Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Heartbeat Sweater

With a little trepidation I started a Knit-along for the Heartbeat Sweater from Just One More Row. One knitter mentioned a problem with the neckline being too wide and deep, and after my experience with the Sprinkle Lace Cardigan I wasn't anxious to deal with that again! But the pattern looked like it was easily adjustable, it seemed like a quick and easy knit (compared to the barely visible yarn for my current lace project), and there was even yarn in my stash that seemed suitable, so why not?

Heartbeat Sweater by Jill Vosburg, Just One More Row
Yarn: Filatura Lanarota Luxor D.K. (50% cotton, 50% Acrylic)
Needles: Denise Size 6
Gauge: 5 sts/inch
Yardage: approx. 1200 yds for 48" size

The construction of this sweater is very unusual. It begins at the center neckline and is knit outwards, with vertical side panels in garter stitch, and sleeves knit onto the side panels. The pattern is very well written, with a large number of diagrams – and thank goodness for those, because I had the whole front nearly finished before I could figure out how this bizarre shape was going to turn into a sweater! (I find that a certain amount of faith is sometimes necessary in knitting.)

Because of the design of the sweater, there are no exact measurements in the pattern – you have to take measurements (Jill recommends measuring a garment that fits you well), and from time to time there are reassuring comments like "Don't worry, the side panels will allow you to adjust the fit exactly to your size." It is possible to try it on as you go, so adjustments can be made at various points without major surgery (for yourself or the sweater).

Because I was concerned about the neckline, which is sometimes a problem with patterns written for smaller sizes and calculated proportionally for larger sizes, I followed the suggestion of one knitter in the Knit-along (I'm sorry, I don't remember who it was) and added a few extra increases on each side at the top, though it might not have been necessary.

The only other modification I made was to make the sweater a little longer than shown in the picture, so my yardage was more than the estimate for that size, even though the gauge was the same.

The Denise needles were perfect for this project, since at several different times you are instructed to slip stitches onto a holder or smooth string. With the Denise needles and several extra cables it is possible just to detach the needle tips, screw on a cap, and leave the stitches on a cable until you are ready to continue with that section. Then unscrew the cap, put the needle tip back on, and knit away.

Finishing is easy, since you use a 3-needle bind-off to join the sides. The one thing I found annoying was a seemingly endless array of ends to weave in. The truth is that I am spoiled – I have done a lot of knitting recently with yarn on cones (so there is no need to join yarn from separate skeins), and even when knitting with smaller skeins I generally use animal fibers that I can join with a spit-splice, and hence no ends. Since this yarn was a cotton blend in 130-yd. balls, there were lots of ends, and that is always my least favorite part of any project (aside from sewing pieces together).

I enjoyed knitting this sweater, I like the style, and I like the way it fits. So the only question in my mind is what yarn to use on the next one... maybe something variegated, like the one shown in the pattern photo.


Gill said...

That's lovely! I've had a couple of goes at Just One More Row patterns, but have tried them both in cotton which has sagged quite badly. I reaaly like the look of yours.

FugueStateKnits said...

Thank you so much for posting your picture with the Heartbeat Sweater. It appears to be a project that will lend itself well to improvisation. I got the pattern about 10 days ago and have been peeking at it, intrigued by how unusual it is. Should be fun. You look terrific in it - I have an unusual yarn that I think will be fun to try with this pattern. Again, thanks for posting the picture - looks wonderful!
Take care,
Joan a/k/a fSK