Tag Archives: giant-size man-sweater

Want To Knit You A Sweater, Want To Write You A Love Letter

The Giant-Size Man-Sweater has reached completion.

giant-size man-sweater

Pattern: Smokin’ by Jared Flood
Begun: February 5, 2010
Finished: Knitting & seaming done, buttons sewed on September 9, 2010. Minor edits completed October 13, 2010.
Yarn: Cascade Eco+
Needles: 5.5 mm (US9)
Mods/Changes/Errors Fixed: Went down a needle size, cast off an extra 2 stitches at the shoulders to make the numbers work, left off the last button (actually, sewed on, then removed the last button), added 2 columns of slip-stitch crochet to hide the gaps in the seams. Details below.


The pattern calls for 6 mm needles. I went down 5.5 mm to make a size smaller than given. I swatched on my KP Harmony interchangeable 6.5 mm tips and the fabric was very loose. (I meant to swatch on 6mm needles, and at the time I thought I had. Just found out the other night I got 2 sets of 6.5 mm tips in my interchangeable set and no 6mm.) I would’ve gotten the gauge listed, but in the smallest size this sweater would’ve had 6″ positive ease.  Going down a needle size gave me a nicer, tighter fabric, and I was able to knit the medium and get just a few inches positive ease.


I probably should have noticed that a lot of the official pattern pictures show this sweater with the bottom button unbuttoned. Once Dan tried it on, buttoning that one just didn’t work, and since I used heavy buttons, leaving it unbuttoned wasn’t really an option either, what with the flopping and smacking against his leg when he moved. So, the bottom button had to go. Which meant that my magical awesome buttonhole of genius had not been necessary after all. At least he doesn’t mind the look of a lonely buttonhole, so I didn’t have to duplicate-stitch shut my proudest achievement to date.

I think the buttons may still need to be reinforced and/or moved in a little closer to the body of the sweater to help it close a little more neatly when it’s all buttoned up, but I’m waiting until he’s worn it a few times to see.


My first attempt at mattress stitch working with garter and stockinette was not too great. It left gaps in the seams you could see Dan’s shirt through. Since I’d already woven in the ends, undoing all the seams would have been a bit of a project, so I decided to try some alternatives first. I tried a few different methods of picking up a line of stitches in the seam and then casting off, but that left me with this weird little flappy thing that was begging to be flicked constantly and wasn’t quite the effect I was going for. In the end I settled on 2 columns of slip-stitch crochet to look like a few extra knit stitches snuggled up against the garter stitch. It took me about 20 minutes to work those 4 lines of crochet, but it took me over a month to realize that as long as I kept struggling with my Tunisian hook, it was never going to happen, and I needed to just get my ass to Wal-Mart and spend $2 on a crochet hook. Part of me really resists buying supplies for crafts I don’t do.

But the sweater is done, it’s by far the best sweater I’ve made yet, and I’m excited to see it start to get some use. Now let’s see if I can make a sweater for myself that I like as much.

State Of The Projects

    • Giant-Size Man-Sweater: Still in need of slip-stitch crochet to hide the gap in the seam. My wrist starts to hurt when I think about crochet, so this is still languishing.
    • Baktus, 2 hats, headband for a friend, Anhinga, Toasty, Laminaria: Totally still working on these. I swear.
    • Life-Long Blanket: All sock minis and leftovers collected in one place but no more squares added. Trying not to work on this until some other stuff is cleared out, since this doesn’t have a deadline and plenty of other stuff does.
    • September Socks: Damned handsome. Not sure they’ll be done by the end of the month, but since my August socks were really my mid-August to mid-September socks, I figure I have an extra few weeks and might just have to make some ankle socks or slippers later in the year to make my quota.  This first sock really should be done by now, though. I’m about to knit the toe for the third time. I’ve made enough pairs of socks for myself at this point that I have my basic sock measurements & techniques settled, mostly cobbled together from several different patterns. On this particular sock, though, my standard foot measurement before starting the toe just didn’t cut it. My first toe, checked just before kitchenering, wouldn’t have stretched enough to accommodate my real toes, so I ripped back to the first decrease. I planned to do 2 plain rounds between decreases, but after 4 decreases it was still nowhere near as long as it should be. So, the toe came out completely and I’m putting in another half-inch or so before decreasing this time. I think the yarn is the reason the foot was too short. This is Mad Science Titanium. I don’t know if it’s that it’s an 8-ply yarn (don’t think I’ve used an 8-ply sock yarn before) but it’s definitely thicker than the sock yarns I usually use. Using my 2 mm needles over 56 stitches, like just about every other sock I’ve made for myself, I’m getting a much denser fabric. (Which I love, by the way. This yarn is so squishy and makes such a, well, damned handsome sock that I’m already dreaming of a cardigan made from this stuff.) So, I’m thinking maybe it doesn’t stretch as much as my other socks have, because the yarn is thicker or the fabric is tighter. Does that make sense? Anyway, I’m assuming it’s the yarn that’s making my stand-by sock pattern not quite work this time since I did everything else the same. Once I get this damn toe figured out, though, I’m pretty sure I’ll have my new favorite socks.


  • Drop-Stitch Scarf: A few rows when I can get to it. Not a deadline project, so it’s just something pretty I can pull out when I need cheering up.
  • Baby Cardigan & Mary-Janes: Past the yoke on the stripey baby cardigan. A few inches into the body. Lots of stockinette in 2-row stripes to get through. Thinking of finishing with ties instead of a button. Not sure yet. Started a pair mary-janes to go with last night. I’m the last person on the planet to find anything baby-related charming, but I still think these might be the cutest damn socks ever invented.
  • Baby Jean Jacket & Converse: Haven’t started the shoes yet. Back is finished up to putting the neck stitches on holders. Left front just about done.
  • July Socks: Best not discussed. I’ll get around to them eventually.
  • Shawl: Another project to pick up for a few rows here and there. No rush. The giant skein of Oceania ended up on my paper towel holder, which was the only thing in the house I could find big enough to hold it and stay in one place while I knit.
  • Cowl: Just cast on for this the other night. I cast on for Scrunchable, did the first 8 rounds in garter stitch, then tried those 8*8 cables. And decided after 2 that they were not happening. They look awfully pretty in the finished object, but I don’t think I have the patience for them right now. I took out that row, kept the garter band at the beginning, and am improvising a sort of widening garter stitch pattern, putting one more knit round before each purl ridge until I’m in the middle, then one fewer knit round between the ridges, then I’ll finish with 8 rounds of garter and hope it fits. Made to match the pretty cabley hat, which is done (except for weaving in & blocking, but that doesn’t really count).

Knotty Hat

Pattern: Knotty but Nice
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino in Grey Mix
Needles: Plastic 16″ 4 mm circular. Went down a size from what the pattern called for to make a smaller size for me.
Changes made: Unintentional, I assure you. I miscrossed every cable in the row that lets the 5 individual cables finally cross over into each other. So, they’re not all as nice and entwined-like as they should be. I didn’t notice this until I was doing the crown decreases, however, so they shall stay the way they are.

And that is everything Ravelry tells me I still have in progress. Hardly seems like enough.

The Week Ahead

This has the makings of an awesome week. A day off to start with (I got in some Farscape, yoga and a tasty, healthy dinner, too). Some time set aside for knitting with friends (hoping everyone’s around for my usual Barnes & Noble meet-up, but anyway I get to make a new knitter on Wednesday and I can’t wait!). 5th anniversary with the man. And I’m on track to finish 2 big projects this week.

The Giant-Size Man-Sweater was here yesterday:

My first experiment with steam-blocking.

My first experiment with steam-blocking.

Yesterday was spent finishing the buttonhole band and seaming. I hadn’t seamed a piece of knitting since my first hat, and I probably could’ve picked something easier than stockinette-to-garter for my first big try at seaming. Too late now. I originally planned to use embroidery thread because this yarn is so thick, but even though the color was a perfect match the thread showed through too much and I was not happy. Going with the same yarn made the seam less obvious. After seaming, this got a good long soak (10 of them, actually; that dye bleeds) and is relaxing on the living room floor for a day or two. Just need to knit one more pocket, figure out exactly where they should go once the sweater is blocked, and sew on the buttons! The sleeves grew about 3 inches while soaking, but that turns out to be the perfect length for Dan. He looks so damned handsome in this thing, I just can’t even tell you.

The stripey Jaywalkers are coming out just like I hoped they would.

Stripey Jaywalkers

These are for a trade on Ravelry – I’m knitting these socks out of someone’s sock minis in exchange for a whole batch of sock minis to keep. I have to say, 2-at-a-time magic loop with about 15 or so stripes on each sock – so, 60 ends dangling from these by the time I’m done? By far the fiddliest thing I’ve ever knit. I’m trying to go back and weave in a few ends for every stripe I finish so it won’t be too overwhelming when they’re done and I’m confronted with all of them. But it’s worth it, because the stripes match perfectly, which I couldn’t have done making them separately, and I’m getting to play with some yarns I’ve never even touched before. There’s some tosh sock, Shibuiknits Sock, and some Wollmeise in there. Beautiful colors in all of them. I think the tosh sock is my favorite.

The baby sweaters have been shifted to a slightly different schedule than I originally planned for. The one I wanted to finish by the beginning of September so it would be ready for a mid-September due date still wasn’t finished by the time the mother went on maternity leave 3 weeks early. It’s a wool sweater I was thinking would be needed this winter, anyway, so this is less urgent now that there’s no longer much point in trying to get it done before the baby arrives. The other sweater I was hoping to finish by the end of September for a mid-October due date, not realizing the baby shower would be held September 1. So, really, that one’s still on its original track, but I did feel kind of silly at the shower saying, “And I’m planning on knitting you the cutest things!” At least the mother likes to squeeze yarn, so I could show her a skein of CotLin and she could ooh over it.

Being just ohsoclose to done with Dan’s sweater has opened up some other knitting time, so I’ve started my September socks – and knit 4 whole rows so far! I had planned to use this yarn to design my own pattern, but the swatch alone threatened to take the entire month and when I thought about it some more I realized I was less attached to the idea of my own design than I was to just cranking out another finished pair, especially with cooler weather coming. So, I gave up the design idea (for now) and decided to go with a plain old stockinette-with-ribbed-top deal, but I’m going top-down so I can try a heel flap experiment I’ve been thinking about. That way I still get a quick-fix project and meet my goal of one pair this month but still get to feel like I tried something new.

Since the plain old top-downs should be a quick knit, I’m planning to start the October socks early, because they’re going to be knee socks and I just don’t think I could knit a pair of knee socks in a month. My birthday present this year was my very first Socks That Rock (aside from the minis I’ve gotten to use in the Life-Long Blanket):



These are mill ends obtained through a Ravelry sale. They looked just slightly different in the skein, but in cakes one skein is clearly much darker than the other. And you know what? I don’t care. They’re both gorgeous. I will have fraternal twin socks (why? why do I have to have fraternal socks? couldn’t I have sororal twins instead?) and I will love them.

I’ve enjoyed setting the pair/month goal for myself this year. I haven’t made the deadline every month, but I have had a pair to work on each month, almost all of them finished eventually (still working on July). I’ve turned a decent amount of my sock yarn into socks, which is what it was intended for in the first place, and in turn made more space in the sock yarn drawers for more sock yarn. So, all around, this is a success! I’m already thinking about next year’s goal. I’m thinking a sweater, shawl, or other suitably big project every 2 months. Get through some of that laceweight I’ve been buying just to fondle.

Knitting Ninja

For real. I totally pulled off the most bad-ass knitting move of my entire knitting life so far.

So, picture the Giant-Size Man-Sweater as it was yesterday afternoon: body done, sleeves joined, yoke finished, saddles grafted, AND a left button band/shawl collar. Ready to start the buttonhole band, I double-checked on the buttons I wanted to use, making sure Dan and I both really liked them. We both agreed we really liked them, which is good, because having to buy new buttons would likely mean the sweater would not be done in time (it’s due next Wednesday). Then I checked them against the one buttonhole already in the sweater (the button bands are worked along with the hem for the first few inches, then left on holders until the body is done, so the first buttonhole is done way at the very beginning of this sweater) to make sure a 2-stitch buttonhole will work before I take and go and make 4 more of them.

And a 2-stitch buttonhole will NOT work, it turns out. First thought: Not a problem, I’ll just make 3-stitch buttonholes. Good on me for thinking ahead! Second thought: Wait, what? I already have a 2-stitch buttonhole here, so what’s gonna happen, he won’t be able to button the first button? And then, I swear, you guys, do you know what I did? Without even thinking about it, I took the middle 4 stitches off the waste yarn and unraveled 2 inches’ worth of garter stitch that was totally attached to the rest of the sweater and could’ve ruined everything, cast off an extra stitch, then picked back up and re-knit that entire 2 inches of garter stitch.

Like some kind of goddamn superhero.

Not Much News On The Knitting Front

The Giant-Size Man-Sweater continues apace. Body is done, left button band complete, shawl collar shaped, now it’s just a few more short rows & I’m on to the right button band (complete with evenly spaced buttonholes? guess we’ll see about that). Definitely blocking this before seaming, as I am not terribly experienced with seaming knitted objects and back in my crochet days my approach to seaming was along the “well, it’s supposed to look lumpy and handmade” lines and I think it might be best if the button band and collar show some sort of sensible relationship to the body.

One thing this project has taught me (besides the fact that I can indeed purl for a mile and a half and not actually die) is how far I’ve come as a knitter. There are so many mistakes in this pattern, no errata available at the SNB website, and more than a few other similar complaints to be found on Ravelry. (And thank…Idunno, pick a higher power…for Ravelry, because the few times I just wasn’t confident enough to say “that’s wrong!” and power on, I was able to easily get an answer.) I realized I’m at a point now – even only having made two sweaters that weren’t anything like this one – where I can come upon a mistake, say “well, there’s no way that’s right,” and figure out how to make it right in just a few minutes. With no throwing it down in frustration, ignoring it for 6 weeks, then picking another pattern to make instead. I’m growing.

But, seriously, someone needs to publish some errata for this pattern and fast.

Zoe really wants to make sure the button band is the right length.

Zoe really wants to make sure the button band is the right length.

Other projects are in roughly the same stages, but still on track to be done in the next few weeks (got a long weekend coming up and I plan to spend most of it reclined in various manners). I did just get a lovely package in the mail from Knitpicks, though. Enough Comfy Bulky to make the Muriwai Bath Mat and some CotLin for a little baby jean jacket. Also an EZ book and a Niddy Noddy. So I needneedNEED to finish this sweater so I can start all sorts of new awesome projects for Fall.

Lots To Get Done

A state-of-the-projects update:

The July socks have stalled. I won’t see the friend they’re for for a while anyway, so I’m just picking away at them when I get the chance. The August socks haven’t begun, because they’re being made for a trade on Ravelry & I haven’t received the supplies to make them yet. They’ll be stripey Jaywalkers & I’m getting sock minis in trade for the Life-Long Blanket! The September socks are calling my name but I must. not. start them.

The Life-Long Blanket – have I told you about this one? Mitered squares of sock yarn following Shelly Kang’s pattern. It started here…

Big Bad Blankie

…and is now 11 squares wide. I think I’ll go for 20 squares wide. I like my blankets big, so this will take a while, but it’s so easy to get on a roll with those little squares. I’ll sit down for a few minutes & do at least 2 easily.

The drop-stitch scarf has not progressed much but is still so damn beautiful I’m going to show it to you again.

It's like seashells and beaches and waves.

It’s like seashells and beaches and waves.

I really need to work on this some more.

There is a new project on the needles: a stripey baby sweater (the Scrappy Socky Stripey Cardi).

Little Sweater

2 of my work friends are due to give birth in the next few months. I’m glad baby stuff is quick to knit & can be made out of sock yarn. More leftovers for the blanket!

The Giant-Size Man-Sweater is going to fit! I’m partway into the shoulder shaping, just far enough that Dan could try it on the other day. It looks like it’s going to be perfect. I’m so relieved.

The Anhinga sleeve/gauge swatch has been sitting in the basket about 2 rows in for months. And then I got all that Noro Kureyon to make the Hacky Sack Hoodie, which seems way easier, and…we’ll see when the next sweater for me happens.

As for all the stuff I was working on in my last post, I’m still working on it. I’ve added “trying not to get stressed out by not doing these things when I think I should” to the end of the list as well. Tonight, for example, I skipped yoga class & came home because I wanted to give myself a chance to just be by myself, puttering around, doing nothing if I didn’t feel like it. Sort of a moving meditation, I guess. No one to talk to (OK, I talk to the cat sometimes), just settling into my own head & trying to be comfortable there for a few hours. And it’s not so bad so far.

Sundays Are For Selflessness

And for seriously kicking this sweater’s ass.

When I got home from yoga Sunday intending to knit, I had 3 more increase rounds to go on the Giant-Size Man-Sweater sleeves, then straight knitting for another few inches before I could join them to the body. The body also needed a bit more work, which I had left undone when I ran out of my first skein 4 rows from finishing the body. Since the working yarn is intended to stay attached to the body but to be broken on both sleeves before attaching all 3, I figure it made more sense to start the new skein with the sleeves, then rejoin to knit the last 4 rows on the body, then continue with the yoke. Which all became my goal for this week’s Sunday session: I would finish the sleeves, finish the body, and join them together. And, wow – it took me all day, but I did it. I started around noon and finished up around 8. That includes time for a nap, some more yoga, and meal preparation, but mostly I thought about nothing but this sweater for that time.

Giant-Size Dan-Sweater

Feeling remarkably good about the sweater, I moved on to my June sock project. I was just past the short-row heel this past weekend, & I flew through the rest of the foot & toe during the first part of the week. I finished last night (with plenty of time left over, so I’ve already started the toe on this month’s socks).

June: Jaywalkers with short-row heel. DIC Smooshy, color Petal Shower.

June: Jaywalkers with short-row heel. DIC Smooshy, color Petal Shower.

Knitterly info:

Jaywalker by Grumperina
Dream In Color Smooshy, color Petal Shower
2mm/US 0 5″ Clover & Hiya Hiya bamboo double-pointed needles
Smallest size (76 st)
Short-row heel

About those needles: I knit almost all my socks on 2mm needles. I’ve been using the 5″ dpns for about a year now & adore them. I find I can switch between dpns & magic loop pretty easily, & I don’t exactly prefer one over the other. I usually work with whatever I have on hand that isn’t already in another project. But these smaller dpns are really wonderful & much less fiddly than either longer dpns or magic loop. Except. Except they bend really easily. I’ve had some larger bamboo dpns that develop a little curve over time, sort of conforming themselves to the shape of my hand, & I actually find them more comfortable to work with at that point. Since I use bamboo because it’s more comfortable on my hands than metal, that’s actually a selling point for me. These small dpns, though? I think I’m just that much stronger than they are, because they bend more easily & they bend much more, to the point that it does interfere with the knitting. I have 3 or 4 sets of them & have used each a few times. Halfway through the first sock I found one of the Hiya Hiya needles was bent too much to keep knitting with, so on the next round I knit a Clover in in its place. Then, a while later, another Hiya Hiya went. And so on, until 3 or 4 of the needles I started the sock with had been replaced. But then the Clovers started to bend too. It’s not so bad I can’t use them yet, but I’m guessing partway through my July pair of socks I’ll have switched most of the Clovers out for my other set of Hiya Hiyas. I don’t know if there’s a solution for this, either. I may just have to buy several sets of these a year.

Sundays Are For Selflessness

Giant-Size Man-Sweater


Also sleeves. Right now, Sundays are for sleeves. Given my tendency to make a second sock just slightly different in size from the first sock – and seeing as how a sock is sort of just a sleeve for your leg – and factoring in that I love my husband, want him to be happy, and also feel that if he’s going to wear a sweater I made him he should do it because he loves the sweater, not because he loves me, I decided to knit both sleeves at once. This is Cascade Eco + – bulky weight – on 5.5 mm needles. Knit Picks Harmony interchangeables on a 47″ cable. This is some serious magic loop I’ve got going, folks. Normally I would expect to finish something this size in this yarn on these needles in an evening or two, but 2-at-a-time magic loop is a new technique for me. There was one false start (which was almost repeated on my second go-round, until I remembered how very very clever I am and totally saved my own ass). And it’s slooooow compared to 1-at-a-time magic loop. I’ve been working on the sleeves for…mmm…3? Sundays and I’m only about a third of the way through. Plus which, I’m being really careful about clicking my row counter after each round so that the increases all show up in the same places. I think it’s working, though – so far both sleeves are the same size!

Knitting 8 Things At Once But Maybe Only Sometimes Finishing

Or: I’m A Process Knitter, Not A Product Knitter

Yes. So. About being a process knitter. Here are my current projects (and, of course, by “current” I only mean these are the ones I consider active right now; this isn’t actually every unfinished project I have lying around):

  1. The Giant-Size Man-Sweater for Dan: Happy to say this is coming along beautifully. I have the body up to where the sleeves are joined, and I’m 2-at-a-time magic looping the sleeves (my second socks always come out a slightly different size; that’s ok for socks, not so much for sleeves). Bulky yarn+5.5 mm needles+setting aside Sundays to knit for other people=shiny new sweater in a week or two. (Please don’t mention how he doesn’t need a bulky sweater in June. If I don’t knit bulky wooly things in summer, then I never have them when I really need them.)
  2. Anhinga: Oh, how I love this sweater and really really hope it fits me. All the pattern notes in this book about the model being 5’8″ and a size 2 aren’t helping me figure out how it’s going to fit me. I’m picturing a sweater around my knees and sleeves past my knuckles. I actually like sleeves past my knuckles. But I digress. I’ve made myself 2 sweaters in the past, both from easy raglan patterns and I did it mostly for the practice, not really caring how they fit, just that I made a sweater. This one I would like to be awesome, so I’m doing ALL the steps. I have the barest little beginnings of a gauge swatch and I’m sitting rapt in front of this series over at stash, knit, repeat. My husband’s taking my picture, I’m drawing things on graph paper. This sweater is going to fit.
  3. May socks: I’m knitting a pair a month this year. For May I’m making my sister’s birthday socks. Knit Picks Imagination, 2.5 mm needles, Yarn Harlot’s standard sock recipe. Haven’t started the second one, but I have a long weekend and I expect to finish in plenty of time.
  4. 2 scarves: A Baktus in an unknown KPPPM colorway (got it without ball bands) which I am calling peachybuttercarrotbloodoranges. And a pretty little drop-stitch deal in my first ever skein of Araucania Ranco Multy. I thought it was just too pretty for socks at first, but working this pattern, feeling the yarn-overs smooshed up tightly on the needles, I’m imagining a remarkably sturdy and unspeakably pretty pair of socks and now can’t wait to get more of this stuff.
  5. My knit night hat: Easy ribbing, slouchy, Lion Brand Wool-Ease in a blue that’ll go with everything. No rush on this one, playing with it once a week or so.

Hrm. That wasn’t 8 things. I probably need to cast on something new. Oh, wait, no: Got some multi-colored merino on the drop spindle, too.

So, knitting blog?

Yes, knitting blog!

This has taken place more than once over the last few years:

Me: “I want to write more.”

Husband: “Start a blog.”

Me: “I should start a blog. But I don’t have anything to say.”

Husband: “Write about knitting. You read knitting blogs all day. Start one.”

Me: “Yeah, I guess.” (proceeds not to start a knitting blog or write more)

And then I just got sick of having that conversation and so I’ve started a knitting blog. Which will mostly be a knitting-8-things-at-once-but-maybe-only-sometimes-finishing blog.

On that note, here, have some pictures:

Giant-Size Man-Sweater

2 current projects on the needles: Giant-Size Man-Sweater (Ravelry link). That’s Smokin’ by Jared Flood in Cascade Eco Plus in the boldest mustardy yellow I could find. So far I am in love with this yarn and almost entirely pleased with this pattern. I wish the sizing had included a few smaller chest sizes – seriously, the smallest is a 42, which would have been 6″ positive ease on my husband; I know it’s supposed to be a roomy, comfy, lie-around sweater, but that’s a bit much, no? – but I was able to size down just by dropping down a needle size. It’s coming out perfect: I’m expecting about 2″ of positive ease and I like the fabric I’m getting with 5.5 mm needles much better than I got with the recommended 6 mm. And just peeking out from underneath the GSMS is the vague beginnings of a Laminaria in Knit Picks Shimmer, colorway Galaxy. It’s soft and purple and it’s making these little raspberry-looking nubbly things and I’ve never knit lace before so it’s going sloooooowly. But I’ll get there. I’ll sort of have to, because I’ve picked up a few thousand additional yards of laceweight ’cause I just can’t resist it, and I don’t know what I’ll do with it all if it turns out I don’t like lace.

But I did say it’s usually 8 things at once around here, so also this:

Jim Baktus

socks not for me

looks like oil in a puddle