1. This is a pattern from the book “The Art of Fair Isle Knitting” by Ann Feitelson. I love this book and I like this design. This is my first real stranded knitting project worth mentioning.
2. The knitting wool is from Jamieson & Smith in the Shetland Islands (Scotland) and they are lovely to deal with. Very nice emails and phone conversations and speedy service. Given the fantastic colour palette of their knitting wools, I reckon they have become my supplier of choice!
3. The Shetland knitting wool was so different from the knitting wools I’ve been using. It feels “hard” to the touch, just like the home-spun that I had purchased a while back. But, unlike that horrible home-spun, this wool knits beautifully. And, once washed in only water, it becomes very soft to the touch.
4. It’s my experience that Shetland wools need to be wound into balls. When pulling from the centre, I ended up with lots of yarn spew which usually was tangled as this wool tends to knot up easily. It was too risky to trust the skeins to pull cleanly.
5. It is a 2-ply that knits as a 4-ply. I know that there are several MWK members who will knit jumpers in nothing larger than a 5-ply. I can now see the advantages of knitting a stranded multi-colour pattern with a smaller wool. The pattern stands out so much better and there is a definition and intricacy of the knitted design that the larger size wools can’t achieve (in my opinion).
6. Tension/gauge was interesting. I was able to get gauge with 3.25 mm on the sleeves but I had to switch to 3.50 mm for the body! I can’t explain this as the entire garment was knitted in the round.
7. Speaking of circular knitting, I don’t see how anyone can do stranded knitting flat!
8. And, while I’m on the subject of size, I followed the pattern that would be far to large for me and yet it came out fitting perfectly. I knitted the sleeve length to be 1" more than usual but when I tried it on, the sleeves were 2" too short! However, blocking on the jumper board took care of that. The Shetland wools seem to have lots of give and take.
9. Meg Swanson says that every colour pattern has its own song. If this is true, then I must be tone deaf. I tinked over and over again!
10. I learned the hard way and started using lots of stitch markers. This made things so much easier, especially if I were interrupted during a pattern sequence.
11. Instead of carrying floats, I used the (so-called) Philosopher’s Wool method of stranded knitting (see their website for instructions if you’re not familiar with it). For me, this totally eliminated all tension problems (except my own inner tension when I’d stuffed-up the pattern!) and made for a lovely piece of knitted fabric. The only time I stranded a colour was the red because it was 1 stitch every 6th stitch and no matter how careful I was, the “caught” red stitches on the underside showed through the light-coloured background. It’s just an issue of a darker shade carried under a lighter shade background.
12. The recipe calls for some weird-ass sleeves which I’ve yet to suss why the designer did them this way. It calls for taking off stitches for the underarm and then doing decreases (I did a steek), then grafting the underarms (no problem) and then grafting “live” sleeve stitches to “dead” selvage stitches. It made for an interesting seam line and I’m not sure why I even have same. Would it have been better to have just sewn that area if I had to have this hole? Or perhaps, just doing the yoke like other patterns (eg see EZ) by grafting and then joining and reducing? I’m not an experienced enough knitter to know what’s up here. But, that having been said, I must admit the finished join looked pretty bloody good.
13. I wove-in all ends whenever I had to change colours. This was much easier than having to go back and darn them into the back.
14. I wonder if I’ll ever get good enough at following the colour pattern that I can do other things - like have a conversation at the same time?