wanted to test myself by knitting a cable sweater out of the yarn that I processed and spun from the fleece.

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Hand Spun

In my light research for a sweater pattern, a fellow student lent me this wonderful book called Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore.  This book was such a great help and a must for the knitter’s library. There is a brief history explaining Aran knitting, and all sorts of cable patterns, that lead to full sweater patterns.

Aran is an island that is a part of Ireland, the sweater patterns are distinct to that region, but  when they came about is questionable.  Some say that the patterns are as old as time and were passed down through generations in order to help identify any of the men lost at sea. Others say that the sweater patterns we see today started in the 20th century, and anything before that came from a Scottish pattern known as a Scottish Gansey.

In order to start this sweater I needed to pick out what cables I wanted in it, and where they would go on my sweater.  (I chose to do a plain top-down sweater instead of one in the book).  To do this i looked through the patterns in the book, and made swatches of the cables that I liked.photo-2 copy

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Hand Spun

Once that was done I sketched out my sweater design.  photo-5 copy

And finally once I started knitting I sketched out how the cables would work with my pattern.  When making a cable sweater using a plain sweater pattern, you have to remember that the cables take up inches so knitting a large womans sweater is really about a small, this was also due to the fact that I used smaller needles than required. (very upsetting, but I was already half way done, so no going back).photo-6 copyIt turned out that the cable with the blueberry stich, didn’t translate to my hand spun yarn, so I had to use another, but it worked out really well.

To date the sweater is half done, just a little more to do on the body, then its on to the sleeves

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