Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Folded Rectangle Sweater

Since I continue to be lazy and avoid many of the more complicated stitches, I thought I’d try making a sweater using basic knit stitches in a simple rectangular shape.

The first thing I did was calculate my gauge so I could determine how many stitches I needed for my cast on. I created a swatch using worsted yarn (4 thickness) and a pair of 8mm needles and counted the number of stitches I had in four inches of my swatch. Then I took half of my bust size and added an additional inch (so it would give me a bit of room within the sweater). I divided that number by 4 (the number of inches I used to count my stitches). Then I multiplied that number by the number of stitches I had in my 4 inch gauge. That gave me the number of stitches for my cast on (except I had to make that number a multiple of 4 plus 2 extra stitches so that my ribbing would be correct).

So I cast on my stitches. Next I created a 2x2 rib over the next twenty rows. After that I knit a stockinette pattern, while randomly adding knit rows (when it was going to be a purl row) throughout the piece to give it some extra texture. On a scrap piece of paper I marked every row I made as well as a special mark every time I added an additional knit row. I thought that this sweater would hit me around the waist, so I continued knitting until I thought it was long enough for my torso and bound off. My grand total of rows was 134 (about 18 inches in height).

With the front side of my sweater finished, I repeated everything for the backside of my sweater. I knitted every row as I had on the front side; I marked each row on a scrap piece of paper, matching it to the front side’s scrap piece of paper marks.

So I had these completed vertical rectangles that I had to sew together somehow. I sewed them together at the top outer edges at the shoulders, leaving an opening large enough for my head (mine was about 9 inches). Then I sewed up the sides of the sweater leaving openings for my arms (mine was about 9 inches). Finally, I turned the knitted section at the top of the shoulder inward (about 1½ inch) and sewed it down to stay in place.

I didn’t sew everything together perfectly (and there’s probably a better way to do this than what I did), but I just did what made sense to me at the time. Shaping the sweater would have made it look better, but my goal was to make a simple sweater using just a basic rectangle shape. I thought of the knitted rectangle pieces as fabric that I could combine and fold in a way to make it more interesting. It’s not a fitted sweater, but it has a more fitted look if I wear a belt on top of it…problem solved.

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