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…


 

FO Friday – The Noro-Lopi Love Child Sweater

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It’s finally finished!  Wooo!

I’m so excited to have a new sweater!  And this one is darn near perfect! I’m going to be getting loads of wear out of it!  The pattern is a top-down raglan called Vivido, from Carol Feller.  The stripes are my own modification but everything else is as-called for.

I chose this pattern simply because of the ‘if it ain’t broke’ mindset.  I’ve had great success with my two previous incarnations of this sweater.  It’s a great daily wear garment, which is what I need at this point.  (As much as I love Bill, there’s only so many places he can be worn!)  Plus, I knew the colorwork was going to be the star of this show.  No need for the pattern to compete with that.  This pattern is exactly the blank slate I needed!

The yarns are the interesting bits in this sweater!  The brown yarn is Plutolopi, an unspun pencil roving, from my Icelandic adventure.   The stripes are from a Noro Rainbow Roll.  I love both of these yarns so much!!  The unspun nature makes them fragile, and so, not for everyone but it also gives the garment amazing loft!  This is a 200 g sweater.  My last Vivido, a bulky weight wool, weighs 600 g.  That’s a big difference, especially in a town where micro-climates and layering mean sweaters often get carried instead of worn.

The difference in weight, also, means a difference in drying time.  A 600 g sweater can take days to dry.  This baby dried overnight during a rainstorm!

YES, this is definitely my new favorite sweater.

I might make one slight adjustment though.  The first button hole is low.  In a solid colored sweater, I didn’t mind.  The stripes kind of exaggerate the gap.

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I think a little snap will fix it up.  I’ve always wanted to try snaps out.  If it stops raining long enough to go for a walk, I think I’ve finally found my excuse to buy snap!

Woo!  Hope your Friday is equally exciting!!


 

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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Work in Progress Wednesday

I can definitely say it’s Wednesday.  I checked the calendar!  Can’t say I’m making much progress on my ‘work’ though.  Every time I check, I’m not seeing much.

My striped Woolfolk shawl.

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One of the balls is getting smaller, so I must be making progress.  I think the next milestone will be running out of yarn prematurely.  I’ve been trying to tell myself that it’ll be okay.  (it won’t but ignorance is bliss.)

My Dotted Grays, aka a Dotted Rays in a lovely gray gradient.

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I’ve crossed the halfway mark with this one.  I can tell because the yarn had two gradient repeats.  Of course, I’ve gotten to the part where rows are hundreds of stitches.  Perfect process knitting.  Doesn’t look any different from last week though.

My Noro & Lopi sweater

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I must be making progress because I’ve nearly finished my first ‘plate’ of yarn. Holding it next to a finished sweater though, shows me I’ve still got a long way to go.

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The long forgotten Rockefeller.

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I just have to decrease down to 9 stitches to get this point finished.  Maybe I’ll get there before this WIP hits it’s second birthday.  Seems like it should be easy.  Not sure what the 18 month delay has been about.   Of course, the other side remains untouched.  I’ve got a hundred stitches to pick up, then decrease down to 9 again.  One decrease every 4th row.  And suddenly, I remembering what the hold up is.

The good news is…there’s no problems here.  I don’t need to figure anything out, I just need to get knitting!  Progress…thy name is Wednesday!  Ready, Set…GO!


 

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.)