Ariel's craft journal (dragoncrafter) wrote,
Ariel's craft journal

Butterfly sweater

It's finally finished!
The front
The back

The photos aren't quite of the finished project; I was still attaching the zipper when I took those photos, but I don't have any totally finished pictures. That's why there's still bright red basting thread visible.

Here's some close-ups of the butterflies:
The butterfly on the front
The butterfly on the back
The butterfly in the underarm
The last one is wonky because it's the butterfly in the underarm, and arranging that bit of fabric to be flat takes more time than I happened to have.

And here are some close-ups of the cables:

Project statistics:
Yarn: Cascade Dolly (100% Merino). I don't think I'd use this yarn again. Nothing specific, I just find I enjoy, say, Louet more.
Needles: Susan Bates #3/3.25mm circulars (and DPNS for some of the cables and the sleeves)
Pattern: My own.

I've been wanting to do something with the butterfly pattern ever since I made it. This is what I did.

The schematics for the sweater come from Ann Budd. However, given how the butterfly pattern works, I had to knit the sweater sideways from usual.

The notion of smooth, rounded cabling along the edges comes from Eris by Jenna Wilson. (Follow that link. Her stuff is brilliant.)

I started with a provisional cast-on down the middle of the back, and with that vertical strip next to the zipper down the front. I knit until the edge of the neck, working the collar and the bottom cable as I went, then joined and made the bit over the shoulders, and split again for the underarms. There's a graft right in the center of the underarm butterfly, right under the arms.

I then did the arm cap using short rows (remember, I was knitting sideways, so I had live stitches most of the way around the armseye), picked up underarm stitches, and knit down to the end, attaching the wrist cables at the end by knitting the side stitch together with one or two live stitches.

Then I picked up from the provisional cast-on and knit the second half.

The butterfly bodies down the middle are made of I-cord and sewn on. Horizontal cables are wonky too near the provisional cast-on.

Things I will do differently next time: I think it would work better if I started by knitting the sleeves and the bits under the arms, picked up stitches around the edges of the sleeves, and then knit to the front and back, grafted, and attatched cables all around the edges afterwards. This will make the armseye more stable (which is good) and I kind of like the way the sleeve cables look. Also, as a general design principle, applying the cables at the end means that if the child puts on a sudden growth spurt, you can make the sweater taller by doing more elaborate cabling.

I might also change the bottom cable to be a two-strand braid (like the collar and cuffs) instead of being the one three-strand braid present. (It's not like this sweater doesn't have enough going on already.) I will try to adjust the width such that I get an integer number of repeats of cable around the collar and the bottom; you might not be able to see this, but there's an extra-long loop right above each shoulder.

Also, I will make the butterfly bodies be several rows of stockinette surrounded by horizontal cables, hopefully enough to not get wonky despite the presence of the provisional cast-on.

Next time I think I'll use some weight of Louet instead of the Dolly.

(And there will be a next time. I will one day have children, neices, cousins-once-removed, or more friends' children who will recieve these. Someday I will write up the pattern for this, after I've made an improved version, and then I will post it on The Knitting Vault. However, this will probably have to wait until the next time I want to make a baby sweater.)

Problem I'm still thinking about: Stockinette curls at the edges. This is why we put ribbing around the bottoms of our sweaters. The thing is, if you put a big panel of reverse stockinette next to a big panel of stockinette, they will try to curl up on each other.

Normally, vertical-to-vertical isn't too much of a problem, but I found that knitting a bunch of stockinette and then knitting a bunch of reverse stockinette was. The solution I found was to put a single welt of garter stitch in. (Look at the left and right edges of the butterfly squares. You should see it.) I'd like to find a better-looking solution. (The obvious one is to make the entire body be reverse stockinette. In this case, do I make the sleeves reverse stockinette or not?) I tried edging it in seed stitch and didn't like the result. I'd like to find another solution. Any ideas?

Tags: butterfly, cables, pictures, representational
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