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Month Two of the #PennyDreadfulKAL

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Swatches and Stitch Choice

As promised, I swatched on #3 needles with Knit Picks Swish DK in Deft Heather.

Moss Stitch
Broken Seed Stitch
Seed Stitch

Then I took an Instagram poll.

I ultimately decided I liked the look of the moss stitch best. I completely understand if anyone disagrees, but I decided to go with what stitch I liked the look of best. Moss stitch wasn’t necessarily my favorite to actually knit, but for whatever reason it looks like a magical stitch to me. And this sweater better be magical and witchy. That’s what Vanessa Ives would want.

Time to Start Knitting the Darn Thing

Next up I needed to figure out where to start with the body of the sweater. I thought that it would be a simple process as Shirley Paden promises in her book. I was dead wrong.

Here’s what the process looked like more realistically.

Step 1: Get completely overwhelmed.

Step 2: Wonder why you started this project in the first place, decide you are completely insane for trying this complicated sweater. Determine to quit knitting and all creative endeavors forever.

Step 3: Do anything else besides knitting. Sleep.

Step 4: Remember that you suck at imagining and/or drawing 3D objects. Decide to break it down into smaller 1D pieces. Decide to sew the damn thing together at the end.

I did some sketching as suggested and just started to ask myself questions about the sweater. I followed Shirley Paden’s measurement guide and spent some time with my husband in the bathroom mirror with a measuring tape. Surely I could figure this out! I definitely decided to go SIMPLE so as not to completely lose my mind.

I decided this month I would only focus on the back panel of the cardigan and knit my way to the armhole. I dare not try to figure out armholes yet.

I decided in order to accommodate ease and my bust, the entire sweater would need to be 44 inches all the way around. That means the back panel needs to be 22 inches across. I decided the sweater would only go to my hips (not quite as long as the original Penny Dreadful sweater), then measured the length from the armhole to the lower edge (16 inches) and subtracted two inches (as per Shirley Paden’s suggestion, for ease of the armhole) to get 14 inches.

I breathed a sigh of relief. Surely I could figure out how to get some knitting that is 22 inches by 14 inches right?

I decided on a 3 inch ribbed bottom to the sweater. There is a slit in the Penny Dreadful sweater that goes up the sides at the hip. I decided to achieve this the simplest way I could think of – I just won’t sew the ribbing together for the seam!


I figured out the “average ribbing gauge” (the average between the stitches per inch in the ribbed swatch stretched and the ribbed swatch relaxed) and landed at 4.5 stitches per inch, 6 rows per inch.

From the moss swatch, my gauge was 4 stitches per inch and 5 rows per inch.

I also decided to add selvedge stitches to the moss section of the sweater for sewing later. (Thanks Shirley Paden, I feel like a genius for figuring that out in advance.)

The pattern that I’ll be following over the next month to complete the back panel of the sweater to the armhole:

Cable cast on 100 stitches.

K2, P2 every row for 18 rows. (3 inches of rib stitch.)

Update made on 2/17/18 to reflect smarter math:

Mark every 11th stitch, except the last one will be the 8th stitch from the end. You will be reducing your stitches to 91. (This includes 2 selvedge stitches.)

K2, *P1, K1 repeat from * to marker, K2tog after your marker. Repeat to end of row. End with a knit stitch. 91 stitches.

Continue with the moss stitch without decreasing:

Row 20 : K2, *P1, K1 repeat from * to last stitch, K1.

Row 21: K1, P1 repeat to last stitch, K1

Row 22: K1, P1 repeat to last stitch, K1

Row 23: K2 *P1, K1 repeat from * to last stitch, K1

Repeat rows 20-23 (of course without decreases) for 55 rows or 11 inches. (14 inches minus the 3 inches of ribbing.) This won’t evenly end the moss stitch pattern, but I assume I’m going to need to figure out decreases here for the armholes.

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Shoutout to Friends:

Special shout out to momdonna1, twininstitches, and sdh2 for signing up for the newsletter this month!

You too can be a part of the knit-a-long! If you’d like to knit-a-long, use the hashtag #PennyDreadfulKAL on Instagram, comment on my Penny Dreadful Knit-A-Long posts, or you can sign up for my weekly newsletter here. Anyone who uses the hashtag on Instagram, or signs up for my newsletter, or comments, will be emailed a PDF version of the finished pattern once the knit-a-long concludes in May.

#PennyDreadfulKAL: Goals

Next month my goals include figuring out how the heck armholes work, the best way to end the body of the sweater so I can pickup stitches for the collar, and seriously what is up with making those puffy sleeves caps. See you on Tuesday, March 13th for the update!

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My name is Monica Rodriguez and I can’t stop fidgeting with yarn. I live in Albuquerque, NM with my husband. We belong to two terriers who manage to cuddle us just enough to keep us from revolting.

Let me know what you think!