Lopapeysa

From Wikipedia: “Lopapeysa or Icelandic sweater is an Icelandic style of sweater originating around or before the 1950s, at a time when imports had displaced older and more traditional Icelandic clothing and people began to search for new ways to utilize the plentiful native wool.”

Knitting a lopapeysa has always been on my knitting “bucket list.” I think I was drawn to the tradition of lopi sweaters, and the beautiful colorwork at the yoke. Knowing I would also have to do a steek (which I discussed in length here) had a certain appeal.

I picked Iðunn as my first lopapeysa because it seemed simpler and I’ve seen a lot of successful finished versions of this sweater. For me the pattern was okay. I feel like there was a stitch count error on my size. Also I made the size 36″, when probably I should have gone up to the next size, but I was afraid that I would be swimming in a 40″. Apparently I have underestimated the number of cookies I have eaten over the past month… because it’s pretty fitted!!

I did use the lopi wool the pattern calls for – it is warm, crazy lofty, and not super soft. But I always viewed this lopapeysa as more of a jacket than a sweater, and knew I would be layering underneath it.

Things I Love:
+ The colors I chose & colorwork
+ The look of the yarn
+ The completed steek
+ Knitting the entire sweater in the round
+ The pretty ribbing

Things I’m Not So Crazy About:
+ The snug fit
+ The yarn is a bit scratchy
+ The rolled neckline is not my favorite look
+ The buttons are a wee bit small for the buttonhole band
+ The sleeves could use another inch or so
+ The massive amount of finishing. There are 2 hand sewn in grosgrain ribbons in this cardigan down the fronts inside.

At the end of the day, I’m super happy I made this and will wear it proudly when  it gets super chilly!

 

Effortless

This morning I want to share with you a finished sweater! I checked my Ravelry page and was pretty surprised that this is only the second sweater I’ve finished this year. Wow. My knitting has slowed down a ton since I’ve been working full time, but I thought I had made more sweaters than that this year! I guess it’s also true that I wasn’t really in a sweater “place” for most of this year.

So, details. The pattern is called Effortless by Hannah Fettig from the Knitbot book. I’ve made three sweaters out of that book now, Breezy and my handspun Featherweight, and now have a fourth on my needles! It’s a great book for basic sweaters. For yarn, I used Rowan Felted Tweed DK.  GOSH do I ever love tweed.  I had bought this for a vest, which ended up frogged.  I did have to buy a skein off another generous Raveller to finish it off, no harm done.

The Rowan Felted Tweed is funny on my skin.  Sometimes it feels nice and cuddly, and sometimes it feels like a prickle fest. We’ll see once the temps drop… I think that is the true test of prickliness – when you are wearing the sweater in the actual climate it is intended for.  And with a long sleeve tee it will be fine.  I think it is that darn alpaca.  Alpacas are so cute but I’ve yet to find an alpaca yarn that doesn’t make me itchy!!

Now I will admit… I don’t think this is the most flattering sweater style in the world.  I think it looks good from some angles, but sometimes I just think it is a bit much in the way of fabric to have hanging around your midsection.  But as far as comfort goes, it’s a win.  I love when it’s chilly to have the extra fabric for snuggling up in.

I’m knitting Hannah’s Lightweight in a lovely black tweed now, so excited about that.

I’m in a major finishing mood, so hopefully a bunch of finished knits will be popping up soon.  Next on the blog will be the lopapeysa!

Is it starting to feel like fall by you yet?  We’ve had a couple cool days but we’re not quite there yet.  Didn’t stop me from having a pumpkin spice latte!

Happy Monday!

Thoughts on Steeking

Steeking – the thought of it used to strike fear in my heart!  Cutting your knitting?  It almost sounds sacrilege.  But cutting knitting is one of the oldest, most traditional ways to create a cardigan.

For my lopi sweater, a steek was necessary to knit the colorwork in the round from the top down, uninterrupted.  If you have never made a steek (this was my first time) let me summarize.  You knit a steek stitch – and extra stitch (or stitches) in the pattern – for mine, it was one purl stitch smack dab in the center of the cardigan.  This purl created a line for me to follow when cutting the sweater open.

Before you cut the knitting, you stabilize the stitches on either side of your purl “steek stitch.” The method in the pattern was to work a single crochet over the knit columns on either side of the steek stitch, all the way up one side of the cardigan, then the other.  I did not end up using this method in the end – I ended up with ripply cardigan fronts and it just did not look good.  Perhaps I was not crocheting tight enough?  Maybe some of you more seasoned in creating steeked garments can weigh in on that.

Then I was ready to cut.

And that is where the horror began!

I read on my pattern that it is easier to turn your garment inside out to cut your steek to “follow the V” – the purl stitch looks like a knit stitch on the the wrong side, so you can cut in the V perfectly.

I started snipping along, happy as a bird.  I got about 8-10″ into my steek when I thought, “Hm, I should turn this over and look at the right side and see how things are going.”  I flipped the cardigan right side facing and to my absolute HORROR I was cutting to the left of my stabilizing stitch on the left side!!!  NOT in the middle.  I should have just cut the cardigan with the front facing and this never would have happened.  I tried another crochet stability chain to stop the unraveling (it was basically unraveling to bits before my eyes) and that also looked terrible.  I felt awful, and was imagining the blog post about the ruined sweater.

My mom was with me, and suggested I do a web search for other options…

What I ended up doing was using the sewing machine to sew, with tiny stitches, carefully down the knit stitches on either side of the steek stitch.  Ta-da!  The stitches were practically invisible. I cut the yucky looking crochet stability chains out of the sweater, and knit a beautiful button band.  I anchored the loose ends down by hand stitching grosgrain ribbon on top.  Sweater rescued!!!

What I learned:

* Steeking is not scary if you do it correctly.
* Taking time on finishing details makes all the difference.
* I learned two different methods of stability stitching because of my mistake – the crochet chain, and sewing with a sewing machine to stabilize.
* I can’t wait to try it again!

So below, on the swatch, is how to do the crochet steek correctly…

Still a little ripply, but I wanted to prove to myself it could be done!

Soon I will share the finished sweater, I am so excited about this one! I feel like it is a major accomplishment in my knitting career.

Hopefully you learned a bit about steeking if you are like I was, and haven’t tried it before but are a bit curious.  Let me know your thoughts, opinions, & tips on steeking if you’ve got them!

Happy September

It’s September!  I always feel overjoyed once August is over.  It means fall is in sight and the scorching days of summer are on their way out.  It means I will soon be pulling my shawls out of storage to loop around my neck for crisp mornings.  It means darker days are upon us and more steaming cups of coffee and reaching for an extra blanket.  I’m always trying to appreciate each season, but fall is when I really thrive. :)

Today I’m sharing a  yarn to finished project – some merino handspun singles.  I’ve been working from stash quite a bit lately, and this merino fiber was sitting in there way too long.  It’s fiber I dyed, and I will admit it: it was felted!  That is part of why I was ignoring it for so long.  Dyeing is not my calling, let’s just put it that way.  I had some fun with it, but that’s about as far as it goes.  So I had this somewhat felted fiber, and I honestly didn’t want to look at it any longer!  I spun it into a thick-and-thin single (I knew I wasn’t going to get anything even due to the felting) and left it as such.

In the midst of packing, a lot of my yarn was packed and inaccessible.  I knew I had this handspun though, and decided to work with what I had.  I selected a crochet hook I thought would be fitting and made a simple cowl.

Simple double crochet.  It’s a short cowl, no double looping.  I like the watercolor effect the stitches created, one color fading to the next.

The fiber had seemed a bit hopeless, and it ended up being a project I really love.  I think I may challenge myself more often to work with the unsung heroes in my stash… what do you think?

I hope you are having a relaxing Labor Day!  Are you stitching today?  I know I will be!

Sock Update

How I’ve missed you all!

I took a little break from blogging there, with good reason.  We were moving!  We are at a temporary place across town for the time being.  My life is in cardboard boxes at the moment, while we are home hunting and getting our current house ready to sell.

On top of moving, my husband left last week for work related reasons, out of state. Not sure how long he will be gone at the moment, which is tough! So I decided to finish some socks for him to take with him (it is cooler where he is), again using the Fish Lips Kiss Heel as my guide. I almost can’t picture knitting a sock any other way now… & he says these are his best fitting socks yet! Score!  I used Patons Kroy, just about 2 full skeins.

Since I’m having so much luck with the Fish Lips Kiss pattern, I also decided to cast on a pair for my youngest.  She picked the yarn – Madelinetosh Sock in Birthday Cake.  So far, so good!

And lastly on the sock front, I have an old FO to show you!  I finished these socks over two years ago, and just now got around to photographing them.  I made these for my mom… they are pretty but I feel like they represent my “old way” of making socks.  Gusset heel, size 0 needles (for some reason I never get a good fit with 0′s).  And they have their flaws for sure.  But the yarn (Malabrigo Sock) is pretty and I thought they were worth photographing.

I’m hoping to be blogging more frequently now that I am somewhat “settled.”

And now, I’ll leave you with some favorite things:

+ THIS SWEATER. Can’t stop thinking about it!
+ All things Quince & Co..
+ This photo is a handspun lover’s dream.
+ I’ve been living vicariously through Lori’s posts about Shetland. Sigh!

Talk to you soon!