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Knitting a Sweater: Yarn Acquired, Cast-On Survived

Knitting a Sweater: Yarn Acquired, Cast-On Survived | Red-Handled Scissors
Photo credit: Tea Leaves Cardigan via Madeline Tosh

If you’ve been following along on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve probably noticed my sudden, very urgent need to start knitting a sweater. I’m not exactly sure what put the idea into my head, but I’ve learned long ago not to resist the siren call of a challenging new project! So, giving in to my fiber-y desires, I spent the whole weekend researching sweater patterns and picking out yarn for my first knitted sweater.

After briefly considering a fairly complex (but ridiculously cute) umbrella-patterned cardigan from the latest Interweave Knits, I finally settled on a slightly easier pattern: the Tea Leaves Cardigan from Madeline Tosh. (Alas, I may crochet a mean sweater, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to jump right into intarsia knitting!)

Knitting a Sweater: Yarn Acquired, Cast-On Survived | Red-Handled Scissors

The Tea Leaves Cardigan is a top-down sweater that’s knit flat in one piece on circular needles (the sleeves are attached later). Thus far, the pattern seems pretty simple and straightforward, and I’ve already survived both casting on and my first five rows. Next up, I’ll tackle a whole heck of a lot of front/back increases! (Hold me, I’m afraid.)

Now, before I get any OMG-you-must-swatch-before-you-get-started-or-the-world-will-end emails, rest assured that I did swatch, and that the gauge came out perfectly THE FIRST FREAKING TIME. (Needless to say, much merry making ensued.)

Love the yarn? It’s hand-painted Tosh DK in Fjord. (It’s 100% superwash merino wool. I’m technically allergic, but it’s pretty soft, and I’ll be layering it over other shirts and dresses. Fingers crossed that it works out!)

I’m off to do more sweater knitting. More progress reports to come!


  1. Jennifer says:

    I knit that sweater about a year ago in this gorgeous emerald green merino wool – it’s a great pattern (though fitting about 400 stitches onto even a 40-inch circular needle during the ruching part of the yoke was not fun), can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  2. Ridgely says:

    Hey, doll. So pletased to see you’ve picked up the needles. Looks like you’re on your way to being done with the sweater, but you picked an excellent color; Fjord is on its way to the disco’ bin, which makes your sweater a collector’s item. As far as Tosh bases go, if you can deal with the Tosh DK superwash wool, I’d recommend Tosh Merino DK, which is a single, and sooooo much softer and more pleasant to knit. If you dig plied yarn, the Tosh online shop offers DK Twist which is like a new improved non-starchy Tosh DK. Also superwash, and not woolly. Anyway, let me know if you are next forced into a wool corner and need guidance. I’m happy to help you find what you need: whether it be other people’s yarn or my own.

    Miss you, Haleyface.

    • Hello, dahling!

      I’ve been knitting since college–this was just my first sweater project. (I’m embarrassed to say that, after nearly two years, it’s still in my WIP box with only about 2″ of stockinette left to go. One of these days, I’m totally going to finish it, I swear!) ;)

      My LYS carries ALL OF THE TOSH, so, needless to say, I’m rather spoiled on the gorgeous yarn front.

      Thanks for the offer of wooly guidance! I use plenty of wool in my crochet/knitting pattern design, I just don’t usually use it for projects that are for me, what with the hives. (Luckily, I don’t react when I’m working with it, just when I’m wearing it.) I’ll definitely let you know if I find myself at a loss, though! xoxo

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