Pattern: Taiga by Svetlana Volkova (please please do not copy the pattern for your friends, remember it is illegal to photocopy patterns without paying for them. Also it hurts the individual designer. This is a good pattern and we want her to continue to write patterns so please do not photocopy. I have hard copies for sale in the shop)
After this row: If you followed my blog about the Sylvie, you will remember we used the “After this row” project sheet. This time I used the top down sweater project sheet from After this row. The sheet, used with the pattern makes it simple to keep track of raglan increase, pocket flaps and any adjustment made to the pattern. Follow this link to learn more about these fantastic sheets.
Yarn: We will be using Cascade 128 (people on ravelry have also used eco wool )
Color choices: I would recommend looking at Taiga on ravelry. If you choose two dark colors the colorwork in the middle becomes difficult to see. In the case you want dark colors, consider making the medallion in the colorwork section a third color.
Needles: The pattern calls for size 10 & 10.5
I used an 8,9,10 & 10.5 Changing needles frequently can be made easier by using interchangeable needles. In addition to the needles mentioned above, I would recommend at least 2 extra 24” cables (for making the pocket flaps) & a 47” cable to allow the sweater to be tried on frequently.
Choosing Size and Gauge
This pattern runs SMALL! If you look at the photo on the pattern you will see it is a close fitting sweater, be sure to consider how you like your sweaters to fit when choosing your size. I made the medium, but with my gauge the sweater ended up between a Medium and a Large. Find a sweater you love and measure the bust, use that as your guide for choosing your size
This challenge of size is exactly why top down sweaters are a dream! You can fit them on you as you make the sweater. It is easy to adjust as you go.
Swatching: You must do both a gauge and color work swatch……….. OK maybe you weren’t listening YOU MUST DO A SWATCH. I made up a medallion in my colors. This is my suggestion for doing this
- Follow the chart for your size
- Do several rows at the beginning of the swatch in a solid color in the needle you think will get your gauge. Once you have adjusted the needle to get gauge move on to the color work section.
- After several rows of the color work do a gauge check again, adjust needle if needed.
- The pattern says if you have long stretches of a color to “weave your floats” This means to simply twist the two yarns. If you look at the picture of the back of the swatch you will see I twisted after 4 stitches as recommended, I did not like the long strips of yarn so I twisted my yarn every two stitches in the second half.
COLOR WORK Tips:
– Twist the yarn in one direction for a few stitches, then twist the other direction this will keep your yarn from getting unmanageable twisted
– Keep the two balls of yarn a distance away from you, with lots of slack between your project and the ball of yarn there is room for the twist to travel and not cause you frustration
– The chart that comes with the project is colored purple and green, if this becomes confusing I have a black and white version of the chart
Post a photo of your color work swatch on your Ravelry page or on our Facebook so we can all see!!!
I used a size a US 8 only for the cast on, I switched to a US 9 for the collar. My collar does not stand far up like the photo on the pattern, I am OK with this but if you would like a taller collar feel free to make a few extra rows of ribbing.
I used a US 10 for the yoke. This is a good time to stop and fill in the After This Row project sheet. Fill out the stitch count for your size. Also make note of the short rows and raglan increases. Finally I chose to increase by picking up the bar between the stitches rather than the increase called for in the pattern.
*FITTING* – after the short rows, put the garments around your neck and see how it fits. If you want the collar taller you can also add 2 extra short rows on the back of the collar, I did not do this but I wish I had. Do this again after you have half of the raglan shaping done (this is where the 47” cable starts to be useful)
Separating for sleeves
I found the sleeve hole for the size medium to be a bit too small. I found this out after I had separated the sleeves from the garment, and casted on under the arms. When I tried on the sweater it was way too tight on my arms. I ripped out the row, put all the stitches back on the cable and worked 2 more rows. In other projects I would have just casted on more stitches under the arms but the stitch count is VERY important for the color-work and can not be adjusted.
*FITTING* Be sure to try on the sweater after separating for the sleeves, look that the stitches are not stretched across the back and under the arms. Do not worry about the fitting of the front because there are bands that will be added to make the sweater close in the front.
I used US 10.5 for the color-work, my gauge was not that different between the US 10 & US 10.5 but I did not want the sweater to be tight across the bust.
Read the directions carefully to be sure you are using the correct chart for your size and also how many rows to follow (Size medium there is a funny direction about the first row). Use a magnet board or some method to follow where you are also use stitch markers for the end/beginning of the chart repeat.
** FITTING** A few rows in to the color work, stop and try it on. If the color work seems to be getting tight, adjust your twist method or go up a needle.
A few extra cables for your interchangeables really come in handy for the pockets. Pocket facing can be worked on a small cable, and the remainder of all the stitches can be left on the long cable. After working the two cable facings, I did a three needle join.