Well, hacking the Flax sweater is officially one of our favourite activities. This one started with a lovely yarn and sort of meandered it’s way to the final sweater. I usually have some sort of plan when I cast on a sweater, but for this one I kind of winged it. If you haven’t already checked them out yet, take a look at the lacy and cabled flax hacks we shared recently.
It all started with an Instagram post by @houseofalamode (House of A La Mode) . Heather posted this beautiful speckled colour, somewhat Christmas-y, called Tinsel. I had to have it! I ordered up 3 skeins of DK with vague plans of a Christmas sweater for Bodhi. When the yarn arrived Hunter declared it hers and said ‘please will you knit me a sweater with this?!’. A 5-year-old who is enthusiastic about a knitted sweater? I couldn’t resist.
I really enjoy speckled yarns. They are wild and fun and such a joy to knit with. Colour changes with practically every stitch! They can be a bit overbearing though, so I had a good long debate with myself (and anyone who would listen) over whether to stripe this beautiful yarn with a solid to keep it a little subdued. If it had been a sweater for me I might have gone that route, but for my Kindergartener, why not go a little wild?
With a yarn this fun, it had to be a simple sweater so I took a little look at the numbers for Flax and cast on. My yarn was a plumpy DK so I knit it at a gauge of 20 sts per 4 inches on a US #7 / 4.5mm needles. I cast on for the XS to achieve more or less a size 8-10 (which is the size Hunter wears in commercial clothing, she’s big for 5).
I wanted the neckline to be a little lower in front so I worked a little short row shaping at the back neck. Then, instead of working a garter panel on the sleeves, I went with a garter front and back with stockinette sleeves. I did not, as a good knitter should, swatch in garter. Since it was a sweater for a youngster I figured it was okay if the body came out a little big. It did, and it is fine.
I also wanted to add a hi-low hem. I like my sweaters a little longer in the back than the front, so I added short row shaping at the back hem. If this is a look you are after here approximately how is how it’s done:
Adding a lower hemline at the back, when working a top-down sweater:
First, locate your BOR at left underarm, the back sts will be the first half of the round.
Step 1: work 1/2 of your stitches, PM, work to end (this places a marker at the other underarm)
Step 2: work to 3 sts past the marker, w&t
Step 3: work to 3 sts past the BOR marker, w&t
Step 4: work to 2 sts before wrapped stitch, w&t
Repeat step 4 until your hemline is the desired amount lower than the front. For my sweater I worked a total of 12 short rows, making my hem about 1.5 inches lower than the front. The amount of short rows you work will depend on your row gauge and how much lower you want your hem to be.
There you have it! A little late, but Hunter got her wild and speckled Christmas sweater!
More speckle-friendly designs by TCK: