Winter has come at last, if only for a day or two until the rain returns.
This was taken at about lunch time and as you can just about see, my bird bath is still completely frozen, in fact everything that the sun hasn’t touched is still well and truly frozen. At least with a cold clear morning we have sun. Something we see little of when we have days of heavy cloud and rain.
I have finally managed to take some near decent photos of the new sweater. I’m glad, as I didn’t want to wear it until I had and was itching to give it a test drive.
It is a bottom up seamless yoke sweater with a slightly scooped neck made with short rows. I’m not so keen on too high a neck line that you can often get with yoke sweaters worked entirely in the round from the bottom up. This yoke has two sets of short rows which brings the front down enough not to do that.
I found that with the light, airy yarn, I needed to use Japanese short rows to hide them. Ordinary wrap and turn short rows left a visible strand of yarn at the back which is usually hidden by heavier yarns. They give a great finish and are very easy to do, no wrapping but you do need a few coil-less safety pins or removable markers. If you have never worked this type of short row before you can find information on Japanese short rows on the Craftsy blog here. There is also a very good class available on the platform which shows several different types of short rows.
The yarn is actually two held together, a light 4 ply or fingering weight pure wool and a lace weight silk and mohair, both from Elann. They go together well and I had no trouble knitting with both together as the mohair holds onto the fingering weight yarn as if they were one. Together, thanks to the halo of the mohair, they make up a yarn which knits beautifully to a DK gauge, 22 sts by 32 rows per 4 inches or in other words 5.5 x 8 sts to one inch.
The advantage of working with two fine yarns together like this is that they make the sweater very light but the mohair adds warmth as if it were a much heavier gauge.
It also had a beautiful halo. The Elann mohair is extremely soft, not itchy or prickly at all. And I can say that it stood up to some pretty rough ripping out and re-knitting a few times. The last time I worked with a mohair yarn it was murder to rip back as it tends to cling and knot itself together but this was very well behaved. Something to do with the two yarns together perhaps.
You can see how the light comes through the fabric. Whilst knitting this I really wasn’t sure how warm it would be but now I have been able to give it a test run, it really is quite surprisingly so, I’ve had to take it off a couple of times in the evening as I’ve been too warm.
I am tempted to knit it again in an ordinary DK weight yarn, something with a bit of texture perhaps. I think that you could get a completely different feel from this depending on what it was knitted in. Here it looks very feminine but perhaps in a darker shade of something tweedy or hand-dyed it could look maybe smarter and less ‘pretty’. This is my favourite sweater to date, there is something about yoke sweaters that make them so wearable and I can see myself living in it while the weather is still so cold.
Believe it or not, I didn’t have anything else on the needles to knit on after I finished this (well nothing I wanted to get back to anyway !) so until I get grabbed by another idea I have been knitting a EZ saddle shoulder aran sweater. I’ve knitted one of her seamless saddle shoulder sweaters before and they are such fun to do, but never an aran one. I tell you though, it’s not going smoothly. I just can’t get happy with the design choices I’ve made so I will be ripping and re-starting that tonight, well, if I can finally decide on how I want it to look!
I am working on writing up the pattern for the yoke sweater but it won’t be ready for a short while. I will then be looking for some test knitters, so if the idea grabs you, please drop me a line and I will get back to you as soon as I have everything ready.