Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fair Isle Sweater in Cornflower Blue: Taking the Mystique out of Steeks

The latest listing in my Etsy shop: a handknitted cardigan in hand-dyed colors of cornflower blue, golds, and reds. I followed a pattern from Woolen Collectibles in Kalispell, Montana, "Shaftsbury Sweater." The wool is a sport weight 2-ply yarn that I dyed in a range of golds and reds, along with the cornflower blue that serves as the ground color.

It took maybe 100 hours to knit, because of the complicated pattern. I ran into some problems with the sleeves, which were too small when I followed the pattern, so I adjusted the stitches to make them roomier.

The result, I think, is an heirloom sweater, knit on #2 circular needles. When I got down to the cuffs of the sleeves, I switched to double-pointed needles. My favorite are the square double-pointed needles from Kollage Yarns, because the square shape somehow keeps the stitches from slipping off (the way they do with regular round double-pointed needles).

One more note: knitting this sweater took the mystique out of steeks for me, once and for all. The instructions tell you simply to create a series of stripes to mark where you're going to stitch with your sewing machine and where you're going to cut. Easy enough! When you're knitting a complicated Fair Isle design like this one, you really need to knit in the round.

I love the brass buttons, which reflect the flower pattern of the sweater.

By the way, here's the link to the pattern:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm inspired. Thank you!

Sampling, in Search of Beautiful Cloth

  Way back in the misty past -- that is, about two years ago, my memory being what it is -- I was flying out of Rochester on my way to teach...