Knitting a sweater from the top or collar down unfolds like a puzzle. The work is done in one piece with only one seam on each sleeve. The raglan sleeves come out neatly aligned. The sleeves are knit from the yolk and fit in naturally at the shoulder . The length of the sleeves is easily adjusted just above the cuff. Lo and behold! The sweater comes together when the front pieces and the back are joined together and knit as one. In a final step a border is added by picking up stitches from the bottom of one side up and across the neck and down the the opposite edge.This sweater presented a challenge, and I am so pleased that I met my goal.
After a couple of months of crochet, I decided to take on knitting again. My mission was two-fold. I wanted to tackle the top down sweater from Ann Norland's pattern in my personal yarn pattern library. (Kid's Basic Top Down Raglan).
Secondly I wanted to incorporate two skeins of self-striping white, pink, and gray Sweet Roll into my project. The sweater will be for my granddaughter, but she will not be able to wear it for several months.
Ann Norling patterns are usually purchased in specialty yarn shops. I bought mine at the Yarn Barn in Woodbridge, Connecticut. A special feature of this pattern and many others by the designer is that she offers several designs and several sizes while showing the knitting how to adjust stitches and rows for different yarn weights. With my pattern I could construct, both a v neck and round neck cardigan as well as a v neck and round neck sweater. The same pattern also showed me how to knit from Dk to bulky yarn. The yarn for my project was worsted that required size 7 and size 9 needles. The stitch gauge called for 4..5 stitches to the inch. While many of Ann Norland's patterns are listed on Ravelry, there does nor seem to be an easy way to access the actual pattern. The project will work with any top down sweater pattern for worsted weight yarn. This was the pattern that I had on hand.
I started my sweater at the collar and yoke by pulling out the pink strand from the center of my Sweet Roll cake. The pink came to an end, and to complete the yoke I knit one large stripe of white, followed by a band of gray. Then the directions called for me to put most of the sweater on spare needles or yarn holders. As I began knitting the first sleeve, the color change to that luscious pink came right the point where the upper part the sleeve starts.. Remember, since this is a top down project, the knitter knits the sleeve at its widest at the under arm point. I was able to knit in pink all the way down to the cuff where I naturally made the change to white. I shortened the sleeve length by 3/4 inch because I find that knitted sleeves are much to long for the children in my family. With this change, I was able to start the white right where I began the ribbing for the cuff.
When I began the second sleeve, I had a decision to make. If I used the yarns as they came off the cake, the second sleeve would not match the first. The colors were revealing themselves. but where they would stop and start on the sweater remained a potential mystery. I did not even know where the colors would appear on the body. My other option was to cut into the yarn so that the second sleeve would have the same length of pink as the first. Then I could adjust the yarn at the cuff. I had already knitted a traditional cardigan with self-striping yarn in shades of white to light and dark gray. I let the colors fall naturally, and I ended up with an interesting, but quirky piece. Therefore, I chose the symmetrical path this time. I would lose the feature of the yarn that did not require joining, but I would gain control over the color placement.
The controlled approach yielded a sweater in which the stripes matched at key points. I adore the kitty cat buttons in pink and gray on a white background. With some more cutting and joining I had enough yarn for a hat. I could still make a matching headband/ ear warmer with a flower for days when it might be too warm for the hat. Anyway, you be the judge. Self-striping yarn is for knitters, too. I look forward to the time that my granddaughter is big enough to wear my creation. I know that I will try my hand at other knitted pieces in self-striping yarn. As a knitter, how do you treat self-striping yarns? What are your strategies. Please share your comments and photos.