Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shalom Tips 1

You guys are awesome!

I never expected such a warm reception for my first pattern. At last check, 333 people have queued the Shalom Cardigan on Ravelry, and over 1,000 people have stopped by the blog to check it out this week! I'm so flattered, and can't thank you all enough for your generous comments.

I'd like to help people make their own sweaters by posting some tips and tutorials on my blog. Shalom is a free pattern in part because I didn't bother making size adjustments--it's just one-size-fits-meghan. But don't be disheartened, you can totally modify this pattern to fit your body. And, I think it will be flattering on a variety of body types. Think of it as my challenge to you. Everyone likes a good challenge, right? I also really encourage people to share their modifications, yarn selection, etc. to help others make good knitting choices.

Tip #1: Yardage

I just learned the other day how to estimate yarn yardage for a sweater. First, measure out 10 yards (or meters) of your yarn. Weigh this bundle on an accurate scale, and weigh your finished sweater. Divide the sweater weight by the 10 yard weight, and multiply by 10. I took Shalom into work today and calculated that I used about 440 yards of yarn, give or take. This means that you'll need about 440 yards of bulky weight yarn, or twice as much light worsted or DK weight yarn if you intend to double (as I did). I have added this to the Ravelry entry, and will include it in the pattern when I get a chance.

Tip #2: Reclaiming Sweater Yarn

I have mentioned this before, but I'll say it again for good measure. There are some excellent tutorials out there for reclaiming yarn from thrift store sweaters. If you're thinking of using recycled yarn for Shalom like I did, here are a few things to keep in mind. Look for something that feels nice, and that isn’t felted or pilled. Try pulling at a yarn discretely to make sure it will move. I tend to avoid synthetic fibers, but that's just a matter of personal taste. As far as size–the bigger the better. I think the one I got was a men’s sweater, a couple sizes bigger than I would normally wear–but I wasn’t swimming in it. It had long sleeves–which is great, cause there’s a lot of yarn in sleeves, and I knew I was making something sleeveless. If you’re worried about having enough yarn, you could also consider getting two sweaters to unravel with colors that would look nice together (perhaps subtle variations of the same color) then using a strand of each in the Shalom Cardigan. I think that would look really great, and have been thinking about using something like that for an upcoming sweater.

Tip #3: Felting broken strands of yarn together

If you do decide to use reclaimed yarn, you might find yourself having many random lengths of yarn rather than one or two beautiful skeins. If you're like me, you probably hate weaving in ends. I learned this tip by reading Pamela's blog, Flint Knits. If you're working with a wool-based yarn, you can seamlessly join two pieces of yarn by felting. First, you want to prepare the ends by making them tapered. My yarn had two plies, so I ripped (no scissors!) one ply to make it about 2-3" shorter than the other ply, and did the same for the second end. I would then twist them together, and rub them together briskly in my moist palm (you can moisten with saliva, or water, if the idea saliva grosses you out). Give it a try some time, and you'll never want to weave in an end again!

Tip #4: Join Ravelry

Chances are, if you found my website, you're already on Ravelry. If you're not, go join now! You'll find a whole community of knitters willing to share information and help you out. You'll also (if everything goes well) eventually be able to see Shalom knitted by different people in different sizes.

Tip #5: Resizing Shalom

I'm about to run out the door to attend a dinner party, so I won't get into the knitty gritty details just yet on this one. In my next post, I plan to include a detailed schematic for Shalom, including many, many measurements. This should give you an idea of where you need to make adjustments. I also plan to talk about how I went about making the design--especially the yoke, which took more figuring than the body. In the mean time, I will once again recommend books by Elizabeth Zimmerman, who speaks wittily and plainly about knitting techniques and design. Writing knitting patterns is all about math--her books will really help demystify this process. In the mean time, go find some yarn, make some swatches, and figure out your measurements.

Check back soon for the next installment, and keep the questions coming!


Mrs. MK said...

Thank you so much!! I am so excited to make my own 'Shalom'!!

Mrs. B said...

I just loved this cardigan and started it 2 days ago...the only problem I had was when I got to row 79, I realized the cardigan was too small in the bust area...I am a size 38, so I am ripping out and starting over...I will be adding 20 more stitches...I just hope that won't throw off the pattern...if you have any suggestions on re-sizing, I would appreciate the help, as I have only been knitting for about 6 months (I have knitted over 20 pairs of socks, but this is a whole different type of pattern). Any way, any help on re-sizing would be helpful...I just hate to work the pattern with the extra stitches and then have to tear them out because of my error in figuring the aamt of stitched needed.
Thanks again.

Meghan said...

Mrs. B,

You didn't leave me any way to contact you, so I'll reply here instead and hope you find it. As I have not worked out different sizes for the pattern, my best advice would be to check out the shalom page on A number of people have resized the pattern, and some of them offer helpful hints on their project pages.


mkc said...

I have having difficulty with row 8
I can't seem to get to 107 stitches. With only 8 stitches remaining after the first increases, to do the M1, K1 (3 times) and then M1, K5, there are not enough stitches. It seem there should be 12. What am I doing wrong? Any ideas? Marian

Lisa said...

I'm having the same problem with row 8. Also, I'm not understanding why there is a two stitch cast on at the end of row 7 as this leaves a hole and I have already created a button hole in row 6. Thanks!

Deborah Ellis said...

Great pattern - I've been looking for something to inspire me to knit up some yarn my mother-in-law gave me and this is it! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ola bom dia
amei conhecer seu blog
o trabalho ta lindo

♥ Helena ♥ said...

Ola bom dia
amei conhecer seu blog
o trabalho ta lindo

connie said...

I love the look of the cardigan,but I need to make it for size xl. If there is any tricks would love to know them.Thanks

KnitKat said...

I love this sweater and can't wait to wear it.
I too am having difficulty with row 8
I can't seem to get to 107 stitches. With only 8 stitches remaining after the first increases, to do the M1, K1 (3 times) and then M1, K5, there are not enough stitches. Based on others issues with the same row, can you make some suggestions as to what am I doing wrong?

debstipdonk said...

I am having trouble finding what "Make 1" means. Do you mean just to cast on one? Or knit into the back, then front to increase?

Brandi Lee said...

I am so excited to make this, but I am also having a hard time making 107 stitches on row 8. What do I need to do?

Tamara said...

I too am having problems with row 8. I coasted on 76 stitches and should have 123 stitches but can not even get to 100 stitches. I've done it twice. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance.

Elle said...

Please, please send the English pattern, I really want to try it.
Thank you!