Friday, December 28, 2007

Finished: Too Much Work for Such a Small Sweater

I certainly hope the recipient of this sweater gets a lot of wear out of it, because I will not be knitting this pattern ever again.

Pattern: Trellis by Britta Stolfus Rueschhoff (spring '05 Knitty)
Yarn: Lion Brand Cotton Ease (50% cotton, 50% acrylic), color 122/Taupe, two skeins (200 g/414 yds)
Needles: 24" US 6 (4.0 mm) Addi Turbo circs
Started/Completed: October 29/December 26
Mods: used a three-needle bind off (rather than grafting) to seam the shoulders
Recipient: baby Samuel, who made his debut last week

This sweater is adorable, but it was way too much work for such a small sweater -- maybe even too much for an adult-sized sweater.

The knitting itself was fairly straightforward but required a pretty high level of attention given the cabled patterning. I cabled without a cable needle with the exception of the center cable crosses (worked over five stitches), which certainly helped speed things along. While the yarn wasn't the most pleasurable to knit with, given its high cotton content, it worked well with the pattern and makes for an extremely baby-friendly garment. The buttons are a pearlized brown plastic -- neutral but not cheap looking, in my opinion.

For those of you who might be considering knitting this sweater, here are a few words on its construction: The sweater is knit in five pieces (back, two fronts, and two sleeves). The lower hems and button bands are knit in seed stitch, and the background stitches on the cabled portions are worked in reverse stockinette. The button band stitches are placed on a holder at the beginning of the neck shaping and are later picked up and knit in seed stitch to form the collar. The two pieces of the collar are then grafted together at the back of the neck and the entire length of the collar is sewn to the neck opening.

The collar is what gave me the most trouble. I couldn't find any resource -- online or in a book -- to help me graft seed stitch, so I had to wing it. It turned out okay to the untrained eye; a more perfectionistic knitter than I would have ripped it out and tried again until it was perfect. By the time I reached this stage of the sweater, however, I just wanted it done -- and I figure that in its location at the back of the neck, that particular seam is not going to be scrutinized. I then used a row of single crochet to attach the collar to the neck opening for some added stability and shape to the top of the sweater.

So, in spite of how cute this turned out, there are several reasons why I didn't like this sweater. You all know how much I dislike seaming. With this project, I discovered that I really don't like seaming reverse stockinette. I also didn't like the way the increases in the arms looked in reverse stockinette, and I didn't like trying to seam seed stitch. I didn't like how much finishing was involved for such a small garment. That said, the amount of time I spent finishing (seaming, weaving in ends, sewing on buttons) was much less than the time I'd spend on an adult sweater, and I do love how the sweater looks. The pattern was pretty clear and easy to follow, but I'd rather spend my time knitting something else -- especially something with less work to do once the knitting is done.


  1. Anonymous10:50 AM

    At least it is out of your hair and out of your system now! I am not to the point of cabling without the cable needle yet, so I admire your skills! Then again, I've always admired your skills with the yarn.

  2. Anonymous11:01 AM

    And this is why my Trellis is a permanent (now soon to be ripped out) UFO in my home. Congrats on finishing it - it did turn out might nice.

  3. The sweater came out great, but I agree it is a of of work for the size of the project. I took this on as my very first cabled project and it took me about a year to finish it.

    Little did I know what I was in for!

  4. It is gorgeous, but yes... looks and sounds like a LOT of tedious work involved. Very very pretty! Lucky Baby!

  5. Anonymous12:54 PM

    I totally BSed the collar too. It's nice to know it just wasn't me. Your end result was great though!!! congrats!

  6. Holy crap, you deserve a medal! Seed stitch is probably my least favorite thing to do in all of knitting and all that seaming/finishing, etc. would have driven me batty. Looks great! And now, thanks to you, I know that I will NEVER EVER do this pattern :)

  7. Anonymous5:29 PM

    Geez gurl, that is gorgeous!!!!! Lionbrand yarn and produce shit like that? Must be the touch of a talented knitter like yourself!

  8. Holy finishing batman! It all seems (bahahahaha!) to have paid off, though, because the sweater looks fantastic!

    I'd go visit them. A lot. And make sure he's wearing it every single time.

  9. It is beautiful, but thanks for confirming my suspicion that I would NOT enjoy knitting this pattern either. I'm going to try the Aran sweater from Melanie Fallick's Knitting for Baby instead.

  10. All I can say is - that is one BEAUTIFUL baby sweater!!
    (At least with all the angst,time and energy you put into it - it turned out perfect!!)

  11. Anonymous6:58 PM

    Your sweater is so beautiful! It is a lot of work - that little sweater!

    I started a Trellis in September and then I got a job in October and I knew I wouldn't be able to finish it while learning a new job. I agree about all the finishing required - I was trying desperately to figure out how to knit the body in the round but I didn't feel very confident doing so.

    Your sweater turned out fabulously. What a lucky baby!

  12. Anonymous8:24 PM

    At least it's gorgeous!

  13. It's lovely, but thanks for the heads-up about the pattern irritations...I don't need a baby sweater headache at the moment, either!

  14. It looks wonderful. And well worth the work for the look

    And I appreciate your comments about the construction.

    Since it is a single colour sweater, I think I might knit it in one piece to the arm splits, knit down the sleeves after binding off the shoulders, then pick up and knit the collar with some short rows. The way I figure - that would eliminate all the seaming and grafting (evil grin).

    Of course, these are things that you only figure out after watching someone else suffer!


  15. I'll bet the finishing was a pain in the ass, but it looks like it was so worth it. Yours is one of the loveliest Trellises (Trelli?) that I've seen!

  16. It's absolutely beautiful, but thanks for your review because I'm pulling it from my queue. Maybe it's one of those patterns I should admire, but never knit. Good for you for finishing it!

  17. Anonymous1:27 PM

    I started a Trellis a couple of months ago in a beautiful soft organic cotton yarn in a turquoise colour. I LOVED it as I was making it, it was so looking so pretty and the size made it so darn cute. And I like fussy cables. It was knitting up fast and I was very pleased until... The seed stitch collar grafting. I hit it like a truck hitting a brick wall. I can't get it done right and I can't just fake it and go forward. That baby is about to grow out of the unfinished sweater. A blog suggested to make a swatch of seed stitch and knit one row in a contrasting colour and then use that swatch to follow the ins and outs for grafting. Which makes perfect sense, but I tried it and my brain doesn't seem to be able to do it.