This week has been spent preparing for some visiting family who will be arriving later today. Because our guest room has become my sewing catch-all, I had to clean the place up and put everything away so my guests would have some room to spread out. So that meant no sewing this week. Instead, I've been focusing on a project that's been a long time coming: the Relax pullover by Ririko.
|this color is pretty true|
I first became aware of this pattern through Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. She made this sweater last summer, just before opening her hand-dyed yarn shop. I loved hers so much that as soon as her yarn was available, I bought enough to make my own.
The yarn in question is Islington, a fingering-weight blend of 55% wool (BFL) and 45% silk. Now, I'll be honest - I'm not having the most fun knitting with this. It's super soft, but because of the high silk content, it doesn't have a lot of spring. However, the drape and sheen of the finished fabric make it worth the effort. And just look at that color! It took me a long time to actually start the sweater once my yarn arrived - I spent ages just gazing at it and petting it.
|this washed-out photo shows the very subtle color variation produced by kettle dying|
There have been some bumps in the road with this project. When I first started it last fall, I used the recommended needle and gauge for the pattern - a 3.5mm for 23 stitches to the inch. But I just didn't love the fabric, and ended up ripping it out. Then I got the bright idea to work up a similar pattern with the yarn. It took me until I'd finished 2/3 of the back before I decided I didn't like that one either. So I ripped it out again and last month decided to give Relax another go.
This time I did several swatches until I landed on a fabric I liked. For me this was using a 3mm needle for a gauge of 25 stitches to the inch. The design is extremely oversized - the XS has a finished bust measurement of 55". With my slightly smaller gauge, I should end up at about 52.5". So no need to alter the pattern; I'm just following along with the size XS instructions. The only thing I've changed from my first attempt is to work the whole body in the round. I'd say I'm about 2/3 of the way to where I need to split for front and back. Oh, and I miscounted rows on my first eyelet, so mine are spaced at 11 rows apart instead of 10.
The day before yesterday I got to the point where my first ball was almost gone, so I've been alternating with my new hank, one row each, for the last couple inches.
The edges on this sweater are done in mock rib. Seems to be "my" stitch this year!
As you can imagine, this one is pretty slow going. But it's enabled me to watch a lot of TV :-) The yarn is so gorgeous, it just makes me happy to look at it. So I'm really in no big rush to finish this up. If you haven't checked out Linda's shop, go on over and do that - her yarns are stunning, and she puts them all through rigorous testing. And if you sign up for her email list, you get 10% off your first order!