My Stellar’s Jay Sweater is roughly based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s EPS (Elizabeth’s Percentage System) sweaters. EPS sweaters are based on the idea that the size of someone’s arm is roughly proportional to their bust size, which is roughly proportional to their neck size. It’s not perfect for people with more unusual body types, but I’ve found that most people can make the EPS work for them on the whole. It’s a great basic sweater recipe that you can customize, tweak and otherwise futz with to make yourself the sweater you’ve always dreamed of.
My Stellar’s Jay Cardigan is knit from the bottom up, which means that make the body first, from hem to armpits. Then I cast on the sleeves at the cuffs, and knit up the arm.
I wanted a slightly fitted, tapered sleeve, so I cast on 22% of the stitches I used for my torso. It sounds weird, but EZ spent years perfecting her formulas, until she figured out that a cuff should measure about 20-25% of the torso in diameter. (Crazy, right?)
Then I slowly increased (increasing 2 stitches every 8 rows in a line along the inside of the arm) until I reached 64 stitches, which was my planned upper arm measurement (about 35% of my torso measurement). Then, I knit along, without any more increases, until my sleeve was long enough for my arm.
The result was a gently tapered sleeve, that perfectly fit my arm.
The next thing to do was to join the arms to the body.
On Friday, I waxed poetic about the tubular cast-on and tubular bind-off. How they look the same, how they’re perfectly stretchy, and how they are ideal for cuffs and collars. But, I didn’t show you any examples.
Now, it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is (metaphorically speaking. I don’t have enough money laying around to just start eating it).
Behold, the hem and the collar of my (almost finished) Stellar’s Jay Cardigan.
See how they match perfectly? The k1p1 ribbing makes a lovely subtle edging, and the tubular cast-on/bind-off stops the sweater from pulling even a little bit. Sure, my perfect edges are something that only an obsessive knitter would notice, but as a slightly obsessive knitter, they’re something that makes me very happy.
Isn’t it amazing what you can get done when you only bring one project on a week-long car trip?
My husband and I spent the week driving up the Oregon Coast. Well, mostly he drove, and I knit (because I’m a rather nervous driver, especially on those twisty-turny roads). The Oregon coast is absolutely gorgeous! If you live within a three-state radius of Oregon, make sure you visit. There are lush redwood forests, beautiful rocky cliffs teeming with sea birds, gray whales and sea lions frolicking in the ocean, and tide pools full of neon green sea anemones. It’s a magical place.
Unfortunately, right about when we made it back up to Portland, I ran out of yarn! That’s why there’s a rather large chunk missing between my left elbow and shoulder. It’s not me being avant-garde, it’s me being bad at ordering enough yarn to finish a project.
I’ve put the order in, and you’d better believe that as soon as that package hits my front door, I’ll grab my needles and finish up my soon-to-be favorite sweater!
So, I have this spreadsheet that I use to plan out my blog posts (because I am a nerd, and like to be organized). Today I was supposed to tell you about how I knit up the arms on my Stellar’s Jay Cardigan. It was going to be a nice little post, to give you an update on my progress, and tell you about how well everything was going.
Well. It turns out that today’s post will actually be a little different. It will be about how I forgot to work on my sweater at all since you last saw it, over a month ago.
It’s sitting in its little project bag, between my stash of sock yarn and my little chest of finished projects. I look at it every couple days and think, “I should probably pick that up and knit a row or two.” But, still it sits there, forlorn and neglected.
I could make excuses, pleading that I have been too busy with other projects (which is sort of true). I could say that I have been busy with work, or getting ready for summer. But the truth of it is, I’m just not feeling inspired by my little blue sweater.
I’m sure I’ll pick it up again, one of these days. I’ll suddenly get the urge to finish it, and I’ll dive back in head first, but for right now, I’m happy chugging away on some other projects I’ve got in the works. It’ll be waiting for me when I get back to it.
Do you ever put a project on hold? What do you do to get your inspiration back?
Nine times out of ten, when I cast on for a project, I use a basic long-tail cast on. But sometimes, if the Knitting Gods so move me, and if the project is really special, I like to break out my Tubular Cast-On.
It’s absolutely gorgeous, especially paired with fine ribbing (it’s perfect with a 1×1 ribbing on sock cuffs). Properly executed, it looks like the stitches on the front of the piece simply swoop around the edge and continue on the back.
And (double bonus!), it is super stretchy, so you don’t have to worry about weird tension issues that sometimes happen at cast-on edges.
There are a couple ways to do it, which have all been written about online many, many (many) times.
The way I learned, is apparently the “Italian Way.” Who would have thought? There’s a great tutorial for it here.
There’s another way to do a tubular cast on, that frankly, looks much easier, but I haven’t tried it, so you’ll have to give it a shot and let me know how it goes. Here‘s a tutorial that looks pretty good.
I’ve been hard at work on my Stellar’s Jay sweater. The body is almost up to the armpits!
I’m following my pattern as I wrote it, except for a couple (sort-of) minor details.
First, I decided that I didn’t like doing the scallop rows the way I had planned it out, so I modified it a little. Now, it is slightly shallower (worked over two rows, instead of three), and I think it looks much better. I’m probably the only one who would ever notice, but I’m picky that way.
Second (and this is a larger change), my pullover had turned into a cardigan. I don’t know what happened- I was casting on and some knitting spirit whispered in my ear that I needed a cardigan, not a pullover, and one thing led to another. I’m still following the pattern as I designed it, but instead of working the sweater in the round, I’m knitting it flat. When I finish up the sweater, I’ll pick up stitches along the selvedge edges and knit on some button bands. It should look pretty good (I hope!).
It’s important to remember that regardless of how much planning goes into your knitting, it’s still possible to change plans as you work. You’re in charge of your project, and being flexible when you don’t like how something is working up will end up giving you a better finished project.
What changes have you made to projects as you knit them?