April 13, 2016

Sweater Evolution

I began knitting another Amiga cardigan in March as part of the Shinybees Rewind KAL.  I have been putting off making this sweater for literally ages and ages. Not because I didn't want another one, but because I just wasn't sure which yarn wanted to be this sweater. I am happy to report that it is officially an FO, with only the bath and blocking left to be done.

The road to finishing this FO was a challenging one.  I had 2 skeins of the original Touch Possum yarn in my stash that were as similar as two skeins of any natural, undyed yarn can be. (Now they blend it with silk and such, but mine is just New Zealand merino and possum.) I have had these in my stash for at least 4 years with the expectation that I would save them until I was sure that whatever I knit with them would be a treasure that I would wear all the time.  Well, turns out that I saved these treasures so long that the yarn is now discontinued and there is no more. Anywhere. On the planet. None.  I was even assisted by the people at the Touch home office in New Zealand in my search for just one more skein, and even they came up empty-handed. No one is willing to give up or admit that they have any ... which should tell the people at Touch that THIS is a yarn worth producing, right?!

So what did that mean for this project?  It meant that I couldn't just order another skein if I ran short.  It meant that from the cast on I was playing chicken with this yarn for any sweater project that I chose.  Having worn out my other Amiga cardigan (repairs are coming shortly, as I have just discovered the lost "extra" skein I saved just in case), I decided that this pattern was exactly what I wanted to use my possum yarn for, and it did turn out quite lovely.  EXCEPT.

If you are familiar with the Amiga pattern, then you know that my FO looks more or less NOTHING like the one pictured on the pattern.  There had to be a few adjustments to accommodate my limited quantity of yarn and the way the yarn lay as a fabric.  None of this did I have in mind until I had cast on and had worked my way through the yoke and realized that there was a very distinct possibility that I would run out of yarn without having finished the sweater.

Spoiler Alert! I had this much left when it was all said and done:

Modifications abounded with this pattern. First, I had to knit a longer raglan seam for the yoke to accommodate my bust size, and that used more yarn than what the pattern required. So then, I knit to the end of the first skein which, to my sheer amazement, took me to within 4 inches of where I wanted the sweater length to be.  At this point, I put the body on some waste yarn and started work on the sleeves. There was absolutely no way that I could figure out from the original pattern how much yarn would be used for each of the remaining parts of the sweater.  From this point on, it was a total guessing game!

I decided that it would be a good idea to do a shorter sleeve than on my previous Amiga.  The pattern calls for a 3/4 inch sleeve, but I knew that the sleeves would roll at the cuff because of the yarn and the straight-knit arm.  To save yarn, I tapered the sleeves by 12 stitches over 48 rows to the inner elbow and then I knit a 4-inch 1 x 1 ribbed cuff.  The sleeves fold up nicely at the elbow, which is perfect for both wearing over a tank top in the summer and for wearing over a long-sleeved shirt in the winter since I tend to push up the sleeves anyway.

I had a little more than half of a skein left at this point, (60 g), so I divided it up, leaving about 55% (33 g) for the collar band and 45% (28g) for the remainder of the body.  I added 4 inches to the body, including a bottom band so that it wouldn't roll up, and a miracle happened.  I had yarn left over!

I took the leftovers and added them to the collar yarn that I had set aside: 44 grams!

There was a good deal of splicing of this yarn to avoid having to weave in a bunch of ends on an airy fabric--you would have been able to see those ends on the RS as well as the WS in the right lighting.  I used the Russian Join method, not just to join the ends of the leftovers, but throughout the sweater. The one thing that this yarn was infamous for was knotted joins throughout the skeins.

The miraculous result was that I finished with a 5-inch, 1 x 1 ribbed collar band in the end.  That's enough to bridge the gap across the chest and close with a shawl pin if necessary or to wear as pictured, with the collar folded over.

I had approximately 1.5 yards of yarn remaining.  I will put this tiny bit of treasure in the safe just in case a repair has to be done in the future.  (Not joking.) I am so in love with this sweater that I know that I made exactly the right choice for this treasure of a yarn. I hope that your spring knitting is bringing you this much joy, too!


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