Adding Shoulder Seams – Humulus

You might remember from my previous post that I started the yoke for the Humulus sweater. I altered the pattern’s instructions for starting the neckline and added extra stitches at the shoulders so I could create shoulder “seams” for stability. I love creating structure so the sweater doesn’t get droopy over time!

Here’s the yoke so far:

Humulus yoke

I outlined the two stitches I added for each shoulder seam in pink to make them easy for you to see.

Shoulder seam stitches

Once I use the mattress stitch on these, they will disappear on right side, while forming a nice seam for strength on the wrong side. Again, it’s important to remember not to include these in the pattern’s overall stitch count.

I have a lot of knitting still to go on this sweater. I’ll finish these “seams” and add the neckline ribbing toward the end.

October 2nd, 2020|Colorwork|Leave a Comment

Top Down Mods – Humulus

Something that drives me crazy about top-down sweaters is that – at least on me – they tend to stretch around the neck and droop from the shoulders as time goes on. This is because there are no seams to create structure. The weight of the sweater drags everything down.

As my readers may remember, I found a solution to this in some experiments with the Tea Leaves Cardigan. The details will be different for Humulus, but the idea’s the same. I posted about the neckline and edging, adding shoulder seams, and adding the neck edging.  For the Humulus sweater I’m starting, the first thing to address is the neckline.

Instead of following the pattern, which starts with neck ribbing and continues seamlessly down the the yoke, I skip the ribbing (for now).  I cast on at the top of the yoke, which will create structure in the neckline when the sweater is done. Using a long-tail cast-on, there’s a bumpy side and a smooth side. When stitches are picked up later, it’s important that the cast-on’s smooth side faces out:

Cast On for Structure


Next I’ll knit a row that I’ll later use to pick up stitches for the neck’s ribbing.

It takes a bit of planning, but to me it is well worth the effort to add seams to the shoulders. After all the time I put into knitting a sweater, I want it to look its best – I certainly don’t want it to get droopy! Right away I’m going to need to figure out where to add the seam stitches for the shoulders. Humulus is tricky, with short row shaping and a bunch of increases to contend with. One morning – after plenty of coffee – I simply drew the pattern on a piece of paper to visualize it and did a bit of math. Then it was easy to figure out where the center of each shoulder was going to be.

What you’re seeing here are orange stitch markers at the short row turning points, and two pairs of white markers where I added in the two shoulder seam stitches. Once you’ve added in the two seam stitches, it’s important to not include them in the pattern’s stitch count. When seamed, they disappear and so should be treated as if they’re not there.

adding shoulder seams

I’ll include these seam stitches as I work the sweater’s yoke. Before long it’ll be time to use a mattress seam on them when it’s time to start the yoke’s pretty stranded design.

Next time, after I’ve worked the yoke, I’ll show you just where the added seam stitches figure into the shoulders.

September 27th, 2020|Projects, Sweaters, Techniques|Leave a Comment

Swatching in the Round – Humulus

I’ve been eyeing the sweet Humulus sweater by Isabell Kraemer for the longest time. Here’s the pattern photo:


I’ve been practicing my stranding skills and think I might finally be able to tackle this. The first order of business, of course, is a swatch.

If this looks like a crazy mess, let me explain….This sweater is worked in the round, so I made a swatch in the round. Some people call it “speed swatching” because instead of making the entire swatch in the round, forming a big tube, you work a row, then slide the stitches to other end of your circular needle, bring the working yarn very loosely across the back, and then start a new row. This is a much faster method, since you’re only working about half the number of stitches. If you’ve never done it that way before, I recommend this tutorial by Webs:

When the knitting is complete you cut the long yarns that travel around the back, forming the sort of “fringe” at either end. Mine is sloppy, but a neatly made swatch looks like an adorable little rug. A nifty trick I learned from a friend is to knit the first and last stitch through the back loop on every row. Otherwise when you cut the long strands in half the edge stitches will be very loose. The twisted stitches hold the cut ends in place.

Now that I’ve got gauge, I’m ready to cast on!

August 26th, 2020|Colorwork, Projects, Stranded, Sweaters, Uncategorized|Leave a Comment

Stranding the Dewlap Cowl

I have struggled for years with stranding, the colorwork technique which uses two or more colors in a single row of knitting. Despite my best efforts my stitches tend to be uneven and puckery. I envy friends whose stranded projects fly off the needles with such perfect tension it seems they’ve already been blocked!

I hate to admit defeat, so once in a while I make another stab at a stranded project. That’s how I ended up knitting the cute Dewlap Cowl designed by Ann Kingstone.

While I’ve gotten a little bit better, it’s clear that I’m going to need more practice.

I was nearly done with the cowl when I discovered a YouTube video which really clicked for me. It’s a simple tutorial for stranded knitting and made me realize I need to pay more attention to the stitches on my right needle. It made all the difference for the last few rows of my cowl! Maybe you’d like it too:


I think I’ll try one more dk weight pattern. Then if I get the hang of it, my goal is to try any of the beautiful sweater patterns worked in a smaller gauge. That’d be one way to make pandemic-time productive!


Ann Kingston The designer’s website is a real treat! Her blog offers fascinating looks into history, she offers her books and patterns for sale, and has several useful tutorials.

Kelbourne Woolens Scout  A 100% wool, dk weight yarn. The heathered colors give lovely dimension.

The Clubkidknitters channel is a colorful playground of all sorts of fun colorwork techniques.

July 24th, 2020|Colorwork, Cowls, Stranded|Leave a Comment

French Cancan Shawl

I’m always looking for a good travel project. Cassie, the owner of the wonderful Ply Yarn in Wimberley Texas, had the perfect suggestion. The French Cancan shawl by Mademoiselle C starts out with a simple garter crescent. A braided cable edging is then worked perpendicularly to the body, attaching with a k2tog from one edge stitch and one body stitch as you go.

French Cancan shawl 1

Anzula Cricket is a super yummy yarn that was just right for this little shawl. It’s mostly superwash wool, but has a bit of nylon that lends good stitch definition to the cables. Best of all is the touch of cashmere which makes the shawl comfy around my neck, and warm enough to be cozy on a chilly evening.

February 16th, 2020|Cables, Shawls, Yarn Shop|Leave a Comment
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