There’s been enough interest in a knit-along for the spiral sweater that I’m going to go ahead and try to get this thing off the ground. The first thing you’ll have to do if you want to knit a sweater is pick out the yarn. If you spin, you can spin your own crazy color scheme the way I did, or you can search your stash, or you can buy something fresh and new.
I’m going to use some stash yarn this time around – I bought a big pile of Kauni during the crazy rush after the two-color cardigan ran around the blogs. I actually bought enough for two different sweaters, and I’m going to keep the rainbow one in stash.
I think this sweater could be very nice in a solid color yarn, but I do think the long-changing colors make a bigger impact. I know I have more than enough here for a single-layer sweater. After all, when I bought the yarn, I was planning a stranded two-color knit. I’ve got four 140-gram skeins, adding up to about 2240 meters. I’ll have plenty for the sweater, plus some swatches, and even probably enough to start the sleeves at the same point in the colorway.
Now, how much will *you* need? Oh, the variables. There are some great charts out there giving yardage estimates. This one has some pretty good numbers on it. It depends on what weight yarn you choose, and it depends on what size sweater you want, and it depends on how much swatching you’ll want to do. I’ll tell you this – we probably won’t need much swatching yarn, as the very beginning of the sweater counts as a swatch, and we’ll be using it that way. Lace patterns stretch the yarn out a bit – you’ll need slightly less for each hole left open. It’s a v-neck, which cuts a little triangle of fabric out of the total yarn necessary as well.
I like to buy a little more than I think I’ll need just for peace of mind. Most local yarn shops are pretty good about taking unused skeins back in good condition and with a receipt within a reasonable amount of time. We can discuss this further if you’re in doubt of have questions. More about that in a minute.
Now on to which yarn you might want to dig out of your stash or buy… Noro Kureyon and Silk Garden are somewhat obvious choices. A few others come to my mind. Berroco Jasper is lovely, soft merino and beautiful colors, but the price is a bit dear. Nashua’s Wooly Stripes is also very soft merino, with slightly longer stripes than Jasper. Crystal Palace Yarns just came out with Mochi Plus, which just came into the Yarnery. Those three are all fairly similar.
There are a bunch of other lovely variegated yarns out there. A worsted-weight will knit up fairly quickly. If you’ve always wanted to buy an entire bag of a stripey sock yarn, now would be your chance for that too. I can’t wait to hear what you all choose!
Now, on to the organizational part for a moment. I think we need a group and forum on Ravelry for this discussion. I’m going to continue posting assignments on the blog here, but I think it would be easier for people to keep track of ongoing discussions over on Ravelry, not to mention posting links to pictures and yarns. I’ll go and set the group up – my first time doing that! But I do need some help with the Ravelry user names to include in the invites. Would you please either e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment with your user name, and I’ll send you an invite if you want one?
Oh, and I want to respond to a couple of comments on the sweater. First, thanks again for the amazingly positive response! Second, I love all the ideas of how you might tweak the concept in your own knit. That’s definitely encouraged.
One commenter asked if this could be converted to a cardigan. Well, I have to say that it’s probably possible in some way, but I don’t think I’d recommend it. At least not in its current form. It really is meant to be knit kind of in the round, and splitting it down the front would sort of ruin the lines. I’m a huge fan of cardigans myself, and tend to knit them before pullovers. This design just wouldn’t get out of my head, though, so I stuck with it. I think if I were going to knit something like this as a cardigan, I would skip the spiral bit and just knit the main body in one piece side-to-side, all the panels at once. you could then pick up stitches and knit the yoke just like I did and get a similar effect. If you want to do that and join the knit-along, fine by me! We can talk about it more, and I can draw a little schematic.
Another commenter said that she wished I’d kept the spiral theme going in the arms instead of just running the design up the sleeves. I considered that option, and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying it if they wanted to. I chose to do the sleeves the standard way for a couple of reasons.
I wasn’t sure how the spiraling seams would bend and flex in a sleeve situation, and I didn’t want to have an uncomfortable line of solid fabric where the elbow stretches. Having knit one up, I’m not sure that’d be such a huge problem, but the added bulk at the underarm might be.
Also, I think that the spiral around the arms might have kind of fought with the spiral around the body. There is a lot going on in this here sweater, and keeping the sleeves a little more simple seemed right to me.
Oh, and I really wanted to run that line of patterning right up over the shoulder to the neckline, and it wouldn’t have worked out that way with a spiral up the sleeve.
Plus, honestly, after knitting that spiral body, I was ready to knit around and around without turning to purl for a while on the sleeves. It made them less mindful and a little more portable.
Finally, I think there probably is a fancier/different/perhaps better way to do the yoke. I had a slightly different idea in mind at the beginning, but it was half-assed and I still haven’t figured out a way to implement it without going insane, despite an ongoing conversation with one of the master knitters at the store where I work, and constant back-of-my-mind pondering. I would love to hear your ideas on that one too!
I’m sitting on my couch surrounded by stitch pattern books once more, and I hope to have the original stitch pattern charted out for you and a couple more recommended options to choose from by early next week. You should feel free to flip through your own pattern books and think about patterns that appeal to you.