Pattern: Wolf River by Melissa Schaschwary
Yarn: TFA Amber Label Cashmere/Silk DK weight yarn in Coppertone (one of a kind).
Ravelry project page here.
This sweater took me way too long to knit. Ravelry tells me that I started it back in March! It was an enjoyable knit and a relatively simple knit, so the 6 months it took to complete is a lot more about the fact that I had a baby and took a 4 month break from working on it then it is about how much I enjoyed it. Anyways, it's done now and I absolutely love it!
My version is quite different from the original, but the modifications I made in order to get the sweater I wanted were really very simple. I changed the gauge, which led me to adding a few textured stitches to the sides of the body, and I added a split hem. Seriously, that's it!
The pattern is knit for Chunky weight yarn, I opted to knit mine in DK weight. I have no idea why. I liked the motifs of this pattern, I was drawn to the casual fit of the original, but I had this stack of gorgeous Amber Label Cashmere/Silk DK weight yarn in Coppertone just sitting there staring at me and I really felt like a Wolf River was what it wanted to become! It makes no sense really, but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants!
In this particular case, I have 1 secret to a super successful mod, that is to be flexible! I knew that this drapey yarn knit in a loose lacy pattern would not fit the way that the one in the pattern shots fit. I knew that the scale of the motif would be different. Overall, I knew that the sweater would not be exactly like the one pictured in the pattern, and I was ok with that. The neckline might end up a bit wider or narrower, the ease might be a bit more or less generous, whatever happened, I was open to it. With a mod like this, I think an open mind is very important. I swatched, I made calculations, but rather than re-write the whole pattern for my gauge I decided to just kinda wing it. And I'll be totally honest with you, though at the end of the day I will concede that swatching is important, unless you knit a swatch the size and weight of your finished garment it's not going to tell you the whole truth anyway. Boom! Yes, I just said it. It's crazy and designers everywhere will call me a liar but I firmly believe that it's the truth. You can knit a generous 10" x 10" swatch, wash it and block it and let it relax before measuring your official gauge, but when you take that swatch and blow it up to sweater proportions and then hang it on your shoulders things are gonna change. So, be flexible. I knew that I wanted positive ease and that I'd get it, but wether I had 3" or 5" of positive ease wasn't a deal breaker for me. A flexible knitter is a happy knitter. :)
So, I modified yarn weight and needle size, and the only other modification I made was to add 8 stitches of 2x1 broken rib to each side of both the front and back panels. Since I made this design decision back in March I can't fully remember why I decided to do that. I think that, based on my swatch, I decided that 4 repeats of the lace pattern wouldn't be enough but that 5 repeats would make my sweater wider than I wanted. So I went with 4 and then added some texture to the side. Again, I'm not sure why I chose 2x1 broken rib... I do like it, but looking at it now it seems like something with twisted stitches would have made more sense with the rest of the pattern. It's lovely though and adds subtle texture without competing with any other element so maybe it was the right call.
With my modified gauge I ended up working a hybrid of the neck shaping for the 2 smallest sizes. This sweater features a drop shoulder construction that I'm crazy about, so modifying the sleeves was a piece of cake. I definitely see more dropped shoulder designs in my future. I love it because of the drapey fabric. I don't think that drop shoulders in a stiffer fabric would be as flattering on me. And then that split hem, super easy. The pattern is seamed, so I just started seaming after the ribbing rather than right at the bottom.
I have a few favourite things about this sweater. First of all I'm crazy about the colour and the yarn. I think that this is my first Amber Label Cashmere/Silk DK Weight sweater but I'm currently of the opinion that it's my favourite sweater yarn ever. It's so soft and cozy yet light. Incredible. The colour is not blue! It's rich and warm and wearable and for some reason it makes me feel tanned. I rarely knit sweaters with positive ease but in a lighter weight fabric like this I really love it. I might be a convert. I love those drop shoulders, but I already mentioned that. Overall, I think that what I love the most about it is the fact that it's just as easy and comfortable as a sweatshirt but about 100 times more chic. I feel like I'm wearing pj's, but I look put together, which pretty much sums up my fashion goals these days... Nailing it!
Ok, so I have to wrap up this FO post with a really funny little anecdote. Rowan sees me knitting all the time and is very supportive of it, often asking me what I'm making (and always assuming that it's all for him). He talks a lot now and is definitely growing intellectually and getting more and more clever every day. So, the first day I wear this sweater Rowan plays it cool just until nap time. I'm trying to get him down for his nap and he's trying to come up with any possible excuse to delay me leaving his room. He does the usual "one more story", "one more song please mama" and when that doesn't work tries the more affective "one more kiss" and "one more hug" approach (I rarely turn down an extra kiss and he knows it) and then he pulls out the heavy artillery, he says, and I quote: "is that a new sweater mommy?" "Why yes it is Rowan" "I like it mommy, did you make that?"
And then he got to delay his nap an extra 10 minutes while I talked to him about my new sweater. That child is an evil genius!