Sweaters in 2023 (Part II)

Sweaters in 2023 (Part II) | Starting off with handspun yarn containing banana fibre, a tank that I scrolled past on IG, being completely inspired and cast on; then, a cardigan in rustic, thick yarn and lacey patterning. Smitten! #useyourhandspun #sweaterknitting

I started off this post last week, leaving you with my finished Pressed Flowers and Newspaper Pullover in Part I. The post was just too long to wax poetic about the next two sweaters that I finished this summer, again one handspun and the other commercial yarn. I love them both and it’s hard to chose which to share with you first but I think the handspun has to be showcased first off!

First, the yarn was spun from deep stash last year. From Elfenwolle, Tina located in Germany is no longer dyeing (to my knowledge), this fibre was an interesting blend of Shetland, Banana Fibre and Tussah silk. Lovely combination but in unknown quanitities. I had spun a 3-ply fractal with the fibre so a lovely drape but a round yarn, compared to what I would have achieved with a 2-ply. I’d thought shawl at the time I spun it but instead, it languished in my stash …

I shared more photos on the podcast recently, specifically this epsiode here, of the original fibre and yarn.

I saw the most adorable tank on Instagram recently and it just stuck in my mind. I went hunting through my stash, stumbling on this yarn. There was more than enough yardage at 552 yards in the 120 gram skein. In the end, I used 367.5 yards.

The yarn was specifically chosen to work with the skirt I am wearing here due to the subtle blue in the yarn.

Unable to erase the tank from my mind after seeing it, I did some sleuthing and found it again! The pattern is the Mini-Mock Neck Tank by Jessie Maed Designs. It is brilliantly simple – the finishing around the arms is the absolute best part. And it’s a fast knit. Very fast. This was finished in about 3 days. Honest. It took longer to do the tubular bind off (not really, but you know what I mean).

My version of the mini-mock neck tank in a 3-p[ly handspun fractal yarn containing Shetland, Banana fibre & Tussah silk

If I were to make one modification now, knowing what I know, I would lengthen the body by another 1-2 inches. It pulls up as I am moving. I hadn’t lengthen it based on my try-on while still knitting but after wearing this, I would add to it. The tubular bind-off keeps me from doing this – the thought of unraveling that bind off (especially since I did it on my Pink Velvet years ago) is daunting but I’ll wear this a couple of times and reassess.

Trust the pattern sizing for chosing your size – it works and the fit is close, very neat.

I’m not a huge fan of stripes but the subtle striping of the fractal is pleasing in this. I had compliments from my neice, sister-in-law and daughter about it, which I call a win. There is a part of me that wants to knit another one immediately as I have a perfect skein of handspun but I’m a bit concerned about yardage of the skein … not for the faint of the heart wishing to play Yarn Chicken for the entire the knit … hmmmm (insert thoughtful emoji here).

Next, a sweater that I fell in love with as soon as it was off the needles. I am so pleased with this that I have actually worn it several times already. Friends have tried it on to see what size they might make themselves. And it seems to get softer everytime I wear it (in the best way possible).

Mandolin Cardigan by Amy Christoffers

Have you noticed a theme with the sweaters I knit? A friend of mine pointed it out to me this morning and she’s right – I knit a lot of Amy’s patterns. I just love them. To date, I have knit Mandolin, Pressed Flowers, Williamette, Larch (one & two), Felix Cardigan (one & two), Acer, Cote-Nord Cap, Lunenberg Pullover, Farmhouse Cardigan & Dama hat. Some never got their own blog post but they certainly were talked about on the podcast!

My favourite sweaters of all time, that I’ve made, have been Acer and Williamette. They have been worn sooooo much. Williamette needed a bunch of repairs last winter actually.

What got my about this sweater was the all-over lace with a bulky yarn. Swoon!

The first time I saw this combination was in a LYS in Vancouver that is closed now: They had paired Cascade Ecological (which was a new yarn at the time) with an Evelyn A. Clark shawl, Swallowtail. Remember how incredibly populare those two things were? Cascade Eco and Evelyn Clark’s shawl patterns?! Am I dating myself in the knitting world? Regardless. This combination undid me. I loved it. I proceeded to knit a few worsted-weight shawls and loved them.

Disdero Ranch CVMco Worsted in Moss (webshop here). Be sure to wash the yarn prior to working with it for true gauge and fabric.

Because this sweater is way to big for me (and I love it anyhow), I’m actually really tempted to knit it again in a smaller gauge yarn on slightly smaller needles. This would give a totally different look and some variety in my wardrobe … which I need like a bullet to the brain but still! It would be lovely. Easy-peasy chart repeat — although those knit-a-million-togethers are KILLER.

One note, the sleeves are quite long. Because it’s a drop-shoulder, I didn’t need to knit to my regular length (19″) as the pattern calls for — 16″ with ribbing included would have been more than enough. This would be a modification for future!

Regardless, with rolled cuffs, I am incredibly happy with how this sweater turned out. It will be a much-worn staple in my wardrobe, especially as we enter the Early Fall. Whether it will fit under my parka as we move into Deep Fall, I’m not so sure.

A note about blocking this sweater – I didn’t block it per se. But I did intentionally lay it out and ensure that the lace was spread out nicely. It dried exactly as I wanted but as I have worn it, the lace has pulled in, especially in the sleeves, which I expected. The body of the sweater has remained nicely blocked. It will just need a gentle re-blocking every so often to ensure the lace remains open and … well, lacey!

One aspect of this post that strikes me is the contrast between these two sweaters. One is a very summery, light-weight tank with a light, breezy skirt, while the other is a heavy, rustic and very warm cardigan paired with a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. The contrast between them is completely lovely as things like that, that are just so opposite, make my heart sing. What are you working on that are opposites at the moment?

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