Thursday, April 18, 2013
Breton, At Last
I say at last because...holy crap, for such a simple "basic" piece, it was damn fussy in places. But I do love it, so maybe I should make an effort to be more positive. Here goes...
This is...wait for it...a Brooklyn Tweed pattern from the BT Fall 2012 pattern collection. I went a little pattern crazy when I first saw the catalog, and promptly bought and printed at least five of them. This is the first one I tackled, and for reasons which will soon be made clear, the only one I have yet finished. I chose it primarily because I liked the shape, and because I figured it would fit seamlessly into my pre-existing wardrobe. After checking out the pattern, I was also feeling all "knitting mature" for choosing something with some interesting new techniques, and brazenly cast on with a feeling that can only be described as "cavalierly smug".
The wind was first knocked from my sails when I realized just how long this would take. I didn't bother with a swatch test (I know, I know), but had the good sense to realize by magical intuition that my yarn was yielding a smaller gauge than that required, and therefore cast on for a size larger than I would have if I had used the actual recommended yarn. As many a Canadian devotee of Brooklyn Tweed knows, the Loft and Shelter yarns are not yet available in Canadian yarn stores, so my substitute yarn was Isager's Tvinni Tweed, which was ok, but...I have to say, it was frustratingly fragile at times, and a bit like knitting with cobwebs. I was worried the whole time I was knitting the piece that I would end up putting in all this work for a sweater that was too delicate/transparent to wear (when I blocked the pieces, I even discovered a hole in one place as a result of a slightly split and weakened strand...the horror!). Thankfully, I repaired the hole and the yarn has held up thus far.
The pattern was another challenge: strange cabled decreases, a neckline worked simultaneously on both sides, tearing my hair out trying to line up the stripes during seaming...I also feel that in a perfect world, the neck opening would be slightly bigger all around, as it appears to be in the actual Brooklyn Tweed photos (not that it's noticeable by anyone but me).
But I was supposed to focus on the positive, right? So here's a bunch of stuff I like about this sweater:
- beautiful shape, with long, lean arms.
- the yarn is actually quite toasty, in spite of it's thinness, making it a warm piece without the bulk of a heavier a yarn.
- I love the combination of the black stripe with the wheat-y tweed of the main colour.
- nice simple edges (rolled neck, plain cast on hem and cuffs).
Things I might change if I'm ever crazy enough to want a "next time":
- slightly longer body (I don't have to lift my arms very high to flash some tum).
- increase the a-line shape to be a little wider at the hips.
- use a slightly more resilient yarn (every time I wear this, I live in fear of of even the tiniest drop of sweat felting up the whole underarm of the sleeve).
All told, I really like this sweater and wear it a lot. I'm also *very* aware of the need to take good care of it. And even though it lacks the wow factor of my Exeter cardigan, I feel this was another milestone in my knitting career, what with the tiny gauge and fussy-pants pattern, so I feel pretty damn proud when I wear it.
And that is IT for backlogged projects. I now have to actually finish some things that are still in progress, and what with the increasingly warm weather, may turn more to sewing in the near future...by which I mean, I will only have two knitting projects on the go, rather than five.