My current work in progress:

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


Ribbing and Bands

Coming down the home stretch! I have finished the body of my Dark and Stormy cardigan, including the ribbing. I bound off my ribbing using a Russian Bind-off.


What’s a Russian Bind-off? It is worked thusly:

K2, slip these 2 sts back to the lefthand needle, K2TOG, *K1, SL 2 sts on righthand needle back to the lefthand needle, K2TOG *. Repeat from * to *.

Because I did the bind-off in ribbing, I knit the knits and purled the purls. When it cames to working the 2 stitches together, I worked it knit or purl, depending on what the second stitch of the two was.

So . . . bind-off completed.

Because I had already completed the sleeves, just the front bands and shawl collar remain.

I am very grateful to Ravelry at this point, because by reading project notes on the many iterations of Dark and Stormy documented there, I learned that a lot of knitters had issues with the shawl collar as written in the pattern. The results did not lie flat and made the front of the sweater look “pouchy.”

One knitter thoughtfully wrote up her collar mods on her project page: and included clear photos. More explanation and photos on her project page for the second one she knit:

Finding this information is enormously helpful to me and will save me a lot of time and trouble as I work the collar of my sweater.

Last night I picked up all the stitches along the front edges and around the neck, and started working the short rows for the shawl collar, using the mods that KnittingSuzanne documented at the links above.


I’ve got a lot of ribbing to knit, because I made my sweater nice and long. It is also oversized so I can wear it as a jacket in the Autumn/Winter.

I’ve found this pattern to be rather odd. It is written in a whopping range of 13 different sizes, from 34 to 56″. That’s not the odd part, but the way this range is sized does not seem right to me. Looking at the list of measurements at the end of the pattern, the raglan seam goes from 7.75″ to 12″ for the whole range of sizes. That is a whole heckuva lot of difference. And the length of the sweater below the armhole ranges from 15 to 20″. For a sweater that is described as having a length that hits the top of your jeans, 20″ below the armhole seems like an awful lot of length, unless the wearer is 7 feet tall.

I actually knit my sweater to 20″ below the armholes to achieve a tunic length, and I am 5′ 6″ tall — about medium height.

I think the best way to approach this pattern is to consider it a guide rather than specific instructions and go with your gut instincts. Judging from the comments on Ravelry, I’m not the only one who found the pattern somewhat vague and confusing. The sweater is very pretty, but you need to do some creative thinking to go from pattern to finished item.

But then, there are some people who knit the sweater and state in their comments that the pattern was easy to follow. So your mileage may vary. Everyone thinks a little bit differently and interprets differently. That’s a big challenge in pattern-writing: what seems perfectly clear and logical to one person can be confusing to another.

So, anyway, I will be knitting ribbing for the next few days. I’ve got my buttons, and will use more than the suggested 3 or 4 since I made my sweater longer.

Lucy is spending some time in her bedroom snuggie-bed-thingie, where it is nice and cool!



  1. I bought my cat(s) a snuggle-bed thing and they immediately took to it. I recommended to my ‘cousin-in-law’. Overall: a success. Husband always likes when I humor the cats. 🙂

  2. Just a thought – I know Thea came out with a revised version not too long ago (a couple of months) in response to many questions about the shawl collar. But, I’m assuming you recently printed it out, so you must have the most up-to-date version. I’m glad I waited so long to knit this – now there’s lots of info out there to guide me. Good luck on the home stretch!
    MicheleinMaine´s last blog post ..Custom listing for Mellow Cat Charms by ThreeBagsFullStudio

  3. Bobbi J says:

    Wendy, thanks for all your details on your shawl sweater. I am on the fence about knitting the sweater. Appreciate the links you wrote about too. I went to them and read the text along with the great photo’s. Very helpful about the short rows.

    Love Lucy in her snuggie bed thingie.

  4. Thanks for the info Wendy! I’ve got yarn in my stash for this one and will knit it this fall (or many for the knitting olympics in Feb).
    Brenda´s last blog post ..Tour de France 2013

  5. Wow! Is it just me or do you knit fast? The sweater is looking great and I just love the plum(?) color.
    Cleo14´s last blog post ..Mabel

  6. GerryART says:

    Seems your comments are well-timed
    As some may be knitting this for Camp Loppy Project 3

    Your understanding of techniques keeps me returning to your books/patterns

  7. GeniaKnitz says:

    Please, why the Russian Bind-Off? It looks like great fun; just wondering why one would use it here in this particular case,
    (No doubt you can tell that I’m a sweater newbie. :o)

  8. Amy Schulze says:

    I had the same question about the Russian bind off. I have learned to choose a different cast on from time to time. Can you believe that up until about five years ago, I didn’t realize there were so many different options? I only did long tail! So what factors did you base your decision to use this bind off instead of a traditional?

  9. I don’t know KnittingSuzanne personally but somehow she is in my friends list and I’m very glad because she’s amazing. She was doing the master knitter certification thing not too long ago and posted some stunning projects. You should friend her to watch what she creates.
    Caroline´s last blog post ..Rhinebeck 2012