Monday, September 2, 2013

Stone Cold Stasis

Whoa, how grey is this blog? I've been sitting on this one for a couple of weeks now, hoping to post something a little more sewing related. However, with the dwindling of summer hours and the rapid approach of my first day back teaching (omfg, like tomorrow), I figured I would post what I had before life becomes, once again, a swirling chasm of school-related chaos.

So this here is another Brooklyn Tweed pattern (Stasis), begun many moons ago, and I have to say I am a little surprised that I actually finished it. Colourwork is definitely not my fave, even though I love the finished result. I think it's because I expect stockinette to be relatively fast and mindless, and when you have to pay attention to a colour pattern and make sure you're stranding things properly, something you should be able to do while watching guilty-pleasure television suddenly becomes a prime pain in the ass. That said, it's not super challenging, and with time and patience, even I was able to get the hang of it. And it's all worth it when you get to shrug on something as awesome and cozy as this:

Ahem, of course the colourwork was not the only challenge with this sweater. There was also the small fact that the pattern yarn (Brooklyn Tweed's Loft) is not available locally, and so I had to dig up a suitable substitute. In the past, I used Tvinnie Tweed in place of Loft when making my BT Breton sweater. But I wanted something a little more...robust this time. So, I nosed around and found a shop downtown that carries Cascade 220 Sport (which I didn't even know existed) and immediately set to work. Not making a swatch of course (swatches are for babies! And losers who want their sweaters to fit properly! Yeah!), but just diving straight into knitting the sleeves (which I did flat, because even though I'm too tough for swatches, I'm still too wimpy for DPNs).

Now, I knew the yarn I'd chosen was a little bigger than Loft, so I figured I'd compensate by knitting a smaller size. But somehow, after finishing the colourwork cuff on the first sleeve, I started to panic that maybe my compensation was unnecessary. After all, this sweater was designed to be worn with practically no ease, and I already knew that I wanted a somewhat looser-fitting garment, so...I looked at the pattern sizing again and made the executive decision to bump the size up from the 37 to the 38 3/4. And since I was damned if I was going to start over after finishing 3 inches of colourwork, I basically followed the increases for the 42.5 size until I had the right number of stitches for the 38 3/4 size.

That was so not the end of the weirdness though. Throughout the knitting of the sleeves and the body, my stitch gauge seemed relatively on the ball, and because the pattern gives directions on knitting until a certain length is achieved, rather than a certain number of rows, my actual row gauge didn't seem to matter much. You know when it started to matter? The yoke. Incidentally, this was the first time I'd ever attempted a joined yoke/in the round/no sewn shoulder seams type of sweater, and it's quite possible that I was prematurely blinded by the pride of this achievement...because my row gauge was way the eff off, my friends. And do you think I noticed this a few rows after the union round? Oh no...this little detail was picked up on after I'd completed the entire colourwork section of the yoke.

It would take way too long to recount the full story in all it's painful, gory detail. Suffice to say I actually finished the yoke and neck of this sweater three full times before finally giving up and putting all my faith in the miracle that is blocking. I didn't have to frog the actual colourwork part of the yoke, but I did have to rip it down to the row just above it. Ultimately, what worked was working way fewer plain rows between decrease rounds, and working longer short rows (I had a problem with the neck being too high in the front and too low on the sides). It was a weird process and I didn't really take proper notes, but hey, it worked!

Of course you can't tell in this photo because I have my dour blog-face on, but I'm really happy with how this sweater turned out. And the blocking really was a miracle! Before blocking, it was a little tighter and shorter than I wanted it to be, not to mention the truly bizarre puckering that was going on across the yoke. But apres blocking, everything was relaxed and fit properly, and I love it! And I no longer have to fear joined-yoke sweaters!! Yay!!!

Ok, so as mentioned above, I'll be going back to work teaching tomorrow, which means you may see the occasional tumbleweed breeze past this blog. Luckily, I foresaw this possibility, and I have a ready stockpile of sewing and knitting projects that are in progress, as well as a few that are very near completion. So hopefully things won't be too ghost-towny around here, but I have to be somewhat realistic about the amount of free time and spare energy I'll have to work on and post stuff. Bear with me, and if I have any shreds of sanity left after my first week back, I promise I won't abandon ship ;)


  1. This looks amazing! I've had this sweater in the back of my mind forever (every once in a while I choose new colours for it, in my head) and now I think I'm going to have to knit it! This is beautiful, and I'll bet you get a ton of compliments on it.

    Good luck at school tomorrow!

  2. Hey thanks! I kinda wrestled with different colour combos before just going with the sure thing of designer colours. Make sure you check out some of the other finished Stasis projects on Ravelry if you really do start this one: it's good to know ahead of time some of the common "problem spots", as well as the various solutions people have found for solving them :)

  3. Oh it's beautiful! I can't even comprehend half the things you had to do (I'm halfway through the purl cap sleeve lattice sweater and that's a challenge for me!) but it's just so lovely.

  4. I love this sweater... and thanks for admitting that you're too tough for swatches (me too!)

  5. Oh, your Stasis is so lovely! Well done!

  6. Once again, pure brilliance! Thanks for sharing your whole process, it's really interesting to read about what worked for you and what didn't. Looking forward to a new post and I'll keep checking regularly. :)

  7. That's a great back-to-school sweater.

  8. Happy working :)

    so how is your first day at work teaching a bunch of kiddos ? i almost become a kiddie teacher many year ago but in the end, i ended up being 24/7, a one to one teacher are right, i become a mother, being a stay-at-home mother till now.

    That's a great handknit for a teacher..

  9. Thanks! I wish it were cold enough to wear, but we're having a bit of a heat wave this week. And the first days back have been great (thanks for asking!). I have a really great class, and because I moved up from kindergarten to teaching grade one this year, everything feels soooooooo much easier :)

  10. Very nice! I was going through the Ravelry page of this sweater when i saw yours. I am contemplating knitting it and was considering using Cascade 220 so now i've got all the facts to decide! Thanks!