Pattern: Crazyheart by Tanis Lavallee
Yarn: TFA PureWash Worsted in MC Graphite, CC's OOAK speckled, chris grey, sand, stone, chestnut, caramel, gold, chartreuse, mint, hunter, mallard, and olive.
Ravelry project pages here.
I do not have a tradition of knitting sweaters for the boys for Christmas, that would be way too much pressure, but if the stars align and I feel like tackling a man sized sweater project in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you bet it's going to get wrapped and placed under the tree. I much prefer sitting home and knitting to fighting the crowds at the mall in search of the perfect gift for Chris, and I think that he prefers getting a hand knit sweater to pretty much any other gift I would come up with so... it's a win-win! Maybe it should become a tradition after all.
This year Chris requested a Crazyheart of his own. I had fully expected to pick a neutral palette of grey's and to knit him a 2-toned, maybe 3-toned version. But nope, he wanted one inspired by Rowan's super colourful version. He was game for a fun palette and I was up for the challenge of coming up with a 14 colour palette that he would actually wear - no small feat! I know Chris well enough to know that an all bright palette of turquoise/pink/orange wouldn't be right for him. I decided to focus on greens and yellows and then to ground it all with some earth tones. The palette is so different for me, but I am so in love with it! FYI - I ended up using only 13 colours since I used the star speckle twice in the yoke.
When coming up with this palette I was thinking of it as predominantly green. I used 5 green shades! But since I decided to place the neutral shades at the bottom of the yoke, where the triangles are larger, and the green shades at the top, I find that the green really gets downplayed. Not in a bad way, it's just so interesting to see how colours play together in a design like this. It would be neat to see how different the yoke would look were the colours reversed.
So, this is what everyone wants to know, how did I modify this pattern to be worked in worsted weight and for a man? Easy peasy. First off, the pattern is unisex and there is no shaping, so making it a dude version required no mods really. Also, I should note that if you do plan on making this for the man in your life you absolutely do not need to do it in worsted weight. The reason I chose to was simply because I was obsessed with using those 3 skeins of yarn up there and they happen to be in worsted weight so the project just kinda grew from there.
In terms of actual planning, I wanted to make sure that the yoke would be the right depth for Chris and I also wanted to add 3 sets of short rows to the yoke after joining the sleeves and body together but before beginning the chart. In my experience with knitting sweaters for Chris I've learnt that the short rows make a better fit for his manly shoulders and they also lower the front neckline (or raise the back neckline depending on how you look at it) which is his preference. Here is a link to a youtube video that explains how to add in the short rows pretty extensively. If anyone has a better reference please let me know so I can update this post with it.
To knit this in worsted weight I did VERY little math. I looked at the numbers for a worsted weight sweater that I knew would fit Chris, in my case I chose Jared Flood's Brownstone pattern since I've knit it for Chris a few times and I know that he likes the fit, and also because I happen to have it in my Ravelry library. If I didn't have it, I would have looked at Tin Can Knits Flax sweater pattern. It's worsted weight, it's free and it comes in every size imaginable! Pick out all the key numbers: total number of body stitches, number of stitches at the cuff and at the widest part of the sleeve and the rate of increase for the sleeves and then go from there. In my case Crazyheart and Brownstone are both knit bottom up so I simply followed the instructions for Brownstone right up until after joining the sleeves and the body - incidentally Brownstone has short rows at this point, so even that bit was done for me.
Now I had to make a decision about the yoke. I double checked my gauge and measured a few of Chris' favourite sweaters to determined how deep I wanted his yoke to be and then here came the hardest part (and it wasn't very hard) I had to determine how many inches to knit before I began the colourwork chart, and I had to make sure that I had the right multiple of stitches on my needles to start the chart.
Yoke depth: I was aiming for a yoke depth of about 10.5" for Chris. The adult Crazyheart chart is 41 rounds, my row gauge was 7 stitches per inch, that means that just under 6" of my yoke would be made up of the colourwork portion. I wanted to do 1.75" of ribbing around the collar, so that brings us to about 7.5" of depth accounted for. That means that I had 3" of plain stockinette stitch to work before beginning the chart.
Right multiple of stitches: This one is almost too easy to mention. I needed a multiple of 9 stitches for the chart, so in the first round after joining the sleeves and the body I would decrease or increase a few stitches evenly spaced in the round in order to end up with a multiple of 9 to start the chart. Once the chart was established it's smooth sailing through to the end.
So there you have it! This is possibly my favourite FO of 2016, which is saying something because 2016 was a good sweater year for me! (Hello R&R Hoodie! Camaro!) Chris wears it a ton and I love seeing him in it. Sometimes modifying a pattern for a different gauge can be daunting, but with a design like this, which is all stockinette stitch, it's a very simple mod to attempt. I dare you to try it! ;)