Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Recipe for Pink Tutu

This is a pretty easy design and suitable for a beginner with an experienced friend nearby...
I'm calling this a recipe and not a pattern and I'm assuming you will want to use different yarns and needles that work with your yarn, and of course make this your size, and perhaps shorter than my project.
I used size 7 needles and all of five skeins or 1090 yds of Aslan Trends Artesanal, which is Aran / 10 ply
40% Cotton, 30% Nylon, 30% Alpaca
218 yards / 100 grams.
It stretches A LOT. And especially with garter stitch. Altho I do like the length it became, I would have been just as happy with a shorter version. In other words, I really should have followed my own rule, and did a swatch, perhaps even a wet swatch. Or I should have guessed that the weight (cotton!) and verticality of the design would drag the length way down past my bottom (and its measurements!).
That being said, let's just say that you were smarter than me, and did a swatch and found that your garter stitch pattern produced a gauge of 4 stitches per inch. It will definitely help to make a diagram and chart out the size of each portion of the sweater. You will need to measure your body. Aaaackk!
Then you will decide how long the cast on edge will be. It begins under the left arm, since you are knitting this sweater sideways, and you can hide the cast on nicely this way. I used a provisional cast on (crochet, picking up the back loops, and undoing it and picking up live stitches later.) and cast on 68 stitches. Yipes! No wonder it is so long.

 Let's say you want the underarm to measure just 12 inches...4x12"= 48, then cast on 48 stitches. What about the stitch pattern? O dear.
12 rows of knit stitch=six ridges of garter stitch. Easy to count and a no brainer. The other part with the holes (Yarn Overs) is as follows:
3.*K2, k2tog, yo*, repeat
 Note that this pattern is a four stitch repeat, so your cast on stitches needs to be a multiple of four.
Make your practice swatch with this combo of pattern stitches, if you are smart.

Looking at the diagram and beginning with garter stitch, I split it in half and did three rows of garter and then cast on for the armhole. Again with the measuring tape! I judged that I needed 8 inches (or doubled=16") so I cast on 32 stitches. Be careful here and measure a sweater that fits you nicely and be generous. Nothing worse than being stuck with tight armholes.
Continue with the pattern stitch with the yarn overs at this point and knit along happily. The width you are knitting is now all across the back. What's nice with this sideways knitting, you can see how it will fit by laying it out on  a favorite top and gauging the width easily. The picture shows that I did 8 sets of the yarn over pattern, alternating with the 7 sets of garter. It's another way of measuring.
Second armhole: Whatever amount of stitches you cast on for the left armhole, you will bind off for the second. Then do six ridges of garter (because you will think ahead and end with the yarn over pattern before binding off for the second armhole) for the underarm part. To clarify...both underarms will be in garter stitch, a total of six ridges or twelve rows.
Second armhole cast on: the same amount that you bound off! Simple.
For the right front you'll do four sets of yarn over pattern and five sets of garter. To ensure it will overlap in the front, I added another twelve rows of garter = 12 ridges total. Bind off loosely, as they always say.
Left Front. OK. Now we are ready to unpick the provisional cast on edge (to get live stitches) or just pick up stitches there if you did a regular cast on. Do three ridges of garter, and then cast on for the front armhole. Match this side with the other. Easy peasy!
Shoulders? I hate sewing knits, so I just used a slip stitch crochet on the wrong side, which doesn't show at all from the front. Crochet not your bag? How about a three needle bind off? For that finish you will  have to pick up stitches along the top edges of the shoulders. Here's a great video that shows you how it's done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpGz8Q-LAKs
Or, sew the shoulders using a mattress stitch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvAS-HCWk9I
Ta Da! The body is done and you can try it on.
Next, the sleeves. This is where you might want to switch to two circular needles of the same length, like 16". Pick up 32 stitches (or whatever your stitch count was) from each side of the armhole, splitting the stitches between the two circulars. Or use four dpns, if that's all you have, but honestly it is so much easier with circulars. I just learned this after 49 years of knitting. Geesh!
Again you will need to measure your arm circumference to know when and how much to decrease as you knit down. I made it easy by doing garter stitch for the whole length of the sleeve.
You could decrease every other row for six decreases and then knit straight for a while and then decrease every four rows for more tapered sleeves. Do whatever works for you.
Weave in ends, yada yada yada. Wash in cool water, using fabric softener in the rinse if it is cotton, or creme rinse for wools. Block to desired measurements which is where you really decide how wide you wish you had made the thing, and let dry. Wear with pride!
How's that for a loose recipe?
PS. I almost forgot about the collar. I just picked up stitches from the inside, knowing it would fold over and not show the pick ups later. But I was short on yarn, so it stands up instead. Still it looks cute, sorta.
PPS. OOps, of course I left out something important, and luckily a commenter questioned ending that one stitch pattern with a yarn over. Duh. Of course you wouldn't. The yarn over pattern stitch starts and ends with four stitches in GARTER. No rippling or curling on the hem or shoulder that way, and no ending with a yarn over and nothing to hold it in place.

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  1. Sharon9:09 AM

    I love the way this sweater looks on you!

  2. So classy! And aren't you looking all slim and trim! Great photo!

  3. That is a very nice sweater and you look maahvalous!!!!

  4. Anonymous9:47 AM

    Just had to say...either you're getting very clever with your photography, or you're getting mucho skinnier! BTW, yes I do feel guilty and exceedingly weird that after reading (and being inspired by) for YEARS, the first feedback I give is about weight loss. Am I truly a middle-aged middle-schooler? (I know, it was junior high, not "middle school" Sigh.) Thanks for the daily fix. Terri

  5. Love the sweater. Love the pink color. Love how it looks on you. Love that you shared your "recipe". Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Melody, thanks so much for sharing your 'receipt" for the sweater....I have to say this is one of my very favorite knitting projects you have done.....I really love the jacket......and I must say you look wonderful modeling it.....

  7. Very cute sweater and I love it on you, very flattering.

  8. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Ending with a yarn over? New to this. Thanks Tim

  9. Beautiful sweater and so cleverly done. I like the length on you. It makes you look tall and slim!

  10. The sweater looks beautiful on you - pink is definitely a good color for you. I do like the length too. I have only knitted squares and rectangles and am a very slow knitter too - it would take me forever to knit a sweater with a lot of hand holding by a teacher to boot!

  11. This sweater is a keeper!! You look fabulous in it. The color, yarn, and style are perfect. My favorite so far. Wish I could knit.

  12. It is ADORABLE!!!! It looks great on you too!!!! Thanks for sharing!!

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