WIP Wednesday – A New Sweater

Before I show you my new sweater project, let’s take a moment to bask in the glory of this amazing yarn!

This is a DK weight, 100% baby llama yarn my Mom dyed and sent me for Christmas.  I absolutely love it!  Mom used an ice dying technique that I don’t think is common among yarn dyers but seeing the results, it should be!

You prep your yarn as normal and then pack it in ice.  You sprinkle dye powder on top of the ice.  As it melts, the dye is solubilized and trickles down to the fiber below.  The result is all kinds of unexpected fun!  The chartreusey green dye broke into it’s base components giving an amazing array of gold and yellow tones while still maintaining much of it’s greenness.

I love it.  So much complexity from one dye and some ice.  I can’t wait to use it.  It’s 220 yards.  I’m thinking cowl.  We’ll see.  Maybe even some sort of lace leaf motif.  Just as spring starts springing, I usually have a fit that only this color can calm.  It’s gonna be good.

In the meantime, this is my palate…

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Thank you Noro!  This is the Noro Rainbow Roll, a 100% wool pencil roving.  It’s surprisingly soft for a Noro yarn.  It’s certainly softer than the yarn I’m pairing it with, Plutolopi, an unspun Icelandic yarn.

I’m pretending they’re the same gauge, even though they aren’t.  The lopi is distinctly thinner.  I think it works though.  I like the swatch.  I’m going with it.

The plan was generic top-down, raglan cardigan.  The gauge worked out perfectly for Vivido, though.  My two favorite cardigans are this pattern.  One of them is well past it’s expiration date.  I keep repairing it but it really should be retired.  So, in the spirit of if-it-ain’t-broke, my new sweater is another Vivido.

It’s going well, but the plan has definitely changed already.  My original intention was a striped cardigan.  As I work these stripes though, they’re a little busy.  I’m not sure I need that all over my body.

The new plan is striped yoke, solid brown body.  That’s a totally fair compromise.  Plus, I wouldn’t mind having some of this Noro left over.  It really is soft.  I’m feeling the urge to stash more!  (it’s only $11 at Webs right now!?!?)

(and Noro is prone to discontinue this.  It’s definitely a specialty item.)

(I’m gonna try really hard to resist.)

(I should probably use this pile first!)

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(I think I’ve talked myself off the ledge.  For now.)

 

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!

Happy 2017!

2017

This post is brought to you by Greenery, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year!  Finally, a color of the year I appreciate!  I wear lots of greens but I especially love a pop of chartreuse so this is perfect for me!  Perhaps you’ve noticed my latest sweater is green…

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I didn’t get it done for NYE but there’s always next week!

Unfortunately, I green is also the color of frogs and I think I’ve got some frogging in my future.  I did the color work around the yoke.  It looks good. deadhead-sweater

That’s a Dancing Bear, of Grateful Dead fame.  It’s a free chart.  But soon after, problems start to arise.  I’m not out of the dark green yarn, which is naturally the color I want to continue with.  It’s okay though, I’ve got plenty of the light green and since it’s now color of the year, I have to use it, don’t I?

I decided to incorporate a honeycomb sort of slip stitch pattern based on this pattern, Retro Lopapeysa.  As an added bonus, it looks a bit like a turtle shell.

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Bears and Terrapins are good friends if you’re a Deadhead.  I didn’t plan it that way, but I’ll totally go with that story.  I’m a fan of happy accidents.  This is a very happy accident.  I’ve been worried about the look being too disjointed, the color block body, the striped sleeves, the stranded yoke.  It’s got a lot going on and it’s definitely teetering on the edge of chaos but it’s working for me.

 

The problem is the fit.  The fit is a hot mess.  Tight at the armpit and gaping in other parts.  It’s so bad I couldn’t even bring myself to take a grainy, poorly lit selfie.  I’m pretty sure I need to rip back to the sleeve join and do some reworking.

Which of course is going to be a problem because last week, I grafted my armpit holes.  D’oh!  That’s what I get for ‘helping’ myself and weaving the ends in early!  Oh well…I’m soldiering on, the slip stitch pattern goes quickly, especially as I decrease.  I’m secretly hoping the fit will improve as I get closer to the neck line.  Maybe I won’t have to rip it out?  (Maybe I’m delusional…stay tuned to find out!)


 

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…)

WIP Wednesday – One Sleeve

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It’s been a crazy couple of weeks!  I hardly know where to begin.  The new job is officially in full swing.  It’s definitely a ‘real’ job.  It’s taking the best hours of the day and most of my mental stamina.  Add in my teaching responsibilities and last weekend’s craft fair and I’ve had zero time for lounging and knitting.  It’s adulting on steroids around here.

The good news is…the efforts have paid off on all fronts.  The craft fair was successful!  I’m hoping to give you more details this weekend!  And, despite taking all my energy, there is some satisfaction in getting back to work.  I like feeling like a ‘productive’ part of society again, even if it requires getting dressed every. single. day.

And, there’s even been a tiny bit of knitting.

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Gone are the days of two day sleeves, instead I’ve got a two week sleeve.  But I’ve got a sleeve.  One more to go.  The beauty of bottom up sweaters is how quickly they come together in the end.  Once the sleeves are attached, the yoke practically knits itself!

Normally, this is the part where I would say something foolishly optimistic like ‘I can have this done in a week!’  Except, I also said I wouldn’t be christmas knitting.  I knew that was ridiculous the second I said it.  And so, this is happening as well…

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Fingers crossed that it’s only a momentary distraction!  I would love to be wearing my new sweater for Christmas dinner :)  That’s totally doable.  A full work schedule, classes to teach and a sleeve, a yoke, a steek and a button band…11 days.  I got this!

Progress, Knitting & Otherwise

In what should not come as a surprise and despite my best efforts to plan, I’m winging my sleeves.  It seems I design with needles in hand.  That’s just how I work.

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Since I’m so averse to planning, perhaps I’ll think of this as collecting data to inform a decision (that just happens to be made on the fly.)

So I colored a few sweater sleeve options to help me visualize.  I’ve been carrying it around asking knitters and non-knitters alike to weigh in.  It’s an interesting personality test.  I don’t know what it means, but I’m sure it’s deep and meaningful anyhow!

Despite loving the mismatched sleeve idea, I don’t think this is the project for it.  I’m going to go for color work in the yoke and don’t want things to be too busy.

I started with my one constant.  The sleeve cast on will be brown.

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Once I got started, a wide brown cuff to match the seed stitch on the bottom of the garment seemed natural.   From there I transitioned to stockinette and I’ve added my first stripe.  I think the next green stripe is approaching, I have yet to decide if it will be wider or stay skinny.  hhhmmm.

I’m being extra careful with these decisions because, starting tomorrow I’m back to being a full time chemist instead of a full time knitter.  My time is about to run very short.  Unlike this time when I got a job, or this time when I got a job, this is a real job.  Full time, with pay and benefits and an 8 am start time!  It’ll be my triumphant return to the chemistry lab.  Oddly enough, absence actually has made my heart grow fonder of the daily lab life so I’m looking forward to getting back to it.  It’s gonna be good.

But, as I’ve said many times, funemployment has been pretty awesome for me.  I’ll miss it and remember it fondly!  For now, I’m going out to enjoy my last day of mid-afternoon shenanigans!!!

 

Distractions are Distracting.

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I hope you all had a lovely long weekend.  I’m guessing I’m not the only one who had distractions!  0f030c23-6ef4-489d-9f5e-208d50be43de

The beauty of stockinette tubes is their simplicity.  Despite all those weekend distractions, there was still time for stockinette tube knitting.  Three Cheers for Stockinette Tubes!!  My second sock has grown significantly, heel turn #2 is imminent.  I’ll be wearing my own handknit socks in no time!! I can’t wait! and…

…my sweater body has reached completion.  I still haven’t given the sleeves enough thought.  It’s time though.  I’m pleased with my stripes so far but I’m still feeling like the canvas is a bit blank.   I want to do something to spice it up.   Funky asymmetric sleeves?  Fun yoke design?  Certainly not both.  I want to avoid cluttered.  Edit. Edit. Edit.

I’ve been going one step at a time, making little decisions that add up to one sweater.  I’m at the crossroads of cohesiveness now though.  I can’t be so haphazard anymore.  It’s time for proper planning.  I’m getting the colored pencils out.  Wish me luck!