half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog
half-assed knit blog

FO: Rusted Root

It’s done! And it’s a bit too big. But not big enough to redo it. And hopefully not big enough to look frumpy.


Pattern: Rusted Root
Size: SmallMedium (yeah, read on…)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Terracotta Canyon, 3 skeins (with a fair bit of the third skein left over)
Needles: size 6

I have a disease. Why don’t we call it screw-with-the-pattern-itis. I can’t not modify a pattern. I tried to be good with this one. I said, I’m changing the lace to a cable and that’s IT, I obey the pattern after that. Obviously that was an exercise in futility.

First, the cable.

I didn’t want to have to wear a shirt underneath it, so the lace had to go. I used a banana tree cable pattern and I found it here. Of course, in that pattern it’s worked bottom-up and flat, and Rusted Root is worked top-down and in the round. Ohnoes!

Apparently other people want to try the banana tree cable mod, because eleventy million people PM’d me on Craftster to ask how to deal with that issue (okay, three people), and here’s how:

1. Ignore the written directions and print out the cable chart.
2. Turn the chart upside down.
(3. Profit!)

That’s it. And if you don’t know how to read a cable chart – neither do I! Turns out they’re very intuitive. Who knew?


Second, the amazing disappearing poofy sleeves (and how to coax them back into existence).

Everyone on Craftster was losing the poofy sleeves, and the poofy sleeves were my favourite thing about this pattern, so hell if I was letting them disappear.

What I did was cast on for the medium, and kept following the medium instructions until row 36, then switched to the small instructions. This meant I ended up with a wider neckline and more sleeve increases than the small. I had to do a little bit of number-crunching when I got to the sleeve decreases, since all the stitch counts were slightly off. This also made the body 4 stitches larger than the small.

I have a theory about why the poof goes away – there are two “tiers” of sleeve increase amounts (on row 8) between six sizes. (XS and S get 5 sets of increases, M, L, XL, XXL get 6 sets.) I think only the smallest size of each tier gets the right increases-to-total-size ratio… I mean, if you’re adding the same amount of stitches to a little sleeve and a big sleeve, it’s going to be more noticeable on the little sleeve, right? So if you’re knitting a size other than the extra small or the medium, you’re probably going to lose some poof and might want to mess with the increases.


Other mods:

– I added hip increases. Because I have giant hips. After the waist decreases, I worked even for a couple of inches and then mirrored the decreases.

– I did a crazy weird bindoff on the neckline… knit the two knits together and purled the purls. Because the neckline was curling. Like crazy. Like, no amount of blocking will fix this kind of crazy. If you try this, be careful – it makes the neckline very tight, so make sure you can get it over your head. It fixed the curling, though!

– I purled all the other bindoffs instead of binding off in the rib pattern.

– I added a couple rows of ribbing to the sleeves. If I remembered why, I’d tell you, but I don’t.

– I snuck in some decreases on the sleeves right before the ribbing, because they were a bit too big (side effect of my size-fuckery, I think).

I… think that’s all of them. I am proud of subduing my inner control-freak who wanted to change half the k2togs to SSKs so they’d be mirrored (and seriously, nobody would have ever noticed the difference, so shut up, inner control-freak).

rustedroot1.jpg rustedroot3.jpg

A note on Cotton Fleece… I mostly liked it. It has a nice sheen and it’s pleasant to knit up; the wool content probably helps. It’s a bit splitty, but not horribly so, and there were no knots in any of the skeins (a few pulled-out threads, though). And it’s pretty soft.

The only thing is… IT DOES NOT DRY. EVER.

I laid the damn top out on towels to dry for TWO THREE DAYS, and it was still damp. Then I got sick of waiting and chucked it in the dryer, on low, for about 25 minutes. (I did check the interwebs first to reassure myself that the dryer wouldn’t do anything bad to the yarn, and it didn’t.) Still slightly damp. Are you kidding me, yarn?

But I’d use it again. And I’d knit Rusted Root again… half a size smaller… and with even more mods! Muhahahahaha! I will never be cured!



  1. Rubys & Purls says:

    I really like all your mods! The top looks great on you and so does the color!

  2. Lyndsey-Jane says:

    I made an SKB out of rowan summer tweed and that three days to dry. It’s going to the dry cleaners next time.

  3. Octopus Knits says:

    Very cool rendition! It’s so useful to hear about your mods. Thanks for the detailed post!

  4. Cheri says:

    I like the cable pattern in place of the lace. I am this close to finishing my Rusted Root and mirrored my increases for the raglan shaping and I’ll be damned if you can’t even see a difference so I didn’t even bother to mirror anything with the waist shaping. I’m just happy the thing fits and I plan on wearing it out once its done.

  5. Funessa says:

    I LOVE the cable knit mod. You did a great job — it does not look too frumpy! It looks gorgeous.

  6. amylin says:

    So nice! Looks great and not big at all.

  7. Rachel says:

    I will use all of your mods when I knit the darn thing for the 3rd time.

    Thanks for showing what you did!!

  8. Rivka says:

    This top is really really cute. Great job!

  9. “Special puff increases” aka K1f&b&f&b « Frowsery says:

    […] are no pesky lace holes and still want to keep the leafy feel of the lace, you should check out Cyn’s banana leaf modification. She used the Banana Tree cable chart from Knitty’s Starsky. You could use anything, or […]

  10. margie says:

    Hi, can anyone tell me what an appropriate body length is for size small? I am doing this for s/o else and she says *26* inches from underarm to high hip when I called to ask. This seems like it should come down over her behind to me. Feedback anyone?