Last week, as soon as I saw it, I shared the Ravelry link to the new, free knitting pattern for Dale Garn’s lovely “Peace” sweater. When they issued it, they said it was for a “limited time”, so time was of the essence – I didn’t want any of you to miss this gorgeous pattern! Since then, I’ve had a little time to go over the pattern. At first glance, anyone could see that they had some chart labels that were obscuring a few rows on some charts. If you had to, you could figure the obscured stitches out, by referring to the sweater photos in the PDF and enlarging the heck out of them. Thankfully, you don’t have to, because they’ve revised those charts and posted the new version, “Peace-Rev1”, on Ravelry.
But…there are still a few glitches in Peace-Rev1. I’ve spoken to them about what I’ve noticed, and they plan to release a second, revised version with some of my points. Some of my points are necessary corrections anyone would want; some of my points are my own, very opinionated preferences. I’ll tell you about all of them, but keep this in mind: If you ask a dozen different knitters how to knit one pattern, you’ll always end up with a dozen different approaches. So, I’m definitely not telling you to do it my way – as always, do it your way. But consider this food for thought (okay, delicious, home-grown, organic, gourmet food for thought, made with love.) And, as always, feel free to share your comments, below.
The word “border”: The word “border” generally implies a boundary, an edge, or a section along an edge; yet, they use the word “border” as they refer to all chart work to be done, even charts to be worked in the middle of a piece. That has confused some callers. So, if you’re in that camp, wherever you see the word “border”, swap in the words “chart work”.
Restart Diagram A at the sideline: Do not work Diagram A non-stop for a full round. The start and end points for working Diagram A will only work if you start your chart work anew for the second half, right after you encounter the side marker. (Since the other charts deal with fronts and backs separately, restarting on the sideline is not an issue elsewhere.)
Armholes and yoke: The Peace pattern has you work the bottom of the sweater circularly and the top of the sweater back and forth. I wouldn’t. There are a few, very limited, but perfectly sensible, situations in which I think it really does pay to work color work back and forth: The sides of a curvy neckline, the nicely shaped shoulders, etc. But usually, I think it’s a bad idea. In this case, I DEFINITELY think it’s a bad idea. (Unless you’re doing it on a knitting machine, in which case you’ll do ALL of it back and forth. I’m writing with hand knitters in mind.)
If you’re familiar with steeks and their rationale, you can skip the next three paragraphs.
First, a little background: There are a few really GREAT reasons why we usually knit color work circularly: 1) Most everyone’s knit stitches have a slightly differently slant and, occasionally, different tension, than their purl stitches; so, mixing the two stitch types can visually distort motifs. 2) Most people find knit stitches easier / faster to execute than purl stitches. 3) It’s easier to “read” your knitting on the “right” side (pretty outside) of the fabric than on the “wrong” (float-garbled inside) of the fabric. 4) It’s easier to read chart work when it’s flowing in the same, right-to-left, direction as your knit stitches. Reading the chart in one direction, but purling back in the opposite direction, can be quite the annoying mind-bend for some knitters.
Circular knitting solves all of those problems by keeping everything in knit stitches, flowing happily in the same direction throughout. The vast majority of Dale Garn’s traditional Norwegian patterns are done circularly, and they have you manage openings in your circular knitting – like armholes, necklines, etc. – through the use of “cutting stitches” or “steeks”. Thanks to steeks, you can temporarily bridge future openings so that you keep that great all-knit vibe going throughout the project (or maybe about 98% of it – not bad!) Unfortunately, knitters that have not yet used steeks often have a hard time appreciating their worth, and tend to avoid the admittedly-unsettling thought of cutting their knitting.
With the Peace pattern, I suspect some new folks at Dale Garn went overboard to avoid the feared steeks that are central to their old, traditional Norwegian patterns. I’m just guessing that they wanted to broaden their market and felt uninitiated knitters tend to avoid steeked patterns (whereas the steek-initiated know steeks can be a great benefit to color work. Me, when I know something works, I’d rather share it than avoid it. So, if you’re not yet familiar with steeks, you might want to read my old 7-page tutorial on the topic.) Ironically, while Dale went to great pains to avoid any steeks in the pattern, they also mistakenly left their standard line about reinforcing and cutting stitches open in the pattern. I guess old habits die hard! (A minor glitch, really. If you’re following the pattern verbatim, just ignore their line about reinforcing and cutting at the start of the “Finishing” section.)
If you are thinking of steeking your Peace armholes, consider this: Traditional, steeked Norwegian armholes are typically a bit oversized and have straight-edged, dropped-shoulders, so that you can easily add on a few rows of binding at the top of your sleeves, and that will eventually cover the raw, sewn-and-cut edges of your armholes. With the Peace sweater’s lovely, fitted armholes, such binding would create problematic bulk where we want a smooth fit.
You can choose to ignore those raw, sewn-and-cut armhole edges, if you’d like (I wouldn’t, but some would.) You could whipstitch them in place, you could sew thin seam binding over them, you could do a lot of things to make them livable. Or just ignore them. But, if you really want to steek the armholes, there’s one change to the pattern that you MUST make – just add 1 more stitch to the large bind-offs at the base of the armholes (and decrease that same 1 stitch from your next 2-st decrease) so that all of your subsequent armhole/sleeve decreases are only 1 stitch at a time. That way, you’ll be able to cast on steek stitches on the row right after the big, armhole base bind-off and all of your decreases can be done, 1 st at a time, on each side of the steek. You can continue the armhole steek nearly to the top; you’ll just need to bind-off the steek stitches and work back and forth (as described in the pattern) to do the last few rows which involve the short-row shoulder shaping. OR…
A better idea:
IMHO, the armholes / yoke of this sweater would be best if worked circularly, without armhole steeks. Essentially, I’d use the same circular yoke approach that you’d use for any raglan sweater: Work the body and both sleeves through past the armhole bind-off row (remembering to add 1 st to the big armhole BO and take that same st away from the next, 2-st decrease, making everything above the armhole base a 1-st decrease.) Then, join all 3 pieces circularly, as for a raglan, but do NOT make the straight, diagonal-line decreases typical of a raglan; rather, work all the same back, front and sleeve decreases you see in the pattern (except, of course, for that one, PESKY, 2-st decrease.)
While I would NOT steek the armholes, I WOULD steek a couple of other things:
Sleeve cuffs: I’d work the cuff facing back and forth, as described, but, right after the foldline, I’d steek the short, little outside portion of the cuff. I’d cast on a 5-stitch steek, using the motif color for steek sts #2 & 4, the background color for steek sts #1, 3 & 5. Then, on the top rows of the cuff’s Diagrams E & F, I’d bind off the cuff steek. I’d sew 2 lines of teeny, tiny machine stitches down each of those motif-colored steek stripes (#2&4) then I’d cut it open, right up the middle of steek stitch column #3. Finishing it off would be a breeze, since the cuff facing would fold up, right over the raw edges.
Split neckline and neckband: I’d work a similar steek for the front neck split, right above the one BO center neck stitch, except that I’d add about 4 more stitches to my neckline steek – 2 more on either side – so that I could fold my raw steek edges over and slipstitch them in place, making a nice facing on either side of the soon-to-arrive zipper. I’d steek the neckband, too, although I’d use a smaller, 5-st steek, such as I suggested for the cuffs. After all, the neckband has essentially the same architecture as the cuffs – just upside-down – with a facing worked back and forth, to neatly cover any raw neckband steek edges.
The rows obscured by labels on a few of the original charts have been adjusted in Rev-1. But, there are still some issues. The leftmost two rows from Diagram B / Front I, page 8 are missing. They plan to republish those, but if you’re nearing that point before they get a chance to republish, just refer to Diagram B / Back 1 for those same rows – they’re (supposed to be) identical.
There’s one chart column missing from each side of the large, horizontal band of flowers that goes across the yoke (both sides of upper front and upper back.) If you’re working the S size, it doesn’t even impact you. But, for all other sizes, you’ll want move the large floral motifs one column out, toward the nearest edge, to fit in that missing column, which should be identical to the column that’s just 2 columns in toward the center, i.e., the other side of the little triangles that are in between the flowers. The triangle and diamond motifs above that section are fine as is. Here’s what I’m talking about:
There’s a problem with the sleeve charts on page 14 of the Peace-Rev1.pdf file. The problem lies at the base of the hearts. (See my red circles.)
Notice that, in Diagram H, there are only two blank stitches between the dots at the base of the heart. That’s okay, because you want those two dark stitches just where they are, forming the top row of the “X” shape at the top of the big triangle.
In Diagram I, there are three blank stitches between the dots. They’re okay, too, because they form the top of the little quotation marks (if you will) at the top of each heart. The stitches are actually correct as charted for their individual locations; BUT…the problem arises with the “repeat”.
So, you have to move the bottom of the “repeat” line on Diagram H up one row, so that the 2-st spaced dots can stay above the triangle to make the “X”, you have to add the 3-st spaced row to the top of the repeat section on Diagram H, and you have to remove that same 3-st spaced row from the bottom of Diagram I, so that it’s not duplicated.
I’ve reviewed these issues with the folks at Dale / Mango Moon, so hopefully, they’ll be able to get Norway to update the charts shortly. In the meantime, I hope you those of you who are already enjoying this gorgeous project find this info helpful.
One request: If any of you have a magical way of creating free time, so that I can dive into my own Peace project, please clue me in!! 😉