Because I know myself pretty well, I knew I'd spend most of my summer holidays working on new designs. Therefore, I made a conscious decision in the spring that I would take a little holiday from designing before my actual holidays. Just enough to knit one sweater with someone else's pattern.
How: Circular needles 2.5, 3.5 and 4.0 mm
From: Madelinetosh Merino Light (and a few meters of Skein Queen Crush), 430 g
What else would a knitwear designer idolize except of course other designers? For the longest time, I've been admiring a Polish designer, Marzena Kolaczek on Instagram. She knits with other designers' patterns, designs her own patterns, writes a knitting blog (in Polish but Google translate works quite well here), has a yarn shop, and to top it all off, dyes her own yarns as well. Not to mention that there's the husband who really knows what he's doing with the camera. And to add to all this, our knitwear aesthetics are really similar. As you can probably tell, I'm quite the fan girl.
I've been dreaming of making one of her designs for quite some time already. So once I made the decision to take a little break from designing, I knew who's design to pick. And one of Marzena's most recent designs, the Twill and plain pullover had been calling my name loud and clear. Luckily, I've switched from buying lonesome sock yarns to buying sweater quantities, so I did have enough yarn in my stash - four skeins of Madelinetosh Merino Light. As I was packing for a work trip in the middle of the night, there wasn't an opportunity to go shopping for new yarn. I tell you, having a stash of 30 kg is the best thing!
This project was super interesting but I wouldn't call it relaxing holiday knitting. Nu-uh. But I'm the type of knitter that enjoys challenges.
The sweater started with working the front piece from side to side to achieve the gorgeous twill texture. This sweater was kind of a combination of weaving and knitting. The weaved-like texture was done with slipped stitches, slipping with the yarn in front. And, there was the extra challenge of slipping stitches also on the wrong side - this time with the yarn in back. And, of course to achieve the chevron pattern, the placement of the slipped stitches was constantly changing. Doesn't sound very relaxing now does it? Well, it wasn't but it was amazing in so many other ways.
Once the front panel was finished, stitches were picked up to continue knitting upwards shaping the neckline at the same time. This part was worked in linen stitch, so more slipped stitches with the yarn in front.
The shoulders were shaped with short rows and the back of the sweater was plain vanilla, stockinette stitch. Actually, the pattern instructed to join the back and front only at the hem but I figured a few more challenges wouldn't be too bad. So, I calculated rough estimates for my tension in the front piece twill texture and the stockinette from the shoulders, and figured out how often I should work the edge stitches together. I'm all for 'join as you go' instead of 'work 40 cm of stockinette stitch straight'. Every time you pause to measure, it's a mystery: first you're missing 10 cm but then you work a few rows and measure again, and now you're missing 11 cm. I like how joining as you go shows the progress you're making. Plus, I hate seaming.
Once I finished the part requiring concentration, the marathon begun. Because, a folded hem requires twice as much ribbing as a regular hem. And that's not all folks: the hem was sewn into place. During another work trip, I spent 5 hours at Edinburgh airport sewing the sweater hem while waiting for my plane which happened to be 5 hours late. And hey, I hear you, why didn't I just do a regular ribbing or use three needle bind off? Well.. If I'm totally honest, it was precisely these lovely folded cuffs and hem that made me want to have this piece in my wardrobe. And, I've tried the three needle bind off with folded hems but it easily gets too tight and this sweater really needed to be loose and relaxed. So, it was a ton of work but totally worth it. The only thing that bothered me a bit was that there were no instructions on how long a tail I should cut for the sewing. I measured a tail three times round the hem but still it run out just a few cm before finishing.
And just as I was finishing the sleeves, I got to play yarn chicken and lost. Even though, Tosh Merino Light skeins are almost always over weight, I still ran out of yarn. Of course, I had bought the skeins years ago and my LYS didn't have this color at the moment. Also, with hand dyed yarn, the colors can vary quite a bit between dye lots, and I had no intention on waiting for a month or so to finish this sweater. Alas, a stroke of luck: my LYS amazingly had almost the exact same color in a totally different yarn base by a totally different dyer, and I was saved. It was a bit irritating to start the backup skein just for the last two rows of the second sleeve and the neckband but I'm sure I'll find something to knit with the rest of it.
Now, what did we learn from all of this? A) I don't advertise myself being a masochist knitter for nothing as I really seem to enjoy challenges even with my holiday knitting. B) Different stitch patterns can eat up surprising amounts of yarn. C) Apparently, even this queen of uncolors can feel at home in colorful knits. D) What a gorgeous sweater! Truly, I have to say, this marathon post isn't intended as complaints of any kind. The length of the post is due to this being the most interesting project in a while. This wasn't a mindless TV knit but I enjoyed it immensely, and now I have this lovely merino armor to keep me warm once the sweater weather hits.