Almonds? Nipples? They are Short Rows!

Sock yarn, miles and miles of stockinette, short rows, pattern directions about 12 pages long, and an odd shaping of the garment are the hallmarks of this project, designed by the talented Atelier-alfa from Ravelry.  And, when you think you are finally getting somewhere, you hold up your beautiful project and notice OH, NOOO!  My sweater has nipples!

Let me go step by step and explain.  Sock yarn.  That means you use yarn that typically is used in knitting socks … gauge of 25 sts and 36 rows stockinette = 4″ x 4″ (10cm x 10cm).

yarn bands

Well, this garment is 30 inches from side seam to side seam (meaning 60″ around total) and hangs fairly long in the back which leads me its odd shaping.  It’s almost more poncho-like in shape with something like 64 stitches at first around the neck with a continual increase along the shoulders to near 600 stitches in ONE round as you work towards the hemline.  And, then there are these skinny sleeves sticking out done in rib with an interesting detail along the side.  You would think you would die with all that stockinette, but the striping and the very fun short rows keep you engaged, or at the very least, entertained.  And, with the garment being so boxy, you don’t need to be so fussy with the gauge.  It is the technique of short rows that gives you the decorative color patterning of the stripes.  If you’ve ever researched or have taken on short rows, there are a myriad of different directions on the how-to.  This pattern gives a website with a variety of those ways and I must admit, contains the easiest way I’ve tried, yet.  Easy because you are accomplishing all of the steps of the short row in ONE row, rather than in two.  The technique worked beautifully and will be my way of short row from now on.   Website:  http://www.socktopus.co.uk/2011/02/short-rows-shadow-wraps/

Interestingly, it was not the pattern that caught my attention to knit this.  My inspiration came  from Stacy, a fellow knitter whose project is below and I think is so pretty.

I fell so much in love with her color scheme that I knew I needed to use a bit of that neon in mine.

tipped in neon

When the body and sleeves were complete, I thought whew… done!  What is there to a neckline and hem?  So, I picked up the stitches for the recommended i-cord bind off…. neck way too loose.  Rip and repeat.  Too tight.  And, I also noticed that on both occasions, the neckline was not symmetrical.  Where the short row “almond” was, the knit fabric was pulling.  Problem.  And, when I think problem, that means shelf space  rather than wardrobe (not worn).  What could I do?

So, rather than i-cord, I picked up the number of stitches between the number of stitches that was too loose and the number that was too tight and believe it or not, continued in stockinette.  By doing this, when the knitted fabric came off the needles, it would curl naturally looking like the i-cord but would also naturally fill in and create the symmetrical neckline I so wanted.  Perfect.  The hem had the same issue so I resolved it in the same way… rolled stockinette and the knitted fabric now naturally flows where there might have been a gap making it hang and look symmetrical to the eye.

Certainly this piece needed to be photographed in a place to show off its coolness.  And, if you’ve seen my Fashionscape, you know that I am always looking for just-right places around town.  Staying in tune with local newspapers gives us location ideas.

Following such a tip, we scouted out this fabulous op-art wall alongside a coffee shop that we never knew existed in a nearby town.  Just look how the graphic lines in the sweater and hemline curve as do the lines in the mural.  Even hubby was excited during this photo shoot.

We loved the wall!
So perfect for this garment
So perfect for this garment.

I want a cup of coffee with the photographer!  OH, and the nipples?  When the sweater was finished, I laid it between two damp towels, flattened the knit carefully, and they blocked right out.