I do believe that sometimes there is something special about a project. Not necessarily that it comes out perfect, just that the process is effortless. This has been more than the case with my Hourglass Sweater.
The combination of lovely yarn, a need for something simple and a nice straight forward pattern came together just right to make this sweater pour off the needles. I am still in shock at how quickly it all happened, even in the midst of holiday knitting! And with a week off for the Thanksgiving holiday, I had a nice new sweater for what is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays of the year. :-)
From the beginning, the colors (blues, purples, yellows and browns) reminded me of sunset in the southwest deserts so it was a nice surprise when we were able to sneak away from the turkey for a few moments at sunset for a quick photo shoot.
As for details, I knit the main body on 7 needles in Brooks Farm Solana (s45) that I picked up at Stitches West earlier this year. The yarn is rich, smooth and so soft to knit. It's a superwash wool but other than that there is no specific wool type mentioned on the ball band. It is very merino-like so that wouldn't surprise me. I just hope it ends up wearing a little better than some merinos do. When I first did a Ravelry search the yardage used for my size (34) was all over the place. Because there was pretty much no way I could get more, I decided to be proactive and conserve the yarn by knitting the hems in something else.
Through some knit-group consultation, I ended up using a complementary shade of Mission Falls 1824 in Curry. I also decided to knit the hems using a smaller needles size (5) and allow the hem color so show during the turning row. In total, I probably used close to 860 yards of the Solana and about 60ish yards of the Mission Falls, so there was clearly enough Solana. And while it would have been really satisfying to use almost all of the Solana, I'm glad I didn't have to sweat it. That would have really messed with the whole 'effortlessness' of this project!
I didn't make many modifications to the pattern. I did regauge my stitch count a bit to account for the growth of the yarn after washing. (Thank you little swatch!). I also lengthened the sleeves by about an inch and a half or so and added an additional increase round towards the top of my sleeves. And although I am long-wasted, I didn't want this to be a tunic, so I left the body length alone this time.
This was the first time I knit a sweater in the round from the bottom up and while I was initially skeptical about the ease of the joining process, I decided this is a really great way to make a sweater. For me and the way my brain works, I liked doing the pieces and then once it's all together, zooming through the rapidly decreasing yoke. It was everything I like about pieced sweaters and sweaters knit in the round, but without the things I don't like. Plus I got a chance to practice my kitchener!
As for finishing, the sweater didn't require much blocking and I don't think I used one pin in the process. However, now that it is on, it does pull the stitches around my upper arms open just a bit, so I do plan on blocking that portion of the sweater next time it needs a wash. The unfortunately thing about this project is that because I can wear this sweater next to my skin, it will need much more frequent washings that most of my handknits.
All in all, I give this one a big thumbs up!