Friday, December 5, 2014

Finished Knit: Lysa Sweater

Today I am excited to share with you a finished knit!

This is one of the projects I bought yarn from in October, and was what I decided to take with on my holiday to Canada. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but taking up knitting has transformed my travelling experience. Before knitting a long flight or train journey would be seen as something to be endured. Try and numb my mind by watching movies and try not to think about how much longer there was to go. It was all about the destination and how long it was until I got there.

Now, I am a fairly excitable person (as anyone that has been on a trip with me can attest) and the beginning of trips, even weekends away, are often accompanied with me singing "We're going on hoooolidaaay". Even with all of that, the long journeys were still something to be endured.

But not any more, not now I have knitting to keep me company. Instead of a long period of time to be endured and to count down until it ends, these periods of time are now opportunities for me to make massive headway into knitting projects. These days my essential travelling equipment is my current knitting project and a new audiobook. And that's what I did across the Pacific and over North America on my recent trip. If I wasn't snoozing (let's not fool ourselves by calling it sleeping), I was knitting and listening to one of my "stories".

That's how I got this jumper finished in unprecedented (for me) speed, especially since it's an 8 ply rather than 10 ply yarn. I had finished almost all of the yoke on the way there, splitting for the armholes shortly after, and almost finishing the body by the time I got home. So in the last 3 weeks I just needed to knit up the sleeves (which I again did at both at once on one set of long circular needles; seriously, this method is transformative for both motivation and symmetrical garments)

(me looking like a dork trying my in-progress knit on in the plane)

The knit wasn't completely uneventful; it took me 4 tries to cast on. I just could not get the hang of the backwards loop cast on, so ended up going with a long tail cast on like I've used before. I also had a little trouble with the short rows; if anybody has any recommendations for learning resources for short rows, please throw them at me!

This was my first foray into colourwork and I'm happy with how it went. Obviously the design is incredibly simple; simply alternating the two colours, but it gives a lovely effect. I was careful to make sure that my tension wasn't too tight in these sections, as I found it easy to pull the yarn too tight rather than accounting for the extra yarn needed to bridge the stitch of the other colour. However, it was plenty of fun to do and a good first design; now I'm excited to keep a look out for other colourwork designs that catch my eye!

To recap, the pattern is the Lysa Pullover by Hilary Smith Callis, and the yarn is Morris and Sons Empire in 8ply, with the main colour in seascape twist, and the contrasting colour in biscuit. The seascape twist really is gorgeous; from a distance it looks grey but when you look closely it's a mix of pale blue and beige.

I made a few variations to the pattern as I was knitting this up, starting with adding a few extra rows in here and there. When doing my gauge swatch I found that my stitch count was right, but my row count was off; the pattern states 26 rows in 4" and I had 28 rows in 4 inches, so basically through the yoke portion I added about one extra row for every 13 in the pattern.

Then when I got to the body section of the pattern I pretty much made it all up; I checked my measurements against the chart and decided that I wanted to go down a size in the waist, so calculated how many extra stitches I would need to decrease by and over what length (ie my distance from armpit to waist), then calculated how often do the decreases. I also did the equivalent for the hip increases, based on my measurements. After trying on the almost finished body of the jumper I also decided to add a few extra rows to the ribbing around the hips, as I preferred the proportions of slightly more ribbing.

The sleeves were the other place I departed from the pattern. I knew I wanted to knit long sleeves on my sweater, but the pattern came with three quarter length sleeves. So, I measured the length of the sleeves on my Myrna cardigan, as I like the length of those, then I subtracted off how much ribbing I wanted and how much length the colourwork design would add. I also worked out the circumference I would want once it reached my wrists. from there I calculated how often to decrease as I knit the rounds of the sleeves.

In hindsight I knit the sleeves a tiny bit too snug. But really, the whole thing is fairly tight so it's not like I have a lose drapey jumper with tight sleeves. This is a jumper for wearing over not very much, it's not a jumper for wearing heaps of layers underneath it. However, it is nice and slim so could easily be worn with layers over the top of it; swings and roundabouts.

I don't mind, I have plenty of reason to need to wear a merino sweater with only a singlet underneath, for example sweater inside the office, singlet outside at lunchtime, sorted!


  1. This is a fabulous knit, Rach! I love that this jumper will always remind you of your Canada awesomeness!

  2. Travelling is totally different with you have knitting as a companion (and if you don't have to drive).

    For short rows, you can check the following Craftsy course:

    I've done it and it was great.

  3. I think it's going to stretch slightly, to the perfect size. Every time I make a sweater that starts out "perfect" it grows to an imperfect proportion.

  4. I so agree about traveling and knitting! Now delays or long journeys become opportunities for knitting progress. I have a few projects in my queue, but after those I'd like to try a simple colorwork project. I'll have to keep this pattern in mind! It came out great.

  5. I agree knitting makes traveling so much better. In fact I originally learned to knit just so I would have something to do during an 18 hour car ride!

  6. It looks great! I really like the colour combination. And well done on your first colour work too! I haven't been brave enough yet but I really must give it a go very soon.

  7. Oh Rachel, this is just astonishing and you look so unutterably pleased with it. You should do!! You really customised this to suit yourself and with the colourwork to contend with, that was no mean feat. I love this, it's just stunning :)

  8. A woman after my own heart with all those calculations! Hooray for customised knits! And YES, travel knitting is the best :) I bus a lot so my knitting is my saviour. You look great and well done :D

  9. This is an awesome jumper! I never think to take knitting on the plane with me. I always thought they would stop you taking needles on the plane. Now I know you can I'll be packing knitting for sure. Although with Imogen I don't think I'll have much time to knit in flight.

  10. Love this knit - what better use of time when travelling? I wish sewing was as portable...


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