3.01.2015

we got there in the end

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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! 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 

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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...

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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?

xx

50 comments:

  1. Beautiful sweater Sallie! Excellent use of gage swatches in the end. I love the non-girly lace on you. And no, 6 months is not insane - if it is, then I am equally bonkers. Just finished up BT Coda, and I've started a t-shirt style sweater for spring (or next fall - even with short sleeves 6 months sounds about right).

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  2. Love this! 6 months totally feels like an insane amount of time to finish anything, however, I think it was well worth it! You will wear this sweater for far longer than 6 months, and that amazing color is going to make you smile every time you see it :)

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  3. That color is GORGEOUS!! You did a really nice job. I've got one sweater on the needles right now and I bought some amazing mohair for another yesterday.

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  4. wow, 6 months of knitting! congrats on finishing it! it looks wonderful and fits you really great, so i guess it was worth every second of that 6 months.. i'm pretty obsessed with knitting too, but i can not imagine working so long on one project (which is why i always choose bigger needles).. i plan to finish my first sweater this week, it's going to look a bit crazy and messed up i guess (but i chose to freestyle it instead of using any pattern, so i kind of expected it to end up looking a bit insane)

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  5. Six months sounds about right for fingering yarn... I think it would take me twice that! I love your sweater - the color is great and the pattern wonderful too. You will love this sweater for a long time!!

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  6. I couldn't create something this wonderful in six YEARS!! It's amazing! And I love the 'thistle' color! Well done, Sallie!

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  7. I think this is gorgeous & I love the color!

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  8. How beautiful, Sallie! This color is perfect on you--I love how saturated it is, meant for adult garments or not. Just lovely. Six months well spent, for sure!

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  9. Great work - you're very even despite the slowness! I've only been knitting a little longer than you and yeah it takes me generally 4-6 months to make a jumper so I think that's pretty standard! Recently on the Crafting Sessions blog was a post on improving efficiency and output which you might find interesting. I'm a bit glum as I can't knit at the moment due to an arm injury but I've got Seacoast in my queue and being a 10 ply it would be quick! Also look at the Woolfolk patterns too - love the Knus!

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  10. I love this sweater! The fit, color, and everything just looks great on you. And damn, you've got patience knitting up an entire sweater in fingering weight! I got really, really frustrated with the cardigan pattern I was knitting and just haven't picked it up since. I've been browsing for a different pattern that will work with Swish DK but arrrgggghhh...I'm picky.

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  11. thats so stunning. Im really slow knitter and i keep meaning to find more time/

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  12. Congratulations! I love it! Dude I'm super slooooow too and no matter how I try I'm a tight knitter too, which is annoying. I think when you've come from a sewing background it makes knitting seem excessively slow. So addictive though.

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  13. Well done you! I hear your pain about the time it takes to knit an item. It kills me every time. Sewing is much more instantly gratifying in that way. I also second Sarah from Fabric Tragic. Check the Craft Sessions blog because that post on speeding up your knitting was priceless. I also think knitting a chunkier weight yarn on bigger needles is the answer to that speed conundrum. Check out Weilan Chia's Town and Country Knits. Insanely chunky wool but I'm betting those babies are pumped out super quick!

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  14. This is so beautiful and so worth the time, fabulous job. More time now right? Between sewing and knitting and other hobbies!

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  15. Beautiful knitting. I can't believe that's only your second jumper, it's a perfect fit! I've been eyeing up the Kusama as well, maybe with slightly less ease as it'll probably swamp short old me but I love the slightly punk-ish feel the fit and stitch pattern gives it. Not what you usually expect from BT!!

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  16. Ack! You're making me feel knit crazy again! Even though the crazy only lasts for a few hours and then the night comes and I don't feel like knitting. I just don't get obsessive about so I never end up finishing. Still not 25% done my Bedford! That's said, this is a beaut and the colour looks lovely on you. My vote is definitely for the ondawa. I can live vicariously though you because lord knows id never make that for myself!!!! Maybe I can ask my aunt hee hee hee

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  17. I'd choose the Ondawa myself, but then, I'm not a knitter. I can't even figure out how to crochet! To me, six months doesn't sound that unreasonable, but again, not a knitter. The end result is beautiful though, so regardless of how long it took, it was worth it. :-)

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  18. How about a cardigan for your husband? I knitted BT Slade for mine this winter, and he loves it! wears it all the time...now I'm starting to wonder if he loves the sweater more than me :P there are so many amazing knitting patterns out there, it's hard to decide. After knitting a couple more fitted sweaters for myself, I'm tempted to try something looser, like Blish or Cirrus (both free on Ravelry). but then, I also love Chainlink from the latest BT collection...if only I could knit while sleeping..

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  19. This is really, really beautiful and totally an adult color! I love it on you! I loved it so much when I saw your IG updates that I looked up the pattern and... um, yeah, I don't do fingering-weight yarn! I made a tunic once in it that took about nine months, so six months for a regular seems like a similar pace. Blake accidentally felted the tunic, so that's put me off fingering-weight for good, I think! I'm about halfway through Ondawa right now and really enjoying it, although I also love the look of Backbay! Either one will be beautiful!

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  20. Samantha LindgrenMarch 2, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    Yeah, any way you slice it, knitting is more time consuming than sewing. But it is portable, so you can knit in all sorts of odd places, and that can make up some time. I try not to think too much about the time differential between knitting and sewing. When you make something as yummy as this (I think that Thistle is the bomb!) than all that time pays off. You can go up in gauge, but you have to be careful not to go too far, or you end up with some chunky clunky you won't wear much. Sport weight, and below, makes up luscious garments you're much more likely to wear that are multi-season. Also, as with everything, the more you knit the better, and faster, you get at it. My solution to the time issue is to make simple classic silhouettes in dreamy yarns like BT or The Fibre Company and let the yarn do all the work. The cool links to other patterns you have here will take more time, due to their intricate patterns. They will also make gorgeous garments. Have you seen Carrie Bostick Hoge's patterns? http://www.maddermade.com Simple, but oh so beautiful.... It's all a matter of how you want to spend your time, and what you want to wear on your body. I find few things more pleasurable than some quiet knitting at the end of the day and then the lovely sweaters I get to wear when I'm done....

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  21. Your bangs are looking adoooorable, and your knitting is spectacular! I get so impatient I find it difficult to finish, but it would be easier knowing this was at the end! x

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  22. I had to laugh out loud at the advisement not to use that color for adult-sized garments... um, don't tell the creatives what to do!! It turned out beyond marvelously!
    I admire your patience with the tiny needles; I'm an incredibly slow knitter even though I've been at it for a few years and have yet to tackle a real sweater. This would likely take me a couple years. You are fearless!

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  23. I love the colour of that YARN! and such wonderful bangs going on!

    All round amazing!

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  24. It's really, really beautiful. I love that purple, and the texture.
    I have never knitted a garment, barely even followed a pattern, but knitting does take me ages!
    Personally, I love Ondawa, it looks so put together.

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  25. Excellent point! Thanks Samantha! I love taking my knitting on long car rides (I don't get car sick) and planes - I even took it to jury duty!! And I also agree that as much as I was getting frustrated with how slow this was knitting up, I really do love the look of the thinner yarn - it has less of a 'home made' look, and it's much better suited to my climate. And thanks for the reminder about Madder Made patterns! I've seen some of those patterns on Quince & co and always thought they were really lovely and featured some really interesting designs! I'll definitely be considering some of those!

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  26. Oh I would be so heartsick if my handknits got felted!! Ack!!
    I've been totally inspired by your progress with Ondawa. I can't wait to see how it finishes up!

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  27. Thanks Lori! Honestly I haven't known what to do with myself since I finished this sweater! Yesterday I took a NAP! Unheard of!! Haha!

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  28. Oh my gosh I totally remember that cardigan!! It's beyond gorgeous! And I actually really loved your tips for burying in your ends in that post - came in super handy for finishing off this sweater!

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  29. Thank you Sarah! That Crafting Sessions post(s) was a great help - if for no other reason than letting me know that I'm not doing it wrong! Although I definitely think I am going to experiment with how I'm tensioning my yarn on my next make. And wow! Thank you for introducing me to Woolfolk! I've fallen in love with Flet - that just might jump the queue!

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  30. Thanks Mary!!

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  31. I mean.... I'm pretty sure there was once a time when I did stuff around the house??? Hobbies have turned me into a bad person!!

    Hawser is the new obsession, as of this morning. Giant cables!!!!!

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  32. Haha!!! You're welcome! I kinda just love those little bobbles... I think that might be my project for next fall.


    And, yes, Nick has totally ruined a few of my me-mades and it's pretty hard to get angry because, well, he's doing the laundry!

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  33. Oh that is such a good perspective! Yes, hopefully this will be the type of garment that will last a lifetime, so six months seems like nothing in the long run!

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  34. Thanks! Ondawa is definitely a beauty!

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  35. That's probably for the best! Nick is so not into me starting a new knitting project - he says I just build myself a nest and don't move from it for months on end! I think I'm just really into anything that keeps my hands busy but that I can still zone out to bad tv to... it's like my ultimate comfort zone.

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  36. Oh you are such a good wife!! My husband is about 2 and half times bigger than me and the thought of knitting anything that big just makes me want to cry!! Haha! Actually, I've offered, but Nick knows he wouldn't get it for years!

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  37. Thanks Chloe!!

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  38. Blake felt so badly that I didn't even want to show any sadness- I was working a ton at the time and he was trying to be helpful by dealing with my hand washing laundry... unfortunately he thought it could be machine washed, which, I COULD'VE DONE THAT, but, his intentions were good. And I got to wear it out a few times, so that was nice. :)

    ALSO. At 12:30 last night when I was supposed to be falling asleep, I had my phone out in bed looking at more versions of Backbay! SO... THANKS A LOT! :D

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  39. Thanks!! Yeah, I totally agree, it's a little different for BT! And oh my god wouldn't it be the most fantastic thing to wear with leggings and sexy boot??

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  40. The color and fit of this sweater are perfect! I would love to see more of your knitting projects on the blog. I've been working on a green alpaca Ondawa (off and on, I admit) for months, so my boyfriend can definitely relate to Nick.

    Re: what to knit next, I vote Backbay! The texture is beautiful.

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  41. Hey, thanks!! That pattern was totally not that hard (you could do it)! I've discovered that I really like it when there's sections of plain/easy/fast knitting alternating with a little something more interesting/absorbing.

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  42. re: good wife - not really, this is the first thing I ever made him in 8 years of sewing/kintting.
    I see your point though, about knitting for someone of bigger stature...definitely avoid fingering weight yarn :) chunky scarf anyone :P Knitting is definitely a work of patience, although i find comfort in knowing that I can unravel something if I'm unhappy, as opposed to having to recut completely new pieces when sewing.
    I would definitely love to see more of your knitted pieces, so don't hestiate to share!

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  43. Great sweater. Knitting can be so addictive. I love doing it while watching something on TV. And thank you for sharing the video about how to do a spit splicing!

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  44. Thanks Mia! Maybe while the weather is still cool I'll photograph my first knitted sweater. I'm going to try to get better at posting as I finish my knitting!

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  45. That color is great, I would have never thought to pick it, but it really looks good. I've picked crazy colors once or twice for knitting, and didn't like the outcome, so now, since knitting takes soooo long, I tend to stick with grey/black/blue/white. boring... I'm currently knitting Rowe by Brooklyn Tweed, and I totally have my eye on Cordova (in BT Winter15). But since I started Rowe in October, and still haven't finished, my next super warm sweater might have to wait for next winter! You're not the only slow knitter out there :)

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  46. Great sweater!! I love the color on you. I finished knitting a sweater but have never blogged about it...and I don't know why. I'm always amazed at how fast some can finish a knitted project. I take fooorrrrevvvvver to finish anything! Six months is quick in my books.

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  47. Oh glad you liked them - I've already started trying some other techniques too - I'm keen to master continental knitting, then try Seacoast!

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  48. this is so inspirational. I love hitting but cannot learn to read patterns :( Ive asked quite a few woman to teach me to no avail

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  49. Lovely sweater, the colour looks great on you!

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  50. Really really beautiful, Sallie :) I love the style you chose, and I really love that it's lace but not lace. I'm with you - too much lacework is too girly for me and makes me uncomfortable :) I know exactly what you mean, too, about blogging knits - why don't we blog them??


    Totally bookmarking this pattern - I love Carol Feller :)

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