My Adventures In Stranded Colorwork- Part 2

Posted by Julia Wardell on

Feeling extremely accomplished after knitting my Kodikas Shawl I felt confident enough to try my very first ever colorwork sweater. As soon as Sipila by Caitlin Hunter was published I knew I had to make one. It spoke to me on a deep level and like everyone else I fell instantly in love. At the time when it was published I had a ton of projects on the needles so I felt a little guilty starting another project right away. So to pass the time while I feverishly tried to finish my WIP's, I downloaded the pattern and began to sift through the shop to find the perfect color combination.

I decided to use my 'Base One' and 'Shadows' on my Shimmer fingering base. I figured if I was going to dive even further into the colorwork hole I wanted the project to sparkle. But despite telling myself I needed to finish up some projects the call of this pattern was too strong and I gave up and CO. Good thing they make interchangeable needles.

Initially everything went smoothly. I was slow, taking my time, and remembered to move up a needle size for the charted sections. But after that first night and almost three inches in I had a nagging feeling in the back of my head that this sweater was not going to fit. Even thought I had read the directions carefully and made sure I had picked the right size the anxiety kept me up most of the night. As soon as it was morning I ran down stairs and tried on what I had completed.

I was super pleased to find that it did in fact fit over my head. My self doubt in this project began to melt away and I continued on. And by the time I had finished the yolk and separated for the sleeves I was praising my skills even more. I was even shocked at how well the project was progressing. There were a few spots where it puckered but I figured that was just the nature of the yarn. The struggle with finding the balance in my floats continued but I figured slow and steady would be the way to conquer it.


But then I hit my first snag on sleeve island. An inch before making it to the colorwork section, I was trying to figure out the best to way to actually knit the sleeves. I had seen some people say they used 9" circs when working on theirs. I was aware of people using those zoom zoom needles for socks but never thought to make the leap to sleeves. I ordered some. 

I found these circs to be too small to fit in my hands comfortably and I was afraid of doing this magic loop. Not sure why. A few of my friends who I see as colorwork masters said they use magic loop all the time and never have an issue. And I did complete the top section of the sleeve using that technique. But for some reason I had it in my head that doing magic loop and colorwork at the same time would be way too complicated for me to handle. So I did some further research and asked for some suggestions and in walked the 12" circ.

I had no idea such things existed. But I ordered a pair and felt that they would suit the job nicely. It was only half way through the chart that I realized I was using the wrong size needle and the sleeve would be too tight. This was not a mistake on my end. The place I had ordered the needles from sent me the wrong size. In the mean time I frogged back and waited for the new pair to arrive.

In hind sight- before starting the sleeves I should have tried on the sweater to make sure that sleeve holes themselves were the right size- but I didn't. This is a mistake I will not be repeating again. Before going on vacation with my family I had one sleeve completed and had started the second.

I did try on the sweater at this point and had noted that the sleeves were a tad tight all the way around. But I felt that a vigorous blocking would loosen that up. Blocking fixes so many things. And for some reason I felt that since it was a single ply yarn it would have a little more give and I continued on. I finished the second sleeve when I returned and blocked the sweater. By then a heat wave hit the area and the thought of putting on a wool sweater to check the fit and take pictures was the last thing I wanted to do. I was confident all was well and that Mother Nature was having me wait for the perfect moment to try it on.

Here are my final thoughts. I am not in love with the physical sweater as much as I was in love with the idea of this sweater. I have a long standing love and hate relationship with sweaters in general but I digress. The sleeves even with a vigorous blocking are still too tight in the shoulder area and all the way down for me to comfortably wear. Looking back on it now, yolk sweaters are a little harder to adjust on the fly to ensure a proper fit. If you go up a size to make sure it fits in the shoulder area then it will be too large in the body. I think with my next sweater I will CO more stitches under the arm and hopefully that will help fix the issue.

I also am not a fan of the baggy look on this and even though many say a fit like this flattering on all body types, I humbly disagree.  If I were to do it again I would probably try to add a little more shaping to the body section. My natural hour glass shape and curvy hips do not always look good with a straight boxy top. And at this point why try to hide them, I should embrace them and show them off.

My Mom's argument is that these colors do nothing for me. And a few other people who have known me for a while have also mentioned that these colors are not what I normally gravitate towards. And I would agree, they are little outside my comfort zone. I am, however, hoping that maybe with time my attitude towards this finished project will change. Overall, I have decided to not let this deter me from continuing on with my stranded colorwork adventures.

For more details about this particular project- please visit my Ravelry Project Page.


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