Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oak leaf family tr..... nevermind.

This is a bit of a confessional post: I have backed down from a sweater project, for the first time on record.

I want to make a heavily modified Oak Leaf Family Tree pullover, which centers around this amazing acorn-and-leaf cable... I've chosen some coordinating cables, I have the yarn and needles, but I don't want to do it right now. I have too much other stuff on my plate. I am, however, happy to say I've figured out my leaf technique, thanks to this swatch.

That swatch is using a different method every time a small stem branches off of the large stem, and it plays with acorn spacing and acorn decrease methods too. And leaf increases. The winners are:
  • The acorn should be 3 purls away from the main stem, not just two as the pattern has it (see the top right acorn). The extra stem movement is easily added by a single 1-over-1 cable cross on the wrong side.
  • Speaking of cable crosses, 1-over-1 cable crosses are (for me) a cleaner way of moving the little stems than increasing on one side and decreasing on the other.
  • The acorn should be closed off with a k5tog rather than a centered decrease, but it has to be tight (see the lower left acorn).
  • The best way (that I found) to introduce a new knit stitch into a 2-stitch stem as a small stem branches away is to increase an extra purl stitch a couple of stitches away from the stem, then use a 1-over-1 cable cross to move one original stem stitch away to form the new smaller stem; as the extra purl stitch crosses underneath, it turns into a knit stitch. Everything stays tight, and continuity is maintained between the small stem and the larger one (see the topmost branching).
  • My favorite double increase for the middle of the leaf is k1, leave stitch on needle, k1 into stitch below, k1 into the first stitch again. This leaves a "vein" in the middle (see the left upper leaf).

I'll want these notes, probably next winter. I've decided that since I'm using the same yarn I used for the Hourglass Aran, I'd be wise to wait and see how that wears during its first season. There may be things I'll want to adjust for as I prepare to make this next fancy cabled sweater.

In the meantime I'm enjoying knitting up someone else's cleverness, as well as designing a simple (but small-gauge) anniversary sweater for my husband.


  1. carrie8:19 PM

    I just received my Twists and Turns issue and read your article on shaping cabled garments. Great read and lots of excellent ideas! Went looking on Ravelry then gave up and found your blog. Love the hourglass aran. And this acorn & leaf swatch too. I see what you mean about moving the acorn a stitch further away from the stem. It does look better.

  2. Hi, I used this panel on the front of an Aran jumper. Having knit several samples using an oiled pure wool I didn't like the huge hole formed where the initial stitch increases are for each leaf. (I remember it as being something like nine stitches into one stitch) The holes also allowed the leaves to flatten out and distort the fabric sideways giving the other panels a wobbly look. My solution was to swap/cross over the single stitches either side of the increase stitch, behind the work, and then knit as normal. I used a cable needle, strong fingers and it was tight knitting over these three stitches but worth it. The hole is smaller and doesn't allow the leaf to flatten, giving it more definition and little sideways distortion. I did this to my acorns too.

  3. Hi, You can give me the diagram ?

    1. Here is a link to the pattern on Ravelry:

  4. Hi Mioara, the pattern appears in the Winter 1996 issue of Knitter's Magazine. Last time I checked, they did sell back issues; let me know if you try to purchase it and have trouble, though.

  5. Incredible detail here, goes to show there are many different forms of and canvasses for art!

  6. Here is a link to the pattern on Ravelry: