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!).
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.
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.
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.)
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!
For today’s post. I’d like to take a moment of silence in honor of all of the knitters out there that we’ve lost to our most tragic epidemic in the community: Weaving in ends.
It’s happened to all of us at one point. Sometimes weaving in ends, you feel like you should just throw in the towel, call it quits, give up. If you know a knitter at risk, don’t be afraid to help.
Now I have to get back to weaving.
ps. I’m heading to Chicago next week! Any places I have to visit?
How was your holiday? I hope you got some time off even if you weren’t celebrating. Jon and I cooked Christmas dinner for my mom’s family. It was overwhelming but it turned out great. It felt so wonderful to take the pressure off of my grandma who has made us many many Christmas dinners and deserves to have some time off from all of the fussing. Besides,who else can cook a better Christmas ham than a couple of New York Jews?
December has been a really wild month and I’m excited to see what is in store for next year. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before! (I actually feel nervous and sad around the end of the year most of the time. I think I get a little bit too nostalgic. This year, I’m looking ahead and excited by what’s on the horizon!) I’ve been very good about taking photos, as I promised.
The month is certainly not over yet but here are a few of the pictures I’ve taken in December.
A lot happened this month. And there are plenty more photos on instagram where you can see all of the crazy projects I’ve been working on. I can’t wait to reveal them all!
Did you have a busy holiday? Are you excited for next year? Do you have any knitting goals lined up?
How was your Thanksgiving? Jon and I cooked dinner for our family (with help from my mom and Aunt Sherry!) and his first turkey turned out fantastically! It was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and I was so pleased to be able to do something small for my family who has done so much for me.
After Jon and I spent all day working on turkey and mashed potatoes and other yummy awesome Thanksgiving goodies, he and my parents fell asleep on respective couches and I sat down to work on the back of my faire isle sweater as a little treat to myself for keeping my energy up all day and also because I was having a dessert/tea sugar/caffeine buzz. I guess the buzz was insufficient because I ended up casting on 120 stitches instead of 130. I counted it at least five times before I started knitting. But about three inches in I realized that I was missing an inch of width.
So I ripped that whole piece out. It was only about a day’s worth of work but I was pleased with how it looked. It’s always disheartening to frog a good chunk of knitting. And it’s embarrassing when you find yourself cursing the pattern when really you’re the one that can’t count. That’s about where I am with the progress on this sweater now. I always kick myself because I post photos of the beginnings of things and the FOs but it’s tough to show the middle part without looking like a pile of stitches.
In my fit of frogging, I began to worry that the sweater will turn out too tight. As I mentioned before, the difference between all of the sizes is 4 1/2″which left me with a difficult choice, somewhere between fairly snug and possibly awkwardly large. (I’m really trying to hold back in the oversized comfy sweater department. I love them but I should really be wearing proper outfits now and then.) I’ve started kicking myself that I should have been using size 4 needles instead of size 3s to give myself a little extra breathing room. With both sleeves finished, I am going to continue crossing my fingers that a good blocking and some good old-fashioned wear will make everything just right. I do hope it turns out. I like to think that I’m a process knitter but I’ve been really looking forward to styling this sweater.
Anyway, stick around this space because there will be some fun gift guides coming up soon!
Any crafting catastrophes recently? What holiday crafting are you doing? What do you want for the holidays?
I’ve got some photos from the early development on my faire isle sweater. I was able to finish a sleeve while I was on a week of hurrication. Since then, progress has slowed down. I’ve only had about an hour to spend on it every day. And, with the holidays swiftly approaching, I can see it being on the needles a little while longer.
Now, faire isle is a technique that, despite my years of knitting and lack of intimidation, I am still perfecting. I realized only recently that I was not carrying my contrast colors correctly. I’m admitting it here so please don’t judge me. Nothing was laying flat and the gauge was a mess. I since have mastered that part.
My biggest problem was the debate between carrying the CCs up the sides or cutting and rejoining. While rejoining is ridiculous (so many ends! SO MANY ENDS!), I have to carry them up more then ten rows between their uses. I consulted Twitter and my lovely friends gave me the advice to carry them losely. I think that’s working out well besides leading to massive tangles. After a few wears, it should felt down a little.
I wish I’d adjusted this pattern to be knit in the round. I don’t know what I was thinking. It should be in the round. Why is it not in the round, Debbie Bliss Magazine? There are a few odd things about the pattern that are pretty specific and I’m not sure if it’s worth explaining them. My only helpful adjustment was to add stitch markers to the beginning and end of the pattern repeats so that it’s not completely confusing when increasing on the edges.
I am very pleased with the color combination. I agonized over the selection for a while since I was shopping online. It’s so tough to decide when you can’t see or feel the yarn! My only regret is that I wish the lavender/grey was switched with the eggshell blue. I didn’t buy enough blue to swap them which was bad of me but I still love the way it looks so it’s not even worth mentioning. Don’t worry. I’m sorry I brought it up.
Now it’s just a lot of repeating patterns. My gauge is about half a stitch too big which I am hoping will work in my favor since I think the sweater might be a little snug. (The small is something like 35″ bust where the medium is 39 1/2″ which is a big difference and I’m somewhere in the middle.) I’m excited to get more pictures when more things are complete. But, like I said, there is holiday crafting on the horizon. Stay tuned, more on that later!
Do you have issues with faire isle? What’s your biggest knitting challenge?
ps. Stay tuned! There is a KYC video coming up tomorrow! Have you subscribed to the channel yet?