Golden Fans – Dusseldorf Aran Sleeves

Here’s how I changed the sleeve cuffs of my Dusseldof Aran.

The pattern as written consists of a section of mostly stockinette in the centre of the cuff which is pleated shut after a few inches. I-cords emerge from the cables just above the pleats and are tied into a bow, as if they had been used to gather the pleats. It’s a very pretty and unique effect, but I knew I’d have to modify it to reduce the bulk of the pleats and the excess fabric at the cuffs.

Replacing Pleats with Decreases
Fortunately, I didn’t have to spend too much time thinking about how to reduce the pleats; I used the technique in this excellent blog post instead.  The answer is elegantly simple: form a fan or shell shape with the ribs by starting with k2p8 chunks, and then decrease in each purl section every four rows till you’re left with a k2p2 rib from which the cable pattern can flow out.

I made my ‘fan’ even shorter by starting with k2p7, thereby eliminating four rows. To neaten the edge, I worked the first four rows with a needle a couple of sizes smaller than the rest of the sleeve. For additional refinement, I cast on with a modified long-tail, which incorporates knit and purl stitches in any desired combination, described here.

Reducing Excess Fabric
Even after substituting the fan for pleats, there is still excess fabric at the cuffs since the fan structure is in addition to the main stockinette of the sleeve. To compensate I started with the same number of CO sts as needed for my CustomFit generated pattern plus 10% to account for cable compression. I positioned the fan in the centre, and then made compensatory increases in the stockinette sections every time I decreased within the fan. These compensatory increases were in addition to the regular sleeve shaping increases of the CustomFit instructions.

All this is much easier to explain with a picture:

Cuff Fan 1

Red pins – fan shaping decreases every four rows
Blue pins – compensatory increases in stockinette section to maintain width of sleeve, immediately after the red rows. Note (important!) that in the last blue pin row, two of the compensatory increases are made in the middle of the cable pattern – this helps form the central ‘rope’ of the cable.
White pins – regular sleeve shaping increases.

And finally, here’s what it looks like at the end:


A Golden Beginning

The last ten days, I managed to finish another sweater. I know! What it is to knit with worsted weight yarn! It was the Dusseldorf Aran, and of course there were mods. Let us honour tradition by starting with a pattern analysis.


– Those cables.
– The long vertical lines formed by the cables.
– The intriguing sleeve cuff: two i-cords appear to emerge from the cables, out of the plane of the sweater, and are then tied into a bow.

– The seed stitch hems and cuffs.
– The puffy, pleated cuffs – too bulky.
– The scoop neck. I am usually a lover of scoop necks, but decided to prolong the lives of the cables a  little longer.

I generated a relaxed fit pullover with CustomFit, because I intend to wear this over other layers. The hems were easy, I swapped in a tubular CO of k2p2 ribbing for four rows, then increased by 10% while changing to stockinette, to account for cable compression. On the sleeves, I did a version of long-tailed CO which creates the desired combination of knits and purls from the beginning. Oh and found a way to eliminate the pleats and still retain the design essentials. I’ll write in detail about that in a separate post. Finally, I changed it to a V-neck, continuing the cable panels up around the back neck to meet at the centre of the nape. I changed the cables a tiny bit too, adding an extra twist to the central ‘rope’ at the knot. And mirrored the central ‘rope’ on the two front panels, and the sleeves as well. The back is in plain stockinette, except where the neckband extensions from the front travel to the nape.

Hmm, that’s all, I think! It all went by in a blur while listening to an audiobook version of Ayala’s Angel by Trollope. I do like it!

A Very Rosy Burrard

Burrard is finished!

full 02

Ages ago, browsing through its projects, I thought I saw a pink cardigan, and was seized with a desire to make Burrard in pink. Now I can’t find my inspiration project – perhaps it existed in my imagination only – but I have my own pink Burrard.

And what a pink it is! Not hot, not blue, not princessy, not girly, not frothy, not frivolous, but a true, blooming and beautiful colour! Like expensive roses, happy and adult, robust yet refined!

Because of my sad gauge accident this came out in an average fit rather than relaxed, but I love it nonetheless. I omitted the final BO at the top of the sleeve cap and carried the pattern on through saddles. Since the saddles covered some of the shoulder, I reduced the back and front lengths, starting the shoulder shaping about 1.5 inches lower than specified.


Finally, I picked up stitches around the neck and worked it in 2×2 rib, throwing in six short rows for the shawl collar.

full close

Pattern: Burrard, generated with CustomFit
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy; 229m = 113g; 100% merino; worsted weight; “Rosalita”; 3.35 skeins
Needles: 3.5mm for ribbing, 5mm for rest (lever style)
Ravelled: Here

Correcting Cables

In a garment with as many cables as Burrard, some are bound to be mis-crossed. Not that it makes any structural difference, of course; cables are a sort of clever  trompe l’oeil  effect, creating visual integrity along a particular cable ‘rope’, while actually each stitch is connected to its surrounding stitches rather than any other along that rope.

But mis-crossed cables can look ugly. And we don’t like ugly.

The Yarn Harlot gives two brilliant ways to correct them. If I’d found the incorrect crosses a few rows up, I would have dropped those stitches and worked them up correctly. But after the whole piece is knitted, I’ll happily resort to trickery.

For eg, the safety pin marks a mis-crossed cable (everything else is a left cross while this one is a right cross).

mis crossed small

To correct it (I’m showing the following pictures on the other, mirrored, sleeve, where a left cross has to be changed to right), first run a couple of running stitches across the naughty cable, compressing it and creating a correctly oriented ‘channel’. This step is important – without it the duplicate stitches in the next step sit oddly high.

boundary small

Then duplicate stitch in the ‘channel’. Weave in ends and you’re done!

duplicate small

Burrard the Second

My almost second attempt at the Burrard is on the needles. I had finished the back and both sleeves before I decided to block them. <Insert sad face>. It appears I measured the gauge while the swatch was still mildly damp, and doing its usual superwashy, spready thing. Once it was bone dry, it sprang back into a compact, dense fabric, and the pieces would maybe have fit me when I was 17. Maybe.

sleeves small

So anyway… I’ve caught up now and have only the collar to do. Yarn ball remnants, starting top right and clockwise, of Front, Back, Sleeve , Sleeve and Swatch are below. I expected the front to eat much more yarn, but with the deep gap for the collar I still managed to finish in under a skein. The collar should use up all these remnants!

small remnants

Let’s do a quick pattern analysis.

Like / Keep
– Those cables! Yummy!
– That shawl collar!
– The deep, ribbed front band!
– The general lusciousness!

– I need a pullover, so that’s what I’m making.
– I need a quick pullover, so the back is all stockinette, and the cabled pattern of the back will be moved to the front.
– All stockinette back and sleeves can be a tiny bit boring, so I’m adding the outer cable pattern to the sleeves.

Final Pattern
– I generated a relaxed fit pullover with Custom Fit, and added 10% more width to the sleeves and front after the ribbing, to account for cable compression.
–  I added a cabled panel to the sleeves.To make it flow organically from the cuff rib, I had to shift the cable panel a tiny bit to the front of the sleeve, mirroring both the cable and panel positioning on the other sleeve. Once I positioned the cable panel, it was too delicious to not continue up the shoulder as a saddle!
– Omitted the final BOs on top of the sleeves to continue the panel as a saddle.
– Since the saddle takes up some shoulder space, the front and back armscye lengths are reduced by half the width of the saddle.
– Bound off a chunk of sts in the centre front for a low V-neck, and will fill it in with a deep, ribbed, shawl collar.



full 1

I’ve talked quite a lot about this one before, so I’ll just summarize here.

I decided to reduce the gigantic amount of ease to about 6” (the 1×1 ribbing makes it seem smaller). I also increased the length of the body, but perhaps it is now a bit too long. Anyway, the very thought of snipping a row and grafting the bottom up to make it shorter sent my brain screaming, so it’ll stay long.

I’m really happy I scooped the neck in front with short-rows. I hate boat necks and the modified depth is perfect. Also, I am really glad of my decision to knit most of the body and sleeves in the round. Imagine all those twisted ribs worked from the WS! Shudder! I love the refined edges: I finished with a invisible BO and started with a version of the long-tailed CO which creates knits and purls right from the beginning to avoid a hard edge.

Overall, I like the garment! The colour is really standout (more than the photos indicate), a sort of poisonous, emerald green. It’s not a colour I would normally wear, but I like the drama of it. I promised to pose this with obscenely large accessories, so here’s a necklace which fits that definition in my mind, a jangly-dangly thing of metal, glass and faux pearls. And because one must nod to The Fashunz, I’ll incorporate semi-tucked and hi-lo trendz into one picture and get it over with, thanks.

full tucked

Pattern: Ondawa
Yarn: Madelinetosh DK; 100% wool; 206m = 100g; dk weight; 5.33 skeins; “Laurel”
Needles: 3.5mm metal circulars for everything.

Ravelled here. And final arty farty photo:

full blur

Why I Love Steeks

See those tbl columns? Imagine the annoyance of working them from the WS? I don’t have to! I knit both Ondawa sleeves simultaneously, with steeks in between. Then sealed the steek edges with machine stitching lines…



Voila! Two Ondawa sleeves!


And that’s not all…


A Seamless Neck for the Ondawa

Here we go. I’ve finished both the front and back, and determined how many stitches will be left live in the centre of the Front and Back for the neck.

1. Bind off one side steek.


2. Flip the sweater inside out so the WS is facing you, and start working a three-needle BO for the first shoulder. Use a needle size slightly larger than sweater needles to avoid puckering. And yes, if you’re stuck at the beach without a larger needle, it’s legal to use a golf tee. Be sure that the last two stitches you bind off are purl stitches (ie, knit stitches on the RS).


3. Elongate the last stitch and pull the yarn ball through to seal the BO.


4. Flip the sweater right side out, work across the neck, and repeat steps 1 through 3 on the other side.

5. Knit across the neck to the shoulder which was bound off first. Since the last shoulder stitches you bound off were RS, knits (Step 2), the last stitch remaining on the neck before the shoulder BO will be a purl. Work that stitch, then pick up and knit a stitch from the shoulder BO point. Work across to other shoulder and pick up and knit a stitch. This will maintain a 1×1 rib across the entire neckline.

6. Finish with a tubular BO on the live neck stitches.

Shoulder and neck done! Gratuitous picture of luscious cables:


Giving Shape to Ondawa

A post full of shaping details, you have been warned!

Neck Shaping
I was determined to dip the front neck of the Ondawa pullover, with short-rows, so I drew myself a diagram:

 01 ondawa diagram

First, I measured my desired length from shoulder to hem – 19 inches. So the Back, a rectangle, would be 17 inches of cable and 2 inches of ribbing. Next, how low did I want my neck to dip in front? Around 4 inches. But 2 inches of the neckline is ribbing. Which means that the cables in the centre front had to stop at 6 inches below the full length of the Back, then the sides of the Front would have to be built up with short rows for 4 inches, followed by a final two inches of ribbing to bring everything to the level of the Back.

However, I was working this in the round, so needed to determine the placement of armhole openings as well. Since this is a drop shouldered style, I measured my bicep at where I thought the armhole would fall, and divided that in half to get the length of the armhole opening on each piece – 5 inches.

All the above was just to help me get the actual knitting sequence. Thus: work in pattern for 13 inches; start short-rowing across Back and sides of Front; after 1 inch of short-rows introduce armhole steek; continue short-rowing till Back is 4 inches higher than centre of Front; start working in the round again to get 2 inches of ribbing; finish steeks and neck.

I did start steeking the armholes, but abandoned the idea after a few rows because:
a) It was really tedious working long stretches of WS rows. It turned out much easier to work back-and-forth on the Back first, and then do the short-rows on the Front, till both were ready for the ribbing.
b) Because the end of round fell in the middle of my loooooong short-rows, I had to work one side of the Front’s cable crossing rows from the WS. Agonizing!
But once I started with the neck ribbing I reintroduced the steek because ptbl was painful!

First, I calculated row gauge by steaming out the bottom of the pullover to get an actual stretched reading (since I was lazy and didn’t swatch in the round). With the row gauge in hand I calculated the number of short rows to be worked. For 4 inches I needed 42 rows, or 21 turning points (since each turning point adds 2 rows). I did not have 21 purl columns on each side of the front, so used 3 sets of 7 points each. The picture below shows only one side for clarity, but imagine that on the other side too, each set leaving a central panel and some side columns unaffected.

 02 ondawa short rows

Seamless neckline finishing next!