More thinking on the super chunky Sloper jumper

posted in: knitting | 26

I can’t wait. I get excited. If I really want to make something I just get started. Promising to produce a pattern in a month – Karen Templer – is just too much of a tease for me. I know I can wait, but I don’t want to. So I have had a go at doing it myself.

Firstly I persevered with the tension square. According to Karen the gauge  is 10 sts and 15 rows over 4″ Although she suggests 8mm needles, my 7mm gave a too small square, so I went for 10mm. This worked pretty well to give the required gauge. Aren’t the peachy, shiny needles nice?

Tension square, chunky
Tension square made with 10mm needles

Next I had a closer look at a jumper I already own that looks fairly chunky.

I measured the jumper, laid flat and found it was 13″ across the upper chest, 18″ across the bust, and 20″ long (of which 2″ are the waist line ribbing), underarm to hem is 15″, with a neck point to shoulder point of 3″ The collar is 2.5″ depth, sleeves are 5″ long.

So, question, can I make the pattern myself?

On Karen’s blog there are some photographs of the jumper being knitted.

Karen Templer Fringe Association Sloper V 1
Karen Templer Fringe Association Sloper V 1

I have no idea if I am doing this right but I made a pattern by just using the measurements given. Does this look right to you? The measurements are in inches and the proposed number of stitches [created by multiplying the inches by number of stitches (red) or rows (green)] are in brackets. Does one need to include any seam allowances with knitting? What about shaping for the neck? It looks like Karen has got the neckline taking up about a third of the width and it dips down maybe three or four rows?

Sloper pattern
Sloper pattern?

I guess I could wait until 1 May for the pattern, but maybe I should just knit up my provisional pattern. Knitting it up will be quick (but not as quick as unravelling it, if it doesn’t work out).

I notice Karen has only four stitches at the underarm, whereas I have six; and ten across the shoulder where I have five. And my armhole depth is one-quarter of the depth, whereas Karen’s is closer to half. However my pattern is a bit different, especially with regards to the collar. I am also thinking I might add a little length to the back, possibly another inch or two.

So I  am thinking knit it up – I can still do her pattern when it comes out, using my version as an experiment.  By the way I am sure the internet is full of advice on how to create knitting patterns but this pattern has been created by logic alone! I always prefer to work things out for myself first before looking up the answer. If this doesn’t work I shall search for the correct way.

26 Responses

  1. You probably know about her already but if not check out the Elizabeth Zimmermann method of knitting. It’s an interesting concept and I use the concept to crochet .

  2. Vancouver Barbara

    Your sweater looks perfect. Does it fit you? That’s all that counts.

    • Vancouver Barbara

      Oops. Completely misread the pix.
      I’m sure you’ll do well in any case. And it will be fun.

      I used to knit and crochet madly. I also just counted stitches and my pieces came out well. The most ambitious hand-made creation was a full-length crocheted coat I saw on a very glamourous woman at summer camp. She let me have a good look at her coat by Georgio de Sant’Angelo. I made a quick drawing of all the elements, counted some stitches, went to the local 5 and 20¢ store and bought some acrylic yarn and began. Her husband had given it to her, had obviously spent a fortune on it and was none too pleased to see a clone appear before his eyes.
      I loved it to death and wore it for years until some bad fabric softener ruined it in the wash.
      I have wonderful memories of making and wearing it so happily.

  3. Excellent attitude – it’s always such a delight to see a fledgling knitter embark on this adventure with a “how hard can it be?!” air 😀 And you’re right, it’s totally doable.

    When I learned to knit, I was taught a “formula” that was then applied to all sweater 😀 Now, this was in the 70s and sweaters very much were boxy affairs with no shaping whatsoever except for a bit around the neck.
    You are on a good path – and really, worst case you’ll have to rip it out and start over again, by which time Mrs. Templer may well have produced the pattern.
    There is clearly front neck shaping visible in the photos from her – at first glance, it looks something like decrease 1×2 and 3X1 stitches on either side – or you can do the math, which you have clearly figured out how to do.
    Seam allowances are usually 1-2 stitches.
    I probably have mentioned this before, but I can not recommend joining Ravelry enough. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, and it took me several years to get the use out of it that I do now, but it’s such a wealth of knowledge freely shared that it’s simply the best knitting resource ever.
    And despite the fact that I’m with your daughter and personally don’t see the point in a chunky sleeveless sweater, I can’t wait to see your result, and I’m sure you can pull it off!

    • Thanks so much for your lovely encouraging response Katja. And if I make the sweater I will certainly be “pulling it off” or even pulling it apart!.

      I will take your suggestions on shaping into account – they feel right to me. I have joined Ravelry, and I have a look but it is just a bit too much for me at the moment. I can barely take it in. I learn better by just trying things and then later learning properly. The joy for me is often in working things out for myself and experimentation.

  4. I do like you suggest. It’s basically what the knitleader does on my knitting machine. The seam allowance question – do you stitch the pieces together, like fabric, or weave between them (there’s a word for this technique which escapes me right now, you can see how long it is since I did any hand knitting). The second technique doesn’t really use any extra fabric.

    • I have decided to do mattress stitch on this jumper. I had a go previously but couldn’t master it. I am hoping the big, open fabric of this garment will lend itself to this sort of joining. And as for a knitting machine – that would be lots of fun.

  5. I echo what Jay says about knitting machines – but my knit leader doesn’t work, so I just have to work out pattern pieces on graph paper. There are websites which print out graph paper based on the exact size of your stitches (based on your sample). That way, you can draw out your decreases e.g. Round the neck.

    (Knitting machines could be a whole new avenue for you to explore…. Creative, but a whole new skill with a very steep learning curve. You can combine machine knitting with hand knitting and machine sewing if you want)

    • Knitting machines (and weaving machines) appeal very much, and one day I will investigate. At the moment I have so much sewing paraphernalia – and am starting to amass knitting stuff too.

  6. Verona Woodhouse

    Go for it. It really is not more complicated than your design. When knitting with very thick yarn then doing an extra stitch each side of front and back for seaming is worthwhile. You don’t need to if knitting in the round. Usually necklines are down about 3″ at the front. Just 3 rows might sit very high on your neck.

  7. You should definitely jump in with this… I’ve no doubt that it will work out ok. In fact I think this is the best way to make your top, or any knit piece. By first selecting yarn, then swatching to get the fabric hand you want, and then using logic and a little maths to make it the size and shape you need.
    With that in mind – you don’t need to stick with the gauge given by Karen – ideally your gauge should be determined by how your swatch feels in comparison to the fabric hand (firm/drapey etc) that you wish to achieve.
    If you want to mattress stitch the seams together, then an extra stitch is needed at each side of each piece. If you plan to slipstitch then you should be fine without any extra.
    I’d advise using a small swatch to work out your decreases at the armholes and neckline. I’m almost certain Karen had some links to the decrease method she used for the armholes on the original.
    Best of luck 😀

    • OK Chris! Thank you. This is a new level of sophistication, but it makes sense. Thanks for the links too. You are very kind.

  8. Your math and numbers look pretty good though I think the front neck needs to be deeper than 3-4 rows – most crew type necklines are about a one inch drop in the back and about 2 1/2 – 3 inch drop in the front from the shoulder.
    A lot of sweaters knit flat have a “selvage” stitch – most often this means knitting the first and last stitch of the row, though there are other ways to do the selvage stitch ie slip the first stitch of the row.

  9. Have you seen the book, Sweater Design in Plain English?
    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/676228.Sweater_Design_in_Plain_English

    You can design your own sweater and you should. It will help you develop your knitting intuition and skills.

  10. The answer to your question is ‘yes you can!’. If you have worked out your gauge and know how many stitches you need to get the body with you need you should be on the right track.
    I’m currently knitting up a crew neck sweater and although I have found on line a free pattern similar to what I wanted it seems straight forward. My only comment would be that I think the neck drop is deeper than 3 or 4 rows. good luck, looking forward to seeing it.

  11. You have definitely figured out the pattern. I would agree with others that the front neck shaping needs to be a little lower and I would readjust the proportions of the neck/shoulders so that the shoulders were wider and neck a little narrower. Your knitting has inspired me to knit again and I absolutely love the Ankestrick designs.

    • Thank you Mary. I think the Ankestrick designs are very classic and easy to wear. I have just finished the Holsten. which took a long time as it is in 2 ply, and will make a third Heavenly because double knit is a lot quicker!

  12. Of course you can. I agree with Chris that your tension should be determined by you depending on the needles, the yarn and the texture you are after. Yes, I too have a knitting machine with a knit leader for this purpose.

    • I suppose with dressmaking I invariably start with the fabric, so maybe I am going to have to learn to start with the yarn! For this project the idea of putting three strands together was a bit revolutionary (maybe like the notion of interlining!). Thank you Anne.

  13. I think with your pattern drafting expertise for sewing, you can apply that knowledge to this sweater. You can draw what the pattern pieces should look like, no issues, then you need to calculate the varying widths into stitches. So If that is what you have done in your drawing, I would put more trust into your stitch counts than Karen’s since these are custom measured for you.

    I end up doing essentially this with each sweater I knit, because I am bigger and taller than most patterns. I think sometimes when designers grade between sizes, they do not always account for parts of us that don’t vary that much with body size. For example, if I knit sweater patterns near my size as written, the sweaters are huge in the wrist, like nearly double my wrist measurement. I imagine this same issue might apply to thinner people, no matter how slender you might be, your bones are not getting smaller.

    • An interesting point Maggie. A friend who works as a designer for a high street chain told me that she designs for the size 12 (UK) and then the pattern cutter grades up and down to 8 and 16. Another designer starts with the size 8 and the grader takes it up to 16, so the bigger the size the less good the fit. Interesting, isn’t it. But tailor made does away with all this average nonsense.

  14. I’m cheering from the sidelines. I don’t know enough to provide a helpful comment!

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