Akoya KAL

Akoya Knit AlongWelcome to the official Angela’s Alterknits: Akoya Cardigan by Carol Feller KAL page!

If you have not purchased your pattern yet, call us so we can get you on your way to making this gorgeous cardigan.

This page is designed to support you throughout your project.  The KAL dates are August 9, 2018 – September 27, 2018. As a KAL participant, you are welcome to add comments or questions to this post and I will respond ASAP during that timeframe.

Live KAL support will also be offered in our store during the following times:
Thursdays 2-4 pm
Thursdays 6-8 pm
Saturdays 10-noon

I like to get a head start on KALs so that I am prepared to help participants if they have trouble. This page is laid out in the order that the pattern is written. It is broken into sections so you can easily find the section you are working on.

I will add more instructions to this page as I progress on my own sweater, particularly for knitting the sleeves, joining the sleeves to the body, picking up the stitches for the neck band and button band, and making the button holes

Recommended Supplies

In addition to your yarn and knitting needles, you will need:

  • Stitch markers in different colors or styles
  • Cable needle (we at Mountain Hollow Farm prefer Brittany cable needles)
  • Highlighter tape (optional, but highly recommended if you are using a paper pattern)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Waste yarn or stitch holders to hold your sleeve stitches
  • Row counter
  • 10 or 11 ½” buttons

Errata

Errata for this pattern has not been discovered to date. If you think you have found a mistake in the pattern, please comment below. If there is, indeed, a mistake, we will update this post.

General Tips to Make Your Knitting Easier

  • Highlight your size and the stitch counts for your size throughout the pattern before you start knitting
  • Stitch markers are one of the most useful knitting tools. Refer to our Using Stitch Markers blog post for a full explanation of how and why to use them. In this pattern:
    • Use stitch markers where the pattern calls for it to divide your front panels from the back. You may also want to put a different style/color of stitch marker in each of the following places:
      • After the first 9 stitches and before the last 9 stitches,
      • Before and after Cable Panel A
      • Before and after Cable Panel B.
    • Use stitch markers to keep track of which rows to cable and which rows to do increases or decreases on.
  • Lifelines aren’t just for lace knitting; if you are concerned about making mistakes in the pattern work, use a lifeline – if you are nervous about knitting the lace/cable section, I recommend you use a lifeline after the ribbing and every few rows of your lace/cable section, and another lifeline once you have completed all 37 rows of the lace/cable section. If you don’t know how to insert a lifeline, check out this Lifelines in Knitting video.

Swatching & Calculating Gauge

Make a swatch that is at least 6” square. THIS IS NOT A WASTE OF TIME OR YARN! Swatching and measuring your gauge is ESSENTIAL to make sure your sweater fits!

For this pattern, cast on 36 stitches and knit 6 rows in garter stitch, 4.5” in stockinette stitch with a 3 stitch garter stitch border, and end with 6 rows in garter stitch for your swatch.

This gives you a stockinette swatch with a garter stitch border to keep the edges from rolling.

For more detailed information about swatching and calculating your gauge visit our Calculating Gauge in Knitting blog post.

Cast On

I used the cable cast on for the body of my sweater because I like the way it looks, it prevents those weird gaps in your cast on, it is durable, and it prevents the ribbing from flaring. Here are step-by-step directions for knitting the cable cast on: Craftsy Cable Cast On.

If you would rather use the tubular cast on, which is even stretchier than the cable cast on, check out this 2×2 Tubular Cast On video. This is the easiest method I’ve ever seen for doing a tubular cast on! Many thanks to Kimberly for bringing it to our attention!

Knitting the Akoya Cardigan Body

If you are not adept at knitting from charts, see our very informative Knitting from Charts blog post.

I find it difficult to read the pattern in paragraph form while trying to remember which part I have just completed. So, I rewrote some of the steps in list form for easy reference. When I rewrite it, I only include the numbers for the size I am doing so it reduces the clutter. For an example, I am knitting the size 52.25”, so my list looked like this:

  • Left Front: K1, 8 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel A, 10 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel A, 12 Trellis Lace
  • Back: 14 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel B, 14 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel B, 14 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel A, 14 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel A, 14 Trellis Lace
  • Right Front: 12 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel B, 10 Trellis Lace, Cable Panel B, 8 Trellis Lace, K1

Here are a few tips and tricks I have gleaned from reading other’s Ravelry project pages:

  • Although I assume the designer meant for the lace section to be a bit puffy and did not change the needles (and it is not puffy when the Akoya is worn), several Ravelers found they preferred the cardigan with less puffy lace, so they used a needle one size smaller than their main needle while knitting the lace section
  • Other comments that are relevant to knitting the body of the cardigan (up to the knitting the sleeves section):
    • “I don’t usually like my sweaters that tight, but this one really needs the negative ease because of the stretchiness of the mesh lace.’
    • “The pattern is very clear (just make sure to read ahead and not start the trellis lace on row 1 after the ribbing like I did the [first] time.”
    • “Using stitch markers (different from the ones used to mark the side seams) to section off the cable panels really helped in the first 5 rows of the body until you get the hang of both the lace and cable patterns.”

So now that the cables and lace at the bottom of the sweater have been knit, it is pretty much straight stockinette knitting with the Trellis Lace at the beginning and end of each row until the body of your sweater measures approximately 14 inches (longer or shorter if you prefer). Take care to end with Row 2 of the Trellis Lace pattern. At this point, you set the body of the cardigan aside while you begin working on the sleeves.

Knitting the Sleeves

Magic loop is a great technique for knitting these sleeves. You need at least a 32″ needle to handle the number of stitches for this project. Here’s a very clear tutorial on how to knit magic loop: https://www.craftsy.com/knitting/article/demystifying-the-magic-loop/

If you choose to knit your sleeves two at a time, it will be easier to knit them individually until the end of the lace section then put them together on the needle(s) to knit two at a time. The yarn overs in the lace section sometimes land at the beginning or end of the round, making them easy to forget or drop. If you’re an experienced lace knitter, this might not be a problem for you.

Reminder for how to knit the increases:

  • M1L (Make 1 left)  – Insert the LEFT needle from front to back under the strand between the last stitch worked and the next stitch to be worked. Knit into the back of the newly formed stitch.
  • M1R (Make 1 right)  – Insert the LEFT needle from back to front under the strand between the last stitch worked and the next stitch to be worked. Knit into the front of the newly formed stitch.

I like to try on the sleeves as I go, measuring from my underarm to the point on the wrist that I would like the sleeve to hit when wearing. Remember that the sleeve will grow when you block it.

At this point you may want to watch the Lucy Neatby videos mentioned in the “Grafting the Underarm Seams” section below to decide whether you want to add a waste yarn tab to your underarm stitches to aid in grafting them to the body.

Yoke / Joining the Sleeves

Now you will  join your sleeves to the body of your cardigan and begin working on the yoke. If you are new to knitting sweaters, this may not be as intuitive for you: you will continue knitting in pattern as you have been – stockinette on the sleeves; stockinette and trellis lace on the body.

In the Joining Row, follow the instructions carefully as you put the underarm stitches from the body on waste yarn and join the sleeves.

Reminder: Take care that you knit the right sleeve on the right side of the body and the left sleeve on the left side of the body. Also be careful that you don’t attach your sleeves inside out.

Notice that the pattern changes on the body portion on the first right side row AFTER the Joining Row: it transitions from doing the Trellis Lace pattern to using the Left Front Cable Chart and Right Front Cable Chart. Be sure that you begin the charts on the appropriate row for your size.

In the section titled, “ALL SIZES”, note that you will work the Raglan Decreases (the section that is between the ** and the other **) the number of times that is specified for your size. There are a lot of steps to remember on each row; I find it helpful to list it all out until I get the hang of it:

  • One stitch at the beginning of the right front
  • Right Front Cable Chart
  • Right front stitches
  • Right front raglan decrease stitches
  • Right sleeve stitches
  • Right back raglan decrease stitches
  • Back stitches
  • Left sleeve raglan decrease stitches
  • Left sleeve
  • Left Back raglan decrease stitches
  • Left front stitches
  • Left Front Cable Chart
  • One stitch at the end

While continuing the raglan decreases, you will also shape the neck. The neck shaping begins with binding off 8 stitches on each side of the cardigan. This tutorial from TECHknitting is great for improving your neckline (these are the kind of tips that take your garments from “homemade” to “handmade”): http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2009/01/ordinary-chain-bind-off-part-2b-binding.html

I believe this same technique will work for the wrong side bind off as well; except purl instead of knit, and hold the yarn to the front when you slip the stitch. (I forgot to try this on my sweater).

The 8 bind off stitches on each side of the neck give collar and button bands some structure.

The raglan decrease continue until you have only one stitch left on each front.

Finishing the Sweater

Once you have finished all of the raglan decrease stitches, you are now ready to pick up stitches to form the ribbed collar. I heard from a couple KAL’ers that they were unhappy with how loose the ribbing is on their sweaters, so I chose to go down a couple of needle sizes. Beth went down 1 needle size. I like how that turned out. Here is a good video showing how to pick up and knit the collar stitches, as well as the button band and button row stitches

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htAHtNnuE7Q

Making the Buttonholes

There are a few methods of making the buttonholes, the designer notes her preferred method in the Notes section of the pattern. Another similar method originally developed by Elizabeth Zimmerman is outlined here: https://ysolda.com/blogs/journal/technique-thursday-one-row-buttonholes. I chose small buttons (almost 20 for the whole button band!), so I chose to knit the yarn over button hole (knit to where your buttonhole will be, k2tog, yo, knit to where the next buttonhole will be, k2tog, yo, and so on.) I am sure that whatever method you choose will be beautiful.

Grafting the Underarm Seams

Ms. Feller gives detailed instructions in the Notes section of the pattern for grafting the underarm stitches with the Kitchener stitch. Lucy Neatby uses a slightly different method to obtain the same result. She has two excellent videos showing how she does it:

Doing your grafting the way Lucy suggests may seem like extra work, but I like it because I have a hard time getting the tension in my grafted stitches to match the tension of the garment when I do the traditional kitchener stitch as described in the pattern.

Now all that is left is weaving in any loose ends, blocking, and sewing the buttons on.

I rarely button my cardigans, but I wanted to do so with this one and I dislike how the sweater gapes where it is buttoned. I found some pretty patterned grosgrain ribbon and sewed that inside the button band and buttonhole band (before sewing on the buttons).

Then I sewed the buttons on and cut the ribbon and made a few stitches with a sewing needle and thread around the cuts on the buttonholes to keep it from fraying. This will help prevent the gaping and adds a bit of whimsy to an already gorgeous cardigan!

Conclusion

Thank you so much for joining me on my very first Angela’s Alterknits! I hope you enjoyed knitting your Akoya Cardigan as much as I have. The official end date of this KAL is September 27, 2019, but as always, we are available to help with your sweater until it is completed.

Stay tuned because I have picked out a couple of stunning designs for us to KAL in 2019! I don’t have the dates schedule yet, but don’t worry, we will let you know in plenty of time to fit the KAL into your knitting line up! I really hope you will join me.

If you found this page helpful, please go to Angela’s Akoya Ravelry Page, and click the “Yes” button beside the “are these notes helpful?” question below the notes section. Also, sign up for our email list to be notified of future knit alongs.

EDIT HISTORY:

  • Added the last paragraph to the Knitting the Akoya Cardigan Body section
  • Added the Knitting The Sleeves section
  • Added the  Yoke / Joining The Sleeves section

  • Added the Finishing The Sweater section (includes picking up and knitting the collar, button band and the buttonhole band, and grafting the underarms)

  • Updated the Conclusion

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