Sturgill Learning Curve

I launched into Sturgill with supreme self-confidence. I had just finished off some stunningly challenging mitts for my niece and felt like there wasn’t a knitting project anywhere that would be beyond me. I’m rocking, right?! Let me just print out this bad boy, cast on and whip it out…

Sturgill pattern by Caitlin Hunter and the author's work in progress.
There isn’t a sweater designed by Caitlin Hunter that I don’t want to knit. I was hooked as soon as I saw this pattern hit Ravelry. I went stash shopping that night and couldn’t wait to get started. As you can see, I have been making progress, but I’ve been learning new tricks along the way…

Do you hear the sound of screeching brakes in the background? Yep. Hubris will only get you so far. There have been problems. I have had to rethink some things, learn some new skills, and just embrace the adventure. Here are the highlights:

Color Choices

Yarn for sweater.
I selected these yarns the night that I printed the pattern. I thought that the purple would be great as the color pop (turquoise color in the original) in the sweater. I cast on and started knitting with the grey, and then wound the other colors when I got to the colorwork chart. Oh. Once I had the yarn wound I realized that this purple made the dusky pink (my favorite!) look dull. Really dull. Ugh. Time to hit the yarn stash again…
Final yarn chosen for the sweater.
I found this muted purple to use instead. The new purple is fingering (the other yarns are DK) so I will need to knit it doubled. That should work, right? The pink brightened right up with the new purple and looks much better. Yay! I cast on with these yarns.

Yarn Handling

I’m pretty good at knitting colorwork these days. I carry the dominant color in my left hand and the other color in my right; I catch the strands every other stitch so there are few floats. What I didn’t anticipate because I didn’t look closely at the pattern in my rush of casting on joy is that there are three colors being used at a time in parts of this color chart. Oops! After some struggling, inappropriate language, and hair pulling, I worked out a routine to handle all three colors by parking one on the left to be used only by my left hand (grey yarn), one on the right to be used only by my right hand (purple yarn) and the pink was parked in the middle. As I worked through the chart the pink switched hands as required by the work, I caught floats when I could, and there was no tangling of the yarn.  Slow going, but the final fabric looks pretty good, and you can’t see that inappropriate language at all. 🙂

Bobbles

There were bobbles on my niece’s mitts, which required a lot of turning back and forth while I worked each one. Not a big deal, because the mitt was a small item. This sweater has lots of 3-stitch bobbles, and I didn’t want to turn the work back and forth for every single one. The bobbles involve only 3 stitches. Obviously a great opportunity to knit backwards…

After some messing around I figured out how to do it. I’ve started the bobble here and am backwards knitting the three bobble-stitches from the right needle back onto the left. To do this you insert the left needle into the back of the stitch you are working…
Knitting backwards
Wrap the yarn around the left needle from front to back…
Knitting backwards
Pull the wrapped yarn through the stitch…
Knitting backwards
Pull the finished stich off the right needle to the left one. I just knitted this stitch backwards! 
Finished bobble
By knitting stitches backwards instead of turning the work and purling them, I found that it was much easier (and faster) to get the bobbles done. Win and a new skill acquired!

There’s more struggle ahead of me. I’m worried about running out of the grey yarn and there was no more at the LYS so I bought two skeins of fingering to use knitted double. That’s DK, right? The colors look to be a good match, but I’m still a little anxious. I hated to add two skeins to the stash, but I was dying with yarn chicken anxiety. I’m getting away with doubled yarn with the purple, but if I pull that trick with the sleeves will they look funny? Lots to worry about.

MacKenzie helping with the knitting.
I’m also dealing with the usual cat assistance while I knit. So cute. So purrsistent. So annoying when struggling with three colors or bobbles.
Knitted Progress.
But I’m making good progress on the sweater anyway and I’m really happy with the colors. I can’t wait to get this finished and blocked!!

I’m still trying to clean as much yarn as I can out of the stash this year. So far I’ve used up 13 skeins, and with the sweater I should clear several more even without counting the two skeins I added on as insurance. This sweater is mostly out of the stash, and even though it is keeping me on my toes, I am so happy with how it is knitting up!

Here are my Sturgill project notes on Ravelry.

Author: Midnight Knitter

I weave, knit and read in Aurora, Colorado where my garden lives. I have 2 sons, a knitting daughter-in-law, a grandson and two exceptionally spoiled cats.

27 thoughts on “Sturgill Learning Curve”

  1. Very pretty. And nope. I no longer make myself swear with multiple colors in a row. That’s why I stick to Fair Isle style. I’ll admire yours though.

    1. Mad skills! Ha! That should be another post! Maybe on my tombstone…

      I’m so gratified to get feedback on the colors. They are so tricky to get right, especially when you are using yarn from different indie dyers.

  2. Yesterday I was watching Kristy Glass Knits ‘show me your Rheinbeck sweater 2018’ episode on YouTube and there were a lot of sweaters people had made using CH designs and I wasn’t really liking them. But seeing yours in my 2 favourite colours makes all the difference. It looks lovely so far.

    1. I saw pictures of people wearing some CH sweaters at Rhinebeck online and my heart kind of sank and I took some patterns out of my shopping basket. I think it was the color choices that put me off. I love using colors of handpainted yarns that make the pattern kind of hazy instead of crisp. It is so hard to find the right yarns, but this time I think I nailed it. 🙂

  3. Wowza! 😍 I love the color combination! Definitely in a agreement with you about Caitlin Hunter patterns. I see them and want to knit them all. Now, just to find time.

    I’ve never done colorwork but I want to. I’ll probably start with a hat, though. 🤣

    You have some serious skills and I love that you figure out how to make it work. (Like a McGiver-y science teacher would 😉).

    Can’t wait to see the finished sweater! 💗

    1. The problem with Caitlyn Hunter is she is posting patterns faster than I can knit. There are so many now in my queue…

      Colorwork was such a problem for me until I took a class that taught me how to knit with a color in each hand. Then I read a Philosopher’s Wool book that showed how to catch the floats as I worked and the rest is history. I think a great or cowl would be a great first project: small, circular and instant gratification!

      McGivery science teacher… I love it!! Rhank you for making my day!

  4. You are one intrepid knitter, Marilyn! I would have been tempted to give up many times by now. Can’t wait to see the finished sweater!! It’s looking GREAT!

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