The DragonScale Sweater is done

Back in September of last year, I posted an in-progress picture of the Dragonscale Sweater.

I finished it Saturday, and gave it to my future sister-in-law, for whom it was originally intended as a Christmas present (hah!) yesterday.

I took pictures before I gave it to her, though. 😀

DragonScale Sweater Full Front

DragonScale Sweater, Full Front

DragonScale Sweater, Full Back

DragonScale Sweater, Full Back

DragonScale Sweater...the tricky bits

DragonScale Sweater…the tricky bits

Close-up, the dragon scales

Close-up, the dragon scales

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and indie-publish my new ones.

19 comments… add one
  • Amazingrace Grace V. Robinette Sep 16, 2014 @ 4:23

    In between writing, I create patchwork, with colours merging spontaneously – akin to characters who join in romantic embrace, with darker colours bringing in conflict. Brings in movement and suspense. Like a good novel.
    Holly, your Dragon Scale sweater is beautiful – must track back your blog as I’d love to knit it. Crochet is also great, especially fine work. I turn tot he craft that feels right to me now. Makes for lots of UFOs.

  • Ann Melrose Jun 13, 2013 @ 12:23

    Holly, the sweater is gorgeous. I’m familiar with the pattern; I made a wrap sweater (ballet wrap) for my granddaughter when she was 2. It was more like a kimono. Like you, I can do both crochet and knitting, but crochet tends to aggravate the carpal tunnel, and I’ve got enough bone and spinal problems to deal with. My current knitting project is a victorian camisole, made with size 2 (2.25mm) needles and fine cotton yarn. Knitting helps me think about writing.

    • Holly Lisle Jun 14, 2013 @ 8:46

      I’ve just finished a second modular sweater in Noro Tayio. Completely different design—I need to take pictures and upload them. (This one was for me).

      I’m between projects at the moment. Saw a woman wearing a sweater I loved in an episode of the Twilight Zone, (Leather Jackets, or something like that), and am considering making one of those.

  • Bec Plumbe Jun 12, 2013 @ 7:32

    This is one of the most beautiful jumpers / sweaters I’ve ever seen. I’m inspired, especially hearing that you use technique & calculation rather than going by a pattern. Strengthens my resolve to go down that route myself. Thanks for giving the names of the technique authors you’ve learn from; that’s especially useful.

    • Holly Lisle Jun 13, 2013 @ 7:03

      Thank you so much. It was so fun to make, I’m considering doing something similar for myself.

      And I’ll note that NEVER having to struggle with a line by line pattern, while knowing that your project is going to fit (because it’s all in one piece and you try it on as you make it) and that I never have to face making separately created pieces fit while seaming them together, makes knitting ridiculously fun.

  • Margaret Apr 6, 2013 @ 21:05

    That’s really beautiful and so nicely done. Knitting scares me :).

    • Holly Apr 7, 2013 @ 10:11

      It’s not scary. Unlike crochet (which I also do, but rarely, because unlike knitting, it hurts my hand and wrist), there are only two stitches in knitting.

      When we were in Guatamala, one of the missionaries’ wives gave me a pair of very thin knitting needles (now I’d guess they were probably US 2 or 3 gauge) and a ball of red cotton string. No instructions, just two sticks and string.

      I was fourteen, and intrigued. Never having actually seen anyone knit, I figured out how to do it by unravelling a moth-eaten old wool sweater and watching the stitches come apart. The only thing that was genuinely hard was figuring out how to get the yarn to stay on the needles for that first row.

      I tried wrapping it in a spiral, then making a yarn chain the way you would for crochet. It was when I decided to try the same clove hitches I’d used to keep my saddle on my horse when I was younger, then modified that to half-clove hitches, that I finally got a cast-on that would work. Didn’t know it was a cast-on. My term for it was “getting the yarn to stick to the needles.”

      Because I had a sweater in front of me, the first thing I ever made was a doll-sized red-cotton sweater, with cables. If you unravel cables slowly and watch the stitches come apart, doing them in reverse is no more complicated than doing rows and rows of garter stitch.

      It was years before I learned what any of the stuff I was doing was called, and more years before I discovered that there were certain ways you were “supposed” to hold the needles, and those ways were nothing like what I did. I knit efficiently back then. Still do.

      Now there’s a name for what I do: combination knitting. Back in the seventies, it was just called “doing it wrong.” 😀

      • Kathryn Kistner Apr 7, 2013 @ 10:16

        What, it’s not called SIDEWAYS knitting, today?

        • Holly Apr 7, 2013 @ 10:21

          LOL. It was from those experiences taking things apart to see how they worked back when I was a kid that I learned how to dissect everything else that interested me—both in learning how to do it, and then in learning how to teach other people how to do what I do.

          When I say in Think Sideways that nothing you do in life is ever wasted, I mean that absolutely. 😀

  • Cheryl Apr 6, 2013 @ 14:21

    That really is beautifully made. And SOooo neat on the inside! You must have spent hours stitching those pesky little ends in.
    I’d love to know if you used a pattern or made it up yourself?
    I borrowed the stitch when you first posted it for my quilt. Thanks for that!
    love Cheryl

    • Holly Apr 7, 2013 @ 9:57

      Those ends took me a couple weeks. 😀 Of course, I could only work on on the sweater in minutes I could catch in between work.

      I don’t use patterns.

      I bought “technique” books by Elizabeth Zimmerman, Barbara Walker, and Jacqueline Fee, learned the techniques of seamless top-down and seamless bottom-up knitting, modified them to my needs, and I have a couple of “Stitch-and-Bitch” notebooks in which I draw out more or less what I want to end up with, figure out my gauge and my plan of attack, and then adapt my design as I knit it.

      I have a couple of rules.

      1) No sewing of anything, ever. I will turn myself upside down figuring out how to adapt my design to make it seamless, because as much as I love to knit, I detest putting knit pieces together.

      2) Never use crap yarn. I spent most of my life working with coarse cotton and department-store polyester.

      Now I will save up as long as necessary to get the money together to buy the good stuff. I buy silk, cashmere, handpainted, indie wool, gorgeous blends from little makers like Noro. I don’t knit as often doing this, and my overall output is really low.

      But my hands love the fabric, my eyes love the process, and my recipients (including me), love the finished products.

      3) Do it right, and finish the inside as well as the outside. I make mistakes. I don’t try to cover them up. I rip back and redo them. This is the reason mohair and I are not friends. Mohair does not rip back.

  • Claudette Apr 6, 2013 @ 13:35

    Great job, Holly. I’m amazed you could get it done in that length of time, considering everything else you’ve been working on.

    I know this is knitted and it’s beautiful. It reminds me of Bavarian Crochet with its raised scale edges. Did you know there is a true dragon’s scale stitch in crochet? When I read the header, that’s what I thought of and was pleasantly surprised than knit also has a variant.

    I’m glad to know that you must get away from the computer and writing sometimes, too. Makes me less guilty.

    • Holly Apr 7, 2013 @ 10:23

      The fact that the biggest part of the sweater was modular helped. I would find time for three or four diamonds a couple times a week, and it eventually got done.

      It is the “page a day” method, transferred to sweater creation.

  • Catherine Apr 1, 2013 @ 18:18

    This is extremely beautiful! Wow. Great job.

    • Holly Apr 7, 2013 @ 9:57

      Thank you. 😀

  • E.S. Ivy Apr 1, 2013 @ 11:08

    Gorgeous sweater! With any luck you don’t live in the south like I do – it’s in the 80s today. 🙂 But anything worth having is worth waiting for.

    • Holly Apr 2, 2013 @ 6:52

      I live in South Florida at the moment. 😀 So does Jayme. That’s why the high cotton content was crucial.

  • Kathryn Kistner Apr 1, 2013 @ 8:53

    NICE, Holly! I love the STYLE as much as the colors.

    I’m not a knitter, but I am a quilter, and I can appreciate what went into making this. It’s a beauty.

    I always “name” my quilts. “Dragon Scales” is PERFECT to describe this sweater!

    • Holly Apr 7, 2013 @ 10:24

      😀 I name my stuff when I finish it. It’s the knitting equivalent of signing my work. And I love quilts, but I hate to sew, so I am stuck with admiring the results.

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