Ugh, I go and start a new blog, and then abandon it for three weeks? To be fair, it's been a crazy few weeks, but hopefully some pretty pictures will make you forgive me.
We went to Iceland last week! And to celebrate a week from finishing, I wanted to post a few pictures of my Iceland challenge- knitting a whole Icelandic lopapeysa sweater in Iceland with yarn I bought there. We did a LOT of driving, so it seemed doable, and doable it was! In addition to pretty pictures, I wanted to share a couple tips and thoughts about the sweater.
I based the sweater on the Stutt Rend pattern by Vedis Jonsdottir, and like many, modified it into a pullover instead of a cardigan. I've never been crazy about knits and zips. I've also never been crazy about circular yokes- whether purchased or handmade, I've always had an issue with them pulling over the outsides of my shoulders and this one was no exception. Maybe they work better on people without such square shoulders? Luckily, a good blocking helped with that, although I had to wait until I got home! Knitting with Lopi is similar to a heavy Noro, sticky bits, slubs, and all. As such, the resulting sweater is itchy. If you are normally sensitive to wool, either buy some chainmail for underneath or steer to a softer, more thoroughly-processed yarn.
The only real modifications I made were to length (which I ended up regretting since it grew appreciably with blocking), and to stitch counts to support my four-stitch, k3p1 rib. Alex picked out the color combo, and I totally love it. It went so perfectly with Iceland's natural color palette, and I think it's both totally wearable when NOT in Iceland and will always remind me of everything we saw. Never one to make things easier on myself, my color palette meant that, for a row I was juggling three yarns. If you haven't done that before, it really isn't any trickier, but you have to be careful to maintain appropriate yarn dominance (unfamiliar with dominance?). I wanted to post a quick picture showing how I keep things in order:
To the right is the back of my sweater while I'm carrying three colors. The basic tenet of color dominance in colorwork is that whatever color you want to pop MOST goes on the BOTTOM. So, you can see that the yellow, which was the background color at this point, is on top, and the black and white are carried below it so white pops the most. Check out the close-up below and you can see the big, beefy white centers!
One other random knitting tip that I didn't learn until embarrassingly recently is how to long-tail cast-on a LOT of stitches without having to guess how long your tail should be. This sweater only a little over 100 stitches to cast on, but once you've cast-on a two or three hundred-stitch shawl or whatever for the third time, you'll thank me for this.
For one other random knitting tip- BLOCK. Seriously. Do it. It makes your bathroom smell like wet sheep and your husband will hate it, but do it anyway. It makes such a difference with rolling, uneven stitches, bunch colorwork, you name it. Here's a before and after (plus, it fits so much better now and it might EVEN be just a little bit softer. Maybe.)
Like I said, I regretted some of the extra length, but rolled sleeves are cute too, right? This took me a week- go forth and make you a lopi sweater!