Progressive Journal of a Hand Knitted Norwegian Sweater Project

Hand Knits by Peg's Knitting Arnoldussen
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Completed sweater on rightful owner

12 January 2011: My son, who had never liked sweaters, suddenly got the urge to request a Norwegian pullover. My husband takes partial credit for this, claiming he talked the stubborn kid into it. That's probably true, but no one talks Andy into anything he doesn't want to do. Therefore, I'm encouraged.

It's been several years since I've knitted one of these things, mostly because there's been no need. Everyone in the family who wanted one has got at least one. I have a little stash of Peer Gynt yarn. Some phone calls and web searches kind of came up dry. No local stores carry Peer Gynt or do business with Swedish Yarn Imports. An internet search produced few results and no bargains. I decided to mix what I've got with Dale Heilo. There's a slight weight difference, but I can adjust for that (I hope). I ordered Heilo from Yarns By Design and it arrived yesterday. I picked it up today -- 15 skeins of black at a cost of almost $90. Did I mention son wants a black and white sweater?

Been too busy to do my calculations ahead of time, but I will tackle that maybe today. I'm getting excited now! I let the family design their own sweaters based on a collection of ancient Sandnes "Til Fjells" books I have, courtesy of Jane Hutchinson, so I always have to calculate stitch counts rather than just work from some nice pattern with all the counts already established. No matter; it ain't that hard. The family can have whatever combination of motifs, borders, and styles that they want.

Tube hem in the round

Spent evening working on a tube hem (125) for the sweater. Brutal thing! Tube hems aren't bad on flat knitting, but they can be dreadful to work in the round, especially on dark colors. It doesn't get any worse than black! In the round, one must watch carefully for twists to develop (unwanted) and misalignment of stitches. I look forward to adding some white to this, as it will help me to see the work better.

I love tube hems. They are sturdy and so very aesthetically appealing in fine hand knitting. Though they require extra effort, the end result is sufficient justification.

I prefer to keep the edge of my multicolors dark because edges attract dirt, so that is why I've endured tube hemming in black.

Working corrugated ribbing

13 January 2011 I've moved on to corrugated ribbing, worked with two hands. Adding the white makes the project much easier to see. I persuaded one of my sons to take this photo -- much easier than setting up the tripod.

14 January 2011 It's late and I've worked on this sweater off and on yesterday and today to get this far. The ribbing is completed. I added some color to the section just above the ribbing (292) and am now working the lower body (290). The view is of the round join. It's a little globby because I haven't tucked yarn ends on the back, and those ends get loose. I'm doing jogless rounds, just because it's fun, even though this section will be along one side and sort of hidden by the left arm.

Completed corrugated ribbing plus start of body

Because of the corrugated ribbing, I used an increase other than work front then back of stitch, because that method would not have disappeared well into the ribbing. The color section is based on a four-count and the section above that a five-count; therefore, I had to adjust the total count slightly so that each section would be continuous all the way around the tube. These two counts do not center over each other; the important thing is to make certain the center stitch at front and back is centered continuously all the way up.

My ribbing was worked with Peer Gynt yarn. Above that, the black and green yarns are Heilo. For the body I'm knitting with an Inox Express circular needle -- a poor man's version of Addi Turbos. I do not know how their prices compare now, but when I bought the Inox, there was a significant difference in price. I love that Inox needle. It is so fast and smooth to work with.

Progress up the body

20 January 2011 Sweater is progressing slowly but steadily. I knit when I can fit it in around things like Nordic skiing (top priority right now), shoveling and scraping snow, feeding the herd (humans), keeping up with the business, cleaning the house.

I've been watching Create of late. It confirms what I discovered years ago when I attempted to watch a knitting instructional video -- knitting is boring to watch and the instructions are boring to listen to. I like doing it, though. And I like what I get at the end -- always.

26 January 2011 Sunday's Packers game was so intense that even knitting didn't help me get through it. Normally, it serves the purpose of calming my competitive nerves so I can endure the games. However, Packers vs. Bears in the NFC Championship in Chicago, and a close game besides, was just too much. I crawled off to the silence of my bedroom and played Sudoku. The Packers won; that's good.

Normally, knitting is very helpful for getting me through endurance tests, so it's always a plus to have a project in progress. Yesterday, I had a dreaded doctor appointment, and long waits for the doctor are not unusual. I came armed with my Norwegian sweater project. One of the cool things about Norwegian sweaters is thay they start looking impressive early on, which gets folks' attention. It didn't take long before folks started to notice, ask questions, check the thing out, express awe. This, of course, opens doors for socialization. Dreaded doctor appointments end up being fun. Besides, the doctor pronounced me in good health.

Ripped and started over

17 December 2013 The sweater sat for nearly three years. Why? Because the corrugated ribbing was causing the hem to curl some, and I couldn't stand that, and I didn't want to rip the whole thing out. I quit knitting instead. Well, I finally ripped it about a week ago, all save that dreadful tube hem, as I did not wish to repeat a circular tube hem. No fun. I've progressed, without corrugated ribbing, to a nice, mindless stretch.

Real progress!

28 December 2013 Got busy as Christmas approached and slowed down some. Here's where I am at present, just sort of floating along.

Plugging away again

6 July 2014 A sudden creative obsession brought on by a Door County visit has returned me to this old project, even though I don't feel the least bit like knitting. However, I told myself, "No more coiled baskets until you finish that sweater!" I'm really hating sedentary mode, and working on this thing is not reviving in me any urge to knit. Am making progress, though. Cannot allow myself to make a bunch of new stuff while this sits.

Body getting close to finished

10 July 2014 Making good progress. Steeks are becoming quite visible in the knitting. Hoping I have enough yarn. A dye match might be quite challenging.

Completed body, everything still rawSteeks have been sewn off, the wrapped ones cut, and the shoulders are now seamed

12 July 2014 Finished the body of the sweater late last night. Too tired then for photos and updates. The body is quite raw. The wrapped steeks are bunching the neck opening together, which looks tacky. I hope to haul out the sewing machine yet today, sew off the edges, and cut away, maybe join the shoulders.

Later, I've machine sewn the steeks to fasten them off and cut the wrapped ones to open the neck. I also joined the shoulders. I've started picking up around the neck, but that photo will be for another day. Have charted a motif design for the neck, my design. It's untried, of course, so I'm hoping it works. I always use a bright, contrasting color of thread for machining the steeks. It's orange but not very visible in the small photo.

Neckband is completed

13 July 2014 Had a big church project to finish that took all afternoon. Didn't get at the sweater till late. Had hoped to finish off the placket as well as the neck, but the former didn't happen. Finished the neck at 11:45, and I'm ready to drop. Nevertheless, the dishes are waiting . . .

Placket outline

15 July 2014 Here's the result of another one of those dreaded late nighters: the placket is now outlined in black. Doesn't look like much, but it was about a 2.5 hour job, and there's a lot more knitting on the inside -- a facing that covers the chop job on those steek stitches. I finished this late last night, because I had too many commitments during the day to allow time for it. Here's hoping I have some pewter clasps around here somewhere. Bought a pile at a good price probably 20 years ago. No idea where they might be or if there are even any left.

(Pick up, start at right edge at bottoom, 5 to 6, stockinette 2 rows, reverse turn row, loop CO 6, resume stockinette 2 rows, place neckband section on holder, continue 5 more rows, sew live stitches to wrong side. Other side, make appropriate adjustments. Pick up 6 along bottom of facing.)

On to a sleeve

Later, I got started on a sleeve. It's tube hemmed (30)(always kind of challenging in the round), and I'm going for corrugated ribbing again. Should not be a problem on something with a small circumference.

Cuff finished, count established, knitting sleeve

17 July 2014 (72) Haven't actually done any knitting yet today. This was my sleeve progress as of last night. I have nothing profound to say about it. It's working.

Growing a sleeve

22 July 2014 Progressing up the sleeve, increase every sixth row (120). Doubting my white yarn will hold out. Will probably need another skein.

Increase line

Did I mention I found my clasp stash? Found buttons too. Don't need buttons this time around but just two clasps. Will likely need something else someday.

Requires a bit of extra thinking to create and maintain sort of mirror symmetry along the increase line. No jogless rounds here -- not worth it -- so symmetry is not perfect. But, when worn, the increase line of the sleeve rests against the body, unseen.

One sleeve finished

24 July 2014 It's very early morning, and I will soon go to bed. Tonight I learned what we lost with the demise of the incandescent bulb. Try doing intricate detail work on a dark color, like black, under one of those horrid fluorescent things! I fled to a different room, where an incandescent still occupies a rarely used floor lamp. I grafted this sleeve tonight. Could not see the black stitches under the harsh fluorescent bulb. Managed to under the incandescent. As for the sleeve, there's still much work to be done, as the facing on the wrong side needs to be tacked down and all those yarn ends tucked. But, for now, there's little mystery left as to how this sweater will look. Just one more sleeve.

Checking fit on silly acting, uncooperative recipient

Later, following a day of shopping with soon to be daughter-in-law (mother of groom dress and accessories) . . . had recipient (here acting stupid and uncooperative) try on sweater for fit. It fits. He's leaving soon to relocate, before the second sleeve will be finished, so I needed to get the first one done to check for appropriate size.

Following the fitting session, I tacked down the facing and then created the tube hem and worked a few rows of the second sleeve -- a good start.

29 July 2014 No photos. Don't feel like bothering. The second sleeve looks just like the first one -- no surprise there. I'm two rows short of the point where the modified yoke pattern begins on the sleeve. Looks like I might even have enough yarn to finish. The white yarn is my concern. It will be close and kind of depends on the yardage on the skein I'm using. If it's very comparable to the skein I used on the first sleeve, plus I have more than half left of a ball of yarn I had finished up that first sleeve with, then I should just make it. If not, a local yarn shop carries white Heilo, so I should be able to get a close match. A perfect match isn't a great concern, because the pattern results in many breaks in the white on the last 18 rows.

The kid has moved on to a different state. I miss him terribly. Won't see him again for a few months, and the sweater will be finished by then, so I can present it to him.

Second sleeve finished

4 Aug. 2014 I finished the second sleeve and its facing shortly after midnight. Haven't pushed very hard to finish it, as I won't be seeing the recipient for a couple months, but we-all spent the day watching movies, so I also knitted endlessly. Hard to permanently part with the adult children. Been mourning all week. The sweater project is a little piece of comfort.

A two-armed sweater!

5 Aug. 2014 At last it's a two-armed sweater! So thankful that much is finished. Still need to tuck all those yarn ends and then block, but the worst is over! Though I'm ready to move on to some other project, yet it will be kind of hard to part with this one because of its connection to my kid.

Sweater innards

The innards of a Scandinavian sweater are nearly as handsome as the outer stuff.

Yarn ends have been tucked

6 Aug. 2014 We're redecorating my son's vacant bedroom, so I went carpet shopping today. When I got home, I threw together a gluten-free experiment -- first time ever GF bread in the machine. Then I set up my beloved tent gazebo (it's a cheapo but creates a backyard haven), hauled in a chair, the sweater, a scissors, and a crochet hook, and tucked yarn ends while enjoying the peace of the gardens, the lawn, and a breezy, sunny day. My focus was the sweater, so that's all I saw, but there's still something pleasurable about just being out there. So, blocking is next, then clasps, then the end. It's time to start a basket!

Blocking process

The blocking process. Note the chair -- had to stand on it to capture the wingspread, and it was still a tight fit. Must never block the ribbing, so it's hanging out. That's all that's seen.

Fully finished!

9 Aug. 2014 Oh bittersweet moment! I brought the sweater out to the gazebo this morning and added the pewter clasps. There's nothing left to do on it; it's completely finished. Photographed it from atop a piano bench. Now it awaits presentation to its rightful owner. Soon . . .

5 Nov. 2014 Back in October, we traveled from the northland to the southland to celebrate the marriage of our son, a week of family festivities. I brought the finished sweater along, and finally got to see what it looks like on its rightful owner. And I left it there, along with him, when I returned home. My favorite photo is at the start of this journal, above.

Journalized (blogged) collection of design projects:


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