WIP Wednesday – RBG Squid Ink Fade

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Now that’s it’s finally on the needles, I’m making good progress on my latest sweater.  Of course, any notion of following a pattern was quickly laughed off.  I mean, I could try but it wouldn’t work out.   I started off with a peacock fade but now I’ve decided to go darker with it…a squid ink fade, if you will.

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I started with Idunn, a Knitty pattern by Ragga Eirikisdottir.  Initially, I thought, I’ll just knit this sweater as is.  The yoke details could pass as an RBG collar no doubt.   Ultimately though, I’ve decided to knit the sweater in plain stockinette with no colorwork in the yoke.  I’ll add my RBG collar details after I’ve finished the knitting via duplicate stitch.  It’s an unconventional approach…but that’s definitely the way I roll.

I’ve finished my first color and ‘faded’ into my second color.  I’m knitting top down, in the round, with the intention of steeking and adding a zipper.  I’m just about to divide the sleeves off.

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That’ll be a big help!  Right now, it’s just sort of a big blob.  I feel like it’s too big, despite all the math & gauge working out.  Fingers crossed that good news awaits on the other side of the sleeve divide.

I’m also working on a few new cross stitch designs for Valentine’s Day, so I’ve updated my cross stitch gallery with a new page for 2019!

I’m really looking forward to growing my collection this year!  My idea book is overflowing and I’ve finally found my stride, post-holidays.  Stay tuned for much productivity!


 

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…


 

Progress, on Wednesday

Somehow, despite myriad variables, I’ve got three projects converging at the finish line.  Approaching the end of a project always gives it a bit of a boost, a sort of second wind.  Now, multiply that feeling of accomplishment by 3, and call it Wednesday!   Woooo!

I’m putting the border on a summery stroller blanket for the Nephew.  I’m putting the buttons on my Lopi + Noro cardigan (the brown ones).

And I’m resisting the urge to put my next sweater on the needles.  I decided on the color palate.  Casting on is the logical next step.  Of course, finishing the sweater that’s 99.7% complete is also quite logical.  It’s hard to know exactly what to do!?!

I’ll keep you posted, as always!  Happy Pi Day!!


 

FO Friday – The Lopi Sweater

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After many unplanned creative diversions, the sweater I started in November is finally finished**.  It’s entirely my own design.  It was a circuitous path but it was worth it.  It’s comfortable.  It fits well.  It’s close to what I had in mind when I started. Best of all, it looks good on!

The construction is both top down and bottom up.  The pieces met in the middle and were grafted together.  The body and sleeves were done bottom up and steeked.  The yoke is a top down raglan.  Not what I originally planned but it totally worked!

The yarn is Lett-Lopi, direct from Iceland!  It’s perfect for steeking!  I reinforced my stitches with a simple backstitch before cutting it open.  Picking up stitches for the button band is another layer of reinforcement.  That’s all I’m going to do to it.   Being a sticky wool, the loose ends are perfectly happy where they are.  I’m not worried about slipping or unraveling of any sort.  I’d certainly never attempt this with superwash.  No, this is Lopi in it’s glory.  This is what it excels at.

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You can see my reinforcing stitches on the right hand side…the little row of light green yarn.  And you can see my cut ends, just chilling there on the edge.  Before I added the button band this sweater kicked around for 2 weeks.  If it didn’t unravel then, it’s not going to unravel now.  Lopi is magic.  Plain and simple.

I thought about a decorative bit of ribbon to hide the mess but meh.  I don’t think it’s necessary.  The sweater hangs so well.  Nothing flips up or curls in where you don’t want it too.  I don’t think the inside will be seen often.  Everything lays perfect and flat.

Speaking of perfect and flat, check out this awesome button band…no puckering, no gaping, no unintentionally ruffles.

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And it only took one try!  It turns out, math totally works.  I’m just as amazed as you are!

I love the sleeves.  They’re long.  Worn cuffed, they’re long.  Worn with the cuff unrolled (thank you seed stitch for being lovely AND reversible!), the sleeves fall almost to the end of my fingertips…No need to carry fingerless gloves if you’ve got long sleeves!  This is the sort of personal touch that I love about knitting my own sweaters.

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The only thing I forgot to do was short row shaping at the back of the neck.  I wouldn’t mind a little bit more coverage at the back of my neck.  That’s a minor detail.  Maybe next time.

I have a feeling I’ve found my next favorite sweater!  Now…time to start plotting the next one!  It’s gonna be more green…


** My finish proclamation totally gets an asterisk.  The observant among you, and the OCD, may have noticed the stripes don’t match up.  D’oh!  My perfect button band apparently is not spaced evenly.  I put my buttons at regular intervals, not thinking to check if the stripes lined up.  Whoops.

As luck would have it, I was debating changing the buttons anyhow.  I think the antler buttons are too busy.  I should have gone with the wood buttons.  They’re birch branches from Iceland, they really belong on this sweater.  I bought they from a farmer on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.  Icelandic buttons definitely belong on an Icelandic Sweater.

So, this weekend, I’ll take the antler buttons off and put the birch buttons on and I’ll end make sure the stripes line up this time.  THEN, my sweater will be “done”.  In the meantime, I still plan to wear it…crooked stripes and all!

Work in Progress Wednesday!

Now, with actual progress!!

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Last you saw, I had hastily steeked my sweater, decided I didn’t like it and then cut it into even more pieces!   This weekend I set about to replace the circular yoke that was the deal breaker.

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The plan was to replace the bottom up circular yoke with a top down raglan and graft the pieces together in the middle.  Sounded easy enough, yes?

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As far as design choices, it took me a while but this is what I settled on.  Ultimately, it’s for the best.  I was throwing the kitchen sink at this sweater, at the risk of being too busy.   At least now it’s got one cohesive idea.  There’s still a lot going on with those stripes but less than before, and that’s a good thing!

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Ta-DA!  It looks like a sweater and I didn’t want to take it off once I put it on.  That’s the true sweater test for me.  It finally fits right!!

Now, about that button band…


An Impulse Steek

The beauty of steeking a sweater is the fast, no-purl cardigan that results.  Unfortunately, ripping & re-knitting slows the process incredibly.  After 3 tries at this circular yoke (and 3 failures), I couldn’t take it anymore.  Maybe cutting my sweater open would improve the fit?  (Ha!  Right!)

Yeah, I kinda knew I wasn’t solving my problem but I went ahead and did it anyhow.  I wanted forward momentum, even if I hit a snag.  Standing still gets nothing done and that’s where I’ve been with this sweater for weeks.

So, before I could stop to think about making a rash decision, I did it.  Reinforcing the steek was easy.  I went with a simple backstitch.  The yarn is Lett-Lopi, the classic Icelandic wool.  Lopi is, quite literally, made for steeking.  Reinforcing the stitches prior to the cut probably isn’t even necessary.  The backstitch, while not the most sturdy reinforcement, is more than enough in this case.

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Also, it’s very fast.  When making impulse decisions, fast execution is imperative.  No need to let logical and rational thought catch up. It only gets in the way.

Before I knew it, my reinforcing stitches were in place and my pullover-cardigan metamorphosis was complete.

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Sadly, my cardigan did not emerge as a beautiful butterfly but rather a lopsided moth.  It’s beautiful in its own way and it could lead a lovely life, for a moth, once it learned how to fly with lopsided wings.

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It doesn’t look too bad in the photo.  It’s got all the pieces we recognize a cardigan to have.  It’s still not quite right in the armpit though.  It’s simultaneously gaping and tight.  It’s not a comfortable sweater.   I’m blaming the circular yoke shaping.  It just doesn’t agree with me.

So, New Plan: save the sleeves & the steeked body, discard the circular yoke portion and replace it with a top down raglan portion, grafting the old pieces onto the new one.  BAM! Perfect cardigan!

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My deconstructed sweater

It’s almost like starting a new project…new cast on, new design choices to make! I predict a smashing success! (I also predict, my next sweater…I’ll just follow a pattern) (maybe) ;)


 

It’s beginning to look alot like a sweater!

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I hope everyone had a holiday weekend as relaxing and productive as mine!  Not only did I get to enjoy holiday cheer with friends but I’ve got two full sleeves now!!

The fun begins now!  The best part of bottom up sweaters–the work is done!  It’s just an easy ride to up the neckline.  At least, with the rows getting shorter & going quicker, it seems like the work is done!

I completed my join round and promptly tried it on.

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It still looks like pieces but I assure, it’s now joined!

I’ve decided to go with some color work around the yoke.  I tried to start it tonight but discovered I left my contrast color at home.  D’oh!  Fortunately, my evening destination was well lit.  I took advantage of my predicament (seriously, forgot my yarn?!  What am I?  an amateur?  I didn’t even have a back up project.  I knew I should have cast on my second pair of socks already!)

I used my yarnlessness as an opportunity to weave my ends and graft my armpits!  Oh yeah!  And, there’s no knitting classes this week, I might actually have time to finish this for a NYE debut?!?!  That would be so exciting! 40 yoke rows with decreases, a steek and a button band.  hhhmmmm.  maybe.  Just Maybe…..I might be able to get it all done!  (Or maybe I’ll start that pair of socks…)