Winter Survival Fashion Strategy: a Sweater Story

I’m getting really excited for Glenna‘s double-header day of classes this Saturday: Steeking in the morning and Knit Your Best Sweater in the afternoon. Due to the extremely frosty nature of our weather in Peterborough this winter, I’ve been wearing one sweater that I knit last year more than others, and more than I expected to, and I realized it is a perfect model for both of Saturday’s classes. Allow me to explain…


This is Helstrid, my lopapeysa mashup of patterns “Astrid”, from Lopi Book #28, and “Hela”, a free pattern from the Istex Lopi website.

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My Ravelry notes for this project tell me I cast it on last February the 8th during the first big snowstorm of the year (*sigh* had a little much of that this year). This was my first lopi sweater, my first steeking project, and one of my first times really combining different elements of two patterns using a whole lot of MATH.


I liked the size and construction of the “Astrid” pattern but I preferred the more traditional/less modern design of the “Hela” colourwork yoke, so I decided to just combine the two! Both sweaters were originally designed for the Alafoss Lopi, which is the yarn I was using, so that was helpful. I improvised parts of the “Hela” colourwork, mapping out colourwork repeats on graph paper, and then knit the sleeves as test swatches…

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With the sleeves stitches on waste yarn, I knit the body, with the steek stitches in place as explained in the “Astrid” pattern. Before steeking, it looked like this:

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Then the scary part – cutting it open!

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I machine-stitched both sides twice (redundancy system? After knitting something this big, I didn’t want to take any chances!)

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And the final cut edge! The “Astrid” pattern instructs how to knit vertical bands that are then stitched to both sides of the steeked edge:


I used snaps instead of buttons because snaps can be applied after the fact, lined up and evenly spaced on the finished garment rather than trying to space out buttonholes evenly up the vertical-knit band. Without Glenna’s Steeking class, I don’t think I would have been able to take the plunge with the steek in this project; without understanding sweater fit and gauge math, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to attempt combining two different sweaters, with different design motifs and stitch counts, into one awesome winter-proof sweatercoatdress.

When I was first knitting this sweater, I kept thinking “is this practical? Am I really going to wear this regularly?”


But with the winter we’ve had this year, I wear it almost every day!



1 Response to “Winter Survival Fashion Strategy: a Sweater Story”

  1. 1 MIckey January 30, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Amazing work of art Bridget! See you tomorrow hopefully.

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