Advice on finishing my first sweater

(31 Posts)

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AnnPerkins Mon 14-Nov-16 13:40:04

I've just got a couple more rows to do on the neck and I will have finished knitting my first sweater. The shoulders and sleeves are already joined, I just have to stitch the sleeve and side seams.

Should I block first and then stitch, or stitch and then block? Or should I stitch and then just wash and dry it? Or can I get away without blocking/washing it at all?

If it makes any difference, it's all stockinette stitch, with an intarsia initial on the front and the yarn is 100% acrylic, chosen for, I hope, minimum itchiness.

Can any experienced and wise knitters advise please?

OP’s posts: |
InfiniteSheldon Mon 14-Nov-16 13:43:12

I've never blocked blush so can't help sorry

AnnPerkins Mon 14-Nov-16 13:57:48

What do you do Infinite? Do you just sew it all together and wear it straight away? I like the sound of that smile

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Heratnumber7 Mon 14-Nov-16 14:50:53

That's what I do.
I.e. Sew it up and wear it. Sometimes a quick iron in between sewing and wearing.

InfiniteSheldon Mon 14-Nov-16 15:21:21

Yes I sew it up and wear it I have occasionally blocked granny squares in crochet work but I never do with knitting

Sosidges Mon 14-Nov-16 16:14:22

The only time I blocked it was a complete disaster

AnnPerkins Mon 14-Nov-16 17:24:34

Thanks everyone! I am so glad I asked before I went to all that trouble. I'm so looking forward to finally finishing this thing and my heart sank when I read about all this extra faff at the end of the pattern.

OP’s posts: |
tribpot Mon 14-Nov-16 17:26:54

I wouldn't bother to block acrylic, although some people do. If it was a wool jumper I would definitely advise blocking (after you have sewn it together, since it's already part joined).

Definitely don't iron it, with it being acrylic!

rememberthetime Mon 14-Nov-16 17:32:47

Take your time with sewing. it can be hard to not rush it in anticipation of wearing the thing. But a bad sewing job will ruin all your hard work. Take care under the arms where the side seams meet the arm seams. And think about how you are going to sew in the ends around the cuffs. there's nothing worse than dangling wool after a few weeks it is starts to unravel.

Enjoy your new handmade garment!

Sosidges Mon 14-Nov-16 17:34:06

Can we have a pic?

AnnPerkins Mon 14-Nov-16 19:24:10

Thanks for the tips, rememberthetime. It's a sweater for DS. I really hope he'll wear it, I knitted him a scarf last winter and he refused to put it on because it was too itchy.

I'll post a pic, Sosidges.

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InfiniteSheldon Mon 14-Nov-16 20:05:19

I watched a you tube video on mattress stitch -picking up the posts with the right side of the pieces facing you- it gives a lovely finish and really easy once you get the hang of it.

AnnPerkins Mon 14-Nov-16 20:25:50

I'll have a look. Thanks Infinite.

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JoffreyBaratheon Mon 14-Nov-16 23:28:56

Yes, as others say - if acrylic, you shouldn't need to block. If it was wool, I would.

You can omit the faff by knitting in the round, next time! I can't remember the last time I knitted flat - and pride myself I can make a jumper without a single stitch of sewing. Worth doing if you hate the sewing! Tension tends to be easier to control in the round, as well.

AnnPerkins Tue 15-Nov-16 14:04:36

If you do a sweater in the round do you knit from the bottom up Joffrey?

I would like to try a tanktop for myself. If I get cracking asap I might manage to finish it in time to wear this winter. (DS's sweater has taken me seven months blush)

OP’s posts: |
tribpot Tue 15-Nov-16 14:12:51

You can do either - start with the neck, increase for the shoulders, then leave some stitches behind to do the sleeves afterwards and knit the body. Or you can knit up from the bottom, knit arms separately and then join arms and body on one very long circular to the do the yoke. I like the latter as it means I can get the sleeves out of the way first, I hate sleeves. (Obvs not an issue if you're doing a tank top). That said, I do like top down because you make it as long as you like/try it on as you go.

AnnPerkins Wed 16-Nov-16 09:30:35

Thanks tribpot. I've found a couple of patterns. Going to buy myself some fine yarn in a pretty colour now. This is the best bit smile

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JoffreyBaratheon Wed 16-Nov-16 11:47:59

Ann, yes bottom up or top down. Both work in the round. Elizabeth Zimmermann's books are great for introducing knitting in the round. You can search Ravelry Patterns tab looking for construction techniques (I don't work for Ravelry, honest!)

tribpot Wed 16-Nov-16 16:14:58

Be wary - if you want to knit it in a 4-ply it's going to take a long time. A nice jumper pattern is Flax, which is free and supported by a great tutorial from the designer.

For a tank top, I like Cruden (although not suitable for a beginner), Macallan and you can't go wrong with an Amy Herzog as you can customise it to your fit.

AnnPerkins Thu 17-Nov-16 08:01:35

Is it tribpot? Bummer sad I wanted a fine knit top for work, chunkier wools would look a bit too 'cuddly' for the office I think.

Thank you for suggesting some suitable patterns. That Cruden tanktop is gorgeous, but I can't see myself ever reaching that level of skill.

Anyway, this stitching together bit now looks a lot trickier than I thought so I'll have to put plans for my next project on hold for now.

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AnnPerkins Thu 17-Nov-16 08:03:40

And thanks Joffrey, I'll look out Elizabeth Zimmerman too. I've spent a lot of time perusing Ravelry. What a great site.

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tribpot Thu 17-Nov-16 09:03:28

There are some good tips from Amy Herzog about setting in sleeves - although for a child's jumper I would assume the sleeves aren't capped but just straight?

Good info on seaming from Vogue knitting.

The amount of time a 4-ply sweater will take to do depends on how quickly you knit, of course. For a fine fabric you can use larger needles, which will get more drape - but it will still be more work than a DK or aran option. It depends how long you're prepared to spend on it.

JoffreyBaratheon Thu 17-Nov-16 09:45:05

Yes, FWIW the best single book on knitting techniques I know of, is Vogue's 'The Ultimate Knitting Book'. I've been knitting regularly since the 1980s, and yet have learned many a new way of casting on, or whatever, from that book's clear photos and instructions. I nearly did a City & Guilds in knitting and that was the standard book they used. (I wanted to learn to be a knitwear designer, enrolled on a course but then started getting designs published, which meant I didn't have time to do the course!)

AnnPerkins Thu 17-Nov-16 10:02:49

Oh thank you both thanks. I've put the Vogue book on my Christmas list and I'll have a read through those websites as well.

Yes, the sleeves are just straight. I'll leave the 4ply stuff for another time, I think. I wanted to knock myself up something quick so I'll go for thicker yarn for speed and in the round for minimum faff.

Where do you publish your designs Joffrey? On Ravelry?

OP’s posts: |
JoffreyBaratheon Thu 17-Nov-16 12:13:13

Ann, I have a little queue of designs from various magazines, published over a year or so ago so the rights have reverted to me - that I am putting up on Rav, just as soon as my son gets home with his decent camera to take some shots! (I can use my own text but usually, not the magazine's photo shoot which means to put on Rav I'm going to have to get my own shots).

I've published in a number of US and UK magazines, been involved in a book, done a book of my own and am working on a new book for next year at the mo! (Hence prevaricating online). wink

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