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

My funemployment craftcation is rolling along nicely.  No chance of boredom setting in here.

I recently finished yet another cross stitch hoop and a little fob thingy, maybe it’ll be a luggage tag.  I always feel weird about monograms.  I did it anyhow.  Sometimes you feel like a nut…    I’m pleased with the results.


I’m quite chuffed with the latest bit of knitting as well.  My textures are all playing nicely with my colors.  One would almost think I planned it that way.  Almost!  It’s great advocacy for the planning department, actually.

I try to plan.  It’s so boring though.  Remember this?

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I planned my “next” sweater, way back in March.   I have the pattern.  I picked out the yarn.  The yarn the pattern calls for, no less.  I decided on my colors.  I was good to go.

That sweater is still not on the needles, though.   No, instead, I’m staring this pile down.

 

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The well-planned but never-executed Lopi sweater, the brioche shawl I want to frog and enough yarn for only 80% of a sweater I want to knit.  Two hot messes or a plan that just needs basic execution.  I still don’t wanna do it.

Following a plan sounds like torture.  UGH.

I really want to get a sweater on the needles though.  It’s a real quandary.  I have a feeling I’m going to make a hot mess decision.  I’ll keep you posted! :)


 

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!!


 

WIP Wednesday: Sweater Progress

As I organized the WIPs this morning, I realized my sweater body had reached completion!  Wooohooo!

I measured it against my current favorite sweater…the length is good.  I even went a few extra rows before I did the bind off.

It’s gonna be soooooo good and it’s super close now!  The sleeves should be a snap…stockinette in the round?  Yeah…I got that.

I picked out my next sweater today, too…The Saltwater Bay Cardigan.  It’s the latest Knitty Surprise, knit in Lopi!  No problems finding that in my stash…

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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.


 

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!