Let’s talk about colorwork.
We’ve been seeing lots of stranded colorwork in the crop of fall knitting designs, and this week, Tin Can Knits updated the Strange Brew colorwork sweater “recipe” to accommodate three different gauges, in twenty-five sizes (newborn through men’s 4XL), and either top-down or bottom-up construction.
The sweater recipe is available as a standalone Ravelry In-Store pattern for $10, or is part of the Strange Brew e-book, launched this week. The e-book is $22, and contains the original “recipe” pattern, plus eight additional sweater patterns, and several hats and cowls. (It’s a heck of a value.)
I’ve decided to plan for a colorwork sweater knitalong after the new year, but to prepare, I’ll be hosting a Strange Brew swatchalong on the first four Fridays in November. (The last Friday will be, as usual, Project Circle.) Using the FREE Anthology pattern from Tin Can Knits, we’ll design and knit colorwork hats or cowls. Just like the Strange Brew recipe, Anthology offers a wide variety of sizes, and three gauge options. Held in the knitalong format, there will be no charge to participate beyond purchase of materials.
Fresh on the shelves from Knitted Wit: Polwarth Shimmer, the polwarth wool and silk blend featured in the Beekeeper Cardigan KAL in July. Everyone who worked with this yarn raved about how nice it is to knit with, and it’s incredibly comfortable to wear. There are sweater quantities of nine gorgeous colors available, including Tupelo Honey, which was the color Marie Greene featured in her sample sweater.
Also new to the shelves is the September HerStory color, Invasive Invaders, which pays tribute to the work of Dr. María del Socorro Flores González, whose work to study invasive amebiasis has made it possible to diagnose and treat the parasitic infection, frequently found in poor areas with compromised water supplies. You can read more of her story in the monthly love letter here.
Circular yoke sweaters represent one of several ways to knit a seamless sweater in the round, either from the top down, or from the bottom up. In either case, circular yokes are one way of addressing how to transition from the circumference needed at the sweater’s largest point, where it circles the chest and the upper arms, and the smallest part of the main body, the neck.
Raglan sweaters do this too, by using regular increases (or decreases, if you’re knitting bottom-up) at four specific points, which results in very defined angular lines. However, when there is colorwork at the top of the sweater, it’s often better to distribute the increases more evenly, with more rows in between. This often happens in a solid color row in between the color motifs, and allows the motifs to continue uninterrupted, without the identifiable raglan lilnes.
The one possible downside to this construction method is that all the fun stuff happens at the beginning of the project! Increases, sometimes short row shaping to raise the back of the neck, and the colorwork. One of the things I loved about the Treysta sweater (mine is pictured above, in Studio Donegal Soft Donegal) is that there were a few rounds of colorwork at the bottom hems of the main body and sleeve, almost as a reward for persevering through the many rounds of plain stockinette between the yoke and hems!
Cathedral Grove begins in a somewhat unusual way: you cast on, work a few short rows, and knit the back to a specified depth. Then you return to the cast on edge, pick up stitches for the left and right fronts, and work them to the same depth as the back. At that point, the fronts and the back are joined, and the body is worked in one piece to the hem. The pattern instructions for how to achieve this are exceptionally clear. Upon finishing the second ball of yarn, I put the back on hold, and picked up for the left sleeve. (You can just barely see its beginnings here.) Another enjoyable aspect of this pattern is its economical use of charts—the main chart is for the back, and there are separate charts for the front increase sections, but after the increases are complete, you use a well-defined part of the back chart for the left and right fronts, and also for the sleeves.
Zweig with one arm done! The sleeve style used in this pattern does not require tracking of sleeve decreases—you knit without them until the long (5”) section of ribbing begins. I hope to finish the second sleeve this week, then return to the body. It looks like a sweater, and I’m very close to wanting to wear a sweater!