Most of you have chosen your yarn, decided on size and gauge, cast on the requisite number of stitches on to the right size of needles to make the sweater to fit, and have knitted the first tube – the body of the jersey.Knitting round and round on circular needles is easy, repetitive work. Knitting, as you know, can be done in down time, TV time, waiting for a meeting to start, on public transport, when you are minding the kids or winding down after a busy day – listening to the radio or a podcast. You may find it soothing and relaxing especially if it is not complicated by difficult stitches or counting or trying to shape the garment. Enjoy.
If not – you can start now. Seeing someone else knitting makes me want to join in.
So let’s talk about colour today. If you have yarn you love at home – use it. If you have bought yarn for this project you are probably knitting it up. But if you haven’t started yet here are some thoughts and tips about choosing the colours.
- I would stick to mainly a plain colour for the jersey rather than a variegated or jazzy yarn. The idea with the plain colour is something that can be set off and enhanced by your colourwork patterned yoke.
- On the whole contrast is good. If you made a jersey in pastel shades with pastel colourwork it will not stand out very much. On the other hand if you put a stronger contrast in, it could look great. Here the dark grey would look lovely with two or three of the very light colours.
- If you know what colours suit you choose one of them. Let’s say you look best in light-muted shades try a soft pink and use a light grey and a deeper muted blue for contrast. You don’t want too much contrast as you suit a softer look.
- If you suit deeper shades a black, navy or deep purple jumper would be nice. You suit a stronger contrast so use bright shades like red, and orange, but maybe throw in teal or brown to make it more sophisticated. The colours will be enhanced by a dark background.
- You may like to make a neutral jersey that will go with everything. Neutrals include black, grey, navy, beige, cream, white, and brown. As I already have a pink and a blue jersey I am going with beige.
It is a boring colour to knit with, but I am planning on have bright colours for my yoke – probably red, blue and yellow (the primary colours). I did consider just using one shade rather than several – for example a denim blue – but I can’t resist the range of colours that make the jumper the ideal match with many outfits. If you choose to make a neutral jersey you could do your colourwork with neutrals too – this may be striking – for example black, white and grey – or subtle – using a range of natural browns that are quite close to each other.
- If you love bright colours think about a zingy colour scheme eg an orange sweater with blue and green colourwork – by choosing complementary colours your main colour will come to life. Or make a white sweater with strong colours in it?
- Finally I think you can throw in one discordant note to good effect sometimes, eg three cool colours and one warm one eg cool red, navy, grey and camel (warm); navy, or vice versa orange, yellow, peach and bright blue.
Apart from my own Colourmart yarns, I have used photographs from Love Knitting MillaMia Merino which is on offer at about £3.60 for 50 grms at the moment. The colours are rather lovely.
So think about
- What colours suit me best and enhance my complexion?
- What colours work well with the colour I have chosen for the jersey?
- How much contrast do I want – using light and dark, bright and deep, and complementary colours (yellow/purple; red/green; blue/orange)
- Do I want just one additional colour with my main colour eg navy and white; two eg navy, red and white; or three – navy with red, yellow and white?
- What colours are my skirts and trousers? – putting these into the colourwork will give you outfits. Although I have chosen a denim blue I may swap this out for teal to match my new trousers.
- What yarns do I already have that I can use? The colourwork only takes small amounts so you may not want to buy a whole ball. Obviously you should try to use the same weight and composition of yarn. If you want to use something else you should swatch it as a pattern, soak it in water, dry and press it and see what happens.
I know lots of you have cast on the right number of stitches and have started the body tube. How long are you making it? I am planning about 15″ as I don’t like a long sweater. My shortest one (the ombre is about 12″ long but it stops at the waist). I haven’t completed my body section but I have one sleeve complete. I am planning to explain the sleeves next week, and go on to the colour work the following week. The final post will cover the hems and finishing. I hope this pace is OK with you.
Let us know how you are getting on with the knitting below, where you can also ask any questions. I am sure the more expert knitters out there will be able to help with the answers.
Great post. I have a question which you may want to answer, or delay for your post on the sleeves. I figure my sleeves will be about 11 inches around at the widest point. In my limited experience with circular needles, I have arrived at the idea that the needles have to be shorter than what you’re knitting. How can I make an 11 inch round on 16 inch circulars?? I’m planning to go to the store tomorrow for 5.5 mm dpns. Maybe some of your other readers could contribute answers ?? I’m scratching my head about this.
Hi Felica! I was planning to cover sleeves next week but you have captured the key issue with making a sleeve tube – knitting it entirely in the round without seams. EZ suggests using dpns for starting off the cuffs, moving to the smallest circumference of circular needles as soon as you can. Me – I use magic loop. This involves just using the same needles you used for the body. I will try to explain this next week as it is fantastic. In the meantime I suggest you look on the internet. It is not hard. But if you can’t get on with it or you already are comfortable with dpns (I cannot use them but I am still a beginner) you could do that. EZ suggests casting on 20% of the body stitches and then gradually increasing to 33% of the body stitches. I will cover this next week.
Fascinating. I’ve just done four rows with this crazy loop system. Now I’m wondering if there’s a “best place” to do the increases?
Ok! I found the best place is opposite the cast on ie about half the stitches in. Leave three stitches and put a M1 either side of these so the pattern is pretty all the way up the sleeve.
just casting on! I had a brain freeze last night and couldn’t remember the basic of knitting with the magic loop method so spent 2 solid hours puzzling it out again (because I was also out internet!). Now I’m checking the gauge is correct, wish me luck!
I can confirm the colour is fantastic! I am going for a deep purple as main colour and I’m considering setting it off with an ochre and a blue ( I have a blue, but it’s variegated blue… will show you!). This sweater would work with pretty much any bottom garment I have, from jeans to skirts – however I haven’t yet decided on the length. I might go for a cropped version to go with high waist garments. Photos on @1stitchforward soon, promise!
For the body you should not need to do magic loop – just knit round and round? I love the idea of blue and yellow with your gorgeous deep purple. I have two nice blues to show you. Excited to see the photos Giorgia.
oh I though that, but I’m starting a sleeve to double check my gauge. I often find that when I have had a break in knitting, or when I use a new yarn, my tension is a bit irregular and tends to relax after a knit a while. So starting with a smaller piece to see if it ends up being a size to big 😉
You are a bit of a perfectionist I think. For the record I have used 140, 150, 160, and 180 stitches for my jerseys (all with the same yarn and gauge) and they are all more or less a good fit. Theoretically that should be an 8″ difference!
Ha! I wish 🙂 i’m being careful because i had a bad experience.. and because i really really love the yarn. I want to use this jumper loads!
I’m trying to join in using a cotton/linen yarn I have with me on holiday. There won’t be any colour work for me – just the basic shape, with a curled edge. I’ve nearly finished the body – do I use the gauge and some maths so work out my sleeves?
Hello Anne – so excited you are joining in. As I said above start the cuff with 20% of the body stitches and every 4th row increase two stitches until you get to 33% of the body stitches. Then knit straight until you have the length you want. I will cover in depth next Saturday but it sounds like you know what you are doing. Send me a photo so I can share it on the blog!
That’s great. Thanks Kate
‘Seeing someone else knitting makes me want to join in’. You’re so right! I’m off to the yarn shop today for the first time in 25 years. I won’t join this knit along as I’m just too old school and never got the hang of working with circular needles. Found a lovely Amy Herzog pattern though, worked in pieces from the bottom up, and suddenly can’t wait to get started again!
So glad to have encouraged you Marianne! I just love wearing my hand knits. I am getting such a lot of pleasure from making and mixing them in with my wardrobe.
Addi make very small, 20cm circular needles, but just up to 3.75mm size. I love these for sleeves as they avoid the faff of using double pointed needles or magic loop.
I can hardly believe this……I’ve bought circular needles, EZ book and some markers – you’re a bad influence!
I am naughty – as you know. But you are already such an accomplished knitter Ruth this will be a breeze for you. I am excited that you are going to join in.
I’ve enjoyed this post, I’ve been thinking about colour even though I won’t be starting for a few weeks.
I’ve never done colour work so looking forward to the post on that section.
I’m also glad Felicia asked the question about the length of the circular needle for the sleeve. That has been puzzling me! I can work with DPNs but have never tried the magic loop method.
Also when I suggested white with brights I was thinking of your lovely rainbow jumper.
I’ve broken all these rules for my jumper but I am using yarn from my stash which I had no idea what to do with. And no idea where it came from!! The problem with a gaudy variegated yarn is the yoke but I’ve found a patterned stitch in one of my Mum’s books which is designed for knitting in the round. I shall take all your advice for the next one – maybe!
No time to knit or do anything crafty but I sure can enjoy seeing your color choices and challenges along with way to making such beautiful sweaters!
Poor Mrs Mole. You are like Cinderella – making the ball gowns but not going to the ball. I hope you get some rest after a long season of dealing with everyone else’s dreams.
I’m a bit late reporting in; family commitments meant I’ve been away from home without internet for the week. I’ve been knitting whenever I could grab a free moment and it certainly grows quickly on circular needles and I’m well up the body. Even though I checked my gauge meticulously and cast on the set number of stitches, I’m a little concerned there seems to be plenty of ease, but I’ve decided to just keep going and see how it turns out. I’ve made notes as I go, and I think I understand how and where changes could be made next time.
Sleeves are already causing me consternation – I’ve never tried the magic loop method but I guess that will be another ‘first’ to tackle. So much to learn! I have one 40cm needle for the sleeves, but is it worth buying a second? Or should I go with DPNs?
Thanks for all the helpful info and encouragement – I need it!
Hi Michelle – so good to hear from you and glad you are making progress. How many stitches have you got and what is your gauge? You can measure the body – it should be about the same as your bust measurement but a couple of inches either way seems fine too. I thought my first one was a bit big but when I washed it it sort of fluffed up and became a little thicker and it fits me well. Also you can try it on if you like. Either use a second circular needle or maybe thread a large piece of yarn through the stitches and just slide it one over your head.
In terms of the sleeves Veronica, above, suggests 20cm circulars, which I guess you could try. I use just the one needle because that is all I have got – which is why I learnt magic loop in the first place (when I made my first jumper) and it is not hard actually. Since then I tried double pointed needles and found them really hard to handle. I didn’t want to buy extra needles. Can I suggest you have a practice with the magic loop. I will try to explain it next Saturday, but the main thing is to have a nice run of stitches on the left needle, followed by a loop, then the remaining stitches, then a loop and the second right needle is free to do the knitting. Once you have knitted up the run of stitches I sort of flick all the stitches back onto the plastic and do the process again, always folding out that first loop in a different place. The other thing is that the first new stitch needs to be held close to the previous one so the tension is even. I will try to show this. Honestly it is not hard. It is convenient, economic and works a treat. A little practice will make perfect.
Sorry for butting in.. but infind the magic loop way easier than dpn! Youtube is great to learn the tecnique. Also i wouldn’t buy another set, if you do the magic loop you can easily use the same one you used for the body.
Thanks so much both of you for the feedback and advice. Sounds like the magic loop is the way to go and I shall try to have a practice beforehand.
Kate, I’m working with a consistent gauge of 5 stitches to the inch, and cast on 170 stitches (5 x34). I think I’d rather have too big than too small, and as I live in the sticks where it gets a bit chilly in the winter, I’ll probably have a layer or two underneath. I had decided from the start to look on this as a wearable (knitted) muslin exercise and I’m already anticipating another EZ jumper incorporating the lessons learned from this attempt.
Having said that, perhaps I need to nail this one first!!
I think that sounds about right. I have found anything between 140 and 180 fits me fine so I wouldn’t worry too much. I also think the idea of just making a practice one is great because there is less pressure and after you have tried it on you will see if you want to make adjustments to the size, length, colour etc next time. I have two and am looking forward to a third one. So glad you are entering the spirit of it.