Loosen Up!

I knit a lot of socks (you may have noticed!) and there are a couple habits I’ve picked up that are, I suppose, directly and naturally related to this.

Firstly, I greatly prefer small needles and thin yarn. I’d rather knit a sweater from fingering-weight yarn on size 3 needles than a hat with bulky yarn on size 13s. The felted slippers I just finished were surprisingly difficult simply because the needles felt so huge in my hands. I couldn’t knit without looking. My hands got tired. I’ve definitely turned myself into a fine-gauge knitter. (Which suits me additionally because I’m rather nearsighted – I can knit at night without my glasses or contacts!)

Secondly, and not nearly as positive, I’ve become a dense knitter. Yes, my knit stitches are loose, so I’m always going down a needle size or two from the “suggested” size, but what I’m talking about is the fabric produced. I’m so used to the feeling of 7 – 9 stitches per inch (for a good, hard wearing sock) that I’ve knit more than one nearly-bulletproof garment. I’ve got a sweater in my closet knit from worsted weight yarn at 5.75 stitches per inch; it’s perfect for hard northern winters, the wettest snow can’t penetrate it. I’ve got a couple pairs of mittens made in a similar manner. I believe it’s why I so hated knitting with cotton – while wool will tolerate such abuse, cotton just fights you every stitch of the way.

The Honeymoon Cami provided me with a good learning curve. Here was a pattern and yarn that both begged, no, demanded to be knit loosely, to let the air flow through. The part I didn’t expect was the drape that resulted. While I had a general idea of the concept of “drape,” socks don’t really allow it to happen. I am thrilled with the soft, flowy fabric I get when I just breathe deeply and loosen up; I’ve started a new project to work on my lessons.

This is the Gathered Pullover, from last winter’s Interweave. My knitting group in Homer is doing the pattern as a knitalong, and invited me to participate from afar.

The pattern calls for a sportweight yarn worked at 19 stitches per 4 inches, creating a drapey, feather-weight fabric. I’m using Garnstudio’s “Silke-Tweed” (in Indigo, color 05) on size 7 (4.5mm) needles, and I’m captivated by the simple stockinette stitch made new by the airy lightness of the fabric. It won’t be a sweater to don instead of a coat in sub-zero temperatures, but I believe I’ll get three seasons of use from it when it’s finished.

As for that season left-out from wool wearing, I’m still working away on another light sweater.

I’m halfway finished with the first sleeve for my Apres-Surf Hoodie. The lace pattern is just open enough, the yarn is just light enough – I love it!

All for now; tomorrow, I’ll share what’s really been sucking my time… (hint: it rhymes with “murk.”)

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5 thoughts on “Loosen Up!

  1. Oh my gosh! Now I know what to do with my Garnstudio Silke-Tweed that I haven’t been able to purpose for the past 5 years. That will teach me to look at the pattern – I kept seeing the gauge and thinking worsted! Thanks!

  2. the gathered pullover is going to look so cute on you! i look forward to watching its progress. the sleeve of the hoodie is so pretty. i love that lace stitch. you’ve got a lot of good stuff going on and you’ve accomplished so much despite the fact that you’ve gotten addicted to such a timesuck.

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