Trial and Error

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Recently my knitting has been a lot of trial and error. I’ve been trying to knit three sweaters for the little boys in the family for gifts. I’ve got the girls sorted with Menet cardigans but the boys have been causing me a few problems.  It would have been a whole lot easier if I had decided to buy a pattern, but, as usual, I wanted to put one together. I had this idea of a lovely textured sweater in two colours and started to swatch to see which patterns I thought would work well together.  After quite a lot of false starts, I came up with these two.



I liked them a lot, but the patterns would not flow into one and other in the way I liked, the symmetry was all off. I spent a couple of days trying to modify them slightly to get the same pattern effects but with more of a flow at the transition point, but could not get anything near as pleasing as they are separately.  One of those instances where the whole was not greater than the sum of its’ parts.

So I dropped the textured bit and went for a plain stocking stitch with the same overall design idea.  I also had to drop my yarn colours when someone around here didn’t think it suited the intended recipients. I put together a mini ‘quarter’ sweater to try out the idea in some spare yarn I had floating around and came up with this version.

Mini SweaterI liked this one almost as much. It’s pretty plain but it meant that I could add a few embellishments that I wanted to use but would have been too much on the textured version. It took me another few days to write-up the pattern as I decided to knit the sweater pieces flat, and then seam them together, not my usual seamless method.  It will be much easier to add the extras that I want that way but I’m out of practice writing patterns on the flat.  I know it should be much easier, but after thinking three dimensionally for so long it was strange to think on the flat.  I also wanted to put in a button opening on the shoulder as two of the boys are quite young, so for this I needed to think very carefully about shoulder width and ultimately the sleeve cap. In the end I have decided to go with a straight drop shoulder.  I’ve always stayed away from this design for myself as I am quite small framed and the extra bulk these types of sweaters have just look too big on me, but with children, especially small children, they are so practical. They are easy to get on and off and provide a lot room for movement. So, finally, I think I’ve nailed it. I hope so because I nipped along to my LYS yesterday and bought some yarn and have started knitting.

SweaterI’m up to the colour change already so I hope the rest goes as smoothly as I am getting tight for time.  One thing about drop shoulder sweaters is there’s no thinking about shaping until you reach the neck so they do go pretty quickly.

I am supposed to have the adult cardigan, Ranger by Jared Flood, ready in time for Christmas but so far all I have done is one and a half sleeves. Another evening on this though and I should have it done and then at least I don’t have to think about sleeves for a bit.



This rib is similar to one of the samples I knitted for the textured pattern.

Cartridge rib

It’s basically a type of garter slip stitch. There are quite a few different versions, cartridge rib being another. The single version on the cardigan, put together with the wool and alpaca blend yarn makes a very thick and warm fabric. I may have to borrow it from time to time!

Oh, actually it has just occurred to me that on three boys’ sweaters there will be six sleeves to knit. Well, thank goodness two at least will be fairly small.

I think that what you see here is perhaps all the gift knitting I’m going to get done in time this year. I have just been asked to cut back the hedge at the end of my allotment as apparently the council thinks it looks ‘unruly’.  I call it a wildlife habitat, but I suppose you win some, you lose some. In all honesty I have been waiting for it to dry up a little before tackling it (my allergies don’t really like the damp at this time of year) but now I have no choice but to get stuck in. Once I get up there though I always enjoy myself so it’s no real hardship. I have also taken on some extra work to help someone out over the next couple of weeks, so I’m going to be pretty busy.

We had visitors at the weekend and one little person found my sample of Menet, the first one that I knitted.

Menet worn


If I have time, I think that another one of these may be on the horizon. At least it has no sleeves!





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