Knitting Foundations

Knitting Your First Basic Sweater – Jackie’s Response

Thought you all would enjoy seeing Jackie’s follow-up to the questions we were mulling over in class…

A few questions that have come up that I have done some looking into but would appreciate your feed back on if you have the time.

1) Is there a value to blocking or not blocking the swatch?

2) What is the best way to create a ribbed fabric so that you get the texture value out of it, but you avoid the pulling in affect from the ribbing. I have a couple of students that like the look of ribbing that drapes consistent with the above attached stockinette stitch knitting. They have been swatching different combos – eg. ribbing  on larger size needles than the body size (up to 2 sizes greater) with same number of ribbing stitches as key number stitches above. Your thoughts?

3) Shaping ideas – you suggested the ribbing for the waist which one of my students will be doing; but other ways you could suggest – maybe placing the decreases and increases just after the right seamline and just before the left seamline. Any thoughts or books in your library that you would recommend to me that explores shaping in more detail?

Thanks again Jackie,

Hi jessica,
WOW!!! You are really going gung-ho w/classes!!! Good for you and thank you so much for reaching those “out west” knitters for me!
#1. Now, I NEVER block a swatch. In 65 years of knitting I have never owned a “blocking board” either!!! To me, blocking takes the hand-knit look away – the fabric might as well have been worked on a machine – it gets flat and dead!!!! Now, folks who knit in pieces maybe do have to block their weird shaped pieces to get the edges flat to sew together. Once in a blue moon, I might hover over a finished sweater w/a steam iron, but NEVER near the ribbing.
Also, I do try to buy yarn that comes in skeins so I can wash it first. If its going to run, it will run. If its going to shrink, it will shrink and it does bloom to its full diameter for a truer gauge.
#2. See p.28. If you want/like the look of a classic rib design, but don’t want the resulting pull-in of a true rib pattern, work one round of whatever rib – followed by a round of plain knit. See last paragraph under the photo on
p. 28 and then see the completed sweater on page 155. This is a round of K4, P4, followed by a round of plain knit. If the plain knit round was not worked, this sweater would fit like a girdle!!!!!!!!
#3.  There really is only 2 ways to shape a knit fabric, deliberately by working decreases/increases in strategic spots or inadvertenly by the very nature of the pattern, ie., ribbings. Eliz. Zimmermann used to have some technique for what she called ‘bust darts” but again, it was only increasing and decreasing. Off the tip of my tongue I can’t think of another book – I’ll keep thinking!!!
And I’ll get a few more bookmarks off to you!!!
Thanks again so much and if the above doesn’t answer your ??’s, ask again!!!!!!!!! For now, Jackie


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