My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Prepare for Never-Ending Stockinette

Thank you for all the lovely comments on the Peapod Sweater. It is such a cute design, isn’t it?

In answer to some comments questions, yes, this sweater was knit with a particular baby in mind, who shall be making her appearance later on this autumn. She’ll have a cozy sweater all ready for her. ๐Ÿ™‚

I started it Sunday night and finished it mid-afternoon, yesterday. I had Monday and Tuesday off from work, and I did do other stuff besides knitting. Yes, it is indeed a fast knit! The gauge is 5 stitches/inch, and that makes for speedy knitting on baby stuff. And I made the smallest size. I figured because the sweet little pea who will be encased in this peapod is going to be born right before winter, she’s gonna need a sweater right away.

So . . . what’s on the needles now?

If you’ve been readng my blog for a while and have a good memory, you’ll remember that earlier this year I started a cotton denim sweater, but abandoned it because the yarn was not right for the design. I ended up knitting that design in Rowan All Season’s Cotton and it became Kerry.

But I still wanted a denim cotton sweater. And I had a boatload of Elann Den-M-Nit yarn.

Monday night I knitted a swatch. Tuesday I washed and dried it in the machine. The denim yarn is meant to shrink lengthwise, and gain a slightly weathered appearance after you wash it. Here’s my washed and dried swatch.


The post wash & dry gauge is 5 stitches and 8 rows to the inch. The pre-wash gauge was 5 stitches and about 6.5 rows to the inch. Yep, it really does only shrink in length.


I love the appearance of this swatch and really want a knock-around sweater made from it.

The history:

Years ago I bought a very plain cotton sweater at a discount place — Marshall’s or T.J. Maxx. I’m sure I didn’t pay more than $10 for it, and it’s likely I didn’t pay more than $5. I loved that sweater — wore it constantly and machine washed and dried it until ten years later, I finally had to let it go, as it was completely worn out. It was just a plain long-sleeve crew neck, quite oversized.

So that’s what I’m going to make: A plain long-sleeve crew neck, oversized. Set-in sleeves. Seed stitch instead of ribbing, and the rest plain old stockinette. I thought about adding some waist shaping but decided against it.

I fired up my Sweater Wizard software and plugged in the numbers, using the washed gauge, tweaked a little, and spit out a pattern. One of the nice things about Sweater Wizard is that it tells you how many rows it will take to knit to your specified length. Yeah, I know you can easily figure this out, but it is nice to have a program do it for you and generate instructions. Sweater Wizard does have its limitations, but it is great for this sort of thing. You can specify a set in sleeve and it generates instructions that allow you to knit a perfect sleeve cap according to your gauge and size.

So here is the start of the sweater.

It sort of feels like knitting with string, and it is boring as hell, so it doesn’t make for great process knitting. Still, the end justifies the means, so I keep focusing on how much I want a plain cotton pullover.

So get ready for lots of pictures of stockinette.

Lucy sez:


“What? No dessert?”


  1. That is a very pretty color! I love big bummy sweaters ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. It might be a boring knit, but it sounds like the end result will be worth it!

    The length-wise only shrinkage seems strange (though proven), however. Is this only with denim yarn? Or just this specific brand of denim yarn?

  3. “Tuesday I washed and dried it in the machine.” WASHED AND DRIED…MACHINE! Such wonderful words!

    OK, confession time. I went back to Wegman’s this afternoon for the express purpose of bringing home another mini chocolate cake. And noticed that it says that although the cake should be stored in the fridge, it should be served at room temperature which softens everything up a bit. I put the bag of carrots back…didn’t go with chocolate cake. Hee hee!

    Happy Hump Day!

  4. Had you seen the pattern for the “perfect sweater”
    at Mason-Dixon knitting?
    Oct. 9th
    It must be the current wardrobe essential! : )

  5. That denim yarn is lovely. There’s something to be said for good, old-fashioned mindless knitting… and a lovely plain sweater that you can throw on over any old thing.

  6. I love me some denim yarn. I’m currently working on Saffy.

    And, I grew up with the same kitchen linoleum. Which means you either have really old lino, or the retro thing is coming back full force and I should prepare for avocado and harvest gold appliances.

  7. Will you be stocking up on good movies to watch while slogging through your miles of stockinette?

    It’s projects like this that make me consider the benefits of a knitting machine.

  8. I have a boatload of that denim yarn, too. I started AS’s Mystic out of the cream, but stopped to make a green Pea Pod for the newest grandchild. It’s done except for buttons–I had to make it bigger, since he was a (big) spring baby and will need a big sweater by winter! I agree with your assessment of knitting w/ the denim, it’s like string and not fun, but should be worth the effort!

  9. I am also knitting a very plain sweater in miles and miles of stockinette. I’ve christened it “The Cure for Insomnia” sweater, as every time I sit down to knit it I start feeling sleepy…

  10. Loverly!…….and a comfy sweater is a joy!……and thanks Shirl for the mason dixon tip……another fun day in knitter’s land!

  11. Did you remind Lucy that she is training for the Snoozy Olympics? THAT’S why no dessert!

  12. Is that a mousie in the top dish?

    I too am planning to recreate a beloved sweater. Mine was a man’s V-neck cardigan — a grampa sweater, if you will — that fit me perfectly and cost about a buck at Kohl’s. It was very dark grey with a subdued pattern in burgundy, black, and navy. My version will be a bit more colorful, mainly because it’s too hard to see the very dark yarns, and knit from two strands of superwash sock yarn. I’m planning to use many different medium-darkish colors with red predominating.

  13. The Peapod cardi is lovely. One of my last FO was a denim pullover in that exact same shade of Elann Denim’it. It is an old Rowan pattern with some seed stitch patterning which fades even more beautifully than the stockinette. The cotton keeps getting bouncier and softer with wear. Your sweater is bound to become at least as comfy as its store-bought predecessor…

  14. I checked your sweater software program .Looks helpful. I see they have software for socks too. Have you your used that one?

  15. A knock around sweater is perfect, and in cotton denim yarn … even better. Lucy, I hope you found a dessert somehow.


  16. Lucy sez: The food service in this establishment leaves much to be desired however the napping accomodations are wonderful.

  17. Sometimes the most comfortable sweaters are the plainest knits.

  18. I may be slow this am! BUT if you use the WASHED gauge to calculate the pattern, then how do you get to the ACTUAL numbers you need to knit PRE-WASH. It seems in your case the only difference is length, so that would be easier to figure out as you knit- except the tricky armhole area.
    cant wait to see this one – love the denim yarn!

  19. This is definitely gonna be a great sweater. I look forward to the progress. Also, the Sweater Wizard is now on my wish list. I’m a banker, I prefer programs to do the work for me. Seeing as how I crank out tons of sweaters as it is. Man, your site can cost me sometmes. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Please tell Lucy that Linus is now in top form for the napping oplympics in the lounging male category.

  20. Your beautiful new cotton denim sweater will be perfect to wear while curled up with Lucy and knitting more sweaters. How did you know the yarn was supposed to shrink up? Also, did you like the Debbie Bliss yarn?

  21. That sounds like a great denim sweater idea! I love the one in Weekend Knitting that is a Debbie Bliss tunic type sweater in her denim yarn. Some day I’ll get around to it…sigh…

  22. I’ve liked that Peapod ever since I first saw it, but damn, I lovin’ it in purple! My sister just announced her first is on the way…I think I’ll have to download that pattern and make a couple for her!

  23. I may just have to purchase the Sweater Wizard for myself. Maybe, I could put a dent in the random yarn that I have in my stash. The hefty price is the only thing holding me back. Do you feel that yours has been worth it?

  24. Poor Lucy!

  25. I did a sweater out of Elann Den-M-Nit – simple stockinette, raglan sleeves, minimal shaping. It’s a great basic, and I love it. I’ve found that this yarn gets even better the more you wear and wash the garment – just like your favorite pair of jeans. Enjoy!