Welcome to my All New Blog. I’ve actually had the site ready since last weekend, and the intention of writing up a detailed report of the Sunburst Pullover for most of this week. It took far more time, however, to make the images play nicely on this page I thought it would. It was a Flickr thing.
See, this is why I never used that stupid Flickr account. Oh, it’s dead easy to get the photos in there, it’s just the getting them OUT again that’s the hard part. Well, it’s sorted, so let’s not wallow in the ignominy of my place here in the shallow end of the gene pool. You came for Sunburst (At least I think you did. Why are you here again?) and by cracky it’s Sunburst you’re going to get.
Pattern: Sunburst Pullover by Norah Gaughan (Interweave Knits – Summer 2002)
Materials: Briar Rose Fibers “Colette 16005“; 85% wool / 15% mohair
Amount: 5 hanks; Approx. 190 yds per hank
Needles: US 10/6mm Inox – US 9/5.5mm Inox
Gauge: 14sts – 22 rows/4 inches, using larger needles
Finished size: 40 inches at bust
Start Date: 21 March 2007/
Finish Date: 20 April 2007
She started like this…
..as ten skeins of Collette, generously gifted by Chris, of Briar Rose fame, as a way of saying thank you. (Chris, you’re so totally welcome. You’re a nice person, and you create a beautiful product that I am happy to support.) I have been long wanting to knit Tilt, and lacking the budget for an entire sweater’s worth of Noro, had thought that Collette would be an acceptable substitute. It wasn’t.
Through no fault of its own the yarn was entirely unsuited for Tilt, the bodice of which is knit on the bias and requires that you hit both stitch AND row gauge spot on. I swatched, changed needles, and swatched again to no avail. And then I went looking for another pattern.
I briefly considered Tailored Scallops, the cover sweater of Interweave’s Lace Style. Very pretty, and the feather and fan stitch is easy to knit, and does make the most of variegated yarn. I swatched some more, and though my gauge in this stitch pattern would have meant serious garment pattern alterations, what stopped me from moving forward was the swatch, itself. The single ply Collette in feather and fan stitch just wasn’t doing it for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I didn’t like the way the green was “popping” in the stitch pattern.
I have no recollection of what led me to consider the Sunburst Pullover. Circles seemed fun to knit, and I cast on intending to knit a circular gauge swatch, and kept going. I wasn’t sure how the colors of the hand painted yarn would behave in an circle, and was delighted when I realized that there was not a trace of color pooling. The circular shape means that each row is slightly larger than the row below, so color pooling is not just minimized, it’s actually pretty nigh impossible. Just another tidbit of information to file away for future use with hand painted yarn, like feather and fan stitch, or purling every fourth row.
Once the two big circles for back and front are complete, neck stitches are bound off, and the circles are joined at the sides by a gusset, knit from the underarm down. This is where I began to tweak a perfectly good pattern, and create more work for myself, because I do not know how to not do that. I added a few rows of short-row shaping at the front neck, to drop the neckline down a tad. Boatneck sweaters are really good on people with swan-like necks, but tend to get lost between the chins of the rest of us.
In order to get close to gauge I had to use a larger needle size than I would have normally used – 6mm, instead 5 – and the fabric had more drape than I thought it would after blocking. (This is what happens when your gauge swatch becomes the work in progress. No blocking, and you don’t know what kind of fabric you’re going to get.) I liked the drape, but after knitting the gussets decided that the sweater could probably use some stability in the form of side seams.
So the gussets were carefully frogged (gently does it with single ply yarn) and I reknit them in four pieces, instead of two. I briefly toyed with adding some waist shaping while I was at it, and thought about hourglass shaped gussets, and possibly grafting the edges of the circles at the waist… thankfully, I got over it, as I think the yarn would have suffered in the process. It’s an interesting idea though, and one that I’ll file away for future use. Circles are fun. I know I’ll come back to them.
The gussets completed to the bottom of the circles, I knit the back and front flat (instead of joining them and knitting them in the round, per pattern instructions) and decided upon a turned hem to add weight and stability to the bottom edge. Sleeves were next, and I used the same treatment at the cuff. Knit from the bottom up, I used a provisional cast on and knit those cast on loops right into the sleeve. So tidy! So finished! So dumb! Sadly, my sleeves are about an inch shorted than I’d have liked, and the fix is not going to be easy.
All told, the sweater took less than a month to complete. Like most of my projects, it would have been quicker had I limited pattern tweaks. But where’s the fun in that?
My only regret is that it looks absolutely dreadful on me, which is why I didn’t post any pictures of me wearing it. The angle of the sleeve cap (essentially a raglan) is the problem here. Changing the pattern to solve this problem presents many other design challenges, not the least of which is maintaining the circleness of the main pattern element. Knitting from the center out was such fun, however, that I don’t think I’m ready to put the idea down completely. I’m sure there’s a way around this, a fix that will flatter my body shape. And I have five skeins of Collette left, which is more than enough to for do-overs. Meanwhile, the sweater will find a good home in the closet of a dear friend, who’s blessed with the square shoulders that will do it justice, as well as a swan-like neck.