Mystery KAL – Check in!

It’s the end of the month. How’d we do on the 30-Day Sweater Challenge?

A few of us finished. A few of us got close. A few of us are plowing ahead, slow and steady.
Mystery KAL - Deluxe Worsted
At right, my Mystery Sweater in Deluxe Worsted wool (100g/220yds). I chose the harder path, but after a misreading of the pattern (completely my fault!) that left me ripping back three inches, I decided to skip the pockets in the interest of finishing in a timely fashion. I’m planning on finishing hem by tomorrow. Even though I didn’t make the 30 day deadline, this was definitely a worthwhile knit. There were a lot of opportunities to learn and to challenge myself, which is what the project was all about.

Mystery KAL - LlamaliniAt right, a designer’s sweater in Llamalini (50g/109yds), so very close to being finished! She chose to move her pockets further forward and to finish her hem with the twists at the collar rather than the garter rows called for. So far she wins the unofficial award for “most customized sweater.”

How about you? This is certainly a project that is as much about the journey as the destination. Are you pleased with the work you did? Any project we learn from is worthwhile. We hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve done so far.

Don’t forget our giveaway – if you complete your sweater in a Universal yarn by November 14th and send us a photo, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a set of Deborah Norville interchangeable needles. We’ve seen some great sweaters already!

We’ll share the office’s finished sweaters in a couple of weeks. See you then!

Mystery KAL – Clue 8 is live!

It’s here! Clue 8 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!
Jen's Poems Silk Sweater - front view
I made it to Clue 5, then took a little knitting break. Back on the horse for me tonight – I hope to plow on to the hem!

Take a look at this sweater knitted by Jen in Accounting. The variegated Poems Silk looks great with this design – it’s not overwhelming or busy. Jen also opted to do her side panel in stockinette instead of reverse stockinette. It’s fascinating to see the ways people are customizing this design.

Jen's Poems Silk Sweater - side viewJen wants to put her pockets in before tackling the sleeves, so she was excited to get today’s clue. Clue 8 contains a photo tutorial on different methods of finishing your pockets. The mattress stitch is a great choice – invisible and not at all bulky.

Jen, like many of us at the office, is using the same Deborah Norville Interchangeable Needles that we’re offering as the prize in our 30-Day-Sweater KAL drawing. As a reminder, if you complete your sweater in a Universal yarn by November 14th and send us a photo, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a set of Deborah Norville interchangeable needles. We have found these to be very pleasant needles to use, smooth and quick in their action. It doesn’t hurt that they’re so pretty to look at.

Clue 8 brings us to the end of the pattern. How are you doing on the 30-day aspect of this sweater? Think you can make it? We’ll be back with photos of how we’re doing here at the office. We can’t wait to see how you’re doing too!

Mystery KAL – Clue 7 is live!

It’s here! Clue 7 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

How are we doing? I’m still slow-poking along with the body of the sweater, but I’m very encouraged by how it looks! The nice thing about the top-down seamless construction is that I can try it on and see how it fits. I considered doing a modified waist shaping, since my figure is less hourglass than some, but decided to put in a lifeline and try the waist shaping as written. I figured if things didn’t look right when I tried it on, I could always rip back and make some modifications. Fortunately, it looks good!
Clue 7 - Llamalini
Speaking of modifications, let’s look at the sweater to the right inLlamalini (50g/109yds). First of all, I love the lines of the Llamalini linen/royal llama/silk bourette blend. This is going to be a decadent sweater. There were some things about the construction of this sweater that made me curious, so I spoke with the designer who’s knitting it, who told me her secret.

This knitter has a sweater in her wardrobe that she loves. It fits beautifully and makes her look like a million bucks. When she makes a new sweater, she compares it to the sweater she already has and modifies the pattern so that it fits the measurements of the Perfect Sweater in her closet. It’s a great idea and I’m definitely going to incorporate it into the next garment I make. Imagine every sweater fitting you like the one you love the best!

She also has plans for the hem – instead of garter stitch, she’s planning on repeating the twists from the collar. As for me, I’m sticking with straight garter stitch as it is in the pattern. A few folks here in the office have already bound off their hem and it looks great.

Clue 7 sees us adding sleeves. Looks like we’re in the home stretch of our 30 Day Challenge!

Mystery KAL – Clue 6 is live!

It’s here! Clue 6 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

I don’t know about you, but I made great progress since the last clue! Clue 2 took a while, but Clue 3 flew by and Clue 4 is moving along nicely. I’m looking forward to doing the Clue 5 pockets!


We had several people who were concerned about showing pictures of their sweaters because they had so many bits of yarn hanging off of them. Let’s face it, all of our sweaters look unfinished when we’re still making them. That’s because they areunfinished. They are diamonds in the rough. We’ll worry about polishing them up when the knitting is done! However, Elly was happy to share her Classic Shades Solids (197yds/100g)sweater again, and no wonder. Finished or unfinished, it looks beautiful. Her pockets look quite neat.

Nettle Lana ExpressionsAnother knitter was glad to share his Nettle Lana Expressions (98yds/50g) sweater. I’m still a little envious of the reverse stockinette body! We share the detail shot at right to show just how invisible those pocket openings are. I’m very happy to have learned this method of putting pockets into a garment. This is going to be a great little trick in my knitter’s toolbox.

Clue 6 brings us to the end of the body. We’re looking at button placement and finishing off the hem. The end is in sight, folks. You’re doing great!

Mystery KAL – Clue 5 is live!

It’s here! Clue 5 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

did finish Clue 2 over the weekend, and yes I feel very self-satisfied! I had a minor bobble with one of my cables, but it was my own error and was easily corrected. Whenever I fix a mistake (after grumbling about making the mistake in the first place) I always feel pleased. We all get in little scrapes now and then – the important thing is learning how to get back out of them.
One of the things that keeps me looking forward is seeing the great progress that our office knitters have made! Above is Katie’s Mystery Sweater. She’s using Deluxe Worsted Superwash (100g/220yds), our machine washable 100% wool yarn. She’s only got a couple of repeats to go on Clue 4 and she’ll be ready to spring ahead!

Elly’s using Classic Shades Solids (100g/197yds), a machine washable 70% acrylic/30% wool blend. Check out the side view – the reverse stockinette panel on her Harder Path/Stockinette looks great.

Today’s clue brings another option – pockets! There is a little seaming involved with these, but all the designers in our office who are knitting along agree that this is an excellent method of working pockets. I’m very excited – my sweater is going to be beautiful AND functional!

We’ll see you on Thursday with Clue #6. Happy knitting!

Mystery KAL – Clue 4 is live!

It’s here! Clue 4 of the Mystery Sweater KAL is live!

Llamalini with Y cablesYour humble blogger? I’m about to finish up Clue 2. I have to say, though, the encouragement of folks here in the office and on Facebook and Ravelry guarantees that this will not be another unfinished project on the pile. This is still very exciting!

Last time we showed a Llamalini (109yds/50g) sweater with its Y-shaped cables. Here it is again at right, with the body and sleeves separated. It’s slightly damp, since the knitter gave it a little bath just to see if the yarn would do anything odd. Good news – the Llamalini linen/llama/silk blend came through like a champ. Looks like smooth sailing!

A knitter in accounting is steaming ahead in Poems Silk (109yds/50g), following the Harder Path with a stockinette background. She’s very happy to have Clue 4 in her hands and plans to dive in at lunchtime.

And speaking of Clue 4, there’s yet another branch in the path! Amy provides options for waist shaping. If you’re a curvy type, there’s an option for accentuating your curves. If you prefer a more straightforward line, there are options for that as well. I’m loving just how customized I can make this sweater.

Today I launch into clue 3. I plan to be caught up by the time Clue 5 rolls around –I hear it’s going to bring even more options. See you on Monday!

Knitter’s Toolbox: Lifelines

We’ve had a couple of people who have lost their way along the Mystery KAL Harder Path, and we’d like to make it a little easier for you to find your way back. So let’s talk about lifelines!

Lifelines are one of those McGyver tricks that every knitter should have in their toolbox. They can save you from getting frustrated at a mistake and ripping your whole project out. And they could not be easier to do.

All you’re going to need is your project, a length of smooth contrasting colored yarn a little longer than the width of your project, and a tapestry needle. This swatch and lifeline are both in our Uptown Worsted 100% anti-pilling acrylic (180yds/100g).
Step One
Thread your lifeline onto the needle. Run it through your work, alongside the knitting needle. The lifeline is going to be right where your active loops currently are.

Step 2

On your next row, knit as you normally would, disregarding the lifeline. It’s just going to hang out in your work, staying in the same row of loops you threaded it through.
Step 3

Here’s where it comes in handy. In the next picture, we’ve dropped some stitches! But wait – the lifeline is in place! Instead of unraveling all the way back down to the cast-on edge, the dropped stitch hit the lifeline and stopped. We still have to pick up the stitch, but it’s not the disaster that it could have been.

Step 4

Let’s say I realized I made a mistake about 20 rows ago (gasp!) and need to rip back to the point of the error. Thankfully, I put in a lifeline right before I was starting on the tricky bit, so I can just rip back and the lifeline will keep my stitches aligned and ready to go back on the needle. I just slide my needle through the channel created by the lifeline. I’m good to go!

Step 5

I’m putting in a lifeline as I begin Clue 2 of my Mystery Sweater. If something goes wrong, I can just rip back to that point, reset my needle, and start Clue 2 again. No muss no fuss.

We hope this helps!

ETA: Run your lifeline AROUND your stitch markers, not through. Otherwise you can’t move the stitch markers to the next row. You can guess how I learned this!