Friday, October 26, 2012

Red Queen fair isle pullover: finished!

Happy Friday! Thank you for your comments on being "back". I'm still trying to catch up on life after the last several weeks. :)

As promised, I have photos to share of my latest knitted sweater. I actually started this last November if you can believe it. For some reason I only worked on this one in fits and spurts, with the final spurt being to finish it up to wear to Rhinebeck last weekend. My flight was Friday and I was setting in the sleeves Thursday night after packing. Of course, it was in the mid-60s all weekend but I wore it anyway!

The pattern is Red Queen (Ravelry link) by Lorraine Condotta. Lorraine does amazing fair isle patterns (she's also the designer of my Scare Isle beret). You can see the original is a traditional boxy style Shetland pullover:

{Copyright © Lorraine Condotta}

But I gave it a more vintage shape. I do this so often I swear I need a name for it. Maybe I "vintaged" it?

I knit this in the smallest size and changed the armhole shaping and the sleeve shape. The body was knit in the round with the armholes and neckline steeked, and the sleeves were knit together separated by steeks, then cut apart, sewn and set in. I find stranded knitting more enjoyable over a larger diameter so I like that method for sleeves.

I also added buttons across one shoulder. That modification was a happy accident. As I was furiously trying to get in a bit of knitting before my extended work project that led up to Rhinebeck, I miscalculated my neckline shaping and couldn't get me head through. Whoops. So I added a button band across one shoulder and used three small vintage buttons to close it up.

I love it!

 I just love the mix of the traditional fair isle patterns with the little crowns!

The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed LOFT, a relatively loosely-spun fingering weight. I don't generally find that yarn needs a learning curve, but this one did for sure. I already knew from Ravelry that it had a reputation of being fragile—yank too hard and it will break. This is true (though it's easy to spit splice it back). If you're a tight knitter you might have a hard time knitting with it. I also had to knit it on much smaller needles than I'd normally knit fingering weight on to get the same gauge: 2.5mm vs. 3-3.25mm.

It knits up to be a warm and dense fabric when stranded, but very lightweight and comfy! And the colors are way more gorgeous in person... difficult to capture that in photos (the lighting was really giving me troubles which didn't help).

I'm really thrilled with how this pullover came out once I finally devoted myself to finishing it almost a year after starting it! And I think it really shows you don't have to shy away from modern patterns even if your style is more retro. A few little tweaks here and there and you can make it work for you. I love vintage knitting patterns but I also love working with modern patterns and supporting knitwear designers, too!

 Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sheep, alpacas and work

Well hello my friends! Long time no see! In case you were wondering if the earth swallowed me up whole, it did not. Not quite, anyhow.

Over the last month I was involved in a project at work that we've gone through each of the last few years which means pretty much working all hours I can manage for weeks leading up to the launch. I had no time for blogging, no time for knitting, no time for responding to emails, no time for literally anything but work for weeks, from mid-September through mid-October. It wrapped up a week ago, just in time for me to head out to upstate New York for a few days to attend Rhinebeck, AKA the New York Sheep & Wool Festival. Where I was so tired from all the work I could barely manage to take any photos, so I have precious little to share with you except a few Instagram snaps.

A sneak peek of the fair isle pullover I was able to block and seam up Thursday night before I left. I wore this Saturday and got lots of compliments!


And alpacas, and llamas in the background!

And fingerless gloves that I started knitting during my travels to Rhinebeck and finished up my last night at the hotel.

That's all I've got. I'm easing back into "normal" life again after a whirlwind month. Lots of correspondence to catch up on, lots of blogs to read, lots of knitting and sewing projects swirling around in my head (finally I'll have time to play with my new serger, yahoo!). Lots and lots to do!

I hope you all have been well!
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