Sweaterday: Roam Tunic

sweaterday

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This, my friends, is the fastest sweater I have ever knit. Subtracting a few days from overall knitting time (because I was finishing my Stonecutter’s Cardigan and working on a few other smaller projects), we’re looking at two and a half weeks of knitting time. (I just realized that I knit two Amy garment patterns in a month and a half. Whut.)

Big yarn + big needles = awesome.

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In addition to being a fast knit, my Roam Tunic is super squishy and wonderful to wear. It makes a great layer during these cold days, not too heavy or warm but keeps me feeling comfortable.

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I used 800 yards of Brown Sheep Nature Spun Chunky for this, and I love the way it knit up. A little stiff and maybe a smide scratchy in progress, after a bath, this yarn and the fabric softened right up and is really comfortable to wear.

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Without fail, every garment pattern of Amy’s that I’ve knit so far (which is only three, to be fair, but still) fits wonderfully. Had I swatched for this, I probably would have realized this would come out just a smidgen on the large side and maybe subtracted a few of the side stitches, but I still like the way it fits. I’m picturing maybe getting fancy and belting it a few times.

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The tunic is a little bit longer than I’d anticipated, and the kangaroo pocket is just a little bit too low for comfortable hand position, but if you’ve got a bit of a tummy, as I do, don’t let the pocket deter you—it really doesn’t add much, if any bulk to a region that needs no assistance. I love the length of this sweater, overall.

Who am I kidding, I love everything about this sweater.

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Sweaterday: Belated Edition

sweaterday

This weekend got away from me in a variety of ways, so I didn’t get around to posting this on Saturday. Or Sunday. But I wanted to show you all the progress I’ve made on my Roam Tunic, and how I went a little bit crazy after last week’s launch of the new Knitty issue.

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Look! It’s the front of a sweater! Taking two+ days to dry! I know some people have mentioned in their Ravelry knits that they converted this to an in-the-round knit. I didn’t, and let me explain why: As much as I love knitting in the round and don’t enjoy purling, the sweater, as written, (I think) requires seams. If you knit it in the suggested yarn, which is 100% alpaca, you want the stability and the support that seams provide. Alpaca stretches. It doesn’t have the memory that wool does (it definitely has more than any plant fiber out there). The shoulder join and the seaming of this sweater will help it keep its shape for a good long while. In a similar vein, it’s knit in a chunky yarn. Regardless of the fiber content (and mine is 100% wool) that’s going to be a heavy sweater. Weight + yarn = stretching. While knitting this in the round isn’t a disaster and it’s not a wrong decision, I don’t think it’s necessarily the best decision.

(If you’re concerned about bulky seams, Amy included a note in the pattern about splitting your yarn into fewer plies to reduce bulk, and this plan works.)

As much as I followed the pattern in most ways, in other ways, I went off into Crazy Panda Land.

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Bulky yarn takes FOREVER to dry. The front of the sweater, which I washed and laid out on Saturday morning, felt dry this morning. I don’t know if it was completely dry (and I didn’t exactly wait for it to be completely dry before I seamed everything up because I’m super impatient like that). But this is why I blocked it in pieces—if it took two days for one layer to dry, how long would it take for two layers to dry?

And then, because I find knitting on additions to sweaters that are already seamed to be really aggravating, I knit the collar and the sleeves separately. Because for me, sewing these pieces on is a lot less annoying, and indeed, a little therapeutic, than trying to twist the entire sweater around and around as I knit the collar in the round.

This is one of the beautiful things about knitting. Yes, if you follow a pattern, the journey is sort of predetermined, but there’s always room for excursions and day trips and sitting in fields reading poetry.

You know what I mean.

So in addition to making loads of progress on my Roam Tunic (…finishing it, actually, and hoping to get final shots on Friday before I leave for the holidays, because I do not want to take a bulky vest-tunic to Florida), I fell head over heels for Iðunn when the new Knitty Winter 2012 launched last week. (I think it’s pronounced i-thoon, “i” like “it” and “th” like “the,” but that’s based on a Wikipedia article on ð or “eth,” so.) I had two balls in contrasting colors of the Istex Lett-Lopi that my parents bought for me when they were in Iceland this summer, so I immediately printed out the pattern and came home to cast on.

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I made it that far before I ran out of the lighter purple color, and even though I ordered more yarn last Tuesday, it still hasn’t arrived. From Wyoming. Supposedly it shipped out on Saturday (!!!) and as of this morning was in Denver (which, PS, means it pretty much bypassed me entirely, as I’m closer to Wyoming than I am to Denver). I’m hoping it arrives before I leave to go home, so I can show my parents that I do knit the yarn they bring me, but that means it has to show up either today or tomorrow.

So far it’s knitting up quickly. As soon as I finish the colorwork yoke I think I’ll be ready to split for the arms and body, and if I can get the yarn in time, this will make a great project to knit while I’m traveling.

Sweaterday: Two for One

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Happy December 1! As I mentioned on Thursday, I’m nearly done with my Stonecutter’s Cardigan. I snapped some photos yesterday while we had some sunlight.

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Why yes, those are needles still holding the collar stitches and the ball of yarn that’s attached to them. Even though the collar had been finished the night before, for whatever reason I hadn’t gotten around to binding off the collar stitches before taking these photos. But since then, the collar is bound off, one of the front bands have been knit and the other is about 75% finished, I just got tired of knitting 1×1 rib.

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I love the way this fits. Most cardigans or sweaters I’ve knit have been too big for me in the armholes—I don’t know why. But now both of Amy’s patterns I’ve knit, Larch and this one, fit absolutely perfectly at the arms with out any adjustments needed. In the great scheme of Sweater Knitting, armholes that are too big aren’t the end of the world, but when there’s too much fabric under the arms, it’s uncomfortable and I don’t like wearing the garment. Not going to be an issue with this cardigan.

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I also mentioned Thursday that I’d started knitting another Amy Christoffers pattern, the Roam Tunic from Interweave Knits Fall 2012. I’m using some Brown Sheep Nature Spun Chunky that came home with me. I was a very bad panda and did not swatch at all. This will probably bite me in the ass, although so far, when I hold up the piece to my body, it’s looking like it will fit just fine once it’s washed and blocked.

Please feel free to mock me when this doesn’t work out in a few weeks.

I’ll be at the Holiday Handmade fair in Denver today! Looking forward to seeing what inspiring handmade works people are selling this year. Are you going to any handmade fairs this month?