Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Boreal, a success

 

Boreal! You evocative, lovely thing. This pattern is so gorgeous. I have visions of snow-covered pine boughs, something out of Narnia. I can't believe it worked, and right out of the gate, too, with no do-overs or unraveling required. I never should have doubted. As you know, I really didn't know how this would go, and that's because the pattern calls for aran weight yarn, at a gauge of either 4 stitches/inch or 4.5 stitches/inch, and I wanted to use worsted weight yarn, at a gauge of 5 stitches/inch, and there really wasn't a size option to accommodate that. So there's math to be done right there, and it was all further complicated by the fact that every time I measured my progress, I was getting anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 stitches/inch. Also, other knitters have reported that their sleeves were too narrow, and my sleeves were just right, so did that mean my yoke was going to be gigantic? I wasn't even close on row gauge, and I knew it. Then there's the fact that prior to blocking, stranded colorwork always looks like a crumpled-up newspaper left out in the rain and then stepped on. You just have to cross your fingers and keep going. So I did.

 

It is really just about exactly perfect. Well, gauge. Here's the thing--as with my last Kate sweater, I went in knowing I was not getting anything near the recommended gauge, but I could still use the gauge information given to get a good-fitting garment. I knew the distance around myself, I knew how many stitches I was getting per inch (well, I almost knew that--it kept drifting around, as I said) and doing a little math told me I should make the largest size. Even that, though, was going to potentially be a little too small for me, and there wasn't any wiggle room, because the large motifs in the colorwork design meant I couldn't just add or subtract a few stitches here and there to make any size adjustments. I thought it might maybe work, but really, I didn't know, and I just had to dive in and trust.

I dove. I wrung my hands. I knit like the wind, trying to outrun any misgivings. I measured a lot, and was both reassured and convinced of imminent disaster.

Despite all my whining and worrying, I have to admit that I have learned a few things about knitting over the years, which has led me through this gauge-related minefield, and which helped me get a great outcome. This sweater fits me because I measured, measured, and measured again, and used the data to tell me how to proceed. I'm still learning to trust what I know, but people? This is how to get stuff to fit you. Swatch, measure honestly, and do the simple multiplication.

 

The long floats at the back are a mess. I don't even want to show you. I'm not showing you. Just imagine a twisted nest of yarn that looks like your hair looks after you ride around in a convertible for awhile. Having to tack down the strand not in use across the large areas of color every six/seven/eight stitches across the back made me run the risk that the contrast color will peek through, especially where there is negative ease (i.e. the sleeves), and it does peek through a little. I have decided not to let it bug me.

 

Success! This feels like money in the bank. There's no way to wear this double-thick, snuggly pullover and not be cozy, cozy, cozy. And now, it is going to be 85 degrees for the next week. Of course. In two months, Boreal will be in heavy wardrobe rotation as winter begins to bear down on us, but at this moment, it is hot. You can probably hear me sweating. I'm taking it off now, and going to the beach.

37 comments:

  1. Oh but it's beautiful! :D I'm glad you stuck it out, because it really does look like it was worth the effort!

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  2. It's lovely. And that hair is gorgeous; it's not fair!!

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  3. Turned out so nice! I made a snowflake sweater for my husband many years ago and didn't measure so much. It turned out a little too small, and I learned my lesson:(

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  4. Gorgeous! Love your hair, too. Give a big hug to the photographer (The Doctor?), too. All around something to be very proud of. Enjoy the last days of summer. After ours started in May (instead of July), we think ours came to an early end. Long sleeves feel pretty good.

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  5. You are a CHAMP!!! That sweater is absolutely gorgeous, and I am in awe of your mastery of all things knitting, INCLUDING gauge! Everytime I try to make a sweater, it comes out as either a mumu or elf-wear! Might have to bust out my measuring tape and give this whole sweater thing another shot :-)

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  6. Your sweater is absolutely stunning....I love it. I have only recently started knitting with any seriousness (my grandmother tried to teach me the basics when I was very young) and I'm sure it will be many years before I can even dream of attempting anything so beautiful and intricate....but I can dream....

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  7. Congratulations! It looks beautiful and it looks beautiful on you too. I'm not sure if I will ever knit a sweater but it is inspiring to know that you did this and it came out just fine. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back!

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  8. How beautiful!! Totally success!! :)

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  9. Beautifully done, you should be very proud.

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  10. Stunning, a really great sweater and looks perfect on you.

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  11. Maths gets in the way. It consistently gives the wrong result for the simple reason knitting is elastic. There is a belief that maths fixes everything. It breaks as much as it fixes. Fitting and intuition is what actually works, oh and guess work and estimation. As an irrational comparison I can do currency conversion out of thin air just by guessing and without knowing the exchange rate or knowing the approx. ratio of one to the other. The truth about gauge is that it consistently lies. People try to do it following the rules and it messes up their projects. People like my sister never use it, just do it and all is well. Then people tell her she must have done the maths.....

    The reason your knitting looks so darn good is you. Pure and simple. Your skill and then you wearing it! You are a knitting genius for sure.

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  12. I bow to your knitting prowess. What a work of art.

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  13. Hi, love the boreal sweater. You did a lovely job. Are you on ravelry? Would love to follow you there. Thanks

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  14. Such a pretty pattern and it looks great with jeans ( and your hair color- excellent). Yes you do knit like the wind.

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    1. Time and patience is giving me the platinum hair I always wanted! :D

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  15. lovely post, gorgeous sweater! i love knitting, hate math, despise 'simple' knitting multiplication - so wish there were a way around it!

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  16. ¡Me encantó el diseño, está muy bonito!

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  17. Wonderful! It has turned out really well. Hope you get lots of wear out of it. Enjoy your week Leah xxxx

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  18. it's fantastic - you will live in it come November~~~ BRAVO!

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  19. Gorgeous sweater. Perfect proportions on you!

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  20. Dear Kristen, you are such a wonderful inspiration. I love your jumper and how perfect it has turned out, simply stunning!! You are very good at what you do. I love your honesty when you share how it's not always plain sailing! But it lives up to it's cosiness!!
    Ingrid xx
    Myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  21. Beautiful! It's going to be hard not to wish away the rest of the summer with this waiting for you to wear!

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  22. Beautiful! It's going to be hard not to wish away the rest of the summer with this waiting for you to wear!

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  23. Beautiful! Although this sweater does look absolutely cosy, the beach sounds just about right, too.

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  24. The sweater is beautiful! The colour choices work well together and I simply love the design on it. So cozy looking. Hopefully you'll be able to wear it soon and not melt in it!

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  25. It's fabulous! I agree with everything you say about swatching and measuring, but I also find that fitting as I go, and ripping bits back if necessary, pretty much guarantees a decent fit.

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