Sunday, November 8, 2009

FO: Icelandic Yoked Sweater

I finished the Icelandic Yoked sweater this week. When I mentioned it last I would talk more about the unusual way I went about knitting this sweater. So, I think it's time.

The sweater was made with Classic Elite Skye Tweed, which I got on closeout at their outlet store. I bought every skein they had left in the orange colour, and I was a bit nervous that I would run short. So, I decided to start this sweater in the middle with a provisional cast on.
Immediately after I began I realized that not only did I have two different dye lots on the main colour, but one of the lots seemed to be spun a lot tighter than the other. Honestly, if you held the two strands of yarn side by side you would think they were two completely different yarns.
I was determined to make this sweater with the Skye Tweed. So, I pressed on, alternating strands from the two different lots for each round (luckily I had the same amount from each lot).
I knit the body of the sweater up six inches, then knit the sleeves (also with a provisional cast on), and joined them for the yoke. I had originally thought I would work the yoke directly from Elizabeth Zimmerman's charts, but I quickly realized it would be way too shallow for me. So, I improvised after the first chart.
Once the yoke was worked to the last round before the collar I pulled out the provisional cast on and knit the rest of the body length. When I was done I was shocked to see how much of the yarn was left. So, I decided to use a hemmed edge.

This was my first time working hemmed edges in a knitted garment, and I was pretty pleased with the results. The sleeve and body cuffs have crisp straight edges. The neck was much more difficult, and there is a slight pucker at the back. I am being assured that I am the only one who sees this. I should have had someone take a picture of it while I was wearing it yesterday.
The sleeves also ended up a touch shorter than I expected after the yoke was finished. This was no big deal, since I had used a provisional cast-on. It only meant they started to taper a bit sooner that I had originally planned. They still fit just fine.
Also the two different dye lots really don't show in the finished product. The yarn that seemed so much thinner bloomed when I washed it, and I am guessing that it missed some final stage of washing/softening during production.
When I finished that sweater I immediately move on to the Icelandic wool I had spun for a sweater this summer. Here is the first foot of the body (Yes, I am doing another seamless sweater) worked with the three different shades of gray.
The finished yarn is even bulkier than I anticipated, and is knitting up super fast. I'm getting 3 stitches to the inch on size 10 needles, and I'm almost ready to start the yoke. The top half will be done in two tones of brown.

I also learned to sew a zipper into a knit garment this weekend. I'd done this once before, but had been very unhappy with the results. So, a couple of months ago I had written to Denise, who taught the steeking class I took at my LYS about a year ago, and asked her if she would consider teaching a class on installing zippers. She wrote back saying that she was no longer teaching knitting classes, but would also be interested in learning better techniques for installing zippers. She invited my brother Gerry, and I to come over to her house for a day of experimenting with zippers. So, we all knit some swatches, and searched our knitting libraries. I have to say that I was shocked with how little information we found.

I ended up using a technique I found in an out of print Barbara Abbey book, The Complete Book of Knitting, that I picked up for 20 cents at a quilt fair. It recommended putting a firm crochet chain on the inside edge of your selvage, basting in the zipper, then hand sewing it to the crochet chain. I'm pretty happy with the results. It's not perfect, but it is so much better than my previous attempts.
Denise got beautiful results sewing in the zipper by machine. Check out her blog for details.


Maureen said...

Your sweater is amazing! I do love the pattern! It fits very nicely too. I cheated for my last two sweaters with zippers! My mom sewed them in for me! :)

Dave said...

Your sweater came out wonderfully! Great technique to make the two seemingly different yarns meld together, but I can only imagine the tangles from alternating strands.

Clumsy Knitter said...

Congrats on having your sweater turn out so well! All that extra time and care and planning was worth it. I'm totally loving the burnt orange color, too. :)

Lynne said...

The sweater looked fabulous!

Toni said...

Your sweater turned out wonderful. Wow.. I mean smokin' hot nice. Great job!

Joansie said...

Great job on the sweater!! You are an inspiration to those who are hesitant to venture out of the box when it comes to knitting.

I used to install zippers years ago for two local yarn shopes. A never thought of the crochet chain ...great idea!

Unraveling Sophia said...

That sweater is stunning! A perfect knit - a beauty! and what a gorgeous colour! Don't you love working with fall colours in the fall?

I almost tried to contact you for our get-together this weekend but I'm glad I didn't because you were Zippering!! (that sounds odd, but funny) Oh well... someday.

Yarndude said...

Wow, your sweater looks so good! It looks really comfortable, too.

Yarnspider said...

Love the sweater it's lovely. Brilliant edging. You are braver than I am with zips, I still have only managed it once and then I wasn't too pleased. Thanks for the tip re the crocheted edge.

Deb said...

Wow....your sweater is almost too beautiful for words.

I bought 2 different dye lots once by mistake. I was knitting a turtle neck sweater for a friend. I used 1 dye lot for the body & the other dye lot for the sleeves & the neck. It worked...much to my pleasant surprise.

Zippers? I skip those patterns. You're very brave.

hakucho said...

Your finished sweater is awesome!! What a fabulous job you did considering the differences in lot numbers no one would every guess. You should be very proud of yourself :)