The Isle of the Fairly Mad (Part the First)

I suppose I haven't offered up a clear description of my current knitting progress in a fairly long time. Since this TealArt knitting site is way more of a reality now than it's been in a long time, I should outline what I've been knitting this semester.

I still need to fix the graphic at the top of the knitting savant(s?) web site, and I want to have one more knitting contributor, I think that'll be cool. So we're/I'm not quite at v1.0 with ta:ks(s?) but it's close. Anyway.... Onword!

Fair Isle, and stranded knitting in general has always been that knitting style that's fascinated the hell out of me, and for some reason I've always been afraid of getting into it because I guess I thought it would be too hard, or something. We'll this past year has shown me that, in fact, it's not only not too hard, but it's also the kind of knitting that keeps me entertained, and at least theoretically it's something that I can wear (at least more so than lace work).

I've been very much enamored of Alice work. Her patterns are really well thought out and generally very clear. This summer I made a sweater, straight out of Fisherman's Sweaters, called Faroe (see below). My version is blue green-ish and/or teal tones. The book called for worsted weight Rowan yarn, and I made do with a coned sport weight yarn. In true savant fashion I didn't do any gauge testing , and in a truely surprising move, used the needle size that the pattern called for. I knit the body during the summer when I was in Kansas City, and finished up the sleeves this semester.

I'm a big fan of knitting sleeves off the shoulders: it helps me combat the problem of "sleeve island," sleeves seem to go faster because they get smaller rather than bigger as you get further into them, and you don't have to sew them in when you're done. Having said that, unless you do the pattern upside down (from your perspective as you knit) the sleeves will look backwards in reference to the body, which just means you have to turn charts upside down. But frankly I'm ok with that, as it makes the process a little more interesting. So be it.

After I finished the Faroe body, I started on Ram's Horn, a pattern inspired by a cardigan from Meg Swansen's "Knitting" book. I turned it into a pull over, changed the ribbing, and altered the size. So I really just used the chart, basically. I still haven't steamed (blocking) it, but it came out really well. I must admit that it sort of makes me look like a rug (despite what some people tell me) and the forearms are a little too tight, so some day I might get some black yarn and reknit the forearms, but I'm not aching to wear it too much so I think that's something I need some distance from for a while. I finished up the body after returning to school and then I did the sleeves for both the Ram's Horn and Faroe in alternating (just to mix it up)...

That brings us to date with mid-October. Since then, I made a sweater I've called Norge Fantasia, it's a norwegian themed sweater. Simple, but there was some fair isle work on it. I used an amazing yarn that was 50/50 llama wool, I believe it was Classic Elite Monera, but I think Cascade also sells it as La Paza (i'm not sure about that though). It's a worsted weight sweater, and its really rather nice. I'm going to write it up as a pattern I think. Near the end it almost drove me crazy, so I slacked off and didn't do the patterns on the tops of the sleeves, but it came out really really well so I'm happy with that. It's in a deep blue with some black patterning.

I also started another blue and black sweater (bruise the second). It's also from Starmore's Fisherman's Sweaters. Ironically enough, it's an easier pattern than Faroe. That'll learn me. I also changed the pattern a bit more to make more butch(;)). That is, I took out flowery bits, and dropped the third color and made the whole thing more subtle. It's nifty, and I have about 8 more inches before I'm done with the body. I think I have a hope of finishing this before I go back to school. I might have sewing up left to go.

So that's my status update, I'll be back in a bit with my plans for the next few patterns.

Cheers and Knit on! Sam

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