Remember back in June, when my real excitement in Iceland was picking up some Plotulopi yarn? It’s found it’s way into a sweater!
It took me a while to find a good pattern. A lot of the traditional Icelandic sweater patterns look, well…old, and not particularly pretty or stylish. The other finalist was the pattern below, but I felt like it wasn’t as modern looking, and I loved the geometric shapes of this one and the details on the bottom and the sleeves.
The yarn is untwisted roving, which means that it breaks apart very easily. Try to imagine using fluffy bolts of cotton candy to sew together a leather jerkin, and you’ll have a decent idea of what it’s like to knit with. As with many things involving knitting, I try to find a metaphor in this, and for this project it was learning exactly how much tension and pressure to hold the yarn with. Too little, and the yarn would loop and sag unattractively in the stitch. Too much and it would simply tear apart. A happy medium existed, though it took a while to find it. Extrapolate that to a life lesson as you will.
The other difficulty was that I the pattern I’d chosen called for this yarn to be held singly, though it’s usually knit double. I swatched both and greatly preferred the double thickness, creating as it did a lofty and cozy fabric. With a sigh, I pulled out a calculator as using a bigger yarn meant that I’d have to do math to figure out the new sizing. I figured out that if I just followed the instructions for the smallest size, it should work out okay.
It almost was, until the very end. While I’d been able to change the horizontal measurements of the sweater with fewer stitches and I could simply knit fewer rows to make the length correct, this didn’t translate with the neck of the pattern where you can’t just cut out rows. The first iteration of this did not work well, and I looked like I’d made a sweater for a thick-necked giraffe.
After a telephonic and picture consultation with a knitting friend back home, I ripped back to the middle of the yellow diamonds, switched to a smaller needle and began decreases in the black areas between to hide them and maintain the pattern. It worked pretty well! I wish I could tell you that this sweater was 100% perfect to me, and it almost is. Trying to account for vertical gauge and burned by the extra fabric Eric’s sweater had in the shoulders with all the short rows, I knit fewer of them and I wish I hadn’t. I would have preferred the sweater come up a bit higher in the back, and I wish I’d knit the sleeves just a touch longer but overall I’m pretty happy with it! I especially love the shaping in the waist, which is key in such a big bulky sweater to avoid making one look like the Michelin Man.
Next up, to finally finish all the socks for the kids I’ve promised them and have completely ignored. Of course, now that they run around barefoot like all the other Kiwi kids, I wonder if I should even bother.
pattern: Telja by Jennifer Steingass