While my Ravelry project page certainly records sweaters, specifically nine before 2020, sweaters were not my go-to knitting project. The amount of work and time required coupled with horror tales of projects gone wrong with elephantine results kept me working on lots of shawls and scarves. Items where gauge and size were less crucial. Then I found Marie Greene and her 4-day sweater challenge. Admittedly, my Foxtrot took over two months to complete but I was so pleased with the results that I selected another of Marie’s patterns, Houghton, to knit a sweater for Mom using a lush English merino-mohair blend. Then, thinking ahead to fall travels (in pre-Covid times) I knit the same cardigan for myself using the same yarn in the same color and even the same buttons. This became the first of my 2020 sweaters. Soundtrack, another 4-day challenge completed in 22-days, was sweater #2.
Now, just off the needles and the blocking squares is Happy Hour. Designed around the pre-Covid memory of outings with friends for happy hour, the sweater includes a colorwork yoke with a 3 PM, 4 PM or 5 PM pattern repeat, as well as a fanciful repeat on each sleeve. I opted for three pattern repeat with a nod to an early toast at the end of the work day.
In this very strange year when daily wear is almost exclusively comfy casual clothes with only an infrequent ZOOM meeting to show off three new sweaters I have transformed 4,397 yards into three sweaters all within 41 weeks. My far flung Knit Camp buddies have offered encouragement and instruction making it all happen, as well as another 18 smaller projects for family, friends, and fundraising service auctions. Happy knitting!
When you begin knitting and, even after years of experience, there is a dread of dropped stitches unraveling your hard work. After a decade of projects (145 complete or in-progress currently listed on my Ravelry page) I am finally comfortable picking up dropped stockinette stitches or correcting a mistake in knit-n-purl ribbing. However, the intricate subtleties of stitch structure still elude me and, if the mistake occurs in a well-loved cable project or (heaven forbid) on lace work, I frog back. So you can imagine my trepidation when the August theme for Knit Camp was: Streeking.
Not familiar with that word? Neither was I. The primary definition of this transitive verb is to stretch or to extend, coming from 12th century Middle English, chiefly Scotland. As a modern day knitting technique, steeking is a multi-step process that involves preparing, cutting, and finishing the streeked item. And yes, I did say “cutting” as in taking a sharp scissors to a perfectly good item and cutting something knit in the round and making it flat. Right?!? And I wanted to do this why?
Having committed to a fun year of Knit Camp with Marie Greene and approximately 1,000 other intrepid knitters, I thought why pay for classes and then skip the work. So I knit the Soundtrack Cowl, a variation on my Soundtrack Sweater, crocheted two steeked columns, added extra back-stitched reinforcement since my HiKoo Sueño is superwash, cut a specifically planned purl column (yikes!), added a decorative binding on each side to seal the raw edges, picked up left and right side stitches to add a Knit 2 – Purl 2 ribbed button band and, finally, added eight remainder buttons. While I am satisfied with the finished project, I am pretty sure streeking will not become my new go-to knitting technique.
Who knew it could be done, a sweater knit in 4-days? Well, Marie Greene for one. While I did not make an actually four-day finish line, I did complete my version of Soundtrack in less time than allowed for the 2020 knit-along (KAL), July 1-31. The pattern officially dropped on July 1 for the thousands participating in this KAL but as a Knit Camp camper I had 24-hour advance availability. With yarn purchased from my local yarn store (LYS) Northfield Yarn and my swatch meeting gauge in hand, I cast-on on June 30 and completed my second sleeve on July 21. My final progress report with ends woven in and sweater off the blocking squares was posted on July 28. Soundtrack is a top-down sweater with rows of colorwork representing LP record grooves, hence the name. My progress reports incorporated some of my favorite albums in keeping with the KAL theme.