Baltic Rose

Published on Tuesday March 2nd, 2010

Good for one Knitting Olympics finisher’s medal:


About this lever knitting business: several of you asked why I’d want to learn a whole different way of knitting, and it’s a good question. I am the kind of person who wants to know about this kind of thing just because it exists and because it’s so significant to the history of the craft (knitters who had to work fast enough to earn a living at it knit this way; our more familiar throwing and picking styles emerged from a desire to make the process of knitting look more ladylike).  I can’t yet lever knit effectively enough to make it faster than my usual throwing. But it does, in the mean time, let me use my hands and wrists in a different way, and as I now know from my class with Carson Demers, that’s a good thing. My work is all about using the computer, and between that and my knitting habit I’ll need to be careful if I want to avoid repetitive stress injuries. I was almost the only person in Carson’s class at Madrona who didn’t already have problems in the wrists, elbows, or shoulders, and I want to be able to knit in comfort until I’m dead. So changing up the positions in which I knit is a really good idea.

So back to this little practice sweater. I had the one lovely skein of Toots LeBlanc Jacob/Alpaca DK, but I knew it wouldn’t stretch to a whole sweater. I had some Rowan Felted Tweed in the stash that was about the same weight, so I figured I’d add a hem in colorwork. I thought I remembered Lizbeth Upitis’s Latvian Mittens having some nice large botanical motifs, and sure enough I opened the book right to the page with the chart for Graph #53: District Unknown. And I only needed to increase three stitches to fit in three repetitions of the motif.


I only worked half the chart because I didn’t think a long cardigan would be very practical on a three-month-old, but I quite like the sort of wallpaper effect that results.

There was still the problematic neckline to deal with, though. I tried tacking it down a couple of different ways, but I just wasn’t satisfied. A hood seemed like the best solution, so I quickly knit one up in the Felted Tweed. And since I’d already given up on this little cardigan being unisex, I thought I’d use the last yard of the Toots LeBlanc for a little embroidery to match the buttons.


Ta-da! Another little sweater banked against the onslaught of 2010 babies. I really want a whole grown-up sweater’s worth of the Jacob/alpaca. So tweedy. So full of character. Love it.

24 Comments to “Baltic Rose”

  1. Susan Comment Says:

    It’s an adorable sweater. I’m still in awe of the fact that you did the entire thing in lever. That is just awesome!

  2. Elena Comment Says:

    What a great result!

  3. Carmen Comment Says:

    The sweater is so sweet and I love the detail on the hood.

  4. Jules Comment Says:

    You did a beautiful job on this. I just love it.

  5. Barbara Comment Says:

    I’m impressed. Did you lever the color work too? I’m trying to think how that happens.

  6. whitney Comment Says:

    I’ve been following along on your lever-knitting adventure (but not really finding the time to comment), and have learned so much! You’ve made me want to learn to lever-knit (which would be a good idea for me, too, with the computer/violin/knitting activities that make up nearly all of my day).

    This little sweater looks fantastic!

  7. Mia Comment Says:

    I didn’t even pause briefly when I heard that you were lever knitting–of course you were! And such a tasty little treat that you came up with too! Love it.

  8. Maura Comment Says:

    So lovely sweater! You did a great job!

  9. mick Comment Says:

    What a beautiful sweater! And to think that it’s “practice” for you. So impressive!

  10. SoKnitpicky Comment Says:

    Great details! I do like the idea of having different ways to knit so as to minimize the stress of her hands/arms, and if you’re able to create something beautiful like this–well, it’s win/win!

  11. cosymakes Comment Says:

    a seriously beautiful sweater!

  12. Julie Comment Says:

    So gorgeous!! I love the colour palette you chose, and it turned out so well. Great job!!

  13. Binnie Comment Says:

    That is one gorgeous sweater. Congratulations!

  14. Seanna Lea Comment Says:

    I’ve been lucky so far not to have problems with my wrists, hands and shoulders from hand crafting and computer usage. I am with you on wanting to knit and craft comfortably until I am dead, so I think I will take a look at this and try it for my next project.

  15. Daphne Comment Says:

    It’s fantastic! I’m still convinced that what I’ve made so far is unisex enough to dress my boy (yep, it’s a Filbert!), but a lot of frilly stuff just fell off the “for me” queue.

    Good point regarding wrist strain… I freaked out my hands a couple years ago with marathon sock-knitting, and my wrist went haywire last week for unknown reasons. I got a lot of reading done, so it wasn’t all bad, but I’m still a lot more motivated to try lever knitting as an alternative.

  16. Kristen Comment Says:

    Lovely! I just made a hat in Toots LeBlanc jacob/alpaca (worsted) and I too am in love with it. It’s such a nice sheepy yarn, and I can tell I’m going to wear the heck out of the hat.

    You made such a pretty little sweater, and it looks so old fashioned and charming that I could just plotz.

  17. thea Comment Says:

    so stinkin’ cute! Love all the details….

  18. Heather / "Arctic Knitter" Comment Says:

    Beautiful! Good for you learning a new technique – lever knitting is something I’d like to learn someday.

  19. Wendolene Comment Says:

    What an adorable sweater! The half-motif is very sophisticated and modern.

  20. Alice Dahms Comment Says:

    I love this sweater! So creative….

  21. knittingoutloud Comment Says:

    This is the sweetest baby sweater I’ve ever seen!

  22. Debby Comment Says:

    I love the border and the “wallpaper effect” as you call it. I’d love a whole sweater in that print, though I’m not sure how to make it modern. The embroidery is the perfect finishing touch. Congratulations!

  23. Heather Comment Says:

    OMG that’s so cute. I love the colors and am always happy to see a baby knit that doesn’t look quite so “babyish.”

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