Non-knitting travel is greatly over-rated

HI THERE.

My friends, it has been a winter. Not the worst winter ever, but definitely one filled with cold and ice and its fair share of colds and minor illnesses. While I’m never in a hurry to get to the heat of summer (If it could top out at like 28C and then dip down to like max 15C overnight that would be great), I am enjoying the prospect of not having to lie in wait for a surprise ice storm for another few months.

Despite the changing seasons, I am, however, going full blast on knitting wool sweaters.Ā  Allow me to explain.

For the last few months I’ve been planning a trip to Iceland and Scotland for the back half of may (some Iceland, mostly Scotland), and expecting temperatures to still be fairly mild. So I’ve been using this as an opportunity for some deadline knitting, and have been working away on not one but two sweaters. Chunky, quick-to-knit sweaters, you ask? BAH, of course not. Fingering weight sweaters! Because those are the best under deadline knitting, am I right?

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I figured since I’m going to Scotland I might as well dust off my colour-work action and knit a fair isle pullover. However, I also wanted to aim for a bit of a contemporary vibe and keep some bright colours in there – almost in the direction of a J Crew catalog but not quite.

Over Easter weekend, I got to swatching, which is what you see in the photo above. It’s a long swatch, because my goal was not just to swatch for gauge, but to try out colour combinations and stitch patterns, and see what I wanted to use in the actual sweater. The bottom half of the swatch is where I started, and by the half-way mark you can see the point where I started making some changes: The dark sea blue got discarded, as did the minty green. I decided only one green or blue could survive, and the less vibrant ones got voted off the island.

By the halfway mark I also switched needle sizes by going down a size, and really like the way it turned out in the end. (This kind of change results in me needing to cast on more stitches for the same size and therefore signs me up for more knitting, not less, which is also a fun development.)

Results: I’m using 3.25mm needles for the main pattern, getting 8 sts/inch, and using a total of 6 colours.

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Since then I’ve been working away pretty steadily on this, and in less than a month I’ve managed to knit the body all the way to the under-arms, and one-and-a-bit of the sleeves. I’m working this as a seamless raglan worked from the bottom up, and will be planning a simple crew-neck to finish. Here’s hoping it all works out and gets done by the middle of May, which is when I depart.

The truth is that while I’m using a bit of travel as an excuse to knit this sweater, I’ve been thinking about it for about 2 years and just hadn’t managed to get it on the needles. Travel knitting is a great deadline – in my mind, I’ve already packed this sweater in my suitcase.

The advantage of having mentally planned this out already is that all of the yarn was already in my stash. In the past decade I’ve amassed a rather embarrassing amount of Knit Picks Palette (fingering weight wool, 230 yds/50g), especially during those times when the Canadian dollar exchange rate was quite good, and I could probably knit half a dozen sweaters from it without breaking a sweat. Finally, this stash is paying off. (Maybe this won’t be the only colour-work sweater to come off the needles in 2018 – one can dream).

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It has been a long time since I’ve worked on a stranded colour-work project and it’s been great to come back to. In fact, starting in on the second sleeve was about the point where I finally started to drag a bit in my pace – which is pretty great for being past the halfway point now.

So, I’ve got about 2 weeks to finish this one and – in theory – another cardigan which is also about 75% done. But I’m going to keep you in suspense on that one for another day – there’s some yarn supply drama involved and I think it deserves its own post.

Knitter friends, I hope you’re doing great, that you’ve had some good knitting time this winter, and that you’ll drop a recommendation for your fave things in Iceland, Glasgow, Shetland, and Edinburgh, if you’ve got one!

Until next time!

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Pattern: Fair isle pullover, designed by myself
Yarn: Knit Picks palette, in finnley heather, midnight heather, grizzly heather, toucan, blush heather, and fairy tale.

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21 comments

  1. Amazin.
    Surrounded by creative knitters who do their own thing.
    Bloody AMAZIN !!! šŸ™‚

  2. Lots of knitting and spinning this winter and spring. Socks and hats, yarn for socks and playing in the dye pot. Planning some homespun and dyed socks! Currently working on your Locke St. Cardigan with Cascade 220 in a subtle heathery green. So glad tp get your update in my inbox!! Have an awesome trip.

  3. Julie Culshaw · ·

    Your colour work is looking absolutely beautiful. You are a very skilled knitter.

  4. Wow! Very beautiful. Happy travels.

  5. I have no words, stunning.Safe Travels

  6. Your colour work is beautiful. I hope you have a wonderful time on your holiday in May. I too am off to Scotland but not until August. I am finally getting a trip to the Hebrides and Shetland. I am making sure I have lots of space in my luggage for yarn to bring back.

  7. Well, it’s about time you jumped back into blog-land and I’m happy you did!
    Good to see your post and hear what you’re been up to and what you’re planning.

    I’ve since moved to another state where I’ll actually have a genuine need to wear
    warm woolies in the winter.
    So, I look forward to your recommendations and new adventures.
    Glad to have you back!

  8. Paula Baldwin · ·

    Iceland- went last month. All the scenery fabulous. Hard to pick. But if you want a beautiful special meal. The Lobster house in Reykjavik!!

  9. Gorgeous! I know all about colourwork patterns haunting your dreams šŸ™‚ I love the patterns you’ve gone for in the final garment.

  10. I couldn’t agree more with your comment ” Iā€™m never in a hurry to get to the heat of summer (If it could top out at like 28C and then dip down to like max 15C overnight that would be great”. Have a great trip.

  11. Marie Roche · ·

    Beautiful color work. How do you like the yarn that you are using? It is definitely nice to see you blog again you have been very inspiring!

  12. Sounds like a LOVELY trip and looks like a BEAUTIFUL sweater. It has been a long time since I have been to Scotland, and never been to Iceland, but – if you google yarn stores in Glasgow, I think you will find one that is combined with a bakery. That sound like heaven to me!

  13. Have a fabulous trip! Iceland is on my bucket list. And please let me know what you love in Glasgow and Edinburgh…Scotland is in my near future!

    I love your color swatching. That’s the only way to know what really works.

  14. The whole sweater is Knit Picks Palette? I had wondered how it would work for a sweater. Yours looks great! Off to order some yarn…it’s on sale!

  15. Brenda C · ·

    This is absolutely fantastic, so glad I came and looked from Bloglovin. I picked up a Fair Isle sweater in cotton/acrylic at Goodwill a few years ago. Nice and warm and goes great with jeans as it’s in pale blues, grey and white and have been wanting to knit one in a different color way (lavender, green, tan and cream) ever since. You have provided the source I needed to get going on this, I wasn’t having any luck with the local yarn shops, Joannes, and didn’t know where to go. Thank you so much.

  16. Love the color palette you picked! Happy knitting and enjoy you’re trip!

  17. When you are in Glasgow, you must visit ‘The Yarn Cake’ on Queen Margaret Drive. It’s a lovely knitting shop/cafe and maybe I will see you there šŸ™‚

  18. Beautiful sweater! Safe and fun travels to you.

  19. Nicole · ·

    It’s great to see you back! You’re going to look FRESH in this sweater. I like the way the pink and green freshen it up.

  20. Hello. Great that you are blogging again. Fabulous sweater.

  21. Doris · ·

    My son and daughter-in-law went to Iceland for their honeymoon last August. They loved, and subsequently ordered for all of us, the Icelandic hotdogs. They were delicious with all of the toppings. They brought me some Plutolopi as my Christmas gift and I loved knitting it up into a Glaswegian cardigan. Really fun yarn to use…a rustic roving type yarn that took a tiny bit of getting used to (had to give up the death grip that I was initially holding it in) but made a gorgeous sweater.

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