I have long admired the knitted works of a woman who lives on the Swedish island of Gotland. I was first introduced a short time ago through instagram (I think) and I have since been a fan. She and her husband produce a monthly video blog together on their YouTube channel called Kammebornia and they have such charm and a warming invite to them. They truly live in a fairy tale land; the scenery is gorgeous, the architecture is lovely and the old ruins are breathtaking as well as the many beaches and woods combined. If you’ve never checked it out I highly recommend it as my favorite knitting podcast: Kammebornia YouTube. So what does that have to do with this Knit-A-Long? In conjunction with Järbo Garn, she is hosting this KAL of the Afmæli Sweater which is a pattern designed by Védís Jónsdóttir for Ìstex back in 2011 in honor of their 20th anniversary. I have been busy lately with my etsy shop that I haven’t had the time to do any personal knitting for myself so I took the month of August off from my knitting sales to concentrate on a few items for myself and my family.
Pia (of Kammebornia) is posting blog posts to introduce the next steps in this KAL. She has her first one up and I am patiently awating the second one to prompt the start of the knitting! You can check out that post HERE.
Let’s talk about the yarn! I have never worked with lopi yarn before but have admired it for a long time. I knew eventually I wanted to knit myself a “lopapeysa” which is sweater made from yarn derived from their native sheeps’ wool. As a breed these Iceland sheep are very pure and their fiber is extremely rugged and cold-resistant thanks to the hundreds of years it has been exposed to sub-arctic temperatures! Another great characteristic of the Icelandic sweaters is of course the striking yoke patterns. Stranded colorwork is my favorite knitting technique so it goes without saying this sweater is a must knit for me – I jumped on this opportunity to finally make myself my very own lopapeysa. The lopi yarn that this pattern calls for is Ístex Léttlopi. It is considered aran weight and is available in many beautiful colors as well as the traditional natural colors of the sheep.
I wanted to show you the photo of this sweater (photo is copyright ©istex.is). The yoke can be created in many different ways; I decided to create a sweater that is closest to the grey example.
The colors that I choose are called light grey heather, rose heather, golden heather, and white. My plan is to make the body in the grey and to knit the floral designs in the contrasting color of white. I think I will alternate the rose heather and the golden heather as background colors behind the white flowers. Perhaps I will play around when I get to the yoke but for now this is my idea.
Time to swatch!
The pattern calls for size US7 (4.5mm) needles but I have loose tension so I always need to go down a couple needle sizes. I tried US5’s and after washing my little swatch it did grow slightly and I am getting about 16.5 to 17 sts per 4 inches. The gauge called for is 18 sts per 4 inches so I am off a little. Because I’m lazy I don’t feel like knitting another swatch so I plan to knit the body up in US4 needles, and change to US5 needles during the colorwork portions because I’m always tighter when knitting stranded.
Couple tips if I may 🙂
1) If you’ll be knitting a project in the round you want to be sure you knit your swatch in the round too, otherwise your gauge will be off – trust me on that one. But, once again I’m lazy and I didn’t feel like casting on enough stitches to knit a swatch in the round. Instead, you can knit on DPNs and just carry the working yarn behind to bring it back to the right side. This way you’re always knitting every “row” and thus getting a more realistic “in the round” gauge. (Typically purl stitches are looser than knit stitches).
2) Need to wash your swatch but don’t want to waste any yarn by cutting it from the ball? No problem, just wash your little piece leaving it attached to the ball. Only soak your work and then pin it out to dry. This way once it’s dry and you’ve measured your gauge you can rip it back out to use for your actual project. Easy!
And with that I can wind up this post. The next schedule date in this KAL is August 10 which is the start of the body. Check back after that for blog post #2!