Up Close: The Simpler Sinister Cat Sweater

Up Close: The Simpler Sinister Cat Sweater

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Up Close: The Simpler Sinister Cat Sweater

My most popular blog post (by far) is my Latvian Mitten post which I think means folk might like more in-depth project posts (and also that we all have those gorgeous kits!) so I thought it would be helpful if I wrote more up close project posts and, since I've just finished it, I'm going to start with The Simpler Sinister Cat Sweater by Marna of An Caitin Beag.

In a way, I feel like a bit of a fraud sitting down to write a whole post on how I knit this pattern because it is super straightforward but here goes.

The Simpler Sinister Sweater

If you haven’t knit a pattern by Marna before, they are a treasure trove of information including technique links and pattern modification details.  I definitely recommend reading them all in detail.  I always learn something new about knitting when I knit from Marna’s patterns.

Sinister Sweater in Socks Yeah Dk

Still in need of washing and blocking, honest

The pattern is knit in the round, from the top down in double knitting weight yarn.  There are 16 sizes, from a 17.5 inch chest to a 64 inch chest, and the pattern is written in a way that should make it possible for intermediate or experienced knitters to have a good go at adding additional sizes if they required them.

Tip: With patterns that have many sizes, like many knitters, I always either photocopy my pattern or download the Ravelry version so I can circle just the size I want to avoid getting lost.  This pattern comes with a code for a Ravelry download.

What needles!?

Something which may surprise knitters about this pattern is that rather than a needle size being listed, gauge is specified. With an ever increasing range of great yarns it has become more common amongst indie designers to do this.  I do and don’t like this trend.  

Pros:

  • 1. You can use any yarn you get gauge with
  • 2. You have to knit a swatch which means you are much more likely to get the results shown in the pattern 

Cons:

  • 1. You need to have a good idea what needle size you will achieve gauge on
  • 2. You have to knit a swatch ; )

On the whole, while it annoys folk sometimes, I think it helps knitters get much better results and also helps us learn about our tension and how we knit which can only help with future projects.

Tip: When trying to get tension on a project where only gauge is specified, to get an idea of what needle size I need, I either

  • 1. use a previous project in a similar weight yarn to check that gauge and use that needle size if it is similar to the project
  • 2. check the tension specified on the yarn I am planning to use and compare that to the project gauge

For this project I got approximate tension with 4mm and 4.5mm needles.  Approximate tension was fine because it’s a sample but if I had been knitting this for me, I'd have swatched properly … please embrace swatching my lovelies ; )

DPNs in a needle case

It's not like I know what size my needles are anyway

Techniques

The pattern includes a comprehensive set of links to all techniques used in the pattern which include short rows (wrap & turn), stranded knitting (colourwork), provisional cast ons and a stretchy bind off.  Below are some of my tips for these and one other technique I am now in love with!

Short Rows

There is a small portion of short rows in this sweater, standard wrap and turn short rows.  The best short row instructions I have had are from Carol Feller who was teaching them at a Knitting and Stitching show before the shop was even a twinkle in my eye.  You can find Carol’s YouTube tutorial here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Py5FI8gL2Xs

Tip: There are two things to look for in wrap and turn short rows – 1) hide the hole & 2) hide the wrap (unless they are to be visible) … So I always fiddle with the wrap and its stitch when I am picking them up to knit/purl them together to do 1& 2 – regardless of the ‘proper’ method for knit/purling the wrap and stitch together.

Top Down Sleeves

My biggest issue and one I wish I’d looked for a fix for way sooner is holes under the arm when I am picking them up from the waste yarn!  I have definitely fudged it more than once.  However, writing this post, I thought it was time I looked and I found this awesome YouTube tutorial from Suzanne Bryan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K-IsMdTHK0

It has changed my garment life.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t look sooner.  I want to cast on another sweater just to try this!

Bodged underarm

Don't ask ... bodging still required!

Provisional cast on

I always just use a cable cast on under the arm and now that I have found the video above, I’ll probably keep doing it.  However, again to write this post, I had a look and found this really neat blog post that uses the waste yarn to do the provisional cast on! 

https://kephrenknittingstudio.com/2017/01/jeans-jacket-and-a-provisional-underarm-cast-on/

Other things I liked about this pattern

Twisted rib

I am thieving part of this pattern for my next sock design (definitely asking Marna first of course) and that’s the two by two rib in this pattern.  It’s a really nice version.  I was a bit against twisted ribs but I realised when I last knit a twisted rib, it was on a 1*1 rib which didn’t look right.  This looks gorgeous.

The different options

The pattern includes lots of details on how to vary it, including a whole section on how to convert it into a cardigan with both knit flat and steeked options described.  Oh and most importantly, it details how you can get even more sinister eyes!  I think I need to use black for these next time! : ) 

Yarn requirements

(The bit where I gently try to sell you yarn ; ))

Socks Yeah DK Chiron and Sphene

I really need to make myself one in these colours as well!

As I said above, you can use any yarn that you can get tension with which makes it a great stash buster (all that 4 ply held double ; )).

I have translated the metre/yardage table from the pattern (you can find it on our product page, linked below) into two double knitting yarns that I stock – Socks Yeah DK and Baa Ram Ewe Winterburn DK: 

Socks Yeah DK, 112m per 50g skein

Size # Chest Size MC (metres) CC (metres)

Main Colour

# of 50g skeins

Contrast Colour

# of 50g skeins

1 44cm / 17.5” 175 85 2 1
2 48cm / 19” 200 90 2 1
3 52cm / 21” 2 255 95 3 1
4 56cm / 22.5” 320 110 3 1
5 60cm / 24” 380 120 4 2
6 64cm / 25.5” 450 150 5 2
7 72cm / 29” 5 560 165 5 2
8 80cm / 32” 780 240 7 3
9 90cm / 36” 850 280 8 3
10 100cm / 40” 885 320 8 3
11 110cm / 44” 950 385 9 4
12 120cm / 48” 995 405 9 4
13 130cm / 52” 1050 500 10 5
14 140cm / 56” 1075 525 10 5
15 150cm / 60” 1120 615 10 6
16 160cm / 64” 1130 675 11 7

Winterburn DK, 230m per 100g skein

Size # Chest Size MC (metres) CC (metres)

Main Colour

# of 100g skeins

Contrast Colour

# of 100g skeins

1 44cm / 17.5” 175 85 1 1
2 48cm / 19” 200 90 1 1
3 52cm / 21” 2 255 95 2 1
4 56cm / 22.5” 320 110 2 1
5 60cm / 24” 380 120 2 1
6 64cm / 25.5” 450 150 2 1
7 72cm / 29” 5 560 165 3 1
8 80cm / 32” 780 240 4 2
9 90cm / 36” 850 280 4 2
10 100cm / 40” 885 320 4 2
11 110cm / 44” 950 385 5 2
12 120cm / 48” 995 405 5 2
13 130cm / 52” 1050 500 5 3
14 140cm / 56” 1075 525 5 3
15 150cm / 60” 1120 615 5 3
16 160cm / 64” 1130 675 5 3

This is based on tension so I can’t encourage you enough to swatch!  If you want to make it longer, definitely add more yarn!

Baa Ram Ewe Winterburn DK

Muck and Brass Band, just waiting to be turned into Sinister Kitties

Some links, just in case you are tempted:

Jumper quantities of DK can seem dauntingly expensive sometimes and also I don’t always have the quantities in stock so if you would like either of these yarns and the pattern, and are happy to pre-order, drop me an email.  I can create a bundle for you and include a 10% discount if you are ordering adult sizes of DK yarn and the pattern for this project.

So that’s it.  It is a beautifully written, accessible pattern which makes you work just enough that the outcome should be really lovely!

Right, that’s me!  I need to cast something on to try Suzanne’s underarm hole preventing method.  I’ll definitely share the results ; )

Embrace the swatch,

M.x

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