OK, I really meant to go out and look at penguins at the zoo, but then about an hour ago I noticed the light was bright enough to take some photos indoors (albeit mostly very blurry ones) and got sidetracked by taking photos of my latest, favoritest FO: Eastlake. It’s still a little damp, but I can’t believe how great it came out. Once I finish writing this post, it’s off to penguinland. I haven’t made it to that corner of the Vilas Zoo yet, and I suspect those little guys are having a ball in this weather.



Pattern: Eastlake, by Norah Gaughan, from Norah Gaughan Volume 3. Used the errata corrections shown here. My ravelry page for this is here.

Size made: smallest (32″)

Yarn used: Taupe/mushroom School Products Multi-Strand Cashmere, bought from Stephanie’s destash sale, 450 grams used total (no idea of the actual yardage, unfortunately, since the yarn doesn’t have ballbands and it’s not on the School Products site anymore).

I LOVE this yarn–it knit into a dense, plush, velvety fabric, and the stockinette looks beautifully rich and even. However, it’s made up of three chainette strands wound together into a ball with no twist added, so it was very snaggy indeed, and I encountered a pretty high number of knots in one strand or another, at which point I would have to cut the yarn.

I felt kind of bad about this yarn for a while. Stephanie was destashing a lot of yarn at a very good price because she wanted to give it all a new home where it would be loved and appreciated, and then once I bought this, it sat around in my closet for ages, with no project in mind, and somehow I felt vaguely like I’d let her down, or snatched the yarn away from someplace where it would really be loved and confined it in a new, neglectful, unloving home. No such worries anymore; I think this is the perfect pattern for this yarn, so it’s time to transfer my stash guilt to something else.

Needles used: US size 5/3.75 mm for the ribbing, US size 7/4.5 mm for the rest of the sweater

Date started: November 25, 2008

Date finished: December 6, 2008

Mods:

  • Knit the front and back in one piece in the round up to the underarms, and knit the sleeves in the round, two at a time, magic loop.
  • Due to knitting in the round, I subtracted 2 stitches where each seam would have gone. If you also choose to do this, note that the ribbing in the back has to start with p2 k2 rather than k2 p2 to line up right with the front ribbing. Also, on the even-numbered rows, the YOs have to be purled, not knit (this is obvious, if you think about it, since these are WS rows in the original directions, but it took me a couple of rounds wondering why I was knitting the stitches on one round and purling them on the next before the shoe dropped and I realized I hadn’t fully reversed the pattern directions).
  • Also due to knitting in the round, once I split for the front and back and started doing the armhole shaping, I omitted the first decrease round after binding off the armpits, to get to the proper stitch count. (Otherwise, since I omitted 2 sts for the side seam, I would have had 2 sts too few.)
  • Accidentally left out the plain knit round before the eyelet round on the eyelet decoration round on the chest and the first one on the sleeves. I noticed my mistake and knit the extra round on the 2 eyelet rounds at the elbow.
  • Knit 3 reverse stockinette rounds for each purl ridge. (I think the pattern calls for only two rounds on one piece, either the front or the back)
  • Because I didn’t have the right length cable handy when I knit the purl band around the neckline, I knit it back and forth rather than in the round, and seamed it at the back neck.
  • Twisted the stem stitches in the front panel on every round rather than every other round, since I was working in the round and it was easy to see which stitches these were
  • Didn’t twist my M1 sts in the front panel, so they came out as eyelets along the main stem. This was actually an accident at first, but I liked the effect and left it alone.

Notes: Norah Gaughan is a genius. There are no words for how much I love this sweater–I think it’s my new favorite. It was an easy knit, addictive to work on because of the interesting, constantly changing but also predictable front wheat sheaf panel, and the finished product is gorgeous, flattering, and elegant, if I do say so myself.

I have to admit the pattern is sort of hard to follow. Not because it’s poorly written, but because it’s written to follow particular style/space guidelines, so all the directions are crammed into these slightly cryptic running text paragraphs, and I kept losing my place. Also, the wheat sheaf pattern isn’t charted. You can get a chart from someone on Ravelry if you can prove you own the pattern, but I didn’t bother. It would have been nice, but it’s not terribly hard to follow the written directions; the pattern is very intuitive as long as you pay attention to where to start the top decreases for each leaf and where to start each new stem.

I only finished the sweater so quickly because I had some huge blocks of time during the Thanksgiving holiday to work on it–about 12 hours in the car, plus hours of idle time spent watching movies and such.  I wouldn’t have rushed it so much, either, but I was trying to finish it during NaKniSweMo as part of a Stash and Burn challenge/knitalong. I didn’t make it, but I came really close–I finished the front and back and several inches of the sleeves before throwing in the towel at midnight on the last day of November.

This photo is not especially nice or exciting or anything, but it might be helpful for anyone making this sweater who wants to see how the back neck extensions get seamed:

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