Lessons Learned: Short Row Shaping a Shoulder

I love to learn. I’m constantly looking for new skills, new things to excite me and it’s probably one of the reasons I love to teach and love social media. There’s always something new and fresh to learn about that subject. So a few years ago I took a class at my favorite local yarn shop, Fibre Space, to learn how to knit a saddle shoulder sweater. I knit this sweater, the Andover. I had high hopes for it because I lived in Andover, Massachusetts for a few years growing up but that wasn’t enough to make me like this project.
Andover without neckline finishing
I hate it. I think I’ve worn it once (if anyone wants it I’m more than happy to give it to you). And there are a couple of contributing factors to why I really don’t like this sweater:

  • The pattern wasn’t a good one to start with for a saddle stitch shoulder. There were errors in the pattern and at times points where it seemed like she stopped mid-thought and never finished her sentence. There were multiple charts to have to refer to for the cables on the sleeve and the body and it was just a lot for a first time saddle shoulder sweater. I took the class with one of my coworkers and she felt the same way and I don’t think she ever got beyond the 50% point.
  • I didn’t love my yarn choice for this one or the color. I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Superwash but in a purple I picked out for someone else and it just wasn’t my color so I wasn’t that excited about it. Plus one ball of it kept splitting on me.
  • My instructor made a comment to me about using an acrylic yarn for a hat I made from one of her patterns that left a bad taste in my mouth. I hate being yarn bullied. Everything can’t be made of organic wool sourced locally. It just can’t and I don’t think anyone should make anyone else feel bad about their choices of yarn. Period.

So overall, I just didn’t have a great experience but I said to myself that I liked learning how to do a saddle shoulder and would want to do that technique again. Unfortunately I don’t see that many patterns with saddle shoulders as an option, so I haven’t done one in 2 years. When I bought a bunch of colors of Berroco Pima 100 and wanted to make a fun striped tee for summer I decided it would be a saddle shoulder style and this weekend I embarked on that journey and I’m LOVING it this time around.
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I’m horrible about taking photos as I go along. I should’ve photographed the saddles and then what it looked like when attached but I didn’t. But what got me super excited was creating a sleeve cap using short row shaping! I’m at that point in the sweater construction where I have a little over an inch from under the arm and decided I was ready to make the sleeves since I just had body stripes left. I was so nervous that this wasn’t going to fit and was going to be too small so I was eager to get the sleeves on to see how it all worked out. I’ve been using my favorite book for basic construction and some notes and got to the part where they say you add in short rows around the saddle’s live stitches left at the shoulder and then continue all the way down with short rows to the last stitches of the sleeve. Um…it created this awesome shape. I HAVE A SLEEVE! I’m such a knitting nerd.
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Now I just have to do the same thing on the opposite side and then finish off the body. I picked colors I liked and didn’t have any rhyme or reason to them and I’m loving the big bold stripes and playing with so much color. It’s such a happy project. And when I love a project it flies off my needles so this one might be finished by the end of the week!
Stages of emotion
And in other news, does anyone else feel bad taking their dog to the vet? Saturday was Jellybean’s day to get shots and go through annual exams. And these were her stages of emotion. Excitement to go with me all by herself and even ride in the car, then the realization that she was going to the vet, then the relief once it was over and then the clingy/need for extra love that comes after the shots (that’s her curled up in my arms in a blanket on the couch on the bottom). She was a trooper, had some soreness the next day and walked a bit slower but seems to be back to her spunky self. Oh and she gained a pound…so we’ll be cutting back on those treats that we spoil her with!

FO: Something for Spring

It’s Friday! I have no real plans for the weekend and that makes me super happy. Today I thought I’d share a finished object to usher in the weekend. When I finished my Little Women cardigan I had 3 and a half skeins leftover and I didn’t know what to make with the leftovers. I loved this yarn a lot and had an epiphany that if I used larger needles I would have enough to make a top for myself and I was right! Here’s my Spring Tee and Jellybean, my constant shadow and my one grey hair that is determined to be featured in any photograph. Sigh…those greys are strong!
Summer Top
I pulled out my copy of The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters, did some math and some guessing (totally didn’t swatch on the larger needles) and just improvised a top. I even decided to do a cable cast-on at the neckline to give it more of a scoop/u neckline instead of a v neck. Who am I?! But I’ve made enough basic top-down sweaters to know what works, what doesn’t and what I like to knit. I probably could’ve made the sleeves a little bigger since I kept them short but they’re fine. This was just a total make it up as I go along after I cast-on 40 stitches with size 10.5 needles. I’m proud of myself for winging it.
Summer Top
The other thing I always second guess is length. I’ve got hips and a butt so I hate clingy tops but I like layering and didn’t want to make it too short and have a tank top hanging really low. Add in how much I wasn’t sure it would grow when I blocked it and I think in the end I got a good length for me and it is a perfect length to layer tops underneath. I’m sure I’ll pick up a long sleeve from Target in the fall to layer underneath this so it becomes a year round top. Side note, I really need to buy myself some blocking boards (perhaps that will be my birthday gift to myself?) because my hemline is slightly wonky since it got squished a little when I put it out to dry. Oops!
Summer Top
I really do love this yarn and hope that it wears well over time. But I’m pretty sure I’ll be wearing this top repeatedly all year long. Next up on my list? Finishing up my third hat, starting on same baby knits and finally working on that saddle shoulder sweater with stripes I want to make for summer. We might be taking family pics soon and I think the top I’ve envisioned in my head would be cute for photos. We shall see. What are you working on this weekend?

My Favorite Summer Knits

The other weekend I washed and packed away most of my hand knit sweaters. I like to keep out a few of my favorite cardigans for when the temps dip and since I like a few layers. But it felt almost like Christmas morning opening up the bin and remembering all the great knits I had waiting for me! So it made me think I should share a few of my favorite patterns I’ve knit repeatedly for some summer knitting. Plus there are a billion knitalongs that will start for summer so why not make yourself something nice for the cooler temps and potentially win a prize?
Six Point Tee
I realized this morning I didn’t actually have a picture of me in one of my favorite tops and had to take it at work since I’m wearing it and add it to this post! I’ve made two Six Point tees (version 1 and version 2) and I really like them both. They’re knit up on bulky weight yarn with size 13 needles so it’s a quick and satisfying knit. This rainbow version is my favorite (of course) because I loved this yarn, Versa by Berroco. And of course they discontinued it. I swear Berroco discontinues every yarn I love. It’s a ribbon yarn with a grey base but has a rainbow running through out. I still have a few skeins left but just don’t know what to make with them.
North Fork
Another summer favorite is the North Fork tee. I cannot get enough of this one AND it’s easy to modify. I wore this one (I’ve knit a couple) yesterday for Sunday dinner and I had forgotten just how nicely I knit this one. It was pristine and waiting for me to put her on and I made this version with a bit more a line shaping so it would pull away from the body and have a nice breezy effect. I love this top so much. I made this one with Berroco Modern Cotton and it has quickly become a summer favorite yarn to work with. Really most of my summer knits are made with Berroco yarns and I just find that they’re affordable, have a pretty great color selection and the yarns hold up nicely.
Togue Pond for Jess
And speaking of Modern Cotton, I can’t recommend Togue Pond Tank enough. It’s a favorite and since my original grey version has a stain I cannot get out I’m planning on making myself a solid pink one soon to replace it (and to match my super bright pink clogs).
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And over the holiday weekend I figured out what to make with the leftover yarn from my Little Women cardigan! I’m improvising a scoop neck top! I’m so proud of myself for just doing it because I always hesitate on making my own thing when there are a million patterns out there but I couldn’t find what I wanted. So I decided to just make it up myself I’m using size 10.5 needles to help make the light worsted weight yarn go a bit further and to make it a nice light and breezy top to layer over a tank top. I can’t wait to finish this one and it should whip up pretty quickly since I’m already this far along! And did I mention I made all this progress with just 1 ball of yarn? Yeah I think I’ll still have some leftover and still do something else with like make a hat or add to a shawl. We shall see.

These are the three patterns I want to make all the time for summer, what patterns do you love for summer knitting? And what yarns top your list?