I just realized that (according to Ravelry) I have been knitting for over six years now! You would think I would have gotten faster in that time, but for some reason I’m still a pretty slow knitter. I must be getting slightly faster though, because I knit a Clarke Pullover by Jane Richmond in less than my normal average of a year! It’s probably only partially the speed at which I knit, but also the frequency. Lately, I have been sewing more than I have been knitting, so that could be part of it.
Anyway, as I always say, ain’t nothing like a deadline, and camp is always a reason to try get last minute makes completed. I mean, this wasn’t the most complicated pattern; it’s just stockinette & stripes that’s knit top down and seamless. There’s not even any waist shaping. The one thing that maybe makes it take a little longer is all the damn yarn ends you have to weave in from the stripes.
Even after six years, I feel like I am still learning about yarn (and there are so many yarns that I haven’t tried). I often go with the recommended yarn brand, which for this pattern was Yoth Big Sister. Yoth is based out of Woodinville, WA and I had seen this yarn at Knit Fit Seattle (which last I heard is no longer), so I knew I liked the colors and the feel of it (it’s very soft, not scratchy at all), but they didn’t have sweater quantities of the colors I wanted. I left empty handed that day, but I knew they also sold this yarn at Tolt Yarn and Wool, which is only about an hour east of where I live. I love an excuse to go there, so I was able to drive out there and pick up what I wanted for this sweater.
Boringly, I seem to have a tendency to knit things in the same colors as the pattern’s photos. I did it with my Calligraphy Cardigan too. I can’t help it. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you have probably noticed that I figured out a while ago that I love navy blue and gray. This really helps with sewing and knitting things that I will actually wear and go together, so how I could I not knit this up in the same colors? Besides, I will admit that I like knowing how something will look before I knit it. I see that as an added bonus.
Special Techiques: Jogless Stripes
Knitting in the round creates a spiral, so the last stitch of the row is always one row higher than the first stitch of that row (known as a jog). If you are knitting stripes in the round, the stripes won’t look like they line up right unless you use a method for eliminating the jog. This pattern offers you two options for creating jogless stripes: pick-up and slipped stitch. The pick-up method looked more complicated to me, so I went with the slipped stitch method where you just knit one round of the new color as normal and then slip the first stitch of the next row. The pick-up method may have made the jog even less noticeable, but since the rows began at the side seam, the jogs aren’t in a very noticeable place, so this method worked fine for me.
This sweater is getting so much wear. I probably wear it once a week. It’s the perfect sweater for this time of year in Seattle because it keeps me warm when I am outside, but I’m not overheating once I’m inside, like some of my other sweaters.
It is pilling a little (as most sweaters do), but I have been using this sweater comb on my sweaters lately and I gave it a good de-fuzz right before these photos. I’ve tried other sweater shavers (like the ones that take batteries and have a little fan blade), but I think this one works way better than those. I have learned that I need to be gentle with it though, as I think I tore a hole in another sweater with it.
One big difference between sewing and knitting (that I somehow always forget), is that when you sew something, it’s done after that final stitch and maybe a press and then it is ready to wear, but when you knit something (a sweater in particular), when you are finished knitting it you still have to block it. And that can take days, especially in cold weather. So while I was able to finish knitting this right before camp last year, my usual three days of blocking was going to have to happen in two if I was going to be able to bring this with me. In the summer, that could maybe happen, but in the winter it was going to need some help. In my true stubborn “I-can-make-it-happen” form, I did not let this deter me. With two days before I would board a plane to New York for camp, I set this sweater to blocking and headed to the internet for tips on how to get it to dry faster.
Apparently, I am not the only person to do this, as a google search resulted in a myriad of posts about how to get a sweater to dry faster (some with great tips). I think I tried a towel on top for about a day, but then took it off and switched to just a fan pointed at it. I even saw a couple of my camp friends posting on Instagram about their last minute drying attempts as well. So, as it turns out, I wasn’t the only crazy person carting a slightly damp sweater onto a plane and then laying it out to dry on their hotel bed. Just sayin’.
The point is, I got to wear this sweater at camp and it was totally worth it.