Houston, We have a Koivua…

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! I have been listening to some amazing science fiction books and knitting away thinking about space and different forms of learning and intelligence. This is a sweater that will be forever linked with evolution, creativity, space ships, and human struggle, hence the title of this post. I am please to announce the arrival of my Koivua, a sweater that has been an adventure from start to finish. Yep, this has been a journey, but I feel that I really learned a lot along the way. Before I go into all of the detail of this misadventure I guess I’d better show off the final product.  Ta-daa… and here’s….Koivua!!

Hot off the knitting needles, here is my finished Koivua.

I fussed and worried a lot about the yarns that I used for this sweater, and finally bought some lovely DK weight natural yarn (Scout by Kelbourne Woolens) to go with my beautiful DK weight superwash yarn from Stitch Together Studio.

The Scout yarn is not superwash and the rose colored yarn is. NOT a problem, right? Houston, we have a PROBLEM!!

After looking at the two yarns carefully I decided to knit with the cream yarn in my right hand and the rose superwash yarn in my left. I loved the rose and wanted it to show well in the sweater. Since the cream was fluffier I was pretty sure I would get a balanced fabric after blocking the Fair Isle knitted colorwork.

Not that balanced after all. The cream yarn is just getting eaten alive by the rose that seems to be much bulkier after blocking. Maybe it can’t compete with the superwash, but it didn’t emerge the way I expected it to after blocking. Crap!! I should have done a swatch trying out both versions of handling the yarn. I love the vein details in the leaves, but you’d never know they were there with this pathetic showing of the cream yarn. 

Now that the sweater is done I am very sad that I didn’t knit it with the white in my left hand, but such is life. I wanted the rose to be dominant, and it is doing that, so I should focus on that. Lesson learned. Let’s move on to the bottom of the sweater where I had more of a success.

Isn’t this corrugated ribbing the best?!

I added a repeat of the textured block at the bottom of the sweater to get some more length and discovered that it really wanted to blouse out. The ribbing at the top of the sweater drew in quite a bit, so I decided to add corrugated ribbing to balance the colors in the sweater and to keep the drape of the sweater open. This was a huge win!! Since I knew that an I-cord bind off was going to be used on the sleeves I just went ahead and added one here to put more weight at the hem. Cool. This kind of makes up for the wimpy veins on the leaves. On to the sleeves!

A sleeve to be proud of!

The original design as charted by the author (Caitlin Hunter) created belled sleeves by increasing the stitch count at the end of the first colorwork section and again at the top of the second colorwork section. I counted stitches, did some math, decreased 2 stitches after finishing the first colorwork block, redistributed my stitch markers and I now had decreased the sleeve from 12 repeats of the pattern to 10 repeats. Yay! By the end of the sleeve I had chopped 16 stitches out of the stitch count, which is still kind of full, but not as belled as originally written. I had to make some adjustments as I did the decreases at the bottom of the sleeve, but managed to get the stitches back to the correct number before the final I-cord bind off. Pretty good, huh!

Once I had the sweater all blocked and finished I decided that I wanted some color right at the top of the neck to balance everything and to give it that last little shot of the rose yarn that I loved so much. Yep. I picked up stitches around the neck and added an I-cord bind off to complete the look.

The I-cord actually helped put the ribbing at the neck down around my shoulders as it wanted to try to do a little turtleneck action. The I-cord put a stop to that and gave me the color balance that I wanted in the sweater. It is also stretchy enough to allow the sweater to be easily pulled over my head. Win!

The only thing that I have failed to mention is the heart-stopping worry that I had that perhaps the rose yarn might run a little when I blocked the sweater. I had already made a sweater from this yarn and didn’t remember any problems, but still, I worried.

I did make a swatch to test this. No problems!! Notice that the cream seems slightly larger than the rose yarn. Why is my Fair Isle misbehaving? So unexpected and unfair. Okay, I’m moving on now….

I should mention that it is not a good plan to drink red colored vitamin water while knitting a white sweater. Sometimes, I am stupid. There is a tiny amount of additional pink in places where it shouldn’t be, but I’m not going to show that off, and you really don’t need to see it. Just remember this little gem of good advice and don’t be stupid like me…

So that’s it. My Koivua is done, it makes me happy to look at it and I can’t wait for colder weather to arrive so I can show it off. Yay. Meanwhile I am battling MacKenzie for control of the sweater and dreaming of a new project to cast on. I think that it is time for dark blue yarn, don’t you?

Because bossy cats need their knitting to sleep on.

If you would like to see my Ravelry notes on this project after all of this you can find them here. If you are wondering about the books that I’ve been reading/listening to they are the two book set by Adrian Tchaikovsky called Children of Time and Children of Ruin. I’m trying to think of how to write about these two books…

Bunny Love

Have you ever found some yarn that is so alluring, happy and compelling that you find yourself spending way too much time mulling over what to make of it? Searching through the stash to find some yarn that would like to play nice with it? Parking it in the bedroom so you can glance at it from time to time while reading late at night as you consider options in the back of your mind?

Yarn
Here it is., happiness in a tightly wound package. The yarn is actually brighter and more cheerful in life than in this picture because today is a dark and gloomy day.  And cold. Knitting weather!!

The purple yarn was the original purchase a week ago. It’s call “Colorful October” and has a happy orange section bracketed by black and dark brown swimming in the fabulous purple. Since it was a monthly edition of the yarn, I felt like I had to snatch it up right away before it sold out. I mean, look at that purple!!!

Well, I would like socks or maybe arm warmers made out of this yarn. I’m worried about pooling, so I wanted something really peppy to go with it that I could use to break up the color a little for some snappy helix knitting or maybe simple colorwork like the highlights of Jelly Rolls. When I went to my LYS yesterday that skein on the left came home with me. The colorway is “Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast”. How can I walk away from a yarn with a name like that?

I’m just trying to explain why this yarn is sleeping right beside me on my bedside table. I’m pretty sure it will eventually become arm warmers, socks, and maybe even some cat toys. Arm warmers. Maybe with corrugated ribbing and some helix knitting. This is going to be fun!

The other bunny that I’m thinking about is this extremely cute bunny designed by my BKB (Best Knitting Buddy) Deb. Isn’t this the cutest thing?

Bunny
Photo credit: Deb Baker

This bunny was made with Deb’s daughter Erin in mind. Erin is autistic and loves to shake floppy toys (or her shirt sleeve) for hours; this bunny totally meets that need. I have the cat version of the pattern, and every time I see it perched on my bookshelf it makes me happy; these little guys are designed to sit up perfectly and are really stable. Deb just wrote this pattern up and it is now available for download on Ravelry for FREE while she works with test knitters to work out all the kinks in the pattern. The pattern is called ERIN’s BUNNY; I know that Deb would love to have you test knit or just give her feedback.

Hey, I could make a bunny out of the leftover Chasing Rabbits yarn! After the socks and arm warmers, I mean.

Goodnight everyone.

I’m off to sleep sweet dreams in the bright colors of my new yarn.