Behind the design

When I was designing this Saddle Up

… I had a vague picture in my head, of another sweater. I knew it was an Elizabeth Zimmermann design and every once in a while I would wonder where I had seen it. I didn’t look for it, I just kept it there in my head. Yesterday I rooted around in my book library and I found it here.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/knitting-workshop-updated-edition

It was the Gaffer’s Gansey.

Now that I’m looking at this sweater, I’m chuckling to myself as I see that it doesn’t really resemble my finished pattern. But the starting point was there. It was the sideways garter stitch saddle that caught my attention years ago and recently popped into my head again. The saddle idea would not go away. It needed to be knit.

The gansey above is knit bottom up with the saddles worked last. My Saddle Up is turned on its head. It’s worked mostly top down, for any gauge of yarn, and for any size. The saddle is worked first, from one shoulder to the other. The width of the saddle is used to determine the final size of the pullover. Then stitches are picked up off of the edges of the saddle and the rest of the pullover is knit down.

It’s curious how the mind works. I started with a very vague idea about that garter stitch saddle and then wondered how I could make it Gauge-Free and for any size. There we have it, two sweaters with similar saddles but each worked with a different style of construction.

I hope you are also enjoying your knitting through this cold winter. Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Cables almost done

I’m on my last Saddle Up. I’ve made some progress on this one and am almost to the bottom border. Don’t sweaters look oddly proportioned at this point? I did a fitting with my son and he’s happy with it.

I think the big centre pattern is very impressive. It’s Cable #119 in the Knitted Cable Sourcebook by Norah Gaughan. It’s as complicated as it looks, but so rewarding to knit. My son is a skate- and snowboarder. I think this pattern reflects that – at least it does for me.

Next I’m going to do the neckband and then on to the sleeves, which will take a little while. As I do that I’ll be thinking about my next project.

Hmm, should I do a shawl or finish the striped V-neck cardigan? I’m leaning towards the cardigan, since shawls feel like a spring project to me.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

I-Cords, Built-In

Do you know how I-cords work? They are a little bit of knitting magic. When paired with Garter Stitch they do all sorts of good things.

First, 2 or 3 stitches of I-Cord on the outside edges of garter stitch give it a tidy finish. This is sometimes called a Built-in I-cord because you work the I-cord edge as you knit the garter stitch fabric.

Secondly, because these outside stitches are slipped every other row, they give the edge stability. They are a tiny bit shorter because they are not worked every row. These I-cord stitches hold the edges firmly so the edge won’t stretch.

A small sample showing 2-stitch built-in I-cord. It looks the same on both the right side and the wrong side.

Garter Stitch with 2-stitch I-Cord edge: Knit to last 2 sts, bring yarn forward, slip the last 2 sts. This row is worked over and over, on both the right side and wrong side of the fabric.

When you slip the last 2 sts, your yarn is attached to the 3rd stitch in from the tip of the needle because that was the last stitch you knit. So what happens in the next row? You need to pull the wool across the back of your work, from the third stitch to the first stitch so you can knit the row. This pulls the first stitch around towards the back of your work, as you knit it.

On one edge the second I-cord stitch rolls to the back. On the other edge the second I-cord stitch rolls to the front.

Because these two stitches are slipped every other row they look like stockinette stitch. A 2-stitch I-cord is the tiniest tube you can knit around the edge of your garter stitch fabric.

The Saddle Up pullover begins with a Garter Stitch Saddle with I-cord edges, of course.

The Saddle begins at the left shoulder and is worked across to the the right shoulder, with a hole for your head in the middle. Pretty straight forward, right?

But that’s not all there is to it, of course. That would be way too easy. There is another way of working the 2-stitch I-cord.

There are occasions when you would like both the I-cord stitches to be rolling to the wrong side of your work. This can be done, too. The Saddle uses this technique for the Back of Neck stitches.

On both edges the second I-cord stitch rolls to the wrong side of the fabric.

2-Stitch I-Cord rolling to the wrong side: Right Side Row: Knit to last 2 sts, leave yarn in the back, slip last 2 sts. Wrong Side Row: Purl 2 sts, knit to last 2 sts, yarn forward, slip last 2 sts.

What is that line down the middle of the Saddle? The shoulders of the Saddle for this pullover need a lot of extra stability since the sleeve will be trying to pull it down. So I added some non-stretchy stitches right down the centre. It looks like an I-Cord but it isn’t. The middle 2 stitches are slipped every other row and work the same way, in that these 2 stitches are a tiny bit shorter and won’t stretch. Thanks L for pointing this out.

There is one more reason for all this I-Cord business. A 2-stitch I-Cord gives you a sideways stockinette stitch for every garter ridge. In the Saddle Up pullover, stitches are picked up & knit along the bottom edge of the Saddle to form the Front which is worked flat, down to the bottom of the armhole. If you pick up & knit into the I-Cord stitch that has rolled to the back the Saddle, you get a very lovely line of stitches running between the Saddle and the Front. It will never stretch and it’s so very neat and tidy. Don’t you think?

I’ve done the pick up & knit into the I-cord across the bottom edge of the Saddle and have started my cables down the Front.
I picked up & knit along the I-cord stitches on bottom edge of the Back of the Saddle and worked stockinette stitch down the Back.

You can add I-cord stitches to any garter stitch project. You may get to love them as much as I do.

Are you are interested in knitting this Saddle Up, drop shoulder pullover with me? I’m publishing each section as I get it done and tested. I’ll update the pattern with each new section as we go along. The Saddle section is up for sale.

I’m interested in any comments, corrections or problems you have with this pattern. I’ve included lots of photos and my blog posts will be featuring this pullover for the next month. Happy to have you join me.

Cheers, Deb

Any Gauge and Gauge-Free patterns by Deb

Debgemmellmods group on ravelry

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