This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lopi, Icelandic Sweaters, and Steeking

One of the things I've always wanted to knit, even before I could knit or even knew I wanted to knit, was an Icelandic sweater. For the last couple of years or three I've been perusing and favouriting sweater patterns on Ravelry. Some of them are even in English! Today I visited Bornside Yarns and looked through patterns. I found one I mostly liked, except that it has a zipper, and I want to have buttons. Miss Bette and I spent over an hour talking about the pattern and picking out the colours of Lopi that I'm going to use (Lopi does not have a company website, so this link is to Wikipedia). I wanted to use a very dark-almost-black for the main colour, but she didn't have enough of that so I'm going with a dark grey with the almost black as one of the secondary colours. It's a Fair Isle pattern and it's done on fat needles because it is a bulky yarn. Sweaters like that tend to knit up pretty quickly.

As I mentioned it is Fair Isle pattern and Fair Isle is best knit in the round. So this pattern is also knit in the round and that means steeking. Yes, I am going to knit a garment that I am going to cut so I can wear it as a cardigan. I think I'm going to plotz. I know, intellectually, that if one follows the directions, steeking is not a terrible thing. And I have friends who have steeked and have lived to tell the tale.

I had a mini conversation with Franklin Habit on Facebook about steeking. He said it wasn't all that bad or hard to do. So I might do some practice steeking before the big day. But first, I have to cast on and knit the damn thing. I'm pretty excited, since I will be able to use this as a jacket here in New Orleans. Sweaters take a long time to knit, but I'm hoping I can churn this out. A wee break from my other projects.

These are the yarns I got from Miss Bette:
The yarn on the left is the main body, a dark pewter grey.
The yarns in the centre and on the right are the Fair Isle designs.
I find it interesting how the ball bands on Lopi have changed over the years. Reynolds is no longer carrying it (the two balls on the left), and for a while it was carried by the Icelandic government (the ball on the right). Apparently Berroco is going to carry it from now on, since Reynolds has been bought and dispersed. Even so, I got the yarn I wanted, and I'm very much looking forward to knitting this up.

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