17 May 2007

Blogging should not be this hard.

Welcome to my All New Blog. I’ve actually had the site ready since last weekend, and the intention of writing up a detailed report of the Sunburst Pullover for most of this week. It took far more time, however, to make the images play nicely on this page I thought it would. It was a Flickr thing.

See, this is why I never used that stupid Flickr account. Oh, it’s dead easy to get the photos in there, it’s just the getting them OUT again that’s the hard part. Well, it’s sorted, so let’s not wallow in the ignominy of my place here in the shallow end of the gene pool. You came for Sunburst (At least I think you did. Why are you here again?) and by cracky it’s Sunburst you’re going to get.

Pattern: Sunburst Pullover by Norah Gaughan (Interweave Knits – Summer 2002)
Materials: Briar Rose Fibers “Colette 16005“; 85% wool / 15% mohair
Amount: 5 hanks; Approx. 190 yds per hank
Needles: US 10/6mm Inox – US 9/5.5mm Inox
Gauge: 14sts – 22 rows/4 inches, using larger needles
Finished size: 40 inches at bust
Start Date: 21 March 2007/
Finish Date: 20 April 2007

She started like this…
sunburst yarn

..as ten skeins of Collette, generously gifted by Chris, of Briar Rose fame, as a way of saying thank you. (Chris, you’re so totally welcome. You’re a nice person, and you create a beautiful product that I am happy to support.) I have been long wanting to knit Tilt, and lacking the budget for an entire sweater’s worth of Noro, had thought that Collette would be an acceptable substitute. It wasn’t.

Through no fault of its own the yarn was entirely unsuited for Tilt, the bodice of which is knit on the bias and requires that you hit both stitch AND row gauge spot on. I swatched, changed needles, and swatched again to no avail. And then I went looking for another pattern.

I briefly considered Tailored Scallops, the cover sweater of Interweave’s Lace Style. Very pretty, and the feather and fan stitch is easy to knit, and does make the most of variegated yarn. I swatched some more, and though my gauge in this stitch pattern would have meant serious garment pattern alterations, what stopped me from moving forward was the swatch, itself. The single ply Collette in feather and fan stitch just wasn’t doing it for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I didn’t like the way the green was “popping” in the stitch pattern.

Feather and Fan Swatch

I have no recollection of what led me to consider the Sunburst Pullover. Circles seemed fun to knit, and I cast on intending to knit a circular gauge swatch, and kept going. I wasn’t sure how the colors of the hand painted yarn would behave in an circle, and was delighted when I realized that there was not a trace of color pooling. The circular shape means that each row is slightly larger than the row below, so color pooling is not just minimized, it’s actually pretty nigh impossible. Just another tidbit of information to file away for future use with hand painted yarn, like feather and fan stitch, or purling every fourth row.

Once the two big circles for back and front are complete, neck stitches are bound off, and the circles are joined at the sides by a gusset, knit from the underarm down. This is where I began to tweak a perfectly good pattern, and create more work for myself, because I do not know how to not do that. I added a few rows of short-row shaping at the front neck, to drop the neckline down a tad. Boatneck sweaters are really good on people with swan-like necks, but tend to get lost between the chins of the rest of us.

gussetSide Seam

In order to get close to gauge I had to use a larger needle size than I would have normally used – 6mm, instead 5 – and the fabric had more drape than I thought it would after blocking. (This is what happens when your gauge swatch becomes the work in progress. No blocking, and you don’t know what kind of fabric you’re going to get.) I liked the drape, but after knitting the gussets decided that the sweater could probably use some stability in the form of side seams.

So the gussets were carefully frogged (gently does it with single ply yarn) and I reknit them in four pieces, instead of two. I briefly toyed with adding some waist shaping while I was at it, and thought about hourglass shaped gussets, and possibly grafting the edges of the circles at the waist… thankfully, I got over it, as I think the yarn would have suffered in the process. It’s an interesting idea though, and one that I’ll file away for future use. Circles are fun. I know I’ll come back to them.

The gussets completed to the bottom of the circles, I knit the back and front flat (instead of joining them and knitting them in the round, per pattern instructions) and decided upon a turned hem to add weight and stability to the bottom edge. Sleeves were next, and I used the same treatment at the cuff. Knit from the bottom up, I used a provisional cast on and knit those cast on loops right into the sleeve. So tidy! So finished! So dumb! Sadly, my sleeves are about an inch shorted than I’d have liked, and the fix is not going to be easy.

Sunburst neck detail

The Verdict
All told, the sweater took less than a month to complete. Like most of my projects, it would have been quicker had I limited pattern tweaks. But where’s the fun in that?

My only regret is that it looks absolutely dreadful on me, which is why I didn’t post any pictures of me wearing it. The angle of the sleeve cap (essentially a raglan) is the problem here. Changing the pattern to solve this problem presents many other design challenges, not the least of which is maintaining the circleness of the main pattern element. Knitting from the center out was such fun, however, that I don’t think I’m ready to put the idea down completely. I’m sure there’s a way around this, a fix that will flatter my body shape. And I have five skeins of Collette left, which is more than enough to for do-overs. Meanwhile, the sweater will find a good home in the closet of a dear friend, who’s blessed with the square shoulders that will do it justice, as well as a swan-like neck.

Sunburst FO

Posted on May 17, in Blog


  1. It’s gorgeous! I wasn’t a huge fan of this sweater when I first saw it on the cover of Interweave Knits, but the handpainted yarn really turns it into a Sweater. Stunning!

    Posted on 5.17.07 ·
  2. filambulle wrote:

    It is beautiful. I love it so much, taht I offer my square shoulders as a hanger, if your friend do not want it!
    Welcome in blogland.

    Posted on 5.17.07 ·
  3. Yvonne wrote:

    The sweater is gorgeous! The yarn is gorgeous! I can totally see why you would want to knit this pattern. Circles look so fascinating. I am trying very hard myself to stop making patterns just because they look interesting and work on patterns that I will actually wear, but this one is sure tempting. Welcome to blogland!

    Posted on 5.17.07 ·
  4. chrispy wrote:

    I was just looking at this sweater yesterday. I was looking at old how to articles and seem to always drift over to the sweaters when I should be looking at technique and not getting the I wants. The sweater is gorgeous. It now makes me want to hunt down Briar Rose yarn.

    Posted on 5.17.07 ·
  5. TheAmpuT wrote:

    That’s gorgeous!
    Welcome to blogland πŸ˜‰

    Posted on 5.17.07 ·
  6. Laura wrote:

    By cracky I love it! Really interesting pattern. Beautiful colorway! I need to knit more sweaters. Even if they’re boring I need to knit more sweaters, just to feel like I have done something.

    The F&F swatch is so pretty – it’s such a basic and traditional pattern but it’s so mesmerizing and versatile.

    Welcome to Blogland! πŸ™‚

    Posted on 5.17.07 ·
  7. Chris in Music City wrote:

    The “fling” quote! Chris in the morning…I love it!!! Makes me want to go to The Brick.

    Posted on 5.18.07 ·
  8. Your sweater looks lovely! I couldn’t imagine how the whole circular thing would work out, but I really like the finished result.

    Welcome to the world of blogging!

    BTW, I use photobucket, and have been wanting to switch to Flickr to streamline things. However, I also haven’t been able to “get them back out”. How did you manage to get more than one picture in your post?

    Posted on 5.18.07 ·
  9. Terrie wrote:

    The sweater looks beautiful! And I love the look of your blog; can’t wait to read about more of your projects πŸ™‚

    Posted on 5.18.07 ·
  10. Brenda, it’s beautiful! I can’t believe it only took you a month, and i’m so sorry it doesn’t look good on you. Your friend will be very lucky to have it.

    I’m glad you’re blogging now, I can’t wait to see more knitting pictures and to hear more about your life.

    Welcome to the fold!

    Posted on 5.18.07 ·
  11. filambulle wrote:

    I came back to admire it again, and again. It is a pity that Briar rose fiber does not ship internationally. I really love that colourway. I love knitting “fun shape sweaters” too. My basalt tank (from knitting nature) is done and weared with pleasure, so i can predict a fake “just finished object” post soon on my blog (that is when I will be able to put my hand on our camera…)

    I use flickr too, but I prefer to simply copy the adress of the photo, and then paste it in a simple html line like (forget the dots. i am trying to keep the line from being read like a real html code) It seems way more easy to manage, even if it may be a bit long to go to each photo, copy the adress… you’ll get used to it quickly. And if you find a better way (there must be plenty) do not hesitate to come to my blog and tell me. Thanks

    Have a nice day

    Posted on 5.21.07 ·
  12. filambulle wrote:

    (/%&*ç%*&/ the dots did not kept anything from being read like html. How can I explain without them???
    Let’s try another method of anti-coding:

    img scr=”adressofthephoto.jpg” width=”320″ /
    all this betweeen this kind of brackets:

    Posted on 5.21.07 ·
  13. filambulle wrote:

    πŸ˜‰ I hope this helps.

    Posted on 5.21.07 ·
  14. elizabeth wrote:

    I’ve made this sweater, though not without my own tweaking – I did it in Eden Bamboo so I had to refigure the stitch counts for a totally different gauge. I too am not blessed with square shoulders, but since I made it close fitting and the bamboo yarn drapes well, and I added a 2 row ribbing finish around the next with some strategic decreasing, I’m getting away with it. I am totally taken with the notion of working with circles and want to do it again. I was considering doing more shaping at the front neck and creating saddle shoulders to make more round neckline – it might actually work best to build them top down, much like the side gussets. I do very much like your hemmed finish, which would work well top-down. Must find graph paper…

    Posted on 5.22.07 ·
  15. Trish wrote:

    As an intermediate knitter, it’s wonderful seeing that someone who can do so much more with the craft, goes through similar midproject hiccups! It’s really heartening. Thanks

    Posted on 5.22.07 ·
  16. Cassidy wrote:

    I love that you’re willing to add your own design elements, even if they don’t always work out…it gives me the courage to try my own pattern modifications. And, there’s no better way to learn, right?

    Love your show, and I’m sure the blog will be just as smashing a success!

    Posted on 5.23.07 ·
  17. Liz T. wrote:

    I love the swirly vortex on the front panel, it reminds me of the opening credits to Dr. Who.

    Posted on 6.1.07 ·
  18. Angie wrote:

    This is the prettiest circle I’ve seen.
    I’m just finishing my own too-drapy sweater from Debbie Bliss. I shortened the sleeves but I haven’t blocked it. Who knows what will happen (without having blocked my swatch). I like your idea of a turned hem for stability. You may have saved the day.

    Posted on 6.10.07 ·
  19. doulicia wrote:

    You should post these photos to the Briar Rose Fibers’ knitalong (http://briarrosefibersknitalong.blogspot.com/). It’s a beautiful sweater and the yarn is gorgeous with it. I’m sorry to hear the fit is poor because it’s a beauty of a piece.

    Posted on 6.12.07 ·
  20. doulicia wrote:

    Back again. I just spent 10 minutes trying to find the Summer 2002 IK backissue. None to be found. IK is sold out at their website. None to be found at e-bay or on-line knitting shops. I would be willing to pay you to copy and mail me the pattern. ? If you’re willing, please e-mail me at a2doula@hotmail.com.

    Posted on 6.12.07 ·
  21. Sandy wrote:

    The sweater turned out wonderfully! It’s making me want to go buy the yarn and try it on my own. Hmmm…

    Posted on 7.21.07 ·
  22. Jill Smith wrote:

    Dang – I have a long neck, square shoulders and short arms – if it doesn’t fit your friend, I’ve got my hand in the air!!


    Posted on 11.23.08 ·
  23. allison wrote:

    I would pay for the pattern too, I can’t find it anywhere!

    Posted on 5.27.10 ·

Comments are closed.