Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What do you get when you cross a squid and a ball of yarn?

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What is this?
A swatch for my very first every sweater!
:: gasp! ::

Yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Amethyst Heather
Needles: US Size 7 (4.5mm)

The sweater will be a seamless yoke sweater using Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system.

Seamless means it's going to be in the round, hence the squid/yarn hybrid, instead of making a hat sized swatch in the round and taking forever I just cast on and knit flat, but slid the swatch to the other end of the needle and stranded the yarn behind so I could get the gauge of just me knitting, (as if I were knitting in the round) as opposed to me knitting and purling (as if I were kitting flat.) Now I just have to wait until laundry day to throw it in the wash to see if there will be any stretching or shrinkage for the final numbers.

It took me forever to get to this stage, I wasn't sure what yarn I wanted to use. I looked at several options, Knitpicks Wool of the Andes, Knitpicks Swish Superwash, Brown Sheep Lambs pride worsted, I even thought about Cascade 220.

I definitely wanted a 100% animal fiber yarn, I have enough acrylic and acrylic blend sweaters, I wanted something that would both keep me warn and also breath so I wasn't sweating my arse off half the day. Lambs pride was my first choice since I can get that locally, but the mohair content just made it too itchy and yuck for me. Cascade 220 is 100% wool, and comes in tons of colours, perfect since I wanted to do some fair isle on the yoke, but my computer screen isn't very good when it comes to colour accuracy and I can't get it locally, and can't see a colour card in person without a store. (ok, I can get it sort of locally in Alexandria Bay, but the store had a HUGE markup, and I've had ordering problems with them before, and wasn't sure if I'd be able to make a large specialized order from them without a lot of hassle.)

Which leaves Knitpicks, which had the added bonus of being super cheap. Fist I looked at Swish Superwash for ease of care and OMG extreme softness, but I didn't like the colour combinations, so that got put on the back burner for a someday solid sweater. WOTA had perfect colour range, but I had heard a lot about it being cruddy and scratchy, so I bought a sample ball with my most recent order and after much face and neck rubbing, and finally wandering around with the swatch tied to my arm I have made my decision! It is a bit rough, especially compared to something like the Swish, but it's not really that bad by my standards, and all reviews I've read say it softens with washing and wear. Plus I am super happy with the colour choices and wow cheapness!

One problem is that Knitpicks worsted is actually more like a light worsted, so I had to go down to size 7 before I was happy with the fabric, but that is not a huge deal, and I'm really happy with the colour. Now I just have to wait until I am done with a few of my other projects before I can start this one!

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