My current work in progress:

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


I’ve Got Back!

My sweater now has a completed back.

To shape the shoulders, the pattern directs you to bind off x number of stitches at each armhole edge once, then x number of stitches at each armhole edge once. (I’m using x here because I can’t recall the exact number and I don’t feel like getting up to look at the pattern.) This gives you a slightly slanted shoulder seam edge. Rather than do the bind-offs, I did short rows and then put the live stitches on a holder. This way, I can do a three-needle bind-off to attach the fronts and back at the shoulder seams.

Work is now being done on the left side front. I’ll be glad when the body is done because it is awkward flipping the whole thing back and forth as I knit.

It has crossed my mind that if I like this sweater, I could winkle up a design for a similar one. I happen to have 20 more skeins of All Seasons Cotton in another color (a pale lavender, I think) that I bought at the same time I bought the yarn I’m knitting with now. If I do make up a sweater based on this one, I’ll do it in pieces and seam it. I do like having side seams in my sweaters because I think the added structure makes them hang better.

There was a question in the comments from Julie about how much yarn this will use. In the yarn the pattern calls for, the largest size (which I am making) takes 1536 yards. (Note that I do remember this number without looking at the pattern yet I can’t remember how many stitches you bind off each time for the shoulders.) I am using Rowan All Seasons Cotton which has approximately. 98 yards per skein. so I should need 16 skeins to complete the sweater. I have 20 skeins.

But . . . I want to make the sleeves wrist-length rather than three-quarter length, so I will likely use up most if not all of the 20 skeins.

Another question in the comments, from Patti, who asked:

I have a question about blocking… the  lace portion obviously will block out beautifully, but normally ribbing is not blocked, at least in my knitting experience, ribbing is suppose to “pull in” not block out.  How do you plan to deal with the blocking of this beauty?

I plan to steam-block the lace portion with my trusty steam iron and keep it away from the ribbed portion. For sweaters I almost never wet-block anyway.

Lucy has clearly had a rough day today, because this is what she currently looks like:


  1. Beautiful. Can’t wait to see the finished project! Lucy, you are too adorable for words! luv.m.

    A belated happy BD to both KOARC and L-B !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. The sweater is looking fabulous and your thought to add those first few rows at the bottom looks to have been a great idea.

    Lucy looks like I feel…where is the nearest blanket? (Do you still have the windows open?)

  3. Oh, it’s REALLY coming along now! And I can already tell it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous!! (I love the last one, too! It looks great on you!)

    Cannot wait to see it finished 🙂

    Poor Lucy — looks like she needs a salmon treat?!

    TheSockKnitters last blog post..WELL worth three minutes of your time….

  4. Looks like the end is nearing. 🙂

    LittleWits last blog post..Eye Candy Friday – Family Things

  5. I really like the idea of short rows and a 3-needle bind-off. Can you do this for most sweaters?

  6. PICAdrienne says:

    Looks like it will be a lovely sweater. On my monitor the color in some pictures is turquoise, and in others more of a teal. Which do you think is a better description of the color?

    Lucy looks like she is exhausted! Poor baby, must have had a rough day of guard duty on the homefront. 🙂

  7. Poor Lucy. A cat’s work is never done…

    kmkats last blog post..Budget.

  8. Oooh, looking good! Can’t wait to see it finished. 🙂

    yarnpiggys last blog post..Two of my favourite things…

  9. Great sweater and the color will be good for both you and Lucy! I’m wondering what factors come into consideration in converting the pattern from circular to flat?

  10. Hmmn, wonder what Lucy was up to that was so tiring?

    Elysbeths last blog post..That’s not what I meant!

  11. I love it when you share your knowledge! I would have never thought to block the lace and the ribbing separately!! It’s good to learn something new, eh?

    Poor Lucy! She must have had too much fun getting her daily dose of love.

    Megan S.s last blog post..Can You Follow The Fiber Buying Rules?

  12. I dunno, Wendy. The last two days Lucy has look obviously overworked. Are we to expect her to unionize soon?? Or will you buy her off with salmon treats?

    Lovely sweater – I learn from you all the time. Thanks!

  13. It’s not my intention to insult or criticize. Your sweater, like everything else you make, is a work of art….but….do you ever think “this cotton sweater cost $X? So I better wear it every day for the rest of my life, and then get buried in it, to get my money’s worth?”

    My own yarn cost have risen since I started knitting. When I started I couldn’t believe sock yarn could cost 18-25 bucks a pair, but then again, all wool machine made socks aren’t cheap either. I’ll spend that much now (when I have the money) without blinking an eye, but I have yet to spend more than $60 for sweater yarn.

  14. Looking good! Could you please identify those stitch holders and where they came from? They look much more elegant than the yarn scraps I use!

  15. You always have good ideas here -I will have to remember that three needle bind off idea.
    Is there a benefit to steam blocking as opposed to wet blocking?

    Res last blog post..More Rhinebeck

  16. I can’t wait to see it finished, its so pretty already.

    Poor Lucy, she really needs a day off you know! Look how tired the poor gal is!

  17. i have noticed that you prefer to knit sweaters in the round, correct? 20 skeins is a TON of yarn! oof, you have a lot of patience 🙂

  18. I love the short row mod for the shoulder seam. I’m not daring enough yet to make that kind of change to a pattern (nor experienced enough to know what change to make). I really appreciate the way you talk through your modifications, both why and how. Thanks for the lessons.

  19. What are your thoughts on Rowan Wool/Cotton? I used it once for a cursed sweater (another story for another time); liked knitting with it but it seemed to stretch.

  20. poor tired lucy, such a supportive kitty knitter she’s pooped!

  21. Wonderful work Wendy! A lavender sweater would also look great too. Will you use a different lace pattern for that one?

    Danieles last blog post..Mama’s Got a Brand New Bag…….

  22. I can’t wait to see it finished! And thanks for the blocking info.

    Jewels last blog post..One sock done

  23. ahmcguffin says:

    Can’t remember stitch bind off numbers but you remember yards required? It’s just “fuzzy logic”, the brain recalling some numbers in the pattern but not usually when one needs them. As in unexpectedly finding the “perfect” yarn for a pattern but the store doesn’t have the pattern and I can’t recall the amount needed but I can recall the cast on and row repeat numbers. Wonderful to see the progress of your sweater, Lucy looks a bit in need of attention. Treats, playtime, warm lap…

  24. (I hope I did that html right.)

    I am making Mermaid now, and I’m on the second front (i.e. almost the whole body is done). I’ve found that I don’t have to flip the whole piece around when I go back; I just leave it all on my lap (nice and warm when I knit at hockey rinks!) and switch hands on the needles. That way, I switch the working row back and forth, not over and over, and the two yarns don’t get tangled, either. I don’t know if this helps or not, but your sweater looks great.
    PS – I love your Mermaid, too. I had already fallen in love with the design years ago, but seeing yours only made me want it more!

  25. Darn it — I didn’t. I was trying to block quote this: “I’ll be glad when the body is done because it is awkward flipping the whole thing back and forth as I knit.”

    NOT a computer whiz here!

  26. Wendy, love that sweater, it will be a gorgeous addition! When you are substituting “short rows” for the silly stair step decreases, how do you plug in the transfer of change? Does my question make sense? Iow, if the pattern says to decrease 5 stitches, then the next row 6 stitches or something like that, how do you substitute that into the short rows? Do you knit 5 (as in the example above) wrap, turn, then on the next row knit 6, wrap turn?? Sure hope you understand as this has been something that has me flumoxed! I prefer the 3 needle bind off on all shoulder seams and like some shaping but not sure how to get the results I want!! HELP!!

  27. dee near Berkeley says:

    I have steam blocked ribbing a gazillion times, but it needs an extra step. After you hover the iron over [not touching] the ribbing and fill it with steam, put the iron down and pull the ribbing *vertically* to make the ribs seem longer. Use your fingers and act quickly. This pulls the ribbing closer together and snugs it up. The ends where you pulled do look a bit messy, but a few judicious pats, etc., with finger tips will fix that.

    It can even work with acrylic yarn, if you don’t use too much steam. You really can steam block acrylic (if you use it) using the not-too-much-steam method. I’ve never had a problem, but I’m careful.

    Great looking sweater.

    Poor Lucy, life is so tough for beautiful blue-eyed girls!


  28. Michele In Maine says:

    Lucy better rest up – trick or treat is coming! We carved a kitty face in our pumpkin this year and put in green marble eyes. ( In case you were looking for ideas!)

  29. Cathy Johnson says:

    Hello Wendy,
    Could you please tell me how many balls of Calmer you used for the daily sweater? The finished bust measurement would be helpful, too, if you happen to have that committed to memory. Thank you,

  30. How do you do short rows on the shoulders?

  31. I’m with Susanne on this one. I like the 3 needle bind off better than seaming the shoulders, and am always a little uncomfortable just throwing in short rows instead. By the time I get to the shoulder area, I just don’t want to mess with the pattern because I can see the end in sight!

    Seanna Leas last blog time for pie (scrambled brain edition)

  32. Wendy, is there a handy way of converting the stair-step shoulder technique to the short rows method? I much prefer the smoother edge of the short row technique and 3-needle bind-off to that awkward jagged edge. Maybe it’s more obvious than I think?