Saturday, January 7, 2012

From Sock to Sweater, and the Knitter's Nightmare

Kollage Yarns has released another of my designs for Spring, the Lacy Cable Tee.
This design began with a sock pattern I did for Kollage a couple of years ago. Diagonal lace panels are separated by loop cables for a sock that is delicate, yet sturdy. It is interesting to knit, but not particularly difficult. The yarn is Luscious, a cotton and elastic blend that gives great stitch definition.  This yarn is also a great pick for kids, or for those who don't wear wool.

We liked the socks so much, we decided to use the same stitch patterns for a women's summer top.

I get a big kick out of graceful transitions from one stitch pattern to another, so the cables flow organically out of the ribbing at the lower edge. The lace panels are arranged symetrically, forming a series of V-shapes along the transition line. This is a frankly feminine top that would be flattering to many women.

The pattern is available for sale now.  If you like a hard copy, you can order from Kollage. If you like a pdf download (because who doesn't want to have their knitting patterns on their iPad?), you can buy one through Patternfish.

In other news, this week I suffered the knitter's nightmare. You know, the one that keeps you up at night, that makes you break out in a cold sweat. I ran out of yarn.
I wrote a while back about the cardigan I was making for myself our of my handspun. In order to make steady progress, but not neglect deadline projects, I've allowed myself to work on the handspun sweater only during 49er games.  I've enjoyed working on it, but as I began the sleeves, I started getting that nagging worry about my yarn supply.  As I started the second sleeve, I knew it was a pretty good bet I wasn't going to make it.  Sure enough, I ran out of the darkest of my three yarns just before the sleeve cap on the second sleeve.

I don't have any more of the Romney fiber I used to spin the yarn, nor do I have information on the source that would allow me to order more. I could go on a search for more fiber in this particular not quite black color. Or I could go looking for a commercial yarn that was close enough to my 2-ply handspun to pass.  After all, we're talking about less than 25 rows in a sleeve cap, in a stitch pattern that will help disguise any inconsistency in the yarn.

I'm not so much of a purist that using a commercial yarn instead of handspun will spoil the sweater for me. A stash dive produced a ball of Aran weight shetland wool in "natural black", which is just barely darker than the Romney in my sweater. The shetland is quite a bit thicker than my yarns, so I split the 2 plies and used it as a single. I finished the sleeve with the substitute yarn.  Can you see the difference? Neither can I.

I know lots of knitters who go crazy about issues like this.  They would search high and low for fiber which was an exact match.  Failing to find it, they may abandon the project. If they do finish the project, God help you if you compliment them on the sweater.  They feel compelled to point out the imperfection to every passerby.
I have a rather high tolerance for imperfection. I just wanted to finish the sweater so I can wear it.  I will not show you where the yarn changes, even if you ask.  If you happen to see me wearing the sweater, and somehow see the line where the yarn is different, please don't mention it.


  1. I love your new Kollage sweater design. I am not much of a sweater knitter but I am itching to make it. It's gorgeous!

  2. The handspun sweater is looking amazing, I'd never be able to tell the difference. Is it just me or do the white stitches look a little like bunny rabbits poking their heads up?

    I'll admit to being one of those knitters who has a hard time taking a compliment, though. I was born a perfectionist and I'm only now starting to untangle that personality trait. :)