Thursday, November 1, 2018

Sea Glass and Driftwood

Is it wrong to be prideful about something I've made? The word prideful has such negative connotations, but "full of pride" is the only way to describe how I feel about this test knit. It just seems so intricate and the tonal colors blended so perfectly.  Then, there's the fit, which I got exactly right. That never used to happen on my first try.

Now, get ready for photo overload.  I loved Sea Glass and Driftwood so very much that I wanted to take a million photos of it.  Unfortunately, I had to be wearing it, so most of them were of me looking stoned with  half-closed eyes.  I swear that's the only reason you aren't scrolling through a mile of sweater pics.



It's Sea Glass and Driftwood by Annie Lupton.  You may know her better as Boho Chic Fiber Co online. She has designed some pretty big hits in the knitting world, like Navigate (from Rib Magazine), Kerrytown, and Indie Mash Up.  Those are some of her more popular knits, but really, she has an incredible body of work for someone who hasn't been designing all that long. I scroll through her patterns, on Ravelry, and I cannot understand why there are not more FOs of Nadia,
Macomb, Madame George, and Wild Mystic! How can Pi shawls be all the rage and there aren't more Wild Mystics being knit?! I mean, I know my excuse: I am collecting enough washable worsted to knit this as a giant throw/ coverlet for my bed. This will let me use it year round, rather than my usual month of winter. I also have some stash yarn earmarked for both Madame George Pullover and Lunaria.  I just need time...



When Annie started teasing photos of her newest colorwork design on instagram, I really wanted to be a tester. I figured I had a good chance of finishing it before it got cold here (I did.) and I would easily be able to finish it before the test knit deadline. (I didn't.) But she was understanding of our family emergency and had plenty of testers who did finish by mid October. You can see their glorious finished sweaters here. Several used tonal or variegated yarns, like me. Nikki, of Forest Fiber Arts, dyed her own and those can be found in her shop.  And that shop is full of rich, autumnal colors right now. 


Anyway, most of the testers knit fairly fitted versions of this. I did too, but only because I lacked enough of the Hawthorne Fingering Multi, in Nob Hill, to make a size medium. I was planning on this, so it wasn't a problem. I employed a little blocking magic to get something between the fit of a small and medium. The Hawthorne is super wash and grew beautifully.

Here's the thing- it looked great as a fitted sweater too.  I was tempted to keep it as such, but I know myself and how I almost always opt for baggy.


Some things I love about this sweater, beyond the obvious allover colorwork, is the visible seams at the shoulders.  It gives it a slightly deconstructed or homespun look to me. I just love that detail. Not sure if I'm saying that right, but I like the result.  

I also love the boxy fit (should you choose to knit it oversized). Then there's that colorwork pattern.  It looks so complicated but really only involves a few rows repeated at a time.  This could even be knit in the round, up to the armholes, to facilitate speedy knitting. I did things as directed, since it was a test, though.


Details: I knit this with US size 2.5 needles and 3 skeins of Hawthorne Fingering Multi in Nob Hill (a discontinued colorway), with 2 skeins of Stroll tonal in Pearlescent.  All of these skeins were bought on sale, but the Nob Hill was a very good deal. I was so happy to have a special purpose for that colorway. I had always wanted it but didn't actually pull the trigger on buying until it was discontinued, then I only got a small amount.


I wasn't sure it would be appropriate since it is more variegated than tonal, but it was fine. Pretty soon, I quit alternating skeins and just used one at a time for most of the body. Alternating skeins with two color Fair Isle would be murder. Why make myself hate my favorite hobby? Thankfully both colorways were consistent enough to make that unnecessary. 

My only mods: I added two extra stitches on each sleeve because it seemed to help with gapping at the underarm.  I also made them three-quarter length because I was running low on the Nob Hill.  Remember only three skeins, people!


I also worked the first I-Cord bind off on the neckline and it seemed like it would roll and show the inside of the sweater too much.  After trying a couple of times, I decided to try one purl round, then knitting 6 rounds of stockinette to create a rollback neckline, before binding off.


When I got to the sleeves, I did the regular I-Cord bind off and it worked fine, maybe because there wasn't the bulk of Fair Isle just above the edge, encouraging it to roll upward. I then did an I Cord bind off on the bottom. It is a little roll-y but it doesn't look bad. I don't think the fix I used on the neck would have worked any better than I-Cord did at the bottom edge, so I left it as-is. Maybe I just haven't found the proper tension for I-Cord bind offs. I have much to learn. But did you get that I got the fit right on the first try. That's happened on every sweater I've knit the last year or two!!

Oh, and here's my nose:

(more on Ravelry, Instagram, and Flickr)

If you're interested in more complex colorwork, or at least complex-looking stranded knitting, try this pattern. I cannot say enough about it and I don't want to bore you with more exclamations and photos of me reveling in my perfect Fair Isle knit.

This knit also on my podcast Episodes 17, 18, and 19.

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