My Summer Sweater

Sargeant WIP2

A few weeks ago, I excitedly mentioned my participation in Shannon’s Summer Sweater Knit Along and immediately followed this announcement with radio silence. I know, it’s cruel of me to hold out on you like this, but you should know that I only did so for entirely selfish reasons. I’ve noticed a tendency towards failure when I make big promises on this blog. Remember my NaKniSweMo sweater? I probably should have known that Burrard was too challenging to complete within a month, especially the month before Christmas, when I had committed to a mountain of gift knitting. Even so, I loudly announced my participation and then promptly failed to meet the challenge in the prescribed time period. And even when the challenge isn’t so great but I make a promise to write about something I’m excited to show you, I often struggle to come up with the words, or sometimes the thing turns out to be just impossible to photograph without professional equipment and perfect conditions. Other times, I just plain fail at knitting. So I guess what I’m saying is that it sometimes feels like I’ve jinxed myself by getting publicly excited about big things on this blog. To quote Michael Scott, I’m not superstitious, maybe just a little stitious. 

Despite my silence about the sskal, I have been working diligently on my project since July 31. Seeing as I’ve passed the point of no return, I now feel confident my showing you what I’ve been up to isn’t likely to ruin my sweater now. This year I decided to really challenge myself with some full-on Fair Isle knitting. The pattern is Amy Christophers’ Sargeant Pullover from the recently published New American Knits, and it’s the second sweater I’ve knit from her book (I know, I know I’m behind. My kingdom for some cooler days!)

Sargeant WIP closeup2

 Aside from wanting to step up my skills a notch, I chose this pattern because it’s just plain lovely. What I’ve begun to appreciate about stranded colourwork is that the possibilites for customization are endless, and this pattern is a clean and simple foil for experimenting with beautiful colours. That said, I thought it safest to stick with contrasting colours on a neutral background, and my choices are somewhat similar to those chosen by the designer. One day I will experiment with complimentary colours and really figure out how to make the most of hue and value, as per Jared Flood’s recent colour theory blog posts.

The biggest challenge of all with this sweater has been ensuring the fit. I knit the sleeves first and used them as my gauge, finding that I was pretty close to what the designer calls for. The body of the sweater looks a little small to me, but I’m confident it will block to the right size…. okay, maybe not confident. But I am definitely on the verge of confident. I’ve been keeping my floats nice and loose (but not too loose) and the sweater has some nice stretchiness when I feel the need to tug at it and reassure myself that it will fit me.

Sargeant WIP floats2

 How are your SSKAL projects coming along? Are you going to make the deadline?

Sneak Preview

Hey! It’s me! Back after another looooong silence. Whoops. It’s clear that I have trouble keeping promises about writing more frequently, so I’m not going to make any promises today. I’m not even going to apologize. Instead, I’m going to start fresh. Because I’ve been keeping busy and I’ve got many, many new things to show you.

I guess I’ll begin with my latest project. As some of you are aware, I have a very large family. While growing up in cramped quarters with my three brothers and two sisters produced plenty of acrimony between us as kids, we’re all grown up now and, having gone our separate ways, we get along a lot better than we used to. Why, I’d even go so far as saying that we’ve become pretty good friends. So, because I like my brothers and sisters so much, and having reached the point in life where I have a job and can pay for things, I’ve decided that it’s high time I think about giving them birthday gifts. The gift, I’ve decided, will be handknit socks.

Why socks? Well, I’ve waxed poetic on the merits of handknit socks in the past, one of these being they are extremely warm. And, since my siblings live in Edmonton, where winter temperatures regularly plunge to -30 Celsius, I figure that even such a boring gift won’t be entirely unwelcome.

The first birthday is my sister Lara’s (which also happens to be my own birthday), and the socks pictured above are for her. They’re a basic 3×1 stitch rib over 64 stitches, and I managed to start and finish making these in 3 days. I’ve decided to stick to boring and plain socks because, otherwise, I know I’ll struggle to finish in time for the birthdays. This is, after all, my 3rd try at starting the birthday sock project–my attempt at making ankle socks for my brother, Bill, was an abject failure, and two pairs of fancy socks that ended up being comically too small for my Mom taught me that, when under the gun, simple is best.

Almost immediately after Lara’s and my birthday is Clifford’s, so I’ve begun a pair for him as well:

These will also be simple, a 2×2 broken rib stitch sock. The yarn is Fleece Artist Trail Sock, and I hear it’s pretty tough wearing. I love the autumnal colours of this yarn, and I especially love how masculine they are without being the standard issue dark blues and greys.

I’ll leave you now with more pictures because I’ve been holding out on you, dear readers… I have blog posts for weeks because of the confluence of rabid knitting and it being too hot to wear a sweater even for a picture. It won’t be hot forever, though, and I’ve been dying to show you what I’ve made… stay tuned!

P.S. Is anyone else as excited about the Summer Sweater Knit Along as I am!?!