Spotlight on Projects: The Cargill Sweater

Rebecca Clow's Cargill Sweater is simply lovely. As I mentioned in the newsletter, I watched the @purlificknitter's progress on the sweater as she test knit the piece. Her first post was a simple photograph of the yoke and I was hooked.  The stitch pattern, color and yarn captivated me instantly.  I watched as Camay finished and modeled the sweater, waiting for its release. 

Late last week Rebecca published the pattern. Koryn, Teri and I spent Saturday morning looking at yarn combinations and colors.  We chose Cashmere Treats Cashmere Merino Luxe as the base yarn and, depending on the color, either Rowan Kidsilk Haze or Shibui Silk Cloud as the carry along. I selected the Merino Luxe in lilac with Kidsilk Haze in rose.  Oh my gosh, photos do not do the combination justice. 

This project is going to be a luxurious knit.  The yarn combination is costly and the sweater, while not difficult, is a bit time consuming. I have just started the project but I do have a couple of notes that might help you along.  

First off, select sharp needles for the project.  This is not the time to pull out your Clover needles.  I would recommend using ChiaoGoo Lace Tips. The pattern post on Ravelry says US 4 as the recommended needles size, but when you look at the pattern pdf it calls for a 4 mm which is a US 6.  

Knit a big swatch. You might want to cast on right away but it is important that you understand the pattern and practice the dip stitches.  She has a handy demonstration video of the stitch and you should watch it. Some people had a hard time with the left leaning dip.  If you watch the video to the end she shows another way to knit that particular stitch. 

Many of the knitters on Ravelry had to go up a needle size. I have to admit, I just knit one swatch.  I knit seven pattern repeats on a US 6 and then another five or so on a US 7 (You "should" knit two swatches, one in each needles size, but I got lazy). For me, the US 7 produced the correct gauge.

 The US 6 is the lower portion of the swatch and the US the upper.

Deciding what size to knit is a very personal opinion.  I am going to knit a size 3 (37-inch bust), despite that being my exact bust measurement. I am afraid if I go to a 41-inch bust that it will be too large. All that said, when I am done with the yoke, I am going to put it on a TKB cord and try it on.  If it is not right, I will start over and knit the larger size. If I want the sweater to fit properly, what is a little extra knitting?

If you look at Camay's project page on Ravelry, you will see that she changed the neckline, hem and sleeve finish to a simple two stitch i-cord. As I knit the sweater I will try it on and make that decision along the way.  Right now, I am thinking I will definitely knit the i-cord finish on the hem and sleeves and a smaller neckline.  I might even decrease a few stitches in the sleeves.  Not many, but just a few to taper them in a bit. This could all change when I try it on!

Lastly, for those of you who are knitting the project, let's talk about the first 12 rows of the pattern. Many knitters noted this was a challenging part of the sweater. You knit these rows flat and do a lot of increasing.  Remember that big swatch you knit? This is where understanding the 6-stitch dip pattern is important.

Here are some tips that help make that section easier, and dare I say, fun?

  1. After Row 1, make sure you count to ensure that you have the correct number of stitches on your needles.
  2. Row 2 is just knitting and purling.
  3. You do not start the dip stitch pattern until Row 3
  4. Read her notes on increasing in pattern carefully.  Note the pattern is MIRRORED on either side of the raglan stitches.
  5. Here is the big one...any 3 knit stitches become the dip stitches. That is the hint for setting up row 3.
  6. This is where you need to stop and look at how the pattern is set up for your size. Read your knits and purls and see what stitch in row 1 of the dip stitch pattern you will start.
  7. Start the pattern stitches with what your knitting is telling you to do, not the pattern.  Row one says P1, K1, P1, In size 3, I was knitting the Dip Stitch right after my increases.  
  8. Once you get the 3rd row set up correctly, the rest of the increases fall into place. 

I know this sounds confusing, but it really isn't that bad once you dive in. It is a bit of a puzzle but you can do it!  If you have questions, you can always reach out to me.

I will post my progress here and on Instagram, so keep an eye out!

Happy Knitting!


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