Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Icelandic Circular Yoke Sweater New Beginnings

I have been acquiring books at an alarming pace. Last week, I decided that I had to start an Icelandic circular yoke sweater over the long weekend. I ran to the Slipt Stitch at lunch on Wednesday and bought the Best of Lopi at full price.

While sorting out the old stash and putting it under the new bed, I became reacquainted with all the wonderful yarns in my stash. (I don't know what came over me the last time I went to the Yarn Lady Famous Semi-Annual Bag Sale. Half price on Italian yarns! I came home with 4 bags of 10 balls each--enough to make 4 sweaters. I will not be going to the one this weekend.)

But 10 balls of Lane Borgosesia Maratona extra fine merino in a soft blue violet heather would make the perfect main color (MC) for my dream sweater. I curled up with the Lopi book all weekend, dreaming of color combinations and geometric patterns. Unfortunately, the patterns are all written for the Lopi (13x18) or Lite Lopi (18x24) gauge and my yarn has a 20x28 gauge. Fortunately, I have graph paper and I know how to use it.

I am almost up to the underarms on the sweater body. I won't post a picture just yet because it is not very exciting. At the moment, it is just a tube with 2x2 ribbing at the bottom and 4 waist darts. I am still not sure about the final pick for a yoke pattern. Right now, I am leaning towards aspen leaves and diamonds in soft yellow/orange and a pale green, rimmed with dusky purple or navy. (I miss the Rocky Mountain fall colors since I moved back to California.)

I did some research about Icelandic and Bohus sweaters. I consulted Elizabeth Zimmerman (Knitting Workshop), Maggie Righetti (Sweater Design in Plain English), Barbara Walker (Knitting from the Top Down) and my stash of knitting magazines. One European magazine, I forget which one, added short rows before beginning the yoke to build up the back. EZ adds short rows in the back neck ribbing. MR wrote that short rows can be used either before or after the yoke patterning to build up the back neck if desired. BW did not use short row shaping, reasoning that a reversible sweater would give one more wear. The Lopi book does not employ short row shaping. Authentic Bohus sweaters did have it, but I don't have any Bohus patterns to see how they did it.

Anyone out there want to share their experiences and opinions? To short row or not to short row? If yes, then where? Should I be noncommittal and put a few both above and below the patterned yoke?

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I wore Plum Blossom with some pull-on knit pants today. At the time I got dressed, I didn't realize that I was briefing one of my (work) projects in front of top brass today. How can you be underdressed for a presentation when you are wearing a hand-knit creation? In pink, no less. They asked good questions about my work work, but not the sweater.

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