Over on my Facebook page I am organizing a sweater along! I know there are many of you wanting to knit your first sweater but are feeling nervous or unsure so I have planned a sweater KAL specifically with first time sweater knitters in mind, but also a fun knit for you sweater veterans out there!
The sweater that I have chosen for this event is the Wash-ashore Pullover designed by my talented friend Annie Lupton of BohoFiberChic. This sweater was originally designed featuring my Plush Single yarn base for Taproot Magazine issue 39 : Tides and is now available on Ravelry and Annie's website. I've been sharing this pattern for a couple of years and have knit two myself so many of you might already have this pattern in your library!
Wash-ashore is a top down yoke pullover knit in the round, from the top down using Plush Single held double or any DK weight yarn including Plush DK or Cottage DK if you prefer a non superwash yarn. I love DK weight sweaters the most because they knit up quickly and are still relatively lightweight.
I have picked this sweater for our KAL because it has an excellent size range, it is a very clear and well written pattern that has been tech edited and test knit. It features Germain short rows on the neck and includes very concise directions- short rows are an absolute must for knitting a well fitting sweater. Other skills needed to knit this sweater includes knitting and purling, M1L and M1R, Yarn Overs, K2tog and ssk. These are all easy to use skills and if you need some help with any of them I can provide references.
The yoke of this sweater has a fun and easy texture pattern of yarn overs and ribbing using a twisted knit stitch and purls. The twisted knit stitch is very easy to make and gives you the look of ribbing without pulling your sweater in. The increases are worked in-between the ribbing and yarn overs.
Wash-Ashore goes up to a 70" bust with recommended 4-8" of positive ease. The original design is cropped- as I have shown here, but it is easily modified to have a full length.
To determine what size you will be knitting, you'll need to measure the widest part of your chest circumference while wearing the undergarments that you intend to wear with the sweater. You can do this using a soft measuring tape, but if you don't have one around, use a piece of string or yarn and then measure the string on a ruler or standard measuring tape. You are going to take this measurement and compare it to the finished dimensions in the pattern. For example, my bust is 45"- if I want a snugger fitting sweater, maybe with some waist shaping, I would choose the 4th size, 46" which would give me 1" of positive ease. If I wanted to knit a boxy cropped sweater, I would go up to the 6th size and have 9" of positive ease.
Once you've decided on the size that you'll be knitting, you will look at the materials section of the pattern and see how many yardages of yarn you will need. For example, if I was going to knit the 6th size with 9" of ease and I planned to keep the sweater cropped as the pattern states, I would need 2275 yards of yarn. If you plan to use Plush Single held double, as the pattern was originally designed for, then the amount of skeins that you will need is already listed- in the case of the 6th size I would need 6 skeins.
If you intend to use a different DK weight yarn, you'll want to take the yardage requirements, and then divide it by the yardage of the skein you want to use. If you are using a different yarn, like Cottage DK or Plush DK for example.
If I plan to knit the 6th size using Cottage DK, which is 246 yards a skein then I would divide 2275 by 246 then I would need 10 because I need to round up to make sure that I have enough yarn to swatch and I don't want to play yarn chicken. You should also note that by using a different yarn base than the original pattern recommends might mean having to use a different needles size to obtain the correct gauge. I've put together a chart for quick reference to see how much yarn you will need depending on the base.
For first time sweater knitters, I would suggest using the recommended yarn. There will be less experimenting and trail and error, and number crunching. Just something to consider...
Figuring out how much yarn you will need to lengthen the sweater is possible, but it involves math and a gauge swatch. If you are interested in finding out exactly how much more yarn you'll need for the exact amount of inches added to your sweater then you call follow the directions in this blog post by Kate Davies.
I am going to knit a longer sweater using my Plush Single base, I am going to use the 5th size because I like the amount of ease I had on the first version I knit. I plan to add two extra skeins for my extra length which will give me more than enough yarn- I can probably get away with one extra skein but I want to be sure. I'm not going to be adding a ton of length to my sweater, I just want to make sure the bottom of my sweater tucks into my overalls- which is what I intend to wear this sweater with primarily. If you are intending to add length to your sweater think about how much ease you're working with- you don't want to have a long sweater with a lot of ease because the fit will not be as flattering. Resist the urge to make yourself a huge sweater because you are nervous about the fit. Instead maybe look at the measurements on some of your favorite fitting clothes already in your closet and compare the ease/body length to make your final decision.
The first Wash-Ashore sweater I knit using Plush Single held double using my Fireworks colorway. I made the 5th size and didn't make any modifications. It's a great fit for me and I love to wear it over my notperfectlinen empire waist dresses. I ended up overdyeing this sweater because I didn't use yarn from the same dye lot and the last couple of skeins were from the seconds bin. I didn't mind the color shift when I was knitting it up, but later when I was wearing the sweater it was bugging me so I overdyed it in my Rust colorway.
The second Wash-ashore sweater I knit I made for my middle who was 9 at the time. For that sweater I used Cottage DK in the colorway Queen Ann's Lace. I knit it up using the smallest size and went down a needle size. I also made some modifications to the sleeve, increasing the amount of decreases to make the sleeve together and shorter. I just followed my instinct for the modifications and did lots of fit checks!
Ok- I think that's a pretty good start to get your gears turning. I don't have any set time frames for the KAL- I want to keep it moving at a good pace while giving everyone enough time to knit the size that they intend. I want this to be productive but relaxed so we will have frequent check in's and meet ups via my Facebook page and here on the blog. From here you will need to gather your supplies- yarn, needles, the pattern. If you would like to purchase yarn from me for your project please use coupon code KAL for 15% off your order, and orders over $150 ship free in the US with no code needed. Our next check in will be about gauge swatching. I'll go over the who, what, when, where, and why's in my next post! If you have any questions- please reach out anytime.