I Love a Good Yarn

Yarns, stories, and sometimes stories about yarn


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Flurry of finished objects – part three (the final)

This one deserved its very own post. The Swirl sweater is done! I finished it about a month ago after taking a break from it for about a month. So, three months of my life invested in this project, and I am thrilled with the results.

It started off as a huge oval …

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… that eventually sprouted wings …

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… and required hours of finishing time to weave in all those blasted tails. But the end result is just gorgeous. The only issue is that the sleeves are much too long (something other Ravelers noted, but I hadn’t taken in until after the damage was done), but I will most likely sew a hem on them to keep them in place when tucked under.

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This sweater has such a unique structure, I really had no idea how it would turn out until the final seam was sewn and I tried it on. I was convinced it would morph into some misshapen blob, and I’d have sunk a substantial amount of money into something unwearable. But it surprised me in the end, and I’m actually considering making another one … though maybe not until winter 2018/2019.

And I found the perfect (not yet photographed) pin when shopping at Espace Tricot in Montreal to close the front and really show off those lapel tassels.

After the investment of time and money for the Swirl – I honestly was shocked at how much yarn was needed on a project of this size – I’m glad to be tackling much smaller projects this summer. My Felicity top is almost done after just over a week of knitting. That’s the kind of (as close to) instant gratification I need after turning out something of this magnitude.

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Naknicromo day 21: Share your progress!

I’m sad to say that I don’t yet have a finished object to share. The knitting part is done on the Swirl, but now comes all the tedious weaving in of ends. I’ve already put more than three hours into this endeavor, and I don’t think I’m quite half way through. There are loads of ends.

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And that’s just one one cuff. As this is not my favorite part of a project, I’m really going to have to exercise some discipline to get this done. But now at least I can lay the entire piece out flat and get a better idea as to how it’s all going to come together once the seams are sewn up.

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I think it’s going to be a really striking piece. Hopefully the sizing will work. If it does, and I feel happy in my finished garment, I foresee more of these Swirl pieces in my future!


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Naknicromo day 14: Share your progress!

What a day! My region is in the midst of an historic blizzard, which will result in 2 to 2 1/2 feet of snow being dumped on us by the time it winds down late tonight. This same storm brought coastal flooding and treacherous freezing rain and sleet to some areas south of me, and widespread power outages all up and down the east coast. Luckily, I’ve still got power, and more importantly, HEAT, as the temperature has not gotten any higher than the mid 20s (Fahrenheit). But unfortunately, as someone who works at home, this crazy weather does not translate into a proper snow day, so I’ve not had the luxury curling up on my couch with my knitting and Netflix. But this is truly my one complaint about having a work at home job. Except for the fact that I don’t get snow days, everything else about working at home is glorious.

My Swirl is coming along really well. It’s sprouted wings, and now I’m in the home stretch of doing the decreases to shape the front bodice. Only 40 more rows of decreases to do on a piece that started with 569 stitches and totals 305 rounds/rows. The tedious chore begins after the bind off, when I have to weave in all of those tails.

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Here’s a closeup of the colors used:

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The reverse stockinet sections alternate between three different variegated colorways of the Malabrigo Rios superwash merino. I love how the tamer earth tones are interspersed with pops of more vivid jewel tones and tranquil pastels. The stockinet sections use two of three variegated colorways and either two rows red/one row yellow or two rows yellow/one row red. I was going for a sort of “painted desert at sunset” color palette. Even though that’s a region I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting, I had something like this photo from the travel blog www.gonewiththewynns.com in mind when choosing the colors:

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Hopefully the next “Share your progress” update will include a fully finished Swirl!

 


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Naknicromo day 7: Share your progress!

My Swirl had been coming along wonderfully – but then I ran out of yarn in one of my colorways. My local yarn shop where I’m doing the knit-along doesn’t have any more, and the producer is out as well, so I’m left with a conundrum: wait until my LYS can get more once the producer has completed the new dye lots? Or find a skein elsewhere online and order it so as to keep the momentum going. Regardless, I won’t get a skein in the same dye lot I’ve been using, but it’s really more a matter of timing. I wanted to get this sweater done by the end of the month. I think I’ll check today with my LYS to see if there’s any estimate as to how long it will take.

The good and bad news is that the yarn is from Malabrigo. It’s bad news, as they do extremely small dye lots, and there tends to be a lot of variation between the lots. But, the good news is that, even within dye lots, there’s a lot of variation, so my Swirl is already quite vivid (the pattern is called Coat of Many Colors, so I almost can’t go wrong). Using another skein from the same colorway but a different dye lot probably won’t produce a startling result. And I’ve loved working with this yarn (Malabrigo Rios superwash merino).

I’m on welt 45 of a 61 welt sweater (five rows per welt), and the rest involves a lot of decreases, so I’m actually well over 3/4 of the way there.

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I can always take care of weaving in some of the tail spaghetti to keep me busy until I can get that last skein.

And I also have my Om Shawl to work on. Last night I started on the second section of color work. After viewing some videos on two-handed stranded color work, I started using this technique, which is much more efficient than constantly stopping to slide the working yarn under the ball of yarn I’d just worked to get that twist in the two colors to avoid gaps. I’m very clumsy with the stitches knit English style, but I’m sure with practice, that will get faster and the stitches will be more uniform.

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It was hard to get good photos today, as it’s a typical early March day in New York – cold, dreary and rainy. But I shouldn’t complain. The overnight low this coming Friday is forecast for 8 degrees Fahrenheit! Ah, March … but more on that later.


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My Swirl-along

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Last month I started a knit-along to make a “Swirl” sweater. The Swirl is the brainchild of Sandra McIver, whose gorgeous book knit, Swirl! contains four different sweater constructions, with multiple patterns for each construction. The sweater is knit in the round for the most part, starting from the outside and working inward. This creates a roughly circular (or really more octagonal) piece with a gap in the middle.

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Stitches around that gap are then used to create the back and front bodice and sleeves. The finished product is one single piece that needs only to be seamed from cuff to cuff. The four constructions – round and oval, each with either centered or off-centered gaps – create larger or smaller collars. The centered Swirls have collars so large they can be worn as hoods, while others can even be worn upside down to even more versatility to your piece. The off-centered swirls have narrower collars and hang lower in the back.

Because the sweater is worked from the outside in, your cast-on will be a test of patience; one German Ravelry user described the it as a schwere Geburt – literally a difficult birth. I chose to do the pattern from the book’s cover. The cast-on for the medium-sized Swirl was a whopping 569 stitches. I thought I could do the standard long-tail cast-on and even consulted a variety of sources for tricks to accurately gauge the length of tail needed for a cast-on of this size. But it still ended up taking me three attempts to get it right. The two-skein cast-on or casting on with both ends of the yarn from a single skein is definitely recommended here.

The other major difficulty with a cast-on of that size is joining without any twists. I was lucky enough to have the help of my knit-along leader to get this aspect right the first time. Other participants in the knit-along shared stories of their exasperation of finding a twist only after making some serious headway in the project. That’s a lot of hours lost if you have to frog multiple rounds of more than 550 stitches!

Session two of the knit-along meets in less than two weeks, and so far I’m pleased with my progress. If it turns out well, I’ll definitely try out some of the other shapes and fibers featured in the book. Though knit, Swirl! is now out of print in the hardcover, it can still be purchased as an ebook on the knit, Swirl! site, as can two individual patterns from the book. Or you can find it used on Amazon.