Sweater Complications

Sweaters are complicated beasts!  Anyone who’s ever tried to knit their own sweater knows this.  There are many phases and emotions involved.  Finally, I think all of my sweater pains have been addressed sufficiently and are coming to happy resolutions.

The big one is this…

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I have officially reclaimed my needles & notions.  This sweater is no more.  It’s been a work in progress since June but I’m over it.  It’s a duplicate of this sweater, that I finished in the spring…

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I love this sweater.  I wear it all the time.  It’s almost perfect.   Almost!  It’s so close.  There’s just one thing that has stopped it from being perfect.  Unfortunately, much of it’s charm, also, comes from this not perfect part…the yarn, Pluto-Lopi, the Icelandic unspun pencil roving.

It’s delicate.  It’s not fragile.  The fabric is quite sturdy but I’ve managed to rub it thread bare in the armpits already.  img_1829

I’ve got spots on both arms and both sides, where pilling and rubbing have nearly eliminated the loose unspun fibers.  Hope is not lost for this sweater.  I’m embracing it’s wabi sabi and patching it.  I don’t have any of the matching yarn left but I’ve got plenty of the Noro I used for the stripes.  I’m down with funny duplicate stitch patches in my armpits.

The Noro yarn is a thicker anyhow, more fiber in the problem areas is exactly what this sweater needs.   I’m happy to keep patching it as needed.  I might even love it more as the armpit patches continue to develop and take over.  It’s a lightweight sweater, both in mass and in wearing, and yet it is incredibly warm.  It fits perfect.  It matches everything in my closet.  It’s only 8 months old…there’s no chance I’m ready to retire it yet.

But, I don’t need two sweaters like that.  So, Plutolopi sweater #2 has been halted.  I understand why this yarn is commonly held double now.  That’ll definitely help with future sweaters, maybe even held double with Einband, the Icelandic lace weight yarn.

And, with that big bag of guilt officially retired, I can, legit, think about an RBG inspired sweater!  I’ve been saying it’s going to happen since Christmas but with two sweaters on the needles, I just couldn’t bring myself to start a third.    I’ve finally got a clean sweater slate because, oh yeah..I finished the sweater I’ve been working on for Mom!

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It’s WestKnit’s Outer Space, another favorite of mine.  The yarn is an assortment of Lopi & Lettlopi.  Yes, I have a thing for Icelandic yarn.  At this point, it’ll be no surprise that my RBG inspired sweater is going to be Lettlopi.

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I spent at least two days, last spring, futzing with variations of this palate to find a fun peacock fade.  I had the sweater all planned out.  It was going to be lovely side to side number that faded from light at the cuffs to dark in the center.  I knit the whole thing…in my mind.  I had high hopes.  Somehow that all got derailed though.

Turns out, I was just waiting for the right idea.  RBG Peacock Fade…Hello 2019!  Let’s do this!    (right after I spend two more days futzing with colors again…)

It really is happening this time!  I’m ready for a new sweater!  It’s a new year.  The moons have all aligned.  I’ve cleared out all the 2018 knitting baggage.  It’s on…


 

WIP Wednesday – Sweater Surgery

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I happily cruised through the raglan increases on my sweater.  The classic Stripe Acceleration Effect was definitely felt here.  It went by in a flash.  The sleeve divide was the same, barely a pause.

Until…

(dun dun dun)

I forgot about making buttonholes.  This marker had one express purpose…to remind me about buttonholes.

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What a bonehead move!  A full inch too far.  In a yarn that doesn’t really cooperate with being ripped out.  UGH.

I let a lot of mistakes slide.  This is not one of them.  This type of mistake needs to be corrected, no ifs, ands or buts.

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When faced with the choice to either drop down to fix a mistake or to rip back, I always choose dropping stitches, correcting the problem and laddering back up.  Worst case scenario, I can’t fix it and maybe even make it worse.  Ripping back is always there as Plan B.

This time, I got lucky.

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Viola!  Buttonhole Surgery Success!  Woooo!

Assuming, I don’t forget anything else, it should be smooth sailing to the bottom hem from here!

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My goal is to have this sweater ready to wear at Stitches in late February.  Hopefully I can say this without jinxing myself…that deadline is a no brainer!  Time to start thinking about buttons.


 

There’s always a but.

Last we spoke, I was pleased with my progress.  I was patting myself on the back for a job well done (despite my lack of clear vision.)  It was all working out.  Everything was falling into place nicely but…

(there’s always a but…)

Somehow, my swatch and my actual knitting were drastically different, to the tune of 20″ of extra fabric in my sweater.  Apparently denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.  I knit a significant portion of the body before acknowledging that it was huge.

My inner process knitter was so excited to be let loose on a whole sweater of stockinette in the round, I just ignored the fact that I could barely keep my stitches on a 40″ needle.

Until about 2 am, when reality came knocking and I frogged the whole thing.  D’oh!

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Oh well.  I cast right back on and got started.  Nothing else has changed, I just made a really big swatch, that’s all!  Today I’m working on my second green stripe.

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I’m not loving it yet but I’m sure I will soon enough.  It’s just so hard to gauge a whole color block from two little rows.  One thing I am certain of…the wind has picked up a chill, this sweater can’t get here soon enough!

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As always, and in spite of the previous flaws, I’m still pleased with it.  You can see my color change here and I’ve done a bit of waist shaping.  I’m not doing any math (I’d mess it up anyhow.), I’m just sort of eyeballing the last marker and deciding it’s time to do a decrease.  Or not.  I think I’m done with those decreases.

In the seed stitch edge you can see a stockinette stripe, that’s to mark the steek placement.  And you can also see evidence of my short row shaping.

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The hem isn’t uneven because it’s hanging crooked.  I’ve intentionally added extra length to the back of the sweater with a series of short rows.  I love it.  It’s a tiny little bit of personalization.  I don’t want a sweater that rides up in the back.  DONE!  I can check that box!

Still haven’t decided about the sleeves though.  I may even be contemplating some colorwork in the yoke, that might be too much though.  Edit. Edit. Edit.  I don’t have to put all the ideas into one garment.   Sometimes I need to remind myself.


 

A New Sweater

A little less conversation, a little more action.

My new sweater is finally on the needles.

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After considering many options, I did what I always do and failed to make a decision.  It’s one thing to say I want to knit a sweater.  It’s something entirely different to have a pattern and matching yarn in hand and say I want to knit this sweater!  So how did I get stitches on the needle?

I started with the only known variable in this equation…Lopi!  Since my amazing Icelandic adventure, I’ve had a giant stash of Lett Lopi, the traditional Icelandic wool.  I’m a wool person.  I call it rustic (never scratchy).  It’s light weight and warm and it comes in approximately one zillion colors…What’s not to like about that?

Deciding on a color palate was challenging.  So many possibilities.  I made lots of piles, took lots of pictures, did the black and white photo contrast evaluation, lather, rinse, repeat.

Here’s the final decision.

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Mostly.  (I reserve the right to change my mind!)

I couldn’t decide on a traditional Icelandic pattern.  I am going to use the traditional construction method though.  Bottom up, in the round, yoke neck, steeked cardigan.  That still doesn’t get stitches on the needle though.

Gauge swatch.  Easy enough.  A little math later, I had some basic numbers.  It’s still a bit of a blank canvas though.

I really want to do a crazy stripe lopi cardigan but that’s not this one.  This one is going to be more color block than stripe.  It’s still pretty plain though.

It’s gonna be cozy, so how do I up the cozy factor?  Add texture, add length, add a bit of shaping.  I started off with a wide seed stitch band.

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And a beer.  Perfect.

Somehow along the way, I decided short rows needed to happen.  Way off in the future, when I shape the neck but also, here, near the beginning.  It’ll create a bit of extra length in the back and give it a lovely rounded sort of shape.

One at a time, I’m putting all sorts of little details together.

So far, I’m pleased.

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Color change #1 is rapidly approaching.  I really hope I still like it after that!

I’m not worrying about it though.  I’m worrying about the sleeves.  What the heck do I do with them?  One solid color?  Do I match the body?  This is the downfall of bottom up.  The Sleeves need to be ready to go pre-yoke.  I haven’t ruled out the possibility of colorwork in the yoke.  That decision definitely effects the sleeves.  ACK!!  So many more decisions…if only I’d been able to make one single decision (pick a pattern), all this work would be done already.  D’oh!

The allure of my second sock is real, those decisions are all made.  And it’s the weekend, so anything could happen!  Hope you have a good one!  :)