Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Breaking ALL the rules with the February Lady Sweater

Apologies to all the non-knitters.
This is a very geeky post, heavy with knit-speak
but wildly compelling to all those of us who understand the lingo.
 Trust us. Simply riveting.

Everyone else should just admire the pretty pictures.

We need a sweet white cropped cardigan to wear to an outdoor wedding next month. We considered a shawl but shawls can sometimes be difficult to hang onto. Nope, a cardigan is what we need. We also want something light and lacey. Something that's going to the February Lady Sweater. But the FLS is made of worsted weight wool and we wanted something lighter. We also don't expect to wear this more than a couple of times. Tops.

We had our Eureeeeka! moment when we read that acrylic yarn isn't necessarily off-limits for lace knitting. We were really excited to read about killing the acrylic without reducing it to a melted mess. It really can be done. So, off we went to the nearest WalMart and bought the stuff that most knitters wouldn't kick out of their way for such a project ..... We bought Bernat Softee Baby which is a sport weight ... fully washable .... and intended for baby wear.  Less than 10 bucks and an easy knit.

We used the February Lady Sweater that we knit previously as a guide and knit a swatch of the garter stitch and of the lace pattern. We "killed" the swatches (more info to follow) and used that as a guide for how many stitches to cast on.

Because this is for a very special occasion, we wanted to knit in some beads. We went with red ones (to match the dress underneath) a couple of rows before the lace starts with a bead centred over each lace repeat. Simple.

We had one reservation about the FLS after we finished our first one and that is that it has the fly-away front that tends to make us pear-shaped ladies look even more....well....pear-shaped. We devised a plan for this, too. Each pattern of the Gull Lace begins and ends with a knit stitch and that means there is  the perfect opportunity to insert a purl stitch that is hardly seen but will increase the circumference of the skirt of the sweater. We calculated we needed about 6 extra stitches and we figured out where to place them strategically so that when we got to the place (a couple of inches below the bustline) where we wanted to begin the increases, we just made an extra stitch on the 4th row of the lace stitch pattern .... the wrong side row. This works REALLY well and is hardly noticeable. We marked one of them in green in this photo.

We cropped the body and sleeves a little. Making it even quicker to knit than the original. Genius!

Next came the "killing". This part was a little nerve-wracking. Once killed, it can never be revived so you have to make sure it's blocked exactly as you want it before you steam it. On the upside, it shouldn't need reblocking after washing as wool garments do. The best reference we found is BeadKnitter Gallery. We went slowly and did it in stages becoming ever more aggressive until we were happy with it. In this photo you can see how we have it pinned out on the ironing board with the wrong side up and you can clearly see the increases.

Grandma Coco is counting this one as a victory!!

Copyright © Cheryl Coville 2011

Remember .... We are not sheep. We do not need to follow the herd (or the rules!)


  1. Ooh! Very cute! Bet it's nice to have that dress form back from whoever borrowed it for so long. ;)

  2. Not a knitter myself, but I appreciate the work that goes into it. :D This is beautiful

  3. Awesome!!!

    Stay inspired!

  4. Great job. Should be perfect for the wedding.

  5. Looks fab! I did that to 2 scarves I knitted previously.


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