Hello, everyone! I hope you had a nice time over the holidays. I took a break from my day-to-day activities as much as possible, hung out with my family, ate lots of good food, and got in some nice walks, ice skating, and puzzle time! Now it’s back to it! I managed to get lots of good (and sorely needed) blog pictures with the help of my husband, so I can share some projects with you. And what better to share now that it’s fully winter than some knitting–and a sweater, no less?
Here are the details:
Needles: metal circular needles in sizes US 0, 1, 2, 3
Timeframe: April 14, 2022 (swatching!) to November 11, 2022
With my penchant for bright colorwork, this sweater pattern was a surprising choice for me…but it was directly influenced by the Wool & Honey sweater I made. That sweater, also a Drea Renee Knits (DRK) pattern, also knit in Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight, has to be my most worn sweater to date. There is something magical in that weird, boxy shape and slim sleeves with the cool texture on the yoke, knit up in this beautiful woolen-spun yarn. It’s lightweight and the perfect year-round sweater. In fact, I love it so much, I got nervous I was going to wear it out. I didn’t want to knit it again–it took me a long time and I wanted to make something a little bit different.
Enter, The Weekender Light sweater. In knitting it, I could use more of the Jamieson & Smith 2-Ply yarn, which I had fallen in love with. And this time I would try out one of their yarn cones rather than ordering balls of yarn, for added savings. I trusted in my desire for another sweater I could wear constantly to carry me through all the miles of stockinette stitch in fingering weight yarn that this pattern required.
Now that I knew I loved this yarn, I got smart and ordered a shade card (yarn color sample card) along with my cone of yarn. That way I could see the different colors in person and wouldn’t have to guess on future projects since it’s pretty likely I will order from J & S again. And then I threw a few balls of shade FC22, Bright Pink Mix, into my cart, in the hopes that it would coordinate with the cone of yarn I had ordered, since originally, I had planned to make all my ribbing a darker pink, (see this tutorial for how to do that at the neckline). Unfortunately, I didn’t love them together when they came, so I saved the Bright Pink Mix yarn for another project and decided to dive into a single-color knit.
I tend to knit much more loosely than Andrea Mowry, so I ended up getting gauge on US 1 needles, rather than the suggested US 4’s. I knit a lot of DRK patterns, and this is typical for me. Actually, it’s not just DRK patterns. I usually have to size down with my needles to get gauge. I was between sizes, and since I know my tendency to knit loosely, I chose the smaller of the two, a size 4. I started out using a US 0 on the ribbing and a US 1 for the body. I didn’t enjoy the cast on, but it definitely looks nice. I also knit the ribbing pretty tightly, so that wasn’t the most fun, either, but that was all on me. After that, everything was going well!
Then things took a little turn when we went on a road trip last summer.
I was a little way into knitting the body of the sweater when we started driving. Now, I love a good road trip…once we’re on the trip. Leading up to it, I always stress. Did I remember everything? Clothes? Food? Medicine? What if we get in an accident? What if one of us gets tired? And on and on. I’m actually better than I used to be, but regardless, I always get a bit spun up about things before we go. Well, it seems that I took that nervous energy with me on the trip, even though I felt fine once we were on the road, and suddenly, I was knitting too tightly. I had managed to get in a few inches as we drove (which took awhile). All I had to do was look at it to realize that my knitting had tightened up.
I put the sweater in time out.
Then I went to the yarn store with my Mom, got yarn for two new projects, ordered some needles and stitch markers, and started on something totally different. That sweater stayed in time out until we got home.
Once home, I could finally face up to the fact that I had to rip out my knitting and go up a needle size.
I ripped my last few inches out, put in a lifeline just in case I reverted back to my original tension, and went on with the body, using US 2’s. On I went, seemingly forever. To be fair, I don’t knit a lot in a day. I sometimes put in a little time at night in front of the TV, but often that’s it. I also usually pair a longer or more complicated project like a sweater, with a faster or easier project like a hat or cowl. So, little by little this grew until I got to the sleeves. I went up a needle size to a US 3 for those. On Andrea’s recommendation, I usually go up a needle size for sleeves to keep my gauge consistent.
At the end of October, I got a fairly mild case of COVID. After sleeping for a few days, I started to feel better, but was still confined to my room, so as not to get my family members sick. At that point, something lit a fire under me, and I decided to knit as much as I could and finish this thing! I watched a lot of TV on my laptop, and knit sitting down, standing up, in between organizing my sewing patterns, after stretching out my arms, etc., etc. Shortly after leaving quarantine, I finished my second sleeve! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Then it was on to blocking. This yarn really transforms with blocking. And I especially noticed that with the yarn on the cone. The cone yarn from J & S was “in oil” meaning it has some spinning oil on it. I never felt, noticed, or smelled any real difference from knitting with the balls, except that maybe the yarn looked less fluffy. During blocking the water was a little cloudy, so I rinsed a few times until it was clear, but other than that, it was the same as blocking yarn from the balls. The yarn on the sweater went from looking like it was knit from a rough string (it didn’t feel rough, just looked a bit rustic, I guess), to fluffing out and looking soft and beautiful. I use store brand CVS baby shampoo as my “wool wash” so it came out smelling of wool and baby shampoo, a lovely combination.
So how does wearing this compare to the Wool & Honey? I don’t think it’s equivalent, to be honest. I like this sweater, and I have gotten a lot of compliments on it, but I don’t love it as much. It has the same kind of boxy fit, although I think mine is slightly smaller at the bottom, probably due to my early gauge issues and knitting the ribbing fairly tightly. I like the round neck of the Wool & Honey better as well as the yoke construction. This sweater has the same nice light weight, and I like it with close-fitting pants. It’s also a color I wear a lot, so I’m really glad I made it, but I need to wear it more to see if it will become the staple that my Wool & Honey has.
I also own the original Weekender pattern, which is knit in a worsted weight, but I need to wear this one more to see if I would make that version or not. Now that I can compare aspects of both the Weekender Light and the Wool & Honey in the same yarn, I wonder if I would be happier with something like the DRK Everyday Sweater which has a construction more like the Wool & Honey. Who knows?
The great thing is that I am starting to get a bit of a hand knit sweater wardrobe, which I love. I remember when that happened with my sewing, and how great it was. I love wearing something I have made nearly every day.
Even though every single sweater feels like it takes forever, I like knitting them alongside the hats and cowls, which are my other favorite things to knit. I just need to stretch and strengthen my arms a bit so that I can knit more and longer without injuring myself. The pitfalls of crafting are real, people…but so are the rewards!