16 avril 2008


Warning : in a presomptuous attempt to reach my international audience (Hello Anchorage!) this post will be in english frenglish globlish - well, whatever it looks like.

Some sure signs of spring : a lovely sunshine on the otherwise rainy Belgium. Tender leaves popping on the trees. Birds singing all around. Yours truly, with her unique sense of timing, finishing a norwegian sweater.

It feels somehow unreal. I had to dig deep down in Blog History to find back the origins of this project (if anything, blogging proves very helpful for deficient memory or projects that beat the scope of human recollection). September 2005 ! Gasp. No wonder this has been a trying relationship. If it wasn't for my extreme stubborness, the whole thing should have been back in the limbs long ago.



Most surprisingly, I am happy with it. It fits reasonably well, taking into account my profound despise for all things gauge and the *$&§!^* conception of those *$&§!^* norwegian sweaters (more grumping and detailed complaints below). I made extensive modifications to the colour pattern and decided to go for a shorter version than the original pattern (for some reason didn't want to have all these pine buds snuggly wrapped around my rear ends).

I also wanted a cosy turtleneck because I am very sensitive to the cold, what seems to worsen with age. I wear turtlenecks from September to May (and if things keep on this track, I may well end up wearing ski masks when I'm 60). As you can see the turtleneck is rather generous. I like that; it is very fluffy (thanks brioche stitch!) and its proportions make the whole sweater look less ginormous.

st'eeeeeek'ing !

So, this was my first project involving norwegian steeks. All in all it went well, but I must say I am not very fond of the technique. First of all I can only advise to have some warming-up with the sewing machine and a waste swatch before getting to the real thing. It's crucial to have the proper tension on the machine and to test the sewing and the cutting on the actual yarn. It could be a good idea to do this at the very start before embarking on a whole project and discover at the end that the yarn is, say, too slippery. I once heard a very experienced knitter  telling how she had a nightmarish experience with a norwegian waterproof wool. If your read anything like 'teflon' on the label, run away.

Some complaints on the norwegian sweater :

*$&§!^* # 1

I carefully measured the top of my sleeves, reported the measurement to the sides of the body, and proceeded with the steeking. Then measured again. Bad idea : the openings have gained 1/2 inch after the cutting.
After the mandatory round of cursing and self-mortification, I went on with the sewing with a terrible feeling of 'who do you thing you are fooling you cheater'. Well, I should have known better. Here is what I found two days later while leisurely browsing Knitting without Tears :

'The cut armhole now thumbs its nose at you, having lenghtened by at least an inch. You thumb your nose right back at it, because you know it was measured exactly, and that you are the one who is going to ease it to match the sleeve-top when you sew them together'

Et voilà. Yet another evidence that all and every knitter should never call it a day without reading his/her two pages of EZ (this makes me think I should take advantage from the dollar rate to order all of her books).

*$&§!^* # 2

I don't think the machine-stitched steek is very solid*, especially at the underarm which takes a lot of abuse.
In Knitting in the Old Way, PGR explains that this method is a modern simplification of the more traditional way which involves dropping three stitches along the armhole height, cutting the ladder open and knot the ends by pairs, but more importantly, keeping the stitches at the bottom of the ladder as platform stitches for the underarm - quite like in the scottish steeks.
*Well, not as solid as a nineteenth-century sweater would be. That is my personal standard with durability.

*$&§!^* # 3

I quite agree with Eunny Jang that machine stitching is stiffy and spoils the elasticity of knitted fabric.

*$&§!^* # 4

Bulky, bulky. At the sleeve seams you'll get the fabric of the body complete with all its strands, the folded edges from the cut, plus the facing. Three layers of heavy knitting. Just add an I-cord and you can achieve the oh-so desirable Goldorak look.

*$&§!^* # 5

My biggest issue with steeked projects : you cannot try it on until the cut is done and your fate is sealed. That's all right if you are very accurate with gauge, body measurements, style issues, arm bulge, sense of the wind, you name it - but for a chaotic knitter like me, pretty scary.
I didn't like that AT ALL.

*$&§!^* # 6

And while I'm at it, I have another reproach to these norwegian sweaters : drop shoulders. Drop shoulders are an anatomic aberration and it doesn't help to have generous amounts of heavy fabric and bulky seams awkwardly draped around you. Take a look at the creases around the armscyes. Then take that : it is a part of the sweater design. Yep. I peered at tons of pictures of norwegian sweaters all kinds, and my mind is set : the creases are not my fault. Unfortunately, that doesn't make them look any better. Well, lesson learned.

Ms Fussy's pleasures

A word on the collar. I made a double sided neck as explained in The Big Book of Knitting (polo neck with a facing) and it is very neat, as well on the inside as on the outside. An added bonus is that it gives more firmness to the neck opening, something always useful for a heavy sweater.
My tip : when picking up stitches along the edge, add a contrasting thread to the yarn. It will make it much easier to pick the matching loops on the wrong side to knit the little facing. Once the collar was done, I used sharp scissors to snip the contrasting thread and pull it out.

Oooops. It seems that writing in another language doesn't help much with my bloggorhea. Sorry for this and I will leave now with the compulsory picture of the wrong side... ah, stranded wrong sides. Never can get too much of these, right ?

Happy knitting everybody !

Posté par knitchy à 22:20 - tricotages - Commentaires [16] - Permalien [#]


  • Magnifique et splendide ! et d'accord sur tous les points... ! félicitations, la couleur est belle et le résultat fantastique !

    Posté par rebecca et libby , le 16 avril 2008 à 23:09
  • quelle technique de fou, t'es trop douée! dis au fait , je suis libre pour le 4, ça te convient toujours? je préviens les autres?

    Posté par sucre.candy , le 16 avril 2008 à 23:22
  • A Bertha, ça lui va a ravir et à toi aussi, no matter what you say. Bizz.

    Posté par Luisa , le 17 avril 2008 à 00:18
  • Ayé, tu as eu la peau de l'ours !!!! Reçois toutes mes plus admiratives féliciations pour ton acharnement sur cet ouvrage qui se révèle absolument magnifique et qui te va à merveille. J'espère bien que t'es fière !

    Posté par Val , le 17 avril 2008 à 01:59
  • bon j'ai pas tout compris au texte, mais c'est pas grave les photos parlent d'elle même. En bref ton nouveau pull est magnifique

    Posté par sand354 , le 17 avril 2008 à 07:24
  • et dire qu'avec le réchauffement climatique, on n'aura même plus d'hiver, ma pov'dame !

    Sans rire, quel superbe travail, bravo !

    Posté par madann , le 17 avril 2008 à 07:38
  • J'ai pas compris grand chose mais en tout cas les photos parlent d'elle même, il est superbe et te sied à merveille.Encore bravo

    Posté par véronique , le 17 avril 2008 à 10:45
  • Yes !!!! Magnifique !
    Pour la sécurisation des steeks, ma maigre expérience (une seule fois) m'a montré que des petits points arrière à l'aiguille étaient très efficaces et restaient souples.

    Posté par bulle , le 17 avril 2008 à 11:01
  • Hip hip hip hourra !!! Tu peux sacrément en être fière de ton Kongle ! Je t'assure que tu ne ressembles pas, mais alors pas du tout à Goldorak Et si je peux me permettre, j'espère que tu ne te tricoteras JAMAIS un de ces horribles "ski masks" !!!

    Posté par Christine , le 17 avril 2008 à 14:25
  • Your English kicks ass, honey!! You can even joke in English, that whole st'eeeeeek' thing was priceless And the sweater is a major accomplishment!!

    Posté par Heather , le 17 avril 2008 à 15:58
  • Bravo !! Il fait effectivement un temps à mettre un norvégien aujourd'hui, dans le sud. Tu me le prêtes ?

    Posté par Mireille , le 17 avril 2008 à 17:38
  • il a vraiment beaucoup d'allure !!

    Posté par sof frankenstein , le 18 avril 2008 à 00:24
  • Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. And beautifully executed, too.

    Posté par Francesca , le 18 avril 2008 à 05:40
  • Presque aussi beau sur l'envers que sur l'endroit! Félicitations!

    Posté par Samhy , le 27 avril 2008 à 14:52
  • Sehr Gut!

    a truly great sweater both in modifications and execution.

    Posté par Holly , le 01 mai 2008 à 12:29
  • Yeah ! Il en jette un max quel travail et si je n'ai pas été làç pour t'encourager je suis là pour te féliciter Bravo !

    Posté par thalie , le 04 août 2008 à 15:08

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