A sweater!! You guys! I knit a sweater! I'm realizing that I'm actually pretty terrible at blogging about my hand knit items, so I'm trying to change this. For some reason knitting just seems better suited to Instagram than my blog (for me, I love reading about other people's knitting on their blogs). I'm not totally sure why this is, because knitting is so. SLOW. Seriously. You wanna talk about a labor of love, just talk to a knitter! I mean, I can slap together an entirely new, hand sewn outfit in the amount of time it takes me to knit a hat! So you'd think after all that hard work I'd be ready to crow about it from the rooftops, right? And instead my hand knits tend to only get a fraction of the hoopla that my sewn garments get. Well no more! This is me, climbing onto the neighbors roof (because it's more fun if it's trespassing) and crowing: I MADE A SWEATER!
And it's purple! This is the Carpino pullover designed by Carol Feller for Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 6. I had my eye on this design since I learned how to knit (*cough* last year *cough*). I love the honeycomb lacework design of the front. It felt like a less girly version of lace, which is good for me, because as much as I love the way lacework looks, I get really uncomfortable in anything too girlish (... I mean, there's an exception to every rule, but in general...) I also really wanted to learn lacework, and this is a nice, repetitive, not-to-complicated pattern. Perfect for learning.
This sweater was knit from the top down, in the round. I followed all the instructions as is for a size 39 - which should have given me plenty of ease, since my chest measurement is closer to 34 inches. I did test my gauge, but I think I tend to be a tight knitter, even when I'm trying to relax. So the finished sweater is a bit narrower, after blocking, than the size 39 specs. I'm actually okay with this. I think the fit is pretty cute, and pretty close to what I had imagined. The only place that I would have appreciated a bit more width is through the shoulders, however I actually think my sweater fits me through the shoulders pretty similarly to how it looks on the model, and I can comfortably wear a long sleeve shirt underneath it, so I'm just gonna go with it! It'll probably relax with time and wear anyway.
I added an extra inch or so to the overall length of the sweater, leaving the arms the original 3/4 length. I did this because 1) I thought it looked short on the model and 2) my first sweater that I knit (never blogged... but maybe I'll get around to that...) always feels a bit short and it bugs me. I think that after all the work and time you put into knitting, you really don't want to have any regrets at the end. While you're knitting it can seem like a pain to spend more time and yarn on one section, when all you want to do is get to the next part of the instructions, but it's worth it in the end. Knitting, I've found, is a practice in the art of patience.
The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed's Loft in the color Thistle. I love that on BT's updated site they give the color stories for their yarns. I've spent a fair few lazy Sundays just reading each one, they're like little love notes to color! I had to give a hoot when I read that, according to BT, "Playful Thistle is perhaps rather intense for adult-sized garments"... whoops! Um... definitely didn't get that memo! In truth, I actually don't think this color is nearly as intense as it shows up in photos. In reality it's more of a red-purple, and the flecks of navy, bright red and white are so much fun. Brooklyn Tweed's yarns are really interesting. They are 100% wool and have a very 'heritage' feel to them. When you're knitting them up they're kind of scratchy and stiff, but after wet blocking them they really soften up and come alive. I haven't knitted with a ton of different yarns, but I really am partial to this stuff. They're insanely warm. The other sweater I knit is with Shelter and it is the absolute warmest thing I own. I'll admit that I don't like wearing these sweaters directly next to my skin, but I don't really like wearing any wool right next to my skin.
Loft is BT's fingering weight yarn, so it's much lighter weight and makes for a thinner, slightly drapey-er material. You guys. I will give pause before I knit another sweater with fingering weight yarn. This sucker took me FOR . EV . ER! I think I cast on in the beginning of September? It's so long ago now I can't really remember! But let's go with September. And when I knit, I get pretty obsessive, so I was devoting a good amount of my free time to this baby. So six month. SIX MONTHS!! Egads! I blame it on the fingering weight yarn and size 4 needles. The fact that I'm a painfully slow knitter didn't help.
Sorry this photo is a bit out of focus. It was getting dark while I was shooting these, so my shutter speed was very slow. But anyway, The sleeves and hem are finished with a 1x1 twisted knit ribbing. I learned a thing or two while knitting this sweater - I mean, you're bound to learn a thing or two about anything if you do it for a straight six months! But one thing I learned is that I really prefer knitting in the round with 5 DPNs (double pointed needles). I had always used 4 (3 holding the stitches in a triangle shape, one used for knitting) in the past and could never figure out why I got such ugly laddering on the stitches where the needles joined, but then I read somewhere that if you switch to 5 DPNs those joining stitches have much less strain placed on them. It made sense to me, and it definitely made a difference in my sleeves!
The neckline is finished with an i-cord bind off. This was also new to me! For the first couple of stitches I kept thinking that I was just making a big messy knot, and then slowly it started to reveal itself and I got pretty psyched! It's a really pretty way to finish a neckline, and a nice alternative to ribbing.
As I was nearing the finish line with this sweater I began to suspect that I would run out of yarn. I guess that extra length I added really ate up a lot of my yarn! I just had 1 inch left of cuff ribbing and the i-cord bind off to go and I was down to a marble sized blob of yarn. I started to freak out a bit because the thought of buying a whole new skein just for that little bit of knitting seemed insane. When I lamented about this on Instagram (see, IG gets all the good knitting stuff) Samantha, of A Gathering of Stitches, suggested I try Ravelry to see if anyone was selling a leftover skein, which was a brilliant idea! Unfortunately I didn't have much luck - it seems that Thistle is not a very popular color! Who'd a thunk...? But I'm passing that little nugget of wisdom on to you guys, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation. Anyway I eventually had the thunderclap realization that I still had my two gauge squares stashed away somewhere. So I unraveled those and ended up with more than enough yarn to finish my sweater! I ran out of my original ball of yarn while I was binding off the cuff edge, which was super inconvenient, but it did force me to learn how to do a spit join (or spit splice), which is magic! Why have I not been doing that all along?!? I could have been saving myself from so much tedious tail weaving-in! Again... the things you learn...
Well, I absolutely adore my new sweater! And I better after all the time it took away from other projects! Nick isn't too keen for me to jump into a new knitting project too quickly. He thinks I love my knitting more than him, but I think a bit of jealousy is healthy for a relationship. Keeps the sparks alive, ya know? So on that note, what do you think I should knit next??
Since I tend to really love Brooklyn Tweed's (and company's) aesthetic I had originally planned on moving on to Seacoast from Wool People 7. I love the elegant, wide, neckline and the clean lines, but after all the stockinette on this sweater started to bore me I thought maybe I should try something more challenging and Jared Flood's Backbay from the Fall 14 collection caught my eye. I definitely think Ondawa is the star of that collection, but the cute little bobbles, moss stitch, and overall classic look of Backbay really won me over. But then the Winter 15 collection came out and I became intrigued by Kusama! Although I can't tell yet if it's the pattern, or the styling of the model that I'm really into here... Obviously I need your help!
What are you guys knitting? And can someone please tell me if six months is an insane amount of time to spend knitting this sweater?