It’s a Christmas Sweater!

And not one of the reindeer kind, either.

My orange and purple Wollmeise sweater is finally done! I used the free pattern ‘Paulie’, Wollmeise yarn, and buttons from the yarn shop of my heart, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas.

I used almost every single piece of the two skeins of orange Wollmeise (colourway ‘Kurbis’). In the body of the sweater I alternated yarn balls every two rows, but I used just one ball on each sleeve. The button band/collar is a combination of the two balls of orange. I’m pretty sure I still have enough purple left for a pair of socks.

I personally can’t get the shawl collar to fold over like it does in the pattern photo, but I think it looks just fine flat as well.

I could do with a tiny bit more ease in the sleeves, but it isn’t unmanageable, I just probably won’t wear any but the tightest-fitting long-sleeved shirts under there. T-shirts work fine though.

There are 11 purple stripes in the body and 14 on the sleeves, and with the amount I had left from my two skeins of Wollmeise, I couldn’t have made it anything but a row, maybe two longer in the body, so it worked out perfectly!

I sewed the buttons on with some of the Wollmeise – I separated 3 of the plies, and used that as thread to sew them on. How perfectly do they match?! I didn’t have the yarn with me when I bought them, but I saw them and just knew. I think they’re shell, but the coating that makes them orange has an interesting rubbery finish. They’re almost too big for the button holes, but they do fit through, crisis averted there!

My very patient husband did this photoshoot with me yesterday afternoon. There may be snow on the ground still where we were, but Calgary has been having unseasonably warm temperatures for most of December, so it wasn’t too bad being outside in just my sweater. I was thankful to put my coat on when we were done though! I think P took some awesome photos with our new camera, and even had fun playing with the 4pm setting sun when I asked him to. Here’s a bonus photo of my lovely man looking very dapper in the hat I bought him for Christmas:

 

That Rhinebeck Sweater

Rhinebeck being over and all, I thought I’d give you a little update on that sweater I’m making in honour of the wool festival I couldn’t go to this year.

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It has a body! Right now it is a very nice orange-and-purple-striped vest. I got up to 11 purple stripes before it was about the right length.

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Then a nice garter stitch hem to stop it rolling. I can’t wait until it is time to put the garter stitch button bands on, to stop the fronts rolling in like that!

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And there is my proto-sleeve (and grey manicure!). The sleeve knitting started after that purple stripe, so I’m only a few rows in in the photo, but I’ve got 2 more purple stripes on the sleeve since then. Hopefully the sleeves go faster than the body, as they’re so much smaller, plus they get smaller as you knit – the bottom of the sweater increased after the waist so it just bigger and bigger.

I knit the garter stitch at the bottom on a needle 0.5mm smaller than the body, to keep it tight, as garter does have a tendency to flare out from stockingette when done on the same needles (at least it does at my gauge!).

My revised goal is to have this lovely orange sweater done by Halloween!

Wollmeise Sweater Updates

Here is the bad news sweater update: Rhinebeck just isn’t going to pan out for me this year. Although I have the weekend off, the cost of going (even splitting the hotel room and car rental) prohibits it. P and I are planning an epic honeymoon to Costa Rica, which takes precedence over trips of the yarny persuasion. That, and most of our ‘fun stuff’ savings went to a new car in June.

The good news: the sweater is coming along and I love how the colours look together!

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I took this picture just before purple stripe #5.

 

I won’t be abandoning the sweater, even though I won’t be wearing it to Rhinebeck. It’s a fun change to be working on a garment other than a sock. The next week or two is going to be a sparse on the knitting front – I’ve got a crazy work week starting up on Thursday.

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I feel like this picture is a bit truer to the real colours of the yarns, at least on my monitor. On the tiny screen on the back of my camera, the purple stripes almost look blue when I’m actually taking the photos.

This sweater is great TV/podcast knitting because there isn’t too much shaping, and there’s no cables or lace or anything to remember. As long as I knit two rows with the purple after every ten orange rows, I’m golden. This is all I knit when I’m at home, and I’m not bored yet. I would like to get back to a shawl I started before the wedding in a bride-brain-induced fit of madness where I thought I could knit myself a wedding shawl in a month. It’s in the time-out pile right now, but I think I might finish knitting that next, then go on to the Little Yellow Birds sweater I talked about earlier. Who knows when that will actually be – most Paulie sweaters seem to have 12-13 body stripes, and I’m just about to start stripe #5. That sounds like almost halfway, until you remember that pesky pair of sleeves.

Wollmeise Gets Results!

Before I let you know what colour I chose for the stripes in my sweater, I want to have some fun with figures. I went through all the comments, and tallied up everyone’s first choices for the contrast colour. That graph looks roughly like this:

First Choice colours

In this graph, I lumped both purples together into one column. Teal is the obvious front runner!

Then I went through and tallied up everything people said – meaning if someone said “I like teal the best, followed by the pale purple” I put one check in the teal column and one in the pale purple column. That graph turned out like this:

all choice colours

I found all the comments really interesting to read – people’s tastes are so different! I loved reading everything from the art majors who talked about colour theory, to “I’m not sure the deep pink in the first photo should ever see the light of day.” :)

While I read all the comments as they came in, I didn’t tally them up until I’d made my choice, and asked P’s opinion (I didn’t include our votes in the graphs, as we didn’t leave comments!). I think P and I definitely have an advantage over youse guys in internet-land because we can see the real yarn right in front of us. It is just so hard to take accurate pictures of colours this rich, not to mention all the difference various monitors make. For me, it really came down to two colours. The dusty pink was just out, I didn’t want to pull off the day-glo pink in the end, and the dark purple started to look blackish-brown when I held it up to the orange garter-stitch yoke. Even calling Kurbis ‘orange’ is a simplification, it’s rusty, reddish with the old gold tone orangey. I did the only thing a knitter should do when trying to work out problems like this. I swatched.

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While waiting for comments, and waiting to make up my mind, I had knitted the yoke of the sweater up until where the first contrast stripe goes. I decided to try it with both the teal and the lighter purple (Lila Ludmilla). It’s a bodged-together mess of yarn in the back – I knit with the teal across one front, turned, purled back, did a few rows just across the teal stitches with the orange yarn, then knit all the way across the teal stripe and onto the arm, then repeated the process with the purple. It’s like short rows without all the wrapping and turning to neaten it up. Works well enough for testing colours though!

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And, the final result after all this (un)scientific testing was….. Lila Ludmilla! Near the orange, the teal just looked like an odd, awkward green.

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The winning combo, back when it was still in training.

Another factor, although I wouldn’t have let it put me off completely, was the difference in textures of the yarn. Wollmeise is super-duper smooth. Sometimes it almost looks to me like mercerized cotton, not wool. The Koigu (the teal) is a two-ply, and the yarn has a very different surface than the Wollmeise. My using my Lila Ludmilla, the sweater will be made in two more similar yarns (my Kurbis is 100% wool, the Lila is 80% wool/20% nylon).

And now the reason you’re all really here…. who will get skein number 3 of the Wollmeise Kurbis? Remember, you won’t get it until October, so you’re going to have to be patient. Cheering me on and keeping me accountable for this sweater are also welcomed. ;)

And the winner is Michaela! Michaela said: “I have always loved the orange-purple combo, and I think your sweater would look nice with either Lila Ludmilla or Amethyst Dark as the contrast colour!” Rafflecopter uses Random.org to pick the winner, so there was no favouritism going on, but I’m happy the winner likes my colour combination. :)

Now I just have to go pull out the tangled mess of my stripe-swatches and I can get to knitting this thing properly!

Rhinebeck Wishing Sweater and a Giveaway!

So this year, I have the third weekend of October off. This may not mean a lot to non knitters, but knitters know that the third weekend in October means the New York Sheep and Wool Festival, more commonly known just by the name of the town it is held in: Rhinebeck. I once described Sock Summit as “knitters’ Woodstock”. Really that title is much more appropriate for Rhinebeck, as Rhinebeck is about 30 minutes from actual Woodstock.

I’m not certain I can go yet, and won’t have a better idea until we can assess the state of our bank account in September, but I’m hopeful. (To help me get there, I’ve put some of my stash on sale too!)

A lot of knitters that go to Rhinebeck make Rhinebeck sweaters. Awesome knitted sweaters to wear around the fair are a great conversation starter, and a sign that you’re a knitter. Now as I’m not certain I can go, for a little while I wasn’t sure if I should start a sweater. Would it be some form of sweater curse to start knitting it before I knew I could go? Would it bring luck to me to help me go? I’ve decided to start one, because work is about to get in the way of my knitting time, and I can’t guarantee that I could knit a sweater in the time between deciding to really really go and getting there. And if I don’t end up going, I’ve got a nice new cardigan.

I think I’ve decided on the Paulie pattern:

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It’s a free pattern, which is a plus considering the immediate lockdown I put on my wallet once I decided I needed to save for this trip.

I’ve got a main colour yarn already, Wollmeise Kurbis. I’m just not sure what colour I want to do the stripes with, so I thought I’d see what everyone else thought.

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The main colour is the two skeins on the outside of the picture. They’re a little variegated, so I may actually do the ‘2 rows from one skein, 2 rows from another thing’. Here they’re pictured with a deep pink Wollmeise in Himbeere. This would make a bright sweater, staying in the same general colour family.

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Or I could stripe with purple. I have two purple Wollmeise skeins, Lila Ludmilla and Amethyst Dark. The photo above shows the differences in the purples. Out of these two I think I’m leaning towards the paler one, but I could be persuaded otherwise.

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Or I have some teal yarn that’s a little brighter than I could photograph. This is another good contrasty combination. I have more than what’s in the picture for the teal, but it might be a close thing doing that last teal i-cord bind=off. This teal is Koigu colour 1500.

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Or a paler, dusty pink from Zen Yarn Garden. This was an afterthought as I was pulling all my yarn out to see what would go. I think it could be interesting.

Now here is the fun part! I have a third skein of the orange-y Wollmeise. I shouldn’t need it for this sweater (I’m making the small size), but I want to hang onto it for insurance, because it would suck to run out during the bind off or something. If I do use any of it, it definitely won’t be much, and Wollmeise is generous with their yardage. So, if you leave a comment telling me which colour you think is best for the stripes (and/or why one combination is so heinous it should never be seen again) you will be put into a drawing for that last skein! You can also enter by tweeting about the giveaway (see below for details). I will mail the skein when I have completely finished the sweater, or if I give up on the sweater/don’t finish in time, I’ll mail it out to you on October 14th, the start of Rhinebeck. You can enter this competition up until I post a picture of the first stripe knitted into the sweater in my chosen combo on the blog. I imagine that will be near the end of the month.

And there’s a new kid in town trying to make entering contests easier for bloggers! The name of the service is Rafflecopter. I applied for an invite and it came through a little while ago, and I’m going to test it out with this competition. Once you’ve left your comment and clicked the “I did this!” button (don’t forget to do that, that’s what enters you in the draw!) you can also use the Rafflecopter widget to tweet about the giveaway once per day for another chance to win. If you want to comment but don’t want to be in the draw, comment away and ignore the Rafflecopter widget. This is my first go with Rafflecopter, and if it works well, I could probably be persuaded into doing some more giveaways. :)

(If you’re reading this in Google Reader or the like, you’ll need to hop over here to see the widget!)

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