Monday, February 11, 2013

Wallaby Sweater KAL

Another Wallaby KAL is in the works!
 We started a couple of weeks ago and I don't have a lot of progress to report, but I've been getting hints that my friends are zipping along!  I really need to catch up!
** the pictures are from Big's sweater that I made him over a year ago.. almost 2 actually.. but I needed pictures to illustrate a few points for my friends that are making this sweater now. 
 I've made this sweater four times now and each time I do it, I realize stuff and even change some of the ways I do the pattern. It's made it easier for me and I'm hoping that it helps you now. 
The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn and although I had my eye on a few nicer (read $$) yarns, I  ended up with this Lion Brand Wool Ease.  I liked the soft grey color and the fact that it was washable almost as much as I liked it being less than $4 a skein! Winning! 
One of the hardest parts of this pattern is deciding whom to knit said sweater for.  Once you decide that, the rest is fairly simple!  Now that you know what size you are making, cast on using the smaller of the two needles (24" circular needles size 6 & 8).  I chose to make the 'Wilbur Wallaby' ~ size large so I cast on 146 sts using my size 6, 24 inch needle.   The ribbing is simple K1, P1 ribbing done for 3inches for this size. *check pattern for your particular size. 
 Once the ribbing is done, change to the larger needles (size 8's) and increase evenly across on that first row AND mark your halfway point with a stitch marker.  You have 2 markers now.. one at the beginning of your round (my green marker) and one halfway (the pink hanging on the left needle). *use a different color especially for the beginning of round**
  On the SECOND row of the body... place a marker 3 stitches in from your beginning of round marker.... knit over to 3 before the midway marker and put another one in. You have to use a locking stitch marker on the stitch itself because it stays here and doesn't travel around like a regular marker. You can also use a safety pin if you don't have any locking markers.  These markers form the 'line' where you begin your pouch and just stay here until later. THIS IS WHERE I MADE MY FIRST CHANGE....
I went ahead and ran a thread between those pouch markers AS I WAS KNITTING across to place the second marker. I figured that if I ran it along now I wouldn't have to fight with it so much later! **the pictures are from the sweater where I followed the directions exactly! I just don't have a picture to show you of the changed up version!
Once you do that... that whole marking thing... now you just knit your body for 6 inches (*check your size again in the pattern!) and then you will go back to that pouch spot!

This one I stitched a gold thread between those two pouch markers so I would have a straight line to pick up stitches along. It totally saves your butt so I suggest you do it!! !  BUT instead of going back and doing it, just weave it along with you as you knit that second row!  The contrasting string and the markers will just stay here waiting for you to knit up the body for those 4, 5, 6inches.
Now just park your body stitches on your needles - use something to keep them on there! Don't want anybody falling off!! 
Take a second ball of your yarn.........go in from the back on the left side (at that marker you placed earlier and that contrasting thread line) and pick up stitches. You reach in from the front with a crochet hook and pick up the yarn from behind. The pattern says to leave at least a 5" tail on the inside, but it's okay to leave more.  You stick your crochet hook into the center of the V of each stitch and reach in and just hook a loop of yarn from that second ball.  Once you have a few on your hook, you just slip them purlwise off the back onto your knitting needle.  
Another little hint.... pay attention and follow the directions... *If you work left to right like the pattern says... you end up on the right side to start knitting.  If  you look closely at my picture... yeah... I didn't.
I used another size 8 needle to work the pouch. I thought about putting the body onto waste yarn for safe keeping, but nah. I just pulled out my straight 8's and went to town! I've even used another circular needle here, it doesn't matter. You just need two more pointy sticks of the same size.
Now just follow the  directions here... pick up 46, 50... however many stitches you are supposed to until you get that line going between the two markers.  If you are off ~ have too many or whatever, you can fudge it so no worries! JUST make a note of it somewhere because if you forget to adjust for it, you have to work it in when it comes time to fuse with the main body.  The pattern says now to remove the pins (markers) but I didn't. I liked the reference point.
Now you just knit the pouch! Just like the pattern says. K the first 5, purl across, K the last 5 ~ that's the first row. KNIT THE FIRST and LAST 5 STITCHES in every row! Makes a really cool edge! BUT if you mess up... and I may or may not have... You can just leave it or pull it out. It's up to you. I have a sweater with a mistake on it and one without, but on the one with, I can't really tell!
The first row or so is kind of tight, but after a bit it gets better. Don't forget to do your decreases!
You will knit flat so now you have to purl the return rows! You want the stitching to look just like the rest of the body! Keep going until you have the right amount of stitches after all your decreases and your pouch is the same size as your body... the pouch may be longer here, but that's okay. Just knit some more on the body until both are the same size!!
Now.... eek! It's time to fuse the pouch with the rest of the body. Go ahead and read page 21 in the pattern book and look at pages 12 & 13.
It's not going to be that bad.... just hang on & I'll catch up so we can all do it together!
Here's the link for the pattern....