It’s time for another knitting update!
This year has been the year of Christmas 2016 knitting. My goal (likely unachievable) has been to make a knitted Christmas gift for everyone in my immediate family. Including siblings, spouses, parents and various little ones, that’s 11 people all-told.
I also decided that since my grandmother is turning 100 this year, I should knit her something special, too.
Oh, the folly! Here we are, already the end of August, and I have but 3 of 12 projects completed. I am no speed knitter, and I have gotten side-tracked.
What got me side-tracked? Thea Colman’s beautiful “Rolling Rock” jumper. That’s what.
Who Doesn’t Love Top-Down Knitting?
There’s so much to love about this sweater. Knit from the top-down, there’s no need to seam shoulders, or worry about picking up and knitting for the sleeves.
By starting at the neckline rather than the hemline, you work your way down in one piece, building your shoulder “seams” and sleeve caps in what’s called the contiguous shaping method.
The neckline is a nice Henley, giving the front of the sweater an attractive styling detail.
All this is worked on circular needles with a medium-length cable. After finishing the shoulders and sleeve openings, the sleeve stitches are put on hold and the piece is joined to work in the round just below the Henley opening.
After that, it’s smooth sailing through the waist shaping and lace panel, down to the hemline ribbing.
An Easy Lace Pattern
Lace work is intimidating to many, and I admit to being one of those. It would do a beginner well to learn how to read charted instructions, as Thea offers hers only in charted format (other patterns will provide both charted and written instructions).
That being said, this is a super simple 6-row repeat. The instructions are clear, and you quickly get into the groove of the repeat.
I learned to read the lace quite quickly, and stopped having to refer to the chart after two or three repeats. It helps that the lace pattern is actually an image of a bottle, so you can easily see where you are in the “drawing.”
I Love Not Having to Pick up Stitches for Sleeves
Knitting from the top down, you shape your shoulders and sleeves, and then leave two sections of stitches on hold while doing the rest of the body.
Once your body is done, you go back and put the stitches on hold back on your needles and off you go! It’s so wonderfully comfortable, and it’s great not to have to pick up stitches to knit the sleeves.
I always have trouble picking up stitches for sleeves. There is always a gap between the main body and the picked up stitches, which I try to close up with a whip stitch once my sleeves are done.
Some Tricky Parts and Pattern Notes
The trickiest part of this pattern was picking up and knitting the Henley neckline ribbing. Thea recommends picking up 6 stitches per one inch, depending on your gauge. I found that that wasn’t enough (my gauge was tighter than recommended), and did my usual pick up 2 stitches for every 3 rows.
Also, she has you start knitting the picked up stitches on the opposite end from the pick up. That basically means that you have to do a long-tail pick up, coming back to where you started to use your working yarn.
That might not make much sense, but if you have questions, I’d be happy to try and explain better.
The pattern is quite clear, though chatty. Thea’s style is wordy, which can be confusing at first. She gives clear instructions, and gives a lot of advice about making modifications for body type, etc. It’s great to have those suggestions, but it can be a little confusing.
Finally, when she instructs you to join in the round, she says to remove the stitch markers that indicate where to do the waist shaping. However, if you remove them, you have no indication of where your row begins. I left in the left-side stitch marker and used that as my reference for beginning and end of row.
I’ll Post Photos Later
Right now it’s too warm to actually wear my Rolling Rock, and I haven’t found buttons for it yet. My mom’s coming to visit soon, and she’ll bring her magic box of buttons for me to choose from.
We’ll get some nice atmospheric shots soon, and I’ll add them to this article.
Happy knitting, all!