Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oranje Q&A

Wow, who would have thought that a World Cup-inspired pull-out-all-the-stops crazy vibrant sweater would generate such interest! I've gotten some fabulous questions about yarn choices and modifications. Here are the answers to the most common, as a resource for all of you thinking about making this project. If your question isn't addressed here, feel free to contact me at

1. I really want to make this sweater in the colors you used. Do you have yarn substitutions if I can't get the Bugga!?

First, there's going to be a big Bugga! update soon, which will include a lot of orange. Sanguine Gryphon is going to let me know when the update is ready to go, and I'll be posting here right away! So stay tuned!

Second, there are two fingering weight yarns that immediately comes to mind as orange sub yarns. First, Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Citrus is very close. Tangelo is also good, and Glazed Pecan is a nice, more subtle option. Alchemy Juniper is a super-saturated fingering weight yarn, and Tangerine is a perfect orange. Please let me know if any of you have more suggestions!

2. I really want to make this sweater, but not in the color you used. Do you have yarns to suggest?

Obviously I strongly support the yarns I mention above. Here are some more great ideas: Louet Gems fingering, Malabrigo Sock (it's plied so it wears better than other Malabrigo yarns), Sundara Yarn Fingering Silky Merino or Sock (whoa), or... support a local indie dyer! Again, if you have specific suggestions or are having success with a yarn I haven't mentioned, let me know!

3. I am afraid of steeking this thing.

You can do it! This is the very first thing I ever steeked. I followed the knitty tutorial by Wendy and it went perfectly. However, SEW YOUR STEEKS. DO NOT CROCHET THEM. How do I know this? I tried to crochet them and there was an, um, emergency. However, I was able to sew them and the emergency was averted. SEW THEM. Unless you're using a really clingy Shetland-type yarn.

3a. But will they really hold in a superwash yarn?

Yes, if you sew them. Do it with a machine and use small stitches. Sew two reinforcing seams if you're worried. And then don't machine wash the sweater, please.

4. I'd like to make my cardigan with long sleeves. Advice?

This should be an easy modification. The sleeves are fitted at the lower arms, so I think you could leave the cast on numbers as they are without worrying about flares. They'll be straight and rather fitted to the elbow. You can work the sleeve hem facings as written, no problem.

To determine the best length for the sleeve, I would measure your arm from the point at which you want the sleeve to end to your underarm. Then take a look at the Oranje schematic, and see how long the sleeve is, as written, for your size. Just add the difference between the two measurements to the beginning of your sleeve, before any shaping. Does this make sense?

5. Can I make this as a pullover?

Certainly! Just omit the steek stitches from the front. Easy as can be. However, you'll want to read on to question 6...

6. How can I create a more open neckline?

You'll have to do this if you choose to make this a pullover, because there's no way that collar (which is meant to be worn with a few buttons open to reveal the striped collar lining) is going over your head, no matter how small your head might be.

You can stop knitting after you finish Chart B (and the following decrease round) for a wide round neck, stop after Chart C for a smaller round neck, or make a larger, funnel-type neck by manipulating your stitch counts to match the charts. Because the stranded motifs are small, it would be relatively easy to change your decrease rates and maintain a stitch count that will work with the patterns.

7. You're wearing a hat in the knitty pictures. What's up?

Yeah, I had a terrible non-haircut. You can make yourself the hat, though! It's The Opie Hat, one of my free patterns! Make one to match your cardigan! It's very sporty, I think.

download now for free!

8. I have some fingering-weight yarns in my stash that I'd like to use for the two contrasting colors in the yoke. Exactly how much of each color will I need?

Ah ha! I knew I kept the piece of scrap paper with these calculations on it for a reason. Here we go. You'll need VERY close to the same amount of both contrasting colors, so I'll list the amount you need of EACH here:

32 inch: 200 yards of each
36 inch: 230 yards of each
40 inch: 260 yards of each
44 inch: 300 yards of each
48 inch: 320 yards of each
52 inch: 370 yards of each
56 inch: 395 yards of each

9. Seeing that this cardigan is knit at a rather loose gauge for fingering weight, how do you think it would turn out in a heavier-weight yarn?

If you've swatched fingering (sock) weight yarn on US #6 needles, you'll see that the fabric it creates is thin and stretchy, but not holey. However, if you get gauge using sport or DK weight yarn, I think that would create a very nice fabric for this sweater; thicker and warmer than fingering weight would. However, I would recommend sizing up to allow yourself some ease. As it is, the sweater is designed to fit with no ease, which works well when the fabric is stretchy, but might not be so great if the fabric is thicker. If I were to make this cardigan in a sport weight yarn I would make myself the size 36 bust, even though I'm a 32 inch bust, because I'd want to have that ease built in.

You could even use worsted weight yarn, but you'll have to do some calculations to account for the larger gauge. You could make a swatch and figure out your stitches and rows per inch in your desired yarn and then knit the size from the pattern that matches the numbers you're getting (this would be my first choice... just figure out how many stitches you'll need to cast on using your yarn, then go with the pattern numbers that are the closest to the number you get. This will save you having to recalculate everything). You'll have plenty of time to figure out your row gauge and how that will affect your yoke while you're knitting the body. If you find that your yoke is going to be a LOT deeper due to row gauge, you could eliminate some rows from the pattern or eliminate some of the plain MC yoke rounds before the charts begin.

10. The knitty tutorial on steeking recommends that you sew the steeks from the top of the garment to the bottom of the garment. Can I sew them from the bottom to the top?

Yes, no problem!

11. Can this cardigan be worked flat to avoid the steeks entirely?

Certainly. If you feel comfortable working stranded knitting flat, you won't have any problems. For the braids you will have to alternate a knit row and a purl row for the actual braid twisting rows (both are worked as purl rows when working in the round). I've never done this before, but a little bit of experimentation should make it clear).

12. It looks like you've done some crochet edging on the steek edges that are turned to the inside of the body. How did you do that?

To make my steek edges neater, I worked a row of single crochet along the inside steek borders (in the undyed color). I've seen versions that used machine-sewn edgings and grosgrain ribbon edgings, which are also nice. Let me rephrase. The grosgrain ribbon facings are super nice. I've been meaning to do this on my Oranje, but as of January 2012 I'm still wearing it too often to find the time.

Whew! Have more questions? Suggestions? Let me know!


alligator said...

Thanks for the FAQ! I'm really excited about this sweater, it is a breath of fresh air during the long cold winter. I have to wait and see what other colors/yarns people use but I definitely want my own version sooner rather than later!

J. said...

I was just checking out the charts on knitty and chart C seem to be a bit different than the sweater. Is that intentional? (I think either way looks great but stripes would be a bit easier.) And do you have any tips on working with 3 (gasp!) colours at a time.

Thanks in advance.

Kathie said...

This is great! I've been thinking of using Chickadee from Quince Yarns, possibly Nasturtium in keeping with the original colors, or maybe Peaks Ferry.

Anonymous said...

Hi, straight guy here. You can find me on Ravelry as WarmWorm...
I've been looking around for a round-knit for my second-ever sweater project, but have so far been left for want of something different, exciting or a little more knit-inspiring than the often-stodgy rehashed classic Icelandic-style knit.
I'm mulling over your sweater and that it should be relatively easy to modify for a somewhat chunkier yarn, so that's what I might try.
I modded the pattern of my first-ever sweater (which I'm wearing right now for the second full day as I type this) and it turned out stunning (in a good way ;), despite the treacherous fudging, ripping and overall baptism by fire cum school of hard knocks.
Regarding any insights you might like to lend; please feel free, either here or on Ravelry. :)

Recommended theme song for your sweater:
Aquarius, by Boards of Canada

PurlyGirl said...

Hi. Love, love, love this sweater! I have never steeked nor have I ever done any fair-isle at all. This sweater has indpired me to try both. I have to say it may be awhile as I have a few sweaters in my queue I need to create as gifts before I work on something for myself but thanks for the inspiration! Girlypurl

Katy said...

I'm a busty gal and am about to start this sweater. I am thinking that I need to include vertical bust darts to accommodate my gals. Do you think those would work with the colorwork? Am I better served by trying short rows?

Seanna Lea said...

I have a stupid question. When you knit your sample with the Bugga did you alternate skeins in the main color?

weaverknits said...

Hi Seanna,

Well, no, I didn't. Interestingly, a lot of other people who used Bugga! mentioned that they also did not and had no problems. HOWEVER. This is a do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do situation. If I hadn't been in such an excited rush to start this sweater, I would have alternated. And I recommend that everyone else does.

Catalina Cisne said...

If I wanted to turn this into a pull-over sweater with a button-hole collar starting after Chart B (so it is only partially split), would I knit the steek stitches throughout the entire body of the sweater, or just after Chart B?

sam29 said...

I am not too confident about steeking since I dont own a sewing machine and was wondering if I can work the pattern flat. I can figure out the chart in flat but was wondering if the braid can be worked flat.
If not will the stitches hold if I hand sew?

kellysmark said...

Wow! I'm so excited to see your FAQs. I only found the Oranje pattern yesterday and I can't stop admiring it. Today I was disappointed to learn Bugga Orange was no longer available but it appears by the time I finish my two current projects, I might be in luck. I LOVE orange. It will be my first fair isle and my first steek. Wish me luck, I'm diving in!

kellysmark said...

Ugh...I just realized I was reading an old post. Any chance there will be more orange Bugga again?

Sam Ball said...

Love this pattern! Working my way through it now - almost finished! Can you tell me where you got the black buttons from? Thanks!

Sam Ball said...

Love this pattern! I'm almost done mine. Can you tell me where you got the buttons for the version shown on the knitty pattern? Thanks!