I was running a little dry on knitting inspiration a couple of weeks ago and realized it was most likely because I hadn’t knit one single selfish thing in months. So dropping everything I was doing I dove into my stash head first and came up with a lovely cone of white alpaca lopi. Normally white wouldn’t be my color, I mean I am a MAGNET for stains and not in the good Tide Detergent kind of way either. Wearing white usually doesn’t come into my wardrobe ever because I just can’t keep it clean. But with this beautiful lopi that my friend Mette spun up at their mini mill at Ranch of the Oaks I just couldn’t mess with perfection. Mette’s lopi is something truly stunning and though she’s really humble about it I don’t think that there is a commercially available equal. (She will be a Stitches West if you want to check it out personally!).
Ahem, so I had around 1800 yards of alpaca and a schematic for a top down sweater which I admit isn’t my favorite sweater on my body. Something about the long shoulder lines and droopy arms just don’t work for me usually, but this time I decided I was going to make a droopy baggy sweater that I could wear around the house and knit in or do errands in. My usual point of contention in whether I will wear a sweater a lot comes down to how long it is at the waist and how baggy the cuffs are. If I can’t knit in the sweater with out the cuffs getting in the way I won’t wear it, and if the sweater isn’t long enough it will be discarded forever. Some how finding the right length on a top down sweater is harder for me because when I bind off it always seems like I’ve mysteriously lost an inch. I’m blaming this fate and moving on because it doesn’t happen if I do a bottom up sweater.
Instead of having just a plain white sweater that would easily blend in with the background I dug out a skein of my husband’s handspun to and a little striping detail. The handspun itself is actually a bulky weight alpaca blend but I like the nubbliness and homespun feel this adds. It’s not just a stripe, it’s character!
This sweater was just for me so there won’t be a pattern with it. I knit the collar at a long slow deep “V” and then after I put the arms on stitch holders I cast on equal amounts of stitches on both sides of the sweater to create the little straight shelf you see. I wanted a slouchy foldable professors collar on this sweater and I’m super pleased with the results! What I really did was only increase on the collar every 4th row which gave it the perfect angle for this wide ribbed collar.
On the note of the collar since I didn’t really know how to achieve this look at first and had to do some ravelry research through pictures (lots of pictures!) to find something that matched what I was trying to achieve, since you can see that it is just a standard 2×2 ribbed collar with no decreases I actually had to THINK before knitting this. Basically what I ended up doing was knitting all the stitches around the neck and collar with out decrease for like 7″ leaving the bottom free where it would eventually meet the body of the sweater. Then I stitched one side of the collar in front of the other, and POOF DA DOOF it looked fantastic. Is there a book out there for collar shaping & techniques? There should be. I think it’s the most under appreciated part of knitting a sweater. Everyone is so rushed to finish that they forget there are amazing wonderful ways besides ribbing, hemming, and garter stitch to finish off that oh so important crowning glory to your handknit sweater.
The stripes as you can see aren’t just knitted. They are alternated between knitting and purling because I like the little dashed line effect you get when you purl on the right side of a colorwork garment. I think it also added some nice detailing to the overall texture. The last thing I tackled on this sweater was the cuffs. I don’t like baggy sloppy cuffs. Well, in theory I do because they are cute and look comfy and who needs mittens when you have those kinds of cuffs? BUT, and this is major, they do not work at all for me. If I can’t write, type, or knit with out pushing up a cuff the sweater rarely will get worn. So on this sweater to incorporate the baggy sleeves along with fitted cuffs I knit with out decrease on the arms till mid-forearm. Then I decreased drastically, (About 1/2 the stitches) and continued on in 2×2 ribbing till the sleeve was long enough. I didn’t know how I would like this but it worked out perfectly. I don’t ever have to worry about dragging my sleeve through something gross at a restaurant or getting that sloppy look. The cuffs are fitted but not tight and totally comfy and wearable.
This may not be everyone’s ideal sweater but I’m pleased as punch with the outcome and am ready to get back to some designs I’ve been working on.