FO: Hurrication Fair Isle Sweater

Written by Sarah on April 19th, 2013 Posted in embroidery, faire isle, FO, knits, life, photos, style, sweater, yarn

It’s finally here. Let this be a disclaimer that I’m ridiculously excited about how this sweater turned out. I’ve spent so much time on it that I’ve gotten something of a Stockholm Syndrome towards it. I’m in love with it and I’m so proud and I just want to wear it all of the time. So now I’m going to talk about my deep love for this sweater which is totally weird and I apologize if it’s incoherent. Just look at the pretty pictures (thanks for taking them, as always, Jon!).

fair isle

In case you’re just tuning in now, I’ll tell you a little bit about this sweater. I was really drawn to this pattern when I first saw it in Debbie Bliss magazine last summer. I don’t know why but I really felt like I wanted to challenge myself with some intense, detailed, and tiny fair isle. (Knit on size 3s, I must’ve been drunk when I used the word “challenge.”) And I knew it would be a great addition to my wardrobe. I was obsessed with doing a neutral/neon fair isle. This would be the one.

When I started knitting this, I had a whole week off of work (hurrication). I spent about 8 hours a day in front of the Netflix knitting, so the first sleeve was finished in three days. I guess that’s when the cabin fever started to set in. Everything near us had power but there really wasn’t much we wanted or needed to do. The park was closed so we just had to take walks around the block until we felt uncomfortable and ran back inside to hide on the couch. It was a weird week. But I got a huge chunk of this sweater finished and if I hadn’t, I probably would have been too discouraged to press on.

fair isle

I made a lot of other things since I cast on in the end of October. A few Christmas presents, a few birthday presents, two new patterns. I even finished a second sock. I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I wrote a lot here. I think pacing myself with other projects kept me coming back to this guy.

Towards the end was when things got rough. There were a lot of ends to weave in. A LOT. There was a lot of seaming to be done (because, as I’ve mentioned a million times, it’s knit flat). And then, just as I was coming to the home stretch of being able to wear this damn sweater, I remembered that I had to tackle the embroidery. And I just really wanted to wear the freaking thing.

fair isle front

I finished a few days before our trip to Chicago. I could not be happier with how the blocking turned out. I know I’d expressed my nervousness regarding the fit before. Everything was super tight and small and weird when I was knitting but the blocking made all of the pieces fit perfectly and the colorwork sits so neatly. BLOCKING IS MAGIC, GUYS. The sweater is designed as a 3/4 sleeve that is a bit cropped. I knit it cropped but it lengthened during blocking which I’m pleased with. I’m not a big fan of 3/4 sleeves so I made them a bit longer and, again, blocking put them right into place.

Let me take a minute to talk about this yarn. (Are you tired of me obsessing over every detail on this sweater?) I’m devastated that St Denis has been discontinued. The Boreale yarn is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever worked with. It’s soft and delicate and every colorway is gorgeous. It’s warm but it’s not itchy and it has a great drape without being limp or droopy. But this is it. Whatever yarn is left over is going to sit in my stash, probably for the rest of my life, waiting for the PERFECT project that will never come because I will never think anything is perfect enough for it. You know that feeling? Until then, I will be scouring the internet, hoarding all of the St Denis yarn I can find. (Drop me a line if you have any leads or would like to tell me about a magical company that is rebooting the brand or if you’d like to just pour one out with me.)

fair isle back

Long story short, I’m very much a process knitter so long, drawn-out knits are not my thing. I’m constantly on the look out for new patterns and always planning the next project. I’ve knit plenty of sweaters and I can’t pick a favorite because they all mean something different to me. But this sweater is something special. I feel like I really conquered it. I don’t think I was ever afraid of the challenge, I was excited by it. It was kind of like the scene in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman has to battle the Crazy 88 and she knows that she has to do it and she kicks everyone’s ass but it’s totally exhausting and she’s bleeding and everything at the end of it all. Finishing this sweater gave me an immense feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. It’s kind of the War and Peace of sweaters.

I’m also finding that with every piece that I knit, I see my evolution. And I don’t necessarily mean in skill level (although I’m constantly trying to choose patterns that challenge and teach me). Every piece that I make is more and more of me – better fit and colors, pieces that fit into my personal style better. I’m figuring out what my style is as a knitter and which patterns and yarns speak to me.

And that’s what it’s all about, right?

What’s the biggest knitting challenge you’ve given yourself? Do you find yourself evolving as a knitter?

ps. There’s still plenty of time to get in on the Craftsy giveaway. Check it out!

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Comments (9)

  • April 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |

    I am not tired at all of you obsessing about every detail of this sweater – after an accomplishment of this magnitude you definitely should obsess about it as much as you feel like it!

    Sweaters are my very greatest challenge. I have finished so few, it really irks me. I usually get discouraged towards the end and then the whole thing gets left at 80% done for eternity (or until I rip it in shame). I really want to work on this soon!

    • April 19, 2013 at 10:56 am |

      Thank you! Definitely keep trying to make sweaters! Maybe make one with chunkier yarn so it will be finished faster. That might get you over the hump!

  • Heather
    April 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm |

    That sweater is absolutely stunning! Very impressive.

  • spnyc
    April 20, 2013 at 8:37 am |

    Just time to say “Good Job” this morning!

  • April 21, 2013 at 9:13 am |

    Dude. Nothing says “this Plato’s ideal knit that will sit forever in your WIP basket” like a pattern that tacks embroidery onto fair isle knit on size 3s. I salute you for finishing, and finishing with the utmost grace. It looks amazing.

    I started a pair of fair isle gloves from an Alice Starmore book for my hubs. They were going swimmingly until I put them on him, and he squirmed and claimed they were too small, which is clearly impossible since they were knit from the biggest size. I don’t really think about how hard a pattern is, because I tell myself that they are all just knit and purl. But then….then sometimes I need a short break from them while I process exactly what is happening between us.

  • Alli
    April 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm |

    Yay! Your sweater came out beautifully!!! Projects with a lot of fussy details always take forever to finish. I try to space it out and not try to work on it to the point of burn-out but just slow and steady. So not forget about it either.

    I like the idea that your progressing as a knitter by knitting projects that are more “you”. I have been feeling a bit frustrated the last year or so knitting boring projects or not-very-challenging projects and feeling a little stagnant. At the same time the pieces that I’m finishing are things that I wear all the time and are way more “me” than things I knit before.

  • Mom
    April 21, 2013 at 7:07 pm |

    I am SO PROUD of you – this sweater is an amazing accomplishment – not only for the Fair Isle, but the embroidery as well. It fits beautifully and the colors are perfect! I can’t imagine what you can do to surpass this, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

  • Sarah
    April 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm |

    Your sweater is beautiful! As for the yarn, Webs has it as a closeout now. I’ve never tried it before, but after reading this post I’m tempted to stash it in a rainbow of colors since it looks perfect for colorwork projects.

    • April 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

      Thanks! I’d definitely recommend buying a few skeins. You won’t be disappointed!

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