Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Margaret - Chapter Two

I have Margaret back on the needles. Even though I was a little reluctant to return to Margaret at some point, I am very pleased that I did return and that I made the top again.

When I finished the top for the first time I knew what was wrong but I did not right away know what I was to do with the mistakes and how to improve the fit. I was concerned that if I rip the upper part I would repeat the same mistakes since I would not have anything to compare it with. I would have good pictures and some notes but then would that be enough.

I am really slow and realizing the solutions that seem to be very obvious from the very beginning takes time but it did occur to me finally that I called the old top a swatch. Now that I had really done a swatch of serious proportions I would be fool to ignore it and toss it away.

So I took the scissors and cut (felt good!) the old upper part off and after some
tedious cleaning of the cut edge, I had the stitches back on the long circular and I had a swatch to work with. I could have snipped the yarn and carefully just picked one row. Actually I tried that, but this yarn is not smooth and stitches tend to grab strongly onto each other making this method very difficult. This is like Shetland wool, perfect for steeking.

Now it was easier to focus on the improvements.

The armholes were too big or too long and the shoulders too wide.

Elizabeth Zimmermann advises in her book "Knitting Witho
ut Tears" to knit 1-2 inches straight without any decreases after the sleeves and the main body are on the same needle to give enough room for the arms. I eliminated all that and started my decreases straight away. This time around I was careful with the stitches and paid attention to EZ's instructions about the direction of decreases and had the decrease line continue nicely from one part onto another. I did a couple of more decreases in the main part in the beginning and also in the sleeves in order to have narrower bands on the shoulders.

I have been thinking about the shoulder construction a bit. I have been considering of adding some extra support there in some way and I think I found some kind of a solution: I knit the bands with smaller needles; where I in the body knit with 3 mm's, I
knit the shoulders with 2,5 mm's. Now they have some added strength without having any added bulk in the form of seams.

The fit this time around is a lot better and somehow this returned my faith in this cardigan and I am happy to continue with the skirt.

Which really will take a very long time to knit.


PS: I did nothing fancy with the Trystero Socks toes, except purled one row with red, where in the original pattern the purl row is done with the same yarn as the rest of the sock and I added few rows to the toe in between the decrease rows to accommodate my long and pointy toes.


  1. This helps me with the sleeves on my Yank - same book, different designer but same big sleeves.

  2. Thank you for writing of this challenge with Margaret, and I find it helpful to read about the struggles of a knitter.

  3. Margaret look lovely. Lady Margaret, I would say.

  4. I think knitting the saddles on smaller needles is pure genius--I intend to copy your idea for the husband sweater I'm making right now! You'll have a beautiful Margaret for all your hard work, I just know it.

  5. I'm in the middle of my 3rd try on a too-big sleeve (too-big armhole)on a Salish sweater I am knitting. I am going to try this time the same method of decreasing a fair amount right away to get the sleeve width under control. I like your idea of keeping the mistake portion, so I think I may use that idea by making try 3 on the sleeve that I haven't started yet. That way I can try the start on and see how it compares. Thanks!

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