Completed: A Brick Chimney

I’m going to need a bigger closet soon. I’ve finished another sweater in just 5 days! I cast on last Tuesday and finished it on Saturday. How does this happen? I love these raglan sweaters in the round because they’re just so fast and easy.

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I used an Ice brand yarn that is 80% royal baby alpaca, 15% merino wool, and 5% nylon for strength. I got it as a lot of 8 balls on Ebay imported direct from Turkey. It was super cheap even after the shipping which was the only reason I can afford an almost all alpaca sweater. I usually prefer to buy locally and support my LYSs but sometimes a girl needs a little luxury that I can’t really afford. I was a bit worried about it because it was so cheap. I was pleased with the seller, yarn_paradise, however, the “direct from Turkey” part of the listing is a little questionable, as the package was post marked from New York and arrived to me in Virginia 4 days after I ordered it and that included a Sunday.  They only sell in lots of multiple skeins so this lot was 8 balls which was plenty for the sweater.

I’m happy to say that it is great yarn overall. It is sooooo soft and snuggly and works like butter in the hands. In fact it was almost too slippery at times. I’m glad I was working on wooden needles and not aluminum. I had two small spots where a few inches were matted and hard so I had to cut them out and rejoin it but the yarn joins nicely and almost invisibly. You really have to search for the joints. It’s super fuzzy, meaning there isn’t much stitch definition so it’s not a good choice for a design-heavy piece. It’s better for a piece with simple lines and shapes to appreciate the yarn rather than the pattern.

This is the same Brick pattern as the aqua one but this time I used the size extra-small, tapered more quickly in and out for the waist shaping, and added a cowl neck instead of the ribbed neckband (the chimney part, haha). I picked up the stitches around the neck inside out and continued in stockinette, increasing after every 10th stitch on each 6th round. I should have increased more and maybe fewer rounds between increase rounds but this worked ok.  More details in my Ravelry notes.

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I bound off using the “tubular bind off” as described in the book Cast On Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods by Leslie Ann Bestor. I got this book for Christmas and it has a cast on and bind off for every purpose. I contemplated and tested several different bind offs for the cowl and this seemed to be the best choice. It kept the edge from curling while giving it a nice little border. In retrospect, I think I should have made another increase round just before beginning the bind off because I think it would have helped it lay a little nicer. I ended up stitching the cowl down to the neckline edge around the back from shoulder to shoulder to keep it in place because it wasn’t quite flared enough to behave.

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After I finished, I seriously considered pulling out the bottom hem ribbing and turning it into a mini dress length because I had two out of 8 balls of yarn left and I thought it would make a killer dress. I polled the RTW Fasters group for opinions. Several people mentioned a fear that it would distort at the bum and never recover because of the high alpaca content. Some suggested lining it but then I couldn’t enjoy the snuggly soft alpaca against my skin. But no one wants a saggy bum dress so a sweater it is.

This makes 4 out of 5 pullovers for my re-sew-lution, I’m already 1 skein into my fifth, and this is only the first week of February. Haha! Guess I should have set my goal a little higher.

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