Thursday, January 16, 2014


Ravelry is an amazing resource organized around knitting and crocheting (with some weaving and sewing). Even if you don't knit or crochet, I recommend checking it out. The level of international cooperation and friendliness is unparalleled on the web.

As on any other social networking site, you friend people who have similar tastes and then watch what they knit, put in their queue (want to knit) or just plain like. The genius of this site is that you don't have to speak a common language other than yarn. Bilingual volunteer editors also serve as ambassadors.

If you want to see inside knitter's homes around the world, this is the place.

Anyway, one of my contacts on Ravelry queued a_simmetrie (Italian for asymmetry), and I purchased the pattern and some yarn immediately.  Click on the link above, and you will go to the pattern information page.  If you join (membership is free but donations are greatly appreciated), you can see all the a_simmetrie sweaters knit and uploaded by Ravelry members (29 so far).

For instance, you can see my project notes here.

As written, the pattern uses dk weight (8-ply) wool for the main body and fingering weight (4-ply) for the sheer panels and neck yoke.  I didn't have fingering weight in the right color so I used Habu tsumugi silk, ~3 ply.  The silk has no elastic recovery, so I used the dk wool for the yoke instead.
Since the silk panels droop, I decided to roll with it and make the back hem longer than the front. Eileen Fisher calls it an elliptical hem so I named my project Asymmetric Ellipse.

Isn't that sheer panel pretty?
The pattern is unusually clever.  You knit top-down, but in two pieces instead of in the round.  Each piece includes most of one side (front/back), one sleeve, and a sliver of the opposite side (back/front).  When you reach the bottom of the armhole, you put sleeve stitches on a holder and complete the body.  Then you go back and knit the sleeves in the round.

With the lighter yarn and small needles, pick up one stitch in each row of one piece, then knit a garter stitch wedge using short rows.  Crochet bind off the wedge while attaching it to the opposite edge of the other piece.  Repeat for second wedge.

Now pickup the provisional cast-off and knit the slanted yoke.

The sleeve increase sequence produced the nicest-fitting armhole I've ever seen in a top-down sweater.  I'm going to copy that for my future top-down projects.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to wear it in public yet.  It's been 80 F outside and not wool sweater weather.

Oops, I forgot to mention that Colourmart sells mill ends which come on cones and contain oils to facilitate machine-knitting or weaving.  Handknitters can also use the yarn, but must wash a test swatch in HOT water to remove the oil, fluff up the wool, and obtain an accurate gauge.

I admit that I was a bit nervous about submitting wool to a HOT water and detergent bath.  But, plenty of other people on Ravelry and Colourmart forums did it successfully so I plunged ahead. I threw in some citric acid crystals to lower the pH and suppress felting, but don't know if that helped.  The oil came out, the wool fluffed up nicely and the gauge didn't change at all.


  • Size 6 (4.0 mm) needles when knitting back and forth, size 7 (4.5mm) when knitting the sleeves in the round.
  • Size 2 (2.75 mm) needles for the garter stitch panels and yoke
  • Colourmart 8-ply merino wool for the main body and yoke
  • Habu Tsumugi silk for the sheer contrast panels
  • Reduced the # of yoke stitches and rows by omitting increases and reducing 4 rows (2 ridges)
  • Short-rowed the hem so that it dips in back for an elliptical hem. Back gusset is longer than front gusset for a gentle curved swing shape.
  • Lengthened sleeves to full length by stretching out sleeve decreases to every 8 rows 11 times.
  • Garter hems instead of turned and stitched hems.
  • Stretchy bind-off using a crochet hook.


  1. Gosh, that's lovely! The sheer panels are really gorgeous. Hope you get to wear it soon.

  2. Lovely sweater! It has been freezing here; I wish it wss 80.
    I don't know how to knit, but I love reading about how it's done. So clever. So intricate. And some say women aren't into math. Knitting a sweater as you described is definitely numbers in action.

    1. Knitting is the act of turning a line into a plane by pulling loops through loops. This type of sweater construction is even more amazing because it goes from 1D, a line of yarn, directly to 3D. This is extremely difficult for most people to visualize.

      I suppose it's easier to denigrate this than to admit one's inferiority in not being able to grok this.

      You'll notice that knitting and finishing this yarn required thinking about geometry, physics and chemistry.

      If engineering is the study of math and science and then applying it to solve a problem, then knitting and sewing are engineering disciplines.

  3. Lovely. I've had my eye on this one as well.

  4. I hope you do get to wear this. It looks so interesting.


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