And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for! It’s time to cast on our sweaters and I couldn’t be more excited.

It has been so fun hearing about your gauge swatches and your yarn shopping this past week. We are all OVERLY prepared to start these sweaters, right? This extra week has given us all ample time to gauge, get our needles in order, and think about our sweater plan of attack. Have you ever waited this long to cast on a sweater before? Maybe we are on to something!

General Sweater Knitting Notes

Before you start, go through the entire pattern and circle all the numbers that you are going to be working with. You know what size you are going to work with, so at every bracket circle the number that corresponds to your size.

Highlight important steps in the pattern so you won’t miss them. Changing charts randomly? Highlight it. Knitting to a certain measurement? Repeating a chart pattern 3 times? Once you get into a pattern these steps are easy to miss unless they jump out at you.

Post-it notes are your friend! Stick them to your pattern and tally shaping or rows you need to count on them. Your pattern stays uncluttered, and when you’ve filled up your post-it with tally marks, just unpeel it and throw it away.

Beatnik

As you know I’m not a fan of seaming, so I eliminate it from as many pieces as possible. More than that, and I think specifically with this sweater, working both the front and the back at the same time will allow you to keep the outside of the piece in front of you so you never turn your back on those complicated cables. This also guarentees your front and back will be the same!

So I’ll be cast on both the front and back on my circular needles, joining my stitches, and working the entire body of the sweater at one time.

Following size 44″, I’ll be casting on 110 sts for the back, placing a marker, casting on another 110 sts for the front, placing another marker, being super careful not to twist my cast on stitches before joining. Then I’m going to work my Twisted Rib in the round for 1 1/2″.

Things to remember: You will never have a wrong side when working in the round this way, so you will have to change all wrong side instructions to right side instructions. For instance, when you switch to larger needles and establish the pattern, instead of how the instructions are written, you will:

Next Row [WS]: K6[12, 16, 22, 26, 32, 36], place marker, [m1, K5, m1, K6] six times, m1, place marker, K6[12, 16, 22, 26, 32, 36]. 91[103, 111, 123, 131, 143, 151] sts; 79 sts between markers.

And obviously you would follow this instruction twice, once for the back and again for the front.

When following the charts for Beatnik, on established WS rows you would simple knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches, just like you would if you were actually on the wrong side of your work. But because you are on the right side, you can see your cables forming before your eyes, and catch any mistakes a row earlier than you would if you were knitting blindly.

This Weeks Beatnik Goal: Work the body of Beatnik in the round up to the waist shaping, so you should have 3.5[3.5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4] inches of sweater completed. BUT if you want your Beatnik longer than designed, this is where you want to add length to the body of the sweater, so add body inches here.

The Two Boyfriends Cardigan

The Two Boyfriends Cardigan is a neck down cardigan, which gives you a ton of freedom in your sizing! Each sweater starts basically the same, and you increase out for the front and your sleeves from there. If you are torn between sizes, CO your best guess and work your increases until your sweater fits to your armholes.

It’s the best part about knitting a top down sweater! You can try it on as you go to make sure it fits. As we work through this pattern this will come in handy again and again. You can stick your arm right in your sleeve hole to see how long your sleeve is. You can put your arms through the sleeve holes to check how long your sweater is. It’s pretty genius.

This Weeks Two Boyfriends Cardigan Goal: Work the shoulders of your sweater, right up until the sleeve separation, which we will work through together next week.

Why Bar Increases? They leave a cute line of little holes along the shaping lines of your sleeves, and when with the striping, you bar increase a different color, which adds even more shaping detail.

It’s a note in the pattern but I just want to reiterate again that there is no need to cut your yarn when you change colors! You are changing colors so often that you can just leave your unused strands where they lay, and pick them back up when you need them. This goes for your center color changing and your front color changing. Keep your strands nice and loose, and save yourself hours and hours of finishing later.

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Me? I have yet to cast on. Solidarity, right?! I haven’t even touched my yarn because I know that if I did I would wake up 3 days later in a finished sweater. But I am so pumped to cast on today! There is nothing I like more than a complicated cable pattern worked in the round! <- Seriously.

Post pics and/or questions on our Ravelry Knit Along forum, email them to me, or tweet them with #solknitalong so I can show them off next week.

Happy knitting!