A Bit of a Puzzle


While I’m writing this, I’m sipping lemon-and-ginger tea with honey. I’ve just made a jug using the recipe in this post. It’s said to help with all kinds of ailments, and it also tastes good, too.

Today, I’d like to tell you about a cardigan for our grandson I’ve just finished, from a Danish pattern translated into German. The design is called Lykketræf, Danish for ‘A Stroke of Luck’. ‘A Bit of a Puzzle’ would be a more fitting name, if you ask me. My German is reasonably good, but looking at the pattern I felt panic rising.

Very dense print with lots and lots of abbreviations – without a list explaining the abbreviations! To make things more manageable, I highlighted the instructions for the size I was making and used a sticky note to keep track of where I was.

The cardigan is knit from the top down with a decorative pattern along the raglans. Working slowly, step by step, I was able to work things out in the end.

It took a while and quite a bit of ripping back to get there, though. To be honest, at first I had no idea what I was doing. What on earth did zun mean??? Ah, it must be zunehmen (increase). So, 1 M li zun must be ‘make 1 left leaning increase’, and 1 M re zun must be ‘make 1 right leaning increase’, right? But it didn’t look right.

So I got out some undyed DK-weight yarn and tried out the raglan decorations separately.

This showed me what the problem was. German links can mean both ‘left’ and ‘purl’. And rechts can mean both ‘right’ and ‘knit’. What I needed were purl and knit increases, instead of left and right leaning increases.

Okay, time to start anew. Was it plain sailing from there on? Uhm, not exactly. I won’t bore you with all my struggles, but there was quite a bit of ripping out and re-knitting (on 2.5 mm/US 1.5 needles) until I was happy with the buttonholes, the I-cord along the front edges and the bind-off. Fortunately the yarn stood up to it.

Fronts and back are knit in one piece from the armholes down. The sleeves are knit flat. I used mattress stitch for seaming them, joining a few rows at a time loosely before tightening the thread.

There is a great video explaining mattress stitch in garter here. Once you get into the rhythm, joining ‘smiles’ to ‘frowns’ (as the tutorial calls the different garter bumps) is a nice and contemplative thing to do, really.

And here is my finished Lykketræf cardi – the tiny olive wooden buttons are just what it needed.

I’m taking it with me on Monday, my regular day for looking after our grandson. Hope it fits. The wool-and-cotton blend feels like just the right kind of yarn for this in-between season. Although the weather forecast for next week promises us colder weather with wintry showers, there are many signs that spring is around the corner.

  • Pattern: Lykketræf by Bente Geil
  • Yarn: Geilsk ‘Bomuld og Uld’ (55% wool, 45% cotton, 50 g/254 yds/232 m)
  • My Ravelry notes here

Now it’s time to start something new – yay! Enjoy your weekend and see you again next week!

14 thoughts on “A Bit of a Puzzle”

  1. Oooo,h, super leuk vestje, maar heel wat gefrons begrijp ik.
    Mooi gedaan Marijke en altijd fijn te horen dat ik niet de enige ben waarbij het beeien niet altijd pver rozen gaat ?

    • Je bent zeker niet de enige. Er zijn zo vaak dingen die ik uithaal of waar ik toch niet helemaal blij mee ben. Zelfs bij zo’n ogenschijnlijk simpel klein vestje.

  2. Haha, ik zie zulke worstelingen als een uitdaging in mijn geduld. Soms win ik, maar soms ook niet. Fijn dat je de finish hebt bereikt, wat een mooi vestje!

    • Geduld is een schone zaak – en ik heb het niet altijd. Het heeft mij geholpen het als een puzzel te zien, die ik stukje bij beetje kon oplossen. Toch blij dat ik heb doorgezet.

  3. Ooh I love the raglan decoration!

    Can’t help laughing at your wonderful description of the struggle with German! I sometimes struggle with knitting patterns in Norwegian even though it quite similar to Swedish.

    • It really is nice, and it fits, I’m glad to say. Yes, I can imagine the Norwegian/Swedish language confusions being similar to the Dutch/German ones.

  4. I am so impressed with your tenacity in working through the pattern, and on such small needles too! But the final cardigan is really beautiful.

    • Blogging really helps with perseverance, although I would also admit defeat if something really isn’t working. I’m happy with the cardi after all, and what’s more important: it will fit the recipient for quite a while yet.

  5. Even though I lived in Germany for a long time, I never learned “knitting German.” I would have had no clue about the links/purl bit. Argh! But good on you for pushing through…I’d probably have just tried to find a different pattern. The finished cardigan is wonderful though! I’m sure it’ll keep your grandson warm (and stylish!).

    • You lived in Germany for a long time? Then your German must be pretty good, too. When I sometimes write about visits to Germany maybe you’ll recognize places. Our grandson came to visit today, wearing his new cardigan. The sleeves are still a bit on the long side, but for the rest it fits very well. I made the size for 2 years, and he is just 11 months. Is he a giant baby or what?

      • Sadly, my German is somewhat lacking these days. I would never have thought I’d lose it, but I guess our brains fill up with other stuff.

        I doubt he’s a giant baby (although that thought made me chuckle)…I just think those size charts for little ones are kind of kooky. Babies, like adults, come in all different sizes. It might be easier if they sized by weight? The sleeves being a bit long might be good protection for his little hands on a cold day if you unfold the cuffs!

        • Sizing baby clothes by weight would be a great idea. And I think if you were to visit Germany again you’d be amazed at how much German is still filed away inside your brain somewhere.

  6. It’s a beautiful sweater. I’m glad you were able to understand the directions in the end!

    • Thank you! I’m happy with it in the end, and it’s a really well-fitting sweater, that’s nice to wear for a little one.

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