The Chunky Turtleneck Sweater in Alafosslopi

This page is all about how I combined notes from two different patterns to create a chunky, turtleneck sweater. Jumping into a knitting project without one simple pattern to follow has expanded my knitting proficiency. I tried some new things here, some of which worked well, and others that did not. I was happy to have had this learning experience, while making a new lovely sweater.

I’m continuing on in my quest to find patterns to help use up stash yarn. Although I did use quite a lot of my Alafosslopi when knitting the Carbeth Cardigan, I still have quite a bit leftover. It would be perfect to use for a chunky turtleneck.

In my search for a pattern on Ravelry, I found the VENLIG pattern, which is knit with Woolfolk’s newer yarn called Flette Bulky. I love the look, but thought maybe I could also use the pattern and knit it with my Alafosslopi.

My gauge with the Lopi was off for the Venlig pattern, so I had to make adjustments (which I should have done from the very beginning) – see my notes further down. Venlig’s pattern directions for short rows and raglan increases were needlessly difficult. Because of this, I gave up, frogged, and began over with a pattern I knew was easy to follow.

Starting Over With The “Turtle Dove” Pattern

The Turtle Dove pattern is free, from Espace Tricot, and I have already knit it using bulky yarn.

I am using a size 11 needle. My cast on number was 60 and I did six inches of 2×2 ribbing for a rolled neck. After that, I followed the short rows section on Turtle Dove, which are done before any increase stitches. This is much simpler to follow than the Venlig.

The Turtle Dove pattern knits up with big, wide, bat-wing type sleeves, which I do not want. You can see my finished original Turtle Dove sweater on this page. It came out huge – probably because I knit it long ago and didn’t check my gauge!

So, when it came time to knit the raglan increases, I went back to follow VENLIG.

When my body, back and sleeve stitches match up with the number in the Venlig pattern, I will continue and separate for the body and sleeves as VENLIG says.

Fixing Gauge Problems

After 18 increase rows my totals for the body will be 57 front and 57 back, which is a total of 114 for the body (I should have increased more stitches here). The row count (height) is perfect, but stitches are way off.

My gauge is 12 stitches and 15 rows. VENLIG calls for a gauge of 10 stitches with 15 rows. I have 2 more stitches than I should. This changes things.

I have too many stitches within the gauge of 4 inches, which means … that my sweater will end up being smaller than it should be. I need to adjust for this by adding more stitches.

Because I have too many stitches in my gauge, the fix would be to go up a needle size. But, here is my problem – I am already using the largest needle (size 11) that I have! The next size up is needle size 13 US which I suspect would be too big. I’m not investing in size 13 needles just to see if my knitting gauge will work!

Here is a great page at Making Stories that explains gauge and how to fix it. Wish I’d read it before I began knitting this one.

What I should have done (as explained in the link above) is to take my gauge of 3 stitches per inch (12 stitches divided by 4 inches = 3 stitches per inch) and used it to measure size for my needs and adjusted my stitches accordingly.

Bust measures 40 + positive ease of 5 = 45 inches around. 45 x 3 = 135 stitches needed at largest part of body. This does not help me with the cast-on, but at least I know what my stitch count should be on the body. I had to increase to get there because as you read above, I have only 114 total stitches for the body! I created those increases under the arms on each side as I knit down the body.

Corrugated Ribbing at Bottom of Sweater

I’ve been trying to decide what type of ribbing I should knit at the bottom of the body. I’ve decided to go with a corrugated rib using the white with the light gray and black.

To this point, all my corrugated rib knitting has been done on hat brims. Cast-on, do ribbing and continue knitting. I’ve never added it to the bottom of a top-down sweater.

After searching for helpful advice, all I read was that when using corrugated rib I would NOT go down a needle size. This type of ribbing is not stretchy like a 1×1 or 2×2 knit and purl ribbing would be. So I am continuing with my same needle, size 11.

Tried on when the body was finished, and yes that bind-off curls up. *In the end I decided to re-do that bottom.

Once the sleeves were finished I went back and picked up the body rib stitches, then unraveled my corrugated rib. I had no idea how to pick up those stitches, and I ended up having to do it twice – the black stitches were on the needle, but the white were not. It all turned out okay, and then I began knitting the 1×1 ribbing in black. I used a size 10 needle for that ribbing – down one size from the 11 for the body. (I used a size 9 on the sleeve ribbing.)

Knitting The Sleeves

So I know that my gauge is off and that means my sleeves may end up being too narrow. I will do only a few of the decreases down the sleeve and then continue to the cuff without more decreases. *I ended up doing only 3 decreases and ended up with 42 stitches on the needles.

I’m considering some colorwork near the cuff. I also don’t know what type of cuff I will do. I like the colorwork on my other Lopi sweater sleeves, so maybe something like that.

After the three decrease rounds (done as pattern directed), I knit round and round until the sleeve was 11 inched long before beginning the pattern incorporating the gray and black. For the colorwork, I chose to follow a chart on pg. 92 in Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting (Amazon link to the book) continuing to use the size 11 needles. I know colorwork will pull in a bit.

Next, I changed to size 9 dpns – right after the patterning part – and did a few rows of corrugated ribbing. To finish the sleeve, I did a few more rows, in black only, of 1×1 rib. This way the end of the sleeve won’t roll. I’m very happy with the sleeves!

Bulky turtleneck sweater is done.  Knit in three colors of Alafosslopi wool doing Fair Isle colorwork and corrugated ribbing in ecru, gray, and black yarn.
Finished knitting the sweater

In the end…

I’m happy with the end product and just need to give it a wash and block. I’ve decided to wait for cooler weather and have a photo shoot day for this, and all my other wool sweaters.

Now that I know a little more about sweater knitting than I did in the beginning of my knitting journey, this type of project expands on my list of accomplishments. The more I knit things that I’m happy with, the more I will have to draw from as I continue my knitting journey.

The collar may need to be tacked down, but otherwise this sweater is great. I’ve decided that the reason most of my hand-knit sweaters come out large is that I have a weird body. Most patterns have you choose a size according to bust measurements. My entire middle is large, but my shoulders and arms are not. Even though I get gauge, many of my sweaters come out too big. I’ll have to begin adjusting for that.

More Patterns and Reviews Here

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