Bellows glamour shots and mod notes

Bellows glamour shots and mod notes

It’s been eight days since I attached the buttons to this Bellows cardigan, and — no joke — I have worn it for some or all of every day since then. Normally I hold off wearing a thing until it’s been photographed, but that was not an option here. A) It’s too good not to wear. B) It’s been bulky-shawl-collar-sweater-weather for rilz. Most of the time I’ve got the buttons buttoned and the collar up for maximum coziness. I don’t have a lot to say about this sweater other than that I love it so much so much I dread the moment when I have to take it off, and the idea of putting it on makes getting out of bed in the morning a little more palatable.

Three weeks of knitting, two weeks of neglect, one week of finishing — as much a dream to knit as to wear. Michele Wang, I love you.

There are a few mistakes: As previously noted, the cables all twist one direction because I forgot to switch on my second piece, so I just decided who cares. And I don’t! There’s a spot where I got off course with the broken rib for two rows. I meant to make it the left sleeve so the mistake would wind up in the rear underarm, but after letting it sit for two weeks before seaming, I forgot to worry about it and it wound up on the front of the right sleeve. Doubt anyone will ever notice. And there’s a minor booboo on the collar short rows. I hadn’t done yarnover short rows on ribbing before (I love yarnover short rows, by the way) and instead of reading the directions, I just assumed the purls would be p2tog’d with the yarnover, since the knits are k2tog’d. Wrong! (The correct answer is SSP.) The result is there’s a little float where each of those yarnovers was. But it’s on the way inside of the collar where nobody will ever see it.

For the record, I am definitely knitting this again (possibly more than once).


– My stitch gauge was slightly smaller than pattern gauge, so I knitted the third size and wound up in between second and third, about a 40″ bust, roughly 6″ positive ease. Which is exactly as roomy as I had hoped for. (And still the shoulder seams don’t quite reach my shoulders!)

– My row gauge matched pattern gauge, so because I was hoping to wind up nearer the second size, and blocking accordingly, I aimed for the second size with regard to the sleeve cap and armhole shaping. The sleeves fit the armholes beautifully.

– Left out the cable in the ribbing except on one sleeve; will leave it out everywhere next time.

– Knitted body in one piece with a basting stitch at the side seams.

– Worked only three cable repeats on fronts; began armhole shaping at 15″ instead of 17″. (Wanted it to hit me where it hits the model.)

– Love love love all of the neck, shoulder and armhole shaping in this pattern. That sloped bind-off is exquisite. Wasn’t wild, though, about trying to seam the shoulders with this fabric. Next time will do 3-needle bind-off to make sure it’s exactly 1:1.

– Started working the neckband and was super bothered about the back neck being worked from live stitches. (I’m a little over-obsessed with everything to do with the back neck.) So I actually ripped out the band, bound off the back neck stitches, and picked up all the way around.

– Adjusted the pick-up counts and button placement because of changing the length. Picked up 3/4 stitches, 55 sts on each front. (The rest as written.) Might pick up two or three more per front.

– Wish I had worked the third-size collar shaping — a few more short rows up top for a more voluminous collar. Next time!

– The only thing missing is pockets. I am constantly trying to put my hands into pockets that aren’t there! I had toyed with the idea of adding patch pockets (and still might) but after wearing it, I think I want side seam pockets in the next one.

– This is my second sweater in a row in this yarn and I couldn’t love it more.

Pattern: Bellows by Michele Wang
Yarn: Balance by O-Wool, in Graphite, held double
Buttons: from Haus of Yarn

Additional photos on Ravelry. And here are the complete posts about this sweater.

Bellows glamour shots and mod notes

63 thoughts on “Bellows glamour shots and mod notes

  1. Stunning. Totally. I’ve had this pattern in my Ravelry queue for ages and I keep going back to it but the photos didn’t do it justice and I couldn’t decide Yes/No….. Your pics have completely sold me on it so thank you, thank you!!!! My next project. Done. x

    • Honestly, I loved the idea of a big warm sweater FAST but wasn’t entirely convinced I wanted *this* sweater. I think it could easily look matronly or bathrobe-like if done in the wrong color or yarn. (I think pretty much the whole BT palette is safe, but Shelter wasn’t an option for me on this one.) I didn’t actually fall in love and yearn for this very sweater until I swatched it in this graphite and that swatch just sang.

  2. Oh, it looks wonderful and warm. And yay! for the confidence to modify to make it fit so well.

  3. OMG! It is GORGEOUS!! Agree with Laura’s comment above: photos on pattern don’t really do it justice, you completely changed that. Thank you for the inspiration. Have a lovely week! :)

  4. Lovely! Now I want to make one too!

    P.S. My first ever attempt at knitting a pullover sweater was Michele Wang’s Bedford pattern, and I agree with you, her designs are the bee’s knees!

  5. Seriously beautiful sweater, Karen, and it suits you perfectly! Love the photos too …

  6. She’s just beautiful, Karen – and the fit is sheer perfection! You’re extraordinarily gifted…enjoy every minute with her…I hope you have a long and happy life together!

  7. This is really, really beautiful! I love it on you! I’m knitting an Ondawa with Balance in the same color- it’s such a perfect yarn! Now I need to add this to the queue as well…

  8. Your sweater is beautiful. I also love the picture of Country Hams and it’s picture – that takes me back many years – those country hams were the best – the painted shape of the ham is exactly what I remember – but our country hams came from southern Maryland – you can’t find them on the west coast.

  9. I love hearing about your little glitches. I can so relate! I just have to keep in mind that we are often the only ones who know about them. My last FO has set-in sleeves and I finally watched an online tutorial on how to seam them properly. It was only slightly better than my “winging it” seaming jobs until now :)

  10. Fantastic and LOVE your notes. Makes all the difference. Am working on a pattern that shall be nameless !! and the numbers are all over the place and only one person commented on this little ‘problem’ on Ravelry and one said if you’re a knitter you will figure it out! SCHEECH OK, I love the pattern and will figure it out. And you look lovely in the sweater…it’s snowing here…Idaho……..

  11. Your cardigan is gorgeous! Love the color too! I’m so glad you listed your boo-boos, I always feel that I am the only one who leaves boo-boos! I feel much better!

  12. Lovely! That sweater looks pretty much perfect, no wonder you can’t stop wearing it! It looks amazing on you :)

  13. Karen this sweater looks GORGEOUS on you! This is the first cardigan and BT pattern I’m making, and I’m almost done! Any pointers on how you pick up the garter selvedge edge?

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  15. 1. I love knitters and the community we have. 2. I’m always so happy I found your blog. Because of you (and others who encouraged me) I took on sweater knitting last year. I counted the other night and I’ve completed 10 adult sized sweaters (in addition to other projects) in the last 11 months. Just learned how to do a saddle shoulder in a class at my LYS. Next up trying set in sleeves and I may have to add Bellows to my list :) I think I might be addicted to sweater knitting.

  16. OMG YES on the neck. Did you bind off to have a firmer neck to knit from? I am just about to start a garter stitch neckband, joining to live stitches at the center front and back. And I have been worrying about the general FLOPPYNESS of the whole situation. I think Yarn Harlot recommended a line of single crochet around the neckline for this issue. Comments?
    Beautiful sweater.

  17. Hi Karen,
    In looking at the Bellows pattern and reading your blog, I noticed you said that you held the yarn (O Wool, Balance) doubled. Does that mean that when I calculate the yardage from the pattern for the size I want to make, that I need to “double” the amount?
    Thank You in advance.

    • Hi, Sheri. The pattern is written for worsted yarn (Shelter) held double, so that’s already taken into account in the yardage the pattern states.

      • Ok, so just to be clear…if i want to make the size small, it calls for 1760 yards of worsted yarn, held double. And, if I use the O-wool, Balance I would still use 1760 yards held double. I am new to knitting and still trying to understand gauge and how that effects your yarn selection. When I looked at the stitch count per 4 inches, I thought the Balance yarn was lighter then the suggested yarn in the pattern (Brooklyn Tweed) and because of that I would need more of the Balance yarn. Maybe, because it’s lighter, I need less? As you can tell I’m confused! I’m very thankful there are people like yourself, who keep these wonderful blogs going for all the rest of us who are lost.

        • The short answer is: The only reason you would need more yarn than the pattern calls for is if you knit a bigger size or you modify it in any way that would create additional fabric (e.g., lengthening it or knitting a wider collar or whatever).

          The long answer is: Yardage is always an estimate to some extent. It’s based on how much yarn it took the sample knitter to knit the number and size of stitches it took to make that sample. (It doesn’t include the swatch or any other extraneous yarn.) If your row gauge is smaller, it might take you more rows to knit the same length of fabric, which would take more yarn. And vice versa. The fact that Balance might be lighter might mean your swatch comes out smaller than pattern gauge, and so you might need to go up to a larger needle size to get gauge, which might mean you use slightly less yarn in the end.

          There are a lot of variables. The two things you should always do, in my opinion, are 1) make sure you knit a gauge swatch and 2) buy more yarn than the pattern calls for, to accommodate differences amongst knitters and so you have some (hopefully) left over for future repairs or alterations, should the need ever arise.

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  20. I recently discovered your instagram and blog and you have been so inspiring! I have so many sweaters in the queue and have learned so much about sweater knitting from reading your blog. I love that you knitted the body in one piece and want to try that out when I finally start on my Bellows. Did you omit two selvedge stitches at the side seams and make just one purl stitch? When you seam, do you seam from the outside of the sweater or the inside?

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  24. I’m just seeing this in your year in review post… LOVE IT!
    Is it a light jacket kind of thing?
    And my real question is, can u suggest an economy yarn to make it with? 😉
    Thanks, and happy knitting!

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