After I finished the first sleeve of the Pentagon Pullover, I decided that I would knit the yoke next. Considering that the yoke only needs the front and the back to be attached, I figured it would be a good idea to at least start it, and then come back and knit the second sleeve, in case working on the yoke would obviate any sleeve cap changes. Here’s a reminder of how the pentagons cleverly form the yoke, and the order of their assembly. And here’s what it looks like in real life:


From left to right: One side of the pentagon is attached to the body of the sweater, while the rest of the stitches are held on free dpns. Decreasing towards the center results in a pentagon that ends up resting on the left shoulder. The second pentagon has three sides attached to existing fabric, and two free. Decreasing towards the center results in this:

Good? Oy, not good at all.

No knitting project is perfect, and I was getting mighty suspicious of this one, working out so perfectly ’till now ;).

There are two issues, a big one and a small one. The small issue is this cone-like puckering in the center of the pentagons. The original sweater is knit from an angora/wool/nylon blend, which is quite drapey, and quite amendable to blocking: great choice of yarn to conceal even the tiniest puckering tendencies. My sweater is knit from a wonderful cotton/acrylic blend which holds texture very crisply, and won’t block in the same way. Not to worry! I’ve deal with issues like this before! Quick, someone hand me my Montse, I have to look up the different kinds of double right-slanting decreases!

The big issue (literally) is that the pentagons are too big. You can see in the photo above the pentagons creeping up way beyond my collarbone. Below, I place my hand-knit sweater on top of a store-bought one that fits me well. Remember, there is still a small crewneck collar to be added, but the pentagons are already covering the modest neckhole of the white sweater.

Why this is happening is more of a puzzle. I want the pentagons to be exactly the size specified in the pattern, 5.25″ high, but mine are significantly bigger (about 6.5″ high). Compared to the pattern, my needles are two sizes smaller, my yarn is thinner, my gauge is tighter, yet my pentagons are coming out… bigger. I wonder if there’s a typo in the recommended needle size? Whether they meant US 6 instead of US 9? In my mind, this is a distinct possibility.

Well, I have to frog and figure this out, my friends. Stay tuned for the results!


41 thoughts on “Pentagons

  1. j a r e d

    hmmm. this is a pickle. i’m doing some serious thinking about it, because its a fun puzzle to consider. the pentagon makes for some interesting conditions, especially since the stitch and row guages are all turned in on themselves…. aye yayay. you’re gonna need to get creative…;)

    although i’m not worried.

  2. Ruth

    To me, they do look like they would be prettier in a much finer gauge. So whether or not the 9 is a typo, I might start by busting out that 6.

  3. Leigha

    You seem to have the worst pattern karma I’ve ever seen. Luckily, you also have the ability to fix the issues and come out the other end with beautiful knitted sweaters (and socks. and shawls.). Hopefull, this will be an easy fix for you!

  4. beth

    And figure it out you will my dear! That’s why I come here. To see how you figure it out. I agree with Maurice (hee hee), they look nipply.

  5. Angela

    Holy cow. Maybe you should try, and I’m sure you probably already thought of this, knitting a solo pentagon on 6s and see how they turn out.

  6. yahaira

    they look like little hats!

    in the pic from the book, does it look like the pentagons are lower? or is that some weird illusion?

  7. TracyKM

    I can’t wait—glad I have you to do all this fussy stuff, LOL!

    I think it would look cool without a neckband of any sort.

    Perhaps the easiest thing to do would be to rip back and start the neck/yoke shaping a little sooner.

  8. Stephanie

    Come on, admit it. You’re kind of excited they’re too big. Now you get to use your brilliant brain to figure out this little (er, big?) dilemma. I can’t wait to see what you do.

  9. Martha

    Ha ha! You have shoulder nipples! If you don’t work them out, you can always wear it to a Star Trek convention 😉

    If it were me, I’d try revising the math on the pentagons to use fewer stitches.

  10. claudia

    Interesting. The picture doesn’t lie, does it? If not, your gauge appears significantly larger on the pentagons then on the main body of the sweater.

  11. Kris

    I think I would start by going down another needle size or two, knitting one solo so it isn’t a PIA to rip out, then if all else fails, break out the calculator (or spreadsheet depending on the difficulty) and see if faster decreases help. No matter what I can’t wait to see how you fix this!

  12. Jo

    At least you know it looks cool even though those pentagons are ginourmus. The fixed neckline (I have NO doubt that you’ll fix it) will be stunning!

  13. Jen

    I’m completely inexperienced with this kind of stuff except to say your pentagon gauge is clearly a lot bigger than the body gauge, so I think you are on the right track – like Claudia said…

  14. Jen

    PS – I went back and looked at the pictures and it looks like each rib is the body gauge and the combination makes them appear bigger in the shot. Not sure if that’s right…but if it is then I think I would go down at least 2 needle sizes. (sorry)

  15. Rev. Josh

    I’m afraid I have no words of wisdom for you, except to say that you appear to be the kind of person who enjoys the challenge of such mental (and knit) gymnastics. I’m sure it’ll turn out fine.

    Also, I’d like to refer you to my blog, and through the post entitled “Close to Home,” my wife’s blog. She’s a knitter, and she has a wonderful idea that I’d love for you all to help out with. Check it out, won’t you?

  16. Jackie F.

    Being a knitter who teaches high school math, I cannot wait to see your progress on this pentagon sweater! It’s so cool!

  17. Carolyn

    You know…I am still waiting for my book…my DH has yet to bring it home from the states, even though he got it last week! Anyway…it looks like the pentagons are large on the origional sweater. I think they should be lower on your version. Compare the placement on the model (if she had boobs) it looks like the lowest pentagon is more in the clevage area…they do looked severly blocked! Hopefully your changes to the decreases will help…can’t wait to see!

  18. Sarah

    Regardless, that is one cool sweater. And that red is to die for! You’re a smarty, I’m sure you will figure it out.

  19. Hindrek in Vancouver

    Hey – time to delurk….I have to tell you I love your blog and almost delurked the other day to share a herring and beet salad recipe ! Ha ha ha. I think this is a great sweater with a novel idea – but it might have its problems.

    I have noticed a few things – namely that the pentagons on the model’s pics start almost and the mid line of the bust. I think the written pattern is wrong – and you need to frog, and re-design the front altogether. I don’t think that just making the pentagons in a tighter gauge is solely going to solve the problem. I am also wary of the models’ stance – with her shoulders pulled back like that – is she trying to flatten the nipples that were not correctable by blocking? As well, if you knit the pentagons in a finer gauge, and then block it – stretching them out a bit to expand their size when blocking – it will act to open out the ribbing and flatten the center nipple action. I am not sure if fudging the decreases would not alter the beauty of the pentagons. Just a few ideas….what do you think?

  20. Hindrek in Vancouver

    I just looked at the model’s photo again and noticed what looks like a bulge of material below the turtleneck. Looks like you will have to adjust for that as well – a strong mitered decrease in the neckline? It just never ends….have fun!

  21. mari

    This is why your blog rocks – you get a typo(perhaps)-filled pattern and you attack it head on! I would have abadoned it, or kept knitting and been unhappy with the results. Good luck! I’m sure you’ll make it work in the end. 🙂

  22. Sunny

    It looks (from the pictures I’ve seen) as though the main body of the sweater (the non-pentagon part) is coming up higher on you than on the model in the book. That might explain part of the reason that the yoke is sitting so high on your neck. Good luck, can’t wait to see this play out!

  23. Sasha

    Rip those sucker off, add some straps and you are all set for bikini season. Best of luck working that out!

  24. Genny

    Curious what adjustments you made for the neckline with the lack of turtleneck? The patterns pentagons appear to be as big as yours – 1 in the centre and 1 sliding up each shoulder, but the pull of the turtleneck and sleeves appears to what smooths it all out – there is a little nipple action still in the pattern.

    good luck…

  25. Linda

    I’m with Hendrek – but I’m curious about the gauge you started with as well – as it calls for gauge over ST.ST. but what about gauge over the rib instead?

    Also, I think the idea of ripping back the body a bit my solve the whole thing.

    Just my thoughts – and I surely won’t start my Mosaic shrug until I see your results!

  26. Sarah

    Wow, I’ve got nothing here. What every one else has suggested sounds good.

    I just know that if you leave it like that (god forbid) you’ll have to deal with people poking your, um, sweater-buds all the time.

  27. quenna

    Haven’t read through all the comments..but can you increase the rate of decreases? But just eyeballing the pattern picture, the hexagons are fairly large compared to the rest of the sweater. I’m sure you’ll figure it out!

  28. Eva Shiu

    Thank you very much for sharing the pictures ! I am going to knit this design but don’t know how to knit the pentagon. Now, I have understand how to do !

  29. Michelle

    I just got this book myself yesterday :^) I realized as I was looking through it, seeing all the hexagons and pentagons and asymmetrical shapes just how tired I am of boring old rectangles and “shaped” variations on rectangle. I wanted to ask if you have an earlier Montse book called something like Creating and Designing patterns for a Perfect Fit?

  30. Linda

    Did you go down two more needle sizes when doing the pentagons? I always find that my ribbed stitches are much larger than the stockinette ones.

    Also, if you look at the picture (and I’m only looking at the one you posted), the armpit of the sweater looks much further away from her actual armpit. And the size of those pentagons look close to the size of yours (reaching from collarbone to cleavage).

  31. ~Kristie

    I’m not the most experienced knitter, but I an an experienced frogger so even though I know someone on a message board that always says: “trust the pattern”, I think she’s full of shit since most the patterns I’ve knitted are wrong (or at least have one too many typos).

    I’d be trying the 6’s now if I were you.

    By the way — I look forward every day to reading your blog!

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