Shut Up and Sew

By Kay Gardiner
September 23, 2021
Sweater weather means cable season. Field Guide No. 9 features stunning interchangeable cable designs by Norah Gaughan.

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  • Guess what I just cast on? I blame YOU, Kay!


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  • Wish I could come! Maybe next time!

  • Wow, what a gorgeous sweater in such a beautiful color! We need to see it modeled!

  • Your new lifestyle, I mean sweater, is fantastic Kay! I foresee a squishy wool, perhaps a beautiful Rambouillet, with contrasting 3NBO joins…

  • It looks beautiful! And I think the stitched seaming emphasizes the patchwork aspect of it better than a 3 needle bind off would.

  • Another alternative, for your next one, is to do a traditional mattress stitch from the inside, so that you have a visible seam allowance on the right side. I’m actually planning to try this on my current (nameless) sweater project, and swatching it indicates that it wil be successful) Since it appears that all of the edges are reverse stockinette, it would be easy to do. However, the embroidered edge is a great match to the denim, and its definitely a sweater I covet!

    • Ooooo! That is such an attractive notion. Especially, IMHO, if a bit of selvedge is involved to make things all design-y.

  • I finally found and bought some Rowan Denim but have been hesitant to use it – not knowing what size to make before shrinking!
    Your sweater is fabulous! How many sizes did you go up?

    • Make a swatch and shrink it and that will help you decide. It shrinks in length only, 10-20 percent depending on your machines. I went up 2 sizes because I was also knitting to a smaller gauge than the pattern prescribed.

      • I love my denim cable raglan I designed and knit over 20 years ago. It has slowly faded, so the cables glow.
        Have you 3NB with another finer yarn? I love it, and use whenever possible

  • I am only halfway thru Chart 1, the first time, and have already thinking about that shoulder 3 needle bind-off. Knitting with a single spun cormo from a small farm in VA. which looks like Hana’s original handspun. Each skien is a slightly different tan, so each block will be its own color-but that nice 3-needle with the chain on the outside, what to do, what to do?

  • Please show off your sweater when it’s finished!

  • Hmmm, I know the effect the designer was going for, but I’m not 100% sure I agree with it. Uneven blanket stitches along the seams make my embroiderer’s brain hurt. It’s a gorgeous sweater, no question, but I think I would have to put it together differently for me.

  • I love it! Can’t wait to see it on. I think the Rowan Denim cotton is a perfect alternative for this pattern and I like your choice of linen for the rustic effect. Good going!

  • This might make me “steal” the black denim I bought to make my husband a sweater but I’m trying to resist

    • He’s on thin ice…

      • That is possibly true.

  • Well ladies, I guess we know who Kay listens to!!! But that’s okay — the result is awesome. I love the gray linen. How much does your sweater weigh, Kay? In my mind it seems it would be much heavier than wool, but I will gladly admit that things that seemed “real” in my mind just aren’t. And so it goes.
    Just got my Vaccination Record Card out for the trip to Nashville. Pretty excited . . .

    • I used 21 or 22 balls of Rowan Denim, so my Hana weighs in at just over a kilogram of faded blue goodness. It’s weighty but the linen seems plenty strong to hold the seams.

      Counting the days to Nashville!

  • I find it helps to pick up tight stitches by using a crochet hook to pull them through.

    • Wish I’d thought of that!

  • This is looking SO COOL. So cool.

  • OMG!! I retract my advice for you to knit something simpler during your va-Kay! That is just yummy and wonderful, and luv, luv the linen choice. I, too, have a deep and abiding love for the 3-needle bind-off. Love the two options it gives you front vs back, and that it’s KNITTING! I’m not a sew-seaming fan, unless someone volunteers to do the sewing part for me . . .

    • The other complication that I realized as I began to pick up stitches was that the design has knitting in both directions, and the same piece is flipped upside down for the front, so you’ve got some stitch count discrepancies to deal with as you pick up for the shoulders–at a certain point I just wanted to git ‘r done and take the easy road.

  • Love that you still call it MDK World Headquarters… I just love it!

    • It started as a joke and it stuck!

  • I admit I voted for 3NBO, but I didn’t know that meant you had to unpick every washed and dried seam. I could not have done it. Anyway, your stitches look great! The grey is perfect.

    • If I’d had a healthier breakfast I might have persevered, but nah….

  • Quite exciting to see your Hana coming together, Kay! The sewing part of a project always makes me anxious, but you’ve got it all together (no pun intended).
    An additional reason for feeling excitement is that I just received my subscription Field Guide No. 19, Marls. The projects are gorgeous! Such pleasure!

  • I love it! I am still finishing the final section of the back. I’m using a yarn that combines cotton, alpaca and merino, and I hold 2 strands together. I’m using a total of 3 colors (one each for the separate blocks), and every now and then I throw in a strand of one of the other colors so I’ve got both cabling and marling goodness going on. I hope I can finish by winter, I’d really like to live in this. My plan for my next Hana is to do some combos of Norah Gaughan cables.

  • New reader here. Everything is so gorgeous, but so above my head and understanding. I use to be a fairly decent knitter but a head injury erased that part of my memory. (At least I know my name!) So, i bought your app hoping it would jog my memory. But, am I the only reader whose a new knitter? Though they may be boring to some do you ever do simpler projects? I remember reading something somebody wrote here about how sometimes the garter stitch was all you could do and how it could be relaxing, and it did grow longer as you went along. Truer words were never spoken. At least i remember knit and purl. The only two stitches there are. Right!

    • Oh dear. I wrote something, had a hand tremor, and everything disappeared. I apologize in advance if my comments show up twice.

      Sandra, you are two steps ahead of me (meaning knits & purls). I am trying to rehab an arm injury, and my husband has dementia. I haven’t even held needles and yarn together. Yet. I highly recommend the Skill Set book if you want some reminders about the basics. It’s calm and concise, very encouraging and never bossy. After that, Field Guide 18, Beginnings, takes next steps with projects suited for a beginning knitter (guides 1 & 4 might interest you as well). When I’m able, I’ll be starting with those two books. Another thing that is very useful is the ability to save articles in your account. Each saved article has a photo and a label, which makes it much easier to find what you are looking for.

      I am hoping I can absorb a bit by osmosis until I can put everything into practice. I find the variety of projects here inspiring and motivating, and hope you will enjoy what is to be found here as much as I do. Wishing all the best, Lara

    • Hi Sandra, and yes, you are absolutely right: the only two stitches there are! And when all I can do is garter stitch, I sometimes make a new cotton washcloth – and I think it’s safe to call knitted cotton washcloths a foundation stone of MDK – or I might make a similar square or rectangle in wool, to put aside for eventual assembling into a blanket. It’s a way to enjoy colors and maybe various yarns, while just happily gartering away. My other go-to for keeping my hands moving in a useful way, is starting a pair of plain and simple top-down socks using self-striping sock yarn. Apart from casting on, that knitting is also all garter, all the way, round and round, until I get to the heel – and it I’m not up for that, I’ll put both legs aside and have a huge headstart on a pair of sock when I feel like turning heels. The self-striping sock yarn makes the knitting a little bit magical and a delight to watch happen – I keep a couple of skeins of my favorite self-stripers tucked away for Emergency Garter Stitching. And because I’m knitting in the round, the garter is really stockinette stitch which is also a visual change from the knit ridges. I get a lot of entertainment mileage out of garter stitch!

    • Hello Sandra,

      I just wanted to tell you thank you for being a special source of much-needed inspiration to me this morning. You’ve helped me see my own limitations in a different way, and for that, I am so grateful to you. Truer words were never spoken, you said, and yours are especially pertinent and true. Thank you. It’s not always about what we accomplish, but the ways in which we support one another along the way.

  • I am captivated by this sweater. Wow. Wow. Wow. I’ve never done cables but now I want to learn so I can make this. I wish my LYD would do a class

  • Love, love Saturday Snippets. Perfect with a cup of coffee! Thanks.