SiMPLE SOMETHiNG finished

I just made some fresh {decaf} coffee and I’m sitting in my living room, cross-legged with my chromebook in my lap, thinking about how grateful I am for this community. Thank you for an amazing stream this morning! We had a lot of fun: We talked about the sweaters I’m working on, the sampling process and fleeces I’ve been working to card up, and the ideas that I’ve got brewing for the upcoming Yarn Substitution content. It was a packed show!

I have really felt invigorated by the energy that is evolving from this community as we all enter this ‘new normal’ around social distancing, isolation, and how we are going to move forward as a global community. Within our own small footprint in the world, we have come up with some really amazing ways to connect in multiple ways.

A few of our members have put together our Made with Love ALONG – a tribute to one of our intergral members, Kartrina of Crafty Jaks Boutique (our dyer and creator of the colourways we spin for Breed & Colour Studies) and Kelly of Kelly G. Knits. For more on this amazing ALONG, please check out Rebecca’s post here. These two are integral members of our community and I couldn’t imagine it without them!

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Anker’s Cardigan by PetiteKnits for my Made with Love – ALONG

As well, Becca is hosting a Jane Austen – ALONG on Slack in the #booksbooksbooks channel. We are starting with Sense & Sensibility and we welcome anyone who would like to participate. Becca has posted a link in the Slack channel with a free audio edition of the book that is available online.

There’s the ongoing 51 Yarns SAL groups, Make Nine 2020 and Zero-to-Hero in the Ravelry group as well — there’s lots happening I hope you jump in and feel welcome to participate!

Part of my own participation in the group has been to start working through my Make Nine Part II projects – and I am on such a wonderful role that I wanted to share my most recent finished object with you: The Simple Something pullover! I hope you will excuse the waxing-poetic about this pattern and design because I am just over the freaking moon about this project.

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Pattern: SiMPLE SOMETHiNG by Ankestrick {Ravelry project page} – REVERSIBLE

Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns ‘Falling Leaves’ handspun, traditional 2-ply, short-backward with smoothing, pre-drafted (links below)

Needles: 4.00mm / US 6

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Handspun Yarns:

100% Gotland  – 344 yards // Superwash (SW) Targee – 568 yards // Alpaca + Merino + Silk – 512 yards

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The original plan for this fibre was to spin and weave for a large project that was going to turn into Spin to Weave content for both Wool n’ Spinning and the School of SweetGeorgia. I was really excited about this prospect but over time, Felicia and I began discussing other ideas. Our ideas, as they tend to, morphed into something else that I am so excited about and look forward to sharing with you in the future as we further flush-out the thoughts her and I have been discussing.

The other part of my reasons for wanting to pivot with this fibre was that the finished yarns just screamed “Knitting yarn!” to me. I could not get over the gently-spun nature of the pre-drafted Gotland and the drape of the Alpaca/Merino/Silk. These yarns were just so incredible to me – and the thought of possibly losing that in the weaving due to my learning curves that I am still experiencing as a beginning weaver was worrisome to me!

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I began searching for a knitting pattern for this yarn. I wanted to showcase each yarn separately but together in the same pattern. The question became: Shawl or sweater? I searched through the pattern database on Ravelry (one of my most favourite things to do!) and found the Comfort Fade Cardi by Andrea Mowry. I immediately started knitting. While I had gauge on 4.00mm / US 6 needles, I wasn’t happy with the fabric. It was very open and loose. This would be absolutely fine if that were the type of fabric I was going for but in this case, I was worried about the fabric bagging out and snagging, let alone wear issues. Many of the objects on my Make Nine (both I and II) are wearable items that will last me for years – a drapey, open-fabric that doesn’t lend itself to durability isn’t really in line with my vision of my garments that I’m adding to my Capsule Wardrobe at the moment.

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Over the course of a few weeks, I stumbled several times on Ankestrick’s new pattern, Simple Something. The pullover drew me in, even though I am not usually a pullover-knitter. I love cardigans because they suit my style but again and again, I returned to this pattern on Ravelry. I don’t tend to buy patterns on a whim but I decided to do just that and purchased the pattern to read about how the colour blending was done. I figured that worst-case scenario, I could use the information and translate it into a cardigan (which I may still do in version 2.0!). The written pattern was excellent and I read it in bed one night from start-to-finish when I was feeling particularly fried.

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We went snowshoeing at the very beginning of the social distancing protocols and on our way up to the mountain (about 2 hours East from us), I cast on and worked the short-row shaping at the back neck. These rows are really important in sweater construction because they lift the back of the sweater, whether pullover or cardigan up properly to fit the silouette of a human properly. Older sweater patterns that lack this shaping bag at the back of the neck (think boat-neck) and don’t often fit properly.

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As we were driving, I was able to finish and separate for the sleeves, working down the body about 4-5 inches! This was such a fast knit! The problems began after we were home and I was able to put it on a longer cable to see what it was like on my dressform. Unfortunately, I was very worried at this point about running out of yarn. My yarn balls were severely diminished and I wasn’t sure I would have enough to finish. Part of the challenge with a pattern like this is that the effect of the colour blending is actually created by holding the yarns double the entire time. While the yardage of my yarns was substantial to begin with (see above), when held double for a knitted sweater, the yardage is literally half what you spun. Again, a necessary sacrifice for the amazing colour blending!

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In the end, I decided to pull out my ball winder and I ripped back to mid-yoke. Based on my gauge (slightly bigger than the pattern), I re-calculated the number of stitches I needed for a 0 – ease fit on myself and separated for the sleeves based on those calculations to maximize yardage. This meant that the sweater, meant to be worn with quite a bit of positive – ease (baggy and drapey) ended up being more fitted and cropped on me. My torso is quite long at ~9 inches compared to the average 5-6 inches of the ‘standard’ woman (whatever that means) so the pullover at ~13-14 inches long ends up being cropped on me. I’m totally okay with that because with high waisted jeans or a skirt? This sweater looks great (if I do say so myself)!

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In the end, the different yarns created an amazingly soft fabric. Due to the slightly higher density of the fabric from the yarns held double, the fabric is warm and structured. This will help the Alpaca/Merino/Silk from draping and bagging out while also helping the Gotland not to pill and full too much. The overall structure of the sweater is incredible. I wish you all could touch it and feel it against your own skin. This is going to get a lot of wear!

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I wanted to make a note of how I knit the sleeves and kept them so similar for those who would like to knit this amazing sweater! I kept a list of the yarns I used as I knit each round and noted the decreases as well. This meant that when I went to knit the second sleeve, I just made my way down the list and ticked off each round as I knit it. The sleeves ended up being incredibly similar – minus the slight variations between the colours at that particular place in the yarn. Pretty awesome!

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As well, I wished I had had 1 or 2 more skeins of yarn. The safe answer here is that I wished I had had 2 braids of each fibre to be able to spin and ply together (3 colourways, 3 yarns, each double in yardage) to have much more yardage to work with for a longer, more relaxed fit. This would have worked well to cardigan-ize this sweater, too, as a longer, drapey cardigan using the colour blending techniques in the pattern would be absolutely brilliant! A fourth colourway in a ‘matching’ yarn – either from the same dyer with the same dyes and worked together would work brilliantly. Or same colour on 4 fibres, as with this sweater would be great to just give a bit more yardage.

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I think the possibilities are endless here! Let me know if you decide to try this approach! I think it’ll be brilliant to have a bunch of #handspunyarnSimpleSomething sweaters!

Good luck!

 

 

 

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