I’ve been in a sewing slump but I’ve been knitting up a storm. I’ve now completed 3 sweaters in as many weeks! The first was that raglan that I showed you last week and the second is just below. But the third, well, I could show you but I’d have to kill you. It’s top secret for now. Soon, my friends, soon.
In the mean time, please enjoy my version of the Winnepeg Pullover from the most recent winter ’13/’14 edition of Interweave magazine.
The waffle pattern is very easy to learn. I had it memorized before I even finished my swatch. It’s only 9 rows by 3 columns and just knits & purls. It’s mindless enough that I can focus on other things while knitting and rarely screw up. Yet it gives enough visual interest to make the sweater look complex.
I started out casting on for the smallest size and working it bottom-up as directed. However it came out to be about zero ease at the hip which I was ok with, but didn’t want to continue with zero ease. I changed the shaping to nip in a lot more at the waist and increased less for the bust than called for in the directions so I would end up with lots of negative ease. I can’t remember what my final measurements were but it was something like 5″ of negative ease. If I blocked it, I’m sure I’d have less, but I like it pulled in tight. Additionally, I worked negative ease on the sleeves. Details of my changes are on my Ravelry notes.
I love the modular construction of this but ran into a small issue. It’s worked in the round, bottom up. Then the sleeves are worked separately, cuff-up, on DPNs. When you reach the armpit you join the body and sleeves all in the round. The circular needles resemble a snowman shape (with the bigger ball in the middle) when you first join them. I’m sure this works out fine when you have baggier sleeves as called for in the pattern, but when you reduce the number of stitches on the needles as drastically as I did, it doesn’t work so well. I had to use a few DPNs to “bridge” the tight curve around the sleeve and then transfer the stitches back to the circular needle for quite a few rounds before it loosened up enough away from the armpit to use the circular all the way around. If I were going to make this again, I would transfer more stitches to scrap yarn for the armpit (which are later grafted together) before joining the pieces.
I also changed the neckline. The directions call for you to cast off some center front stitches and divide for the neckline and shoulders. I kept working it in the round and switched to a garter stitch for the neck edging. I continued to work the raglan decreases for the remainder of the edging. I wish I had decreased a little in the center front and back because the garter stitches spread out more while the waffle pattern pulls in tight. The result was a slightly baggy neckline that I have to pin to my bra straps to keep it in place.
The yarn is Lion Brand Martha Stewart Extra Soft Wool Blend in the eucalyptus colorway. It’s an acrylic/wool blend and it really is extra soft. Every time I went to Michael’s it caught my eye and I had to pet it. I resisted for so long because the reviews of this yarn on Ravelry are fairly poor. Everyone complained about knots, snags, and the most horrible splitting. Finally I decided I would ignore them and give it a shot. After all, it’s just yarn, right?
I found that it was rather pleasant to work with. It was soft and springy. It has a lovely sheen to it without being shiny. It didn’t split on me even once. I’m starting to think that most people who complain about splitty yarn don’t actually know what splitty yarn is. Perhaps they aren’t even sure what YARN is. Come one folks, it’s multiple plies of fuzzy thread loosely twisted together. What do you think is going to happen when you stab a knitting needle through the middle of it? Now, I have found yarns, namely multi-color twists, whose plies split apart when you just hold them. Those are splitty yarns. This is not. In fact, I found that it was more tightly wound than many others I’ve worked with.
On the other hand, I did find the issue of knots and snags throughout each of the 6 skeins I used. One skein even had a section of yarn – perhaps 10 yards – that wasn’t even attached to the rest of the ball. It was just stuffed inside! Honestly, I preferred it that way since I could join it whenever, wherever, and however I chose. But I must say, I’ve used much more expensive, more highly regarded brands that have the same issue of knots in the skeins. Just hide them on the wrong side of the work and move on.
Baggy neckline aside, I LOVE this sweater. I’ve already worn it a half dozen times. It’s so warm and comfy thanks to the combination of wool and waffle stitch but at the same time I feel pretty in it with the slight sheen in the fabric and elegant neckline. I can tell I’m going to wear this thing to death.