Pull Out the Bongos, Man
… because I finished my Beatnik sweater and it is pretty cool, though I wasn’t at all the nonconformist the name suggests when knitting it. Yep, I actually stuck with the pattern in every way except that I knit the body in the round up to the arms. Not that I didn’t try to alter things.
After following Allyson at The Sweatshop of Love’s example and knitting mine in the round to the armholes, I tried picking up stitches and using Wendy Bernard’s “Afterthought Sleeves” instructions to knit seamless sleeves. However, they started looking weird and bulbous, so I ripped them out. It could be that I picked up too many stitches, or that I was using the wrong type of moss stitch on them.
But either way, I just didn’t want to invest any more time on possible mistakes with this one, after knitting all of those cables. And they are some busy cables! By busy, I don’t mean the way it looks when worn. I mean that all those cables kept my mind whirring. If I got too engrossed in anything else- like reruns, or the little people I call my children, or things like respiration- well there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. I had to unknit many rows many times because I wasn’t about to rip it back without the needles in and trust that I could figure out what stitch went what way as I reinserted them.
And that’s good because it led me to a new little technique of fixing stitches further back in my knitting. It also gave me a reason to appreciate the simplicity of all the twist rib and moss stitch I had to do afterward.
Which leads me to the one mistake I made with this one. I didn’t really think about whether the pattern was calling for American moss stitch or British moss stitch. Maybe I thought Norah Gaughan was British, I don’t know, but anyway, the moss stitch up the sides of the sweater is English and that of the arms is American (what the pattern intended.)
Skip the following paragraph if you’re not fascinated by moss stitches:
When looking at the British version from the right side of the fabric, it is k1, p1 all the way across one row followed by the opposite for the next row. This is repeated over and over. When viewing The American version from the right side, it is 2 rows of k1,p1 across followed by 2 rows of the opposite (p1,k1.) It was so much more substantial and smoother in appearance, as in the image below.
My daughter says no one can tell the two mosses are different, but you know what I’m thinking… Oh well, its an exercise in “letting go” because I was not about to reknit the body.
Since I was knitting the sleeves separately, I went ahead and knit two at once on the same straight needles, a technique I’ve never done before due to my fondness for seamless sleeves. This made the end of the sweater more portable. I could just take two sleeves with me in the car instead of lugging the whole thing and turning the sweater a jillion times like I would if I were knitting them in the round, seamlessly. And though I hate hate hated seaming them onto the body, I have to admit the seams look nice.
What I love about this, besides the obviously cool retro styling, is all the great texture going on here: complex cabling, moss stitch arms, twisted rib edging. I also love how the boatneck collar stands up when folded under and whip stitched. Not only that, but it was made with less expensive Lion Brand wool ease that was on sale. We’re talking $15 worth of yarn here. I wouldn’t normally have had the courage to try something this complex on wool/acrylic yarn, but the pattern actually called for just such a blend (Remix.)
It fits, as in fitted. I knit the smallest size because my gauge was a bit loose. My arms look puffy in the moss stitch to me, but it really does fit nicely even before blocking. I did the old arm swing test and it passed. Still, I think it is cuter on my daughter, even though it’s a little baggy in the upper arm. I think on my next one, I’ll go for more positive ease.
Yes, you heard me. I’m doing another one because I want one with full length sleeves and I found the perfect tweedy yarn at the hobby store at half price. I know, what is up with me knitting second versions of things? Knitting induced OCD or something.
Kind of like the abundance of photos in this post. I mean I want to show what it actually looks like when worn, but then I wanted to play with my 50mm on close ups of the details…
Not to mention someone kept sneaking up behind me and making faces when I’m already feeling goofy enough posing for a photo. One day, to her dismay, I’m going to collect all of her weirdo background face shots and post them.
Love it! Knitting is still on my list. I've said it for years. One of these days, I'll get to it.
Hey thanks, Ninotchka. Have you joined Ravelry? It is serious motivation to learn- highly addictive.
I love this sweater!! It looks great on you and your daughter! I have to agree with you, I hate when respiration gets in the way of knitting!
Thanks, Ashlee! This was just an awesome pattern. Maybe on next one I'll not have to hold my breath so much 🙂
I love it! The cables look great and I love the collar. (Your arms do not look puffy!)
I had no idea there are different moss stitches, by the way. (I do like the american version better.) It's so confusing, just like the british and american crochet terms are so different. Can't we come up with an Esperanto version for knitting and crochet language? Life would be so much easier. 🙂
Thank you, Severien! I love the collar too. I'm starting another one with more ease and possibly a more boat neck-ish boat neck, if that makes sense. I also want to try less seaming… we'll see.