I’m such a sucker when it comes to clever things – clever experiments (if you only knew how giddy I get about a cleverly-designed experiment), clever jokes, clever men, clever travel routes (the kind that are equally speedy, but somehow manage to be more scenic)… Not surprisingly, clever garment construction makes me weak in the knees, and Ms. Norah of the Knitting Nature fame has been throwing cleverness at me every which way with this Pentagon Sweater. My God, woman, is there any end to this?!?

After completing the six pentagons that make up the yoke, look how another half of a pentagon raises the back of the sweater:

And the best part? The whole yoke, front and raised back, are identical in size to my template sweater. Identical! I did nothing special, mind you: I’m knitting the smallest pattern size, simply adjusting for my different gauge. UNbelievable.

You know what I did next? That’s right! I was so confident that this yoke was the final iteration, that I wove in any ends which can’t be used in seaming (there were so many!), snipped the hanging yarns, and blocked (along with washing the remainder of my anti-dry cleaning menagerie). This is final, you know what I mean? Only a few things in knitting are final – cutting cotton yarn is one of them (felting is another).


And now? Now the fun part! I have to knit the second sleeve, block both of them, seam, blah, blah, blah… that’s not the fun part ;). The fun part is going nutty with the iron! If you’ve been reading long enough, you know I iron all my handknits. Ironing makes the fabric and seams flat and streamlined, and instantly takes off 10 pounds, I’m serious! These pentagons definitely needed some pressing, since blocking didn’t get them as flat as I would have liked.

In no way, shape or form do I recommend that you do what I do… but what I do is set the iron to med/high setting, steam on highest, and then use all of my 100+ pounds to press. that. sucker. flat, on the right side. (for wool, I’d put a thin pillowcase between handknit and iron)

Oh yes. One of these days I’ll ruin something, and cry, cry, cry… but until then, bwahahaha!!!

Does that look freaking fabulous, or what?!?

P.S. Look who got another small package today. Bitch!


74 thoughts on “Clever

  1. racheld

    You know, I was a little dubious about the sweater at first but WOW you have done a fabulous job and I love it! Not that you need my opinion, but that is some fine work there! And some fine explaining, for those of us who are kind of new to the alter-the-pattern-to-make-it-fit-right thing.

  2. I.

    It looks wonderful!

    I looked through the book at the bookstore last night, but was too intimidated by the designs to even consider buying the book.

    I can’t wait to see the finished product.

    I. (long time lurker, first time commenter πŸ™‚

  3. Kimberly

    I really like how the construction works on that top. The yarn is a good color for you too! And I’d be glad to send something over so you can have a package for you. πŸ˜‰


  4. Purly Whites

    that girl gets more packages than me. and i get a shitload of packages.

    it’s so pretty, you could wear it as a tank. you don’t even need sleeves!

  5. Liz K.

    I totally iron my handknits — it did wonders on my Picovoli! In fact, I just ironed socks for my Mom this weekend. What a difference!

  6. Eve

    I love how the pattern of pentagons looks in the spread out picture! It’s like there’s a mystical circle of stars enveloping your neck.

  7. jody

    *love* the half-pentagon back. it’s great to see such a smart pattern these days πŸ˜‰

    and look at you…weaving in all those ends. i’m sure that feels good.

  8. Angela

    I guess all those ends to weave in (my most-hated knitting chore) is one disadvantage of that design–but it does look Fabulous.

  9. AmyP

    You own that knit! And wow on the ironing. I use mine for dressmaking – maybe I should try the ironing knitwear thing?

  10. Janine

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who irons my knits. I have been known to pin out sweater pieces ( and even shawls) on my heavy duty hessian mat and then steam press ( block) them. It was always the way things were done in the UK in the past. If you read an old pattern from over here they always said to steam the pieces to size before seaming. I love that top. The book may just have to go on my wanted list

  11. Wendy S.

    I held my breath when you said you were going to put the iron ON a knitted garment. Arrrrrggghh. But, no, it was fine. Better. Professional-looking results. So why did my late, famously-ironing, famously ironic, non-knitter of a granny always tell me to steam everything through a…a…a… damp cloth? And why did I believe her? You are doing some groovy magic over there, Kathy. (Isn’t there some sort of portable x-ray equipment for finding out what’s in her packages?)

  12. Carolyn

    Ha ha…you crack me up. What does this woman do that gets so many packages? What the hell are in those packages?

    The sweater looks absolutely fantastic. I must do the steam blocking…how easy it that!

  13. Amy M

    Just a bit of a warning about the iron, so you won’t have the same disaster I did. If you feel the need to iron ribbing, DON’T! Or at least don’t do it for more than about 30 seconds.

    Steaming and Ironing make Debbie Bliss Merino DK look amazing. Unfortunately it was knitted up into the pinup girl sweater from SnB, which is mostly ribbed, and the ribbing lost its desire to pull in. πŸ™ I added some elastic at the neckline and I have to toss it in the dryer after each wearing to get it to “tighten” up.

    On a happy note, I used your photos of Ashley’s socks as inspiration for my current pair. They are made from some lovely Cherry Tree Hill superwash merino. I think the pattern probably pops better in the solid color you used rather than the variegated that I used, but I’m very happy with them. There almost done – will post photos soon.

  14. Shana

    Do you wonder what your neighbor is up to that she receives so many packages like that? Do you think that she’s an Ebay addict? A diamond smuggler? A drug dealer? Maybe the packages are from her secret pal….

    Oh, and I love the pentagons. It looks like it would make a cute sleeveless shell too. Can’t wait to see it w/ the sleeves.

  15. gleek

    i love those swirly pentagons! will you still be attaching ribbing along the neckline? i almost feel like it doesn’t need any more finishing.

  16. Jennifer

    It looks beautiful and perfect! Nicely done. What a nicely designed pattern. Are all the patterns in the book this clever? I may have to hit a bookstore to take a look.

  17. Janice in GA

    I think the trick is to Know Your Iron. I’ve successfully ironed some knits in the past, and steamed (with an iron) many others. But I tried to use someone else’s iron once to flatten out a little cashmere teddy bear before seaming.

    Result? Burned bear. Unsaveable. Had to be reknitted. Fortunately, it was a TINY bear.

  18. Shannon

    Oh dear. I iron everything too. Especially acrylic. I’m so bad, it works SO well though! I never recommend it to anyone mind you πŸ˜‰

  19. Sheryl

    Great sweater – I like it as a shell too. As for your neighbor, do you think she is sending herself the packages????

  20. Kim

    I am sooo curious as to what she is getting in all those small packages… it’s just insane.. who gets more than 4 small packages in a week or two?! You should ask her so we can all know >: )

  21. Kim

    That came out so awesome, now I am going to have to make one for myself. May I be blessed with the same karma to have mine come out looking like yours. You are very brave with the iron. Me, I hate to touch one….

  22. Jacquie

    I iron too. One day I will boo hoo. Until then the iron is my friend.

    I ordered the book as soon as I saw your review. It should arrive any day now.

    The sweater looks GREAT! Was the 9 versus 6 needle a typo?

  23. Kenny

    Your work is soooo even and nice. And you completed that in NO TIME! How much do you knit a day? You must be VERY FAST!

  24. BzzLaraBzz

    Wouldn’t it be weird if your neighbor was receiving tons of handknit socks?

    Beautiful sweater, so far!

  25. Elaine (no longer lurking) in Vancouver

    Yup….Freaking Fabulous. You are much more adventurous than I.

    I wonder what’s in those little packages. Do you know her? Is she a knitter? Curiosity kills me…too bad those darn envelopes are too tough to get just a teensy little rip in them so one could take a peek!

  26. Genny

    yup freakin awesome

    ditto to someone else further up – all our old patterns used to advise you to press (iron)pieces before sewing up. It does wonders as you have proven!

  27. Suzanne

    Freakin’ fabulous indeed. DH just got me Knitting Nature for Mother’s Day. I knew I’d seen great buzz somewhere!

  28. erin

    I’m so glad to hear you iron everything. I think it makes everything look great too, but ironing seems to be a dirty word amongst knitters, something you don’t tell even your best friend.

  29. Jacquie

    I just received my copy of Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan. I am absolutely blown away. The designs are stunning and the alternative construction techniques are fabulous.

    Thanks for the review. I have so many more projects in the wings now.

  30. Emy

    Can’t wait to see how it looks when completed!

    I am still waiting anxiously for my copy from to arrive in Singapore!

  31. Bottom

    As always, your alterations are ingenius! Your octagonal sweater has turned out beautifully. I made a very smart purchase of Norah Gaughan’s new book. What a pleasure it is to marvel at her designs! And then to marvel all sorts of recursive patterns all around us!

  32. Bottom

    As always, your alterations are ingenius! Your octagonal sweater has turned out beautifully. I made a very smart purchase of Norah Gaughan’s new book. What a pleasure it is to marvel at her designs! And then to marvel all sorts of recursive patterns all around us!

  33. Liz (the crazed weasel)

    I iron, too. If I’m worried about disaster, I iron with a clean towel on top of the knitting. Yet another moment of “wait, not everybody does it this way?”


    back to geekdom…

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