Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vintage sweater knit-along: The winner is...

While we prepare here for what the National Weather Service is calling a "dangerous multifaceted and life threatening winter storm" that's in theory going to dump anywhere from 12-20" of snow on us (yikes!), I'm ready to announce the winning pattern for our vintage sweater knit-along. Drumroll please......

With about twice as many people interested in it than any other pattern, the winning vintage pattern for our short-sleeved sweater knit-along is Briar Rose!

[ From A Rarer Borealis ]

I know some of you may be disappointed we won’t be doing one of the other patterns, so if you’d like to knit along with one of them or drastically tweak Briar Rose you’re welcome to, but know that I will be tailoring all of my tips and tricks to Briar Rose. Though hopefully, they’ll be useful in your knitting elsewhere!

Here are the specs on the pattern as written. Remember, we’re going to be able to change a lot of this if we want to. I'll probably bore you to tears talking about that so much, in fact. :)

The pattern for Briar Rose is available online at A Rarer Borealis here (specifically the images to print are here and here).
Bust: to fit 32”-34” (actual finished bust size is approx. 33.5”)
Needle sizes: Australian size 12 for the ribbing and 10 for the body, which is the equivalent of US size 2 for the ribbing and 3 for the body (our numbers go in the opposite direction). In metric, this is 2.75mm needles for the ribbing and 3.25mm for the body.
Yarn: It calls for a vintage yarn that obviously is no longer available, but it’s a fingering weight yarn (4 ply, or sock yarn).
Extras: 3 small buttons
Gauge/tension: 13 sts over 2” by 17 rows over 2”. This works out to 6.5 stitches per inch (spi) by 8.5 spi row gauge. Row gauge is more difficult to match and I almost never worry about what a pattern’s row gauge is if mine is slightly off. We will use the pattern’s row gauge when we estimate our yardage, however, so keep it in the back of your head that the pattern gauge is 6.5 stitches per inch across, by 8.5 rows per inch.

I’ve created a few different sizes of banners for use on your own blog if you’d like to show everyone you're knitting along! Link them back to:


This is going to be a really rough estimate, but I wanted to at least give you a basic idea of when I’ll be posting certain topics. This knit-along will run from March 1st (cast on date) through May 15th. That gives us two and a half months of actual knitting time, with all of February as our prep month. I decided three months might be a tad too long to keep everyone excited and interested, but we’ll play this by ear, don’t worry!

Week of Jan 31
Estimating yardage, Yarn and supplies, Fit for a vintage sweater

Week of Feb 5
Initial thoughts on resizing the pattern and gauge, Planning for modifications if you'd like to tweak the pattern

Week of Feb 14
Swatching and washing your swatch, Determining your gauge

Week of Feb 21
Re-sizing the pattern, Knit it flat or in the round?

Week of March 1 
Cast on (yay!), Types of increases

Week of March 21
Thoughts on alternate sleeves

Week of March 28

Week of April 4 
Gauge changes between flat and round

Week of April 18
Short-row shoulders

Week of April 25

Week of May 2
Sewing things together

Week of May 9
Final thoughts

May 15
Wear your sweater (yay!)

Wow, that's a lot to cover! I wonder if I should be worried? ;)

I’m warning you now... my knit-along post coming later in the week on estimating yardage so you can prepare to buy your yarn is going to have a TON of info, and so will my post next week about resizing the pattern. I may end up revisiting these topics more than once because they are so important and there's that much info to share!

Now, a question for you guys: do you think a Flickr group would help you out? I know a few sew-alongs have done that, and it makes a lot of sense for them. I'm not sure if it would be that useful for a knit-along or not, but it might as it could give you a place to post progress photos and ask questions. What do you think?

That's all for now. Let me know if you have any initial questions. And for anyone new to my blog who's interested in knitting with us, please check out the prelim post to get the initial scoop. Everyone is welcome to join!


  1. ooo!!! I am soooo excited!! Everything sound great!! I love the buttons and the flickr group sounds wonderful as well. :)

  2. I can't wait to see everyone's progress. I'm still to new in my own skills to do something this advanced!

  3. Argh, I would love to knit this if I had time! I'll be following along for sure though. I hope you do more of these, since no one else does! I love knitting but have a hard time deciphering patterns which is why I've never knit any of the ones I own.

  4. Flicr, yes! Resizing info, definately,lol!

  5. I'm so excited sbout doing this sweater! A flickr group sounds good but, you are doing a lot so don't overwhelm yourself.

  6. Oh my word, I am so excited for this! Is it March 1st yet?

  7. I can't wait to begin thinking about yarn!

    And sounds like a Flickr group would be a bonus to share our pics. :)

  8. I think I may try to sew-along with Double Dates. Briar Rose is very adorable, but the collar and sleeves sadly will do my physique no favors.

    I hope I won't be too lost doing a different sweater? I must admit, one of my biggest challenges with knitting has been reading patterns. I'm a very visual learner, and all those abbreviations and written directions in knitting often throw me for a loop (ooh, that was a terrible pun, not intended). So I am looking forward to getting some help deciphering some of those things that have long baffled me.

  9. This is brilliant. I am an experienced 'pattern' knitter, by I have never resized anything before, so it will be great to get your tips. This is going to be fun. Thank so much for doing this. I don't have a blog, so a flickr group will be good.

  10. I am very excited about this! It's a beautiful pattern to work from, and I'm sure you won't bore us to tears Tasha, it's going to be fascinating :) yay!

  11. I'd love to join in with your knit-along. Having just made a couple of false starts on a vintage pattern already, I think my knitting could benefit from a bit of structure!

    PS. Love your blog - your pics are great.

  12. @Moe You should be fine doing Double Dates. I'll print the pattern and take a look and interpret any abbreviations and directions you need. I guaranteed the construction is about the same as what I'll cover, resizing the same, and I can totally help you with interpreting the patterning that's up on the sleeves and yoke. You'd probably like this one vintage booklet I have that's called 'graph knitting'. Basically it's the shape of the sweater laid out on a graph paper and that's how you knit it. It's what really taught me about the (general) vintage sweater profile. Worth looking for a booklet like that on eBay or Etsy! The one I have has the cover ripped off but I think it's "Newlands’ - Original Designs by Kerry Kane".

  13. I just started following your blog on a whim, and I am sure glad I did! I've been knitting for a while now, and most knit-alongs are not what I like, but this one looks great!

  14. Oh, wow. I'm knitting a sweater from 1936 right now and I might need to join this KAL. I saw the pattern on A Rarer Borealis and thought it was so cute!

  15. Yay, the more the merrier! :)

  16. I found your blog from a friend...Sassy Lassie I'm so glad I did!
    Your blog name is sooooo stinkin' cute! Love it.

  17. I found your blog through Casey and i always seem to find the sew/knit alongs way too late. I would love to join up since you've hadn't casted on yet (I'll make up the swatch just as I get my yarn!). I've knitted a bunch of things but never a sweater and would love to supplement my spring/summer wardrobe.

  18. @Sarah Hi Sarah, glad to have you join! We won't be casting on right away anyway, so if you get your yarn a little late there will be plenty of time to catch up. I'll be taking the actual knitting steps fairly slow once we cast on since we all knit at different speeds. :)

  19. Oh, this is fantastic! I wish I'd seen this earlier (although it's not like I have the time right now...)

    I hope there will be another vintage KAL in the future! :)

  20. @Ivy Thanks Ivy! I am definitely considering another vintage KAL at some point in the future. :)


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