Happy Little Accidents: My Humulus Sweater (Dress)

Did you all watch or grow up with The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross? Well, when I tried on my freshly blocked Humulus his famous phrase was my first thought: “There are no mistakes, only happy little accidents.”

Humulus by Isabell Kraemer called to me from the moment I saw its hop-filled yoke last year. At the time I was still living in Fort Collins, Colorado—the Napa Valley of craft beer. The sweater design and enthusiastic beer lifestyle of Colorado were a perfect pairing. When I moved back to the east coast I decided to make Humulus as a wooly token of my second home. A sheepish text was sent to Kate requesting a sweaters worth of my favorite new Kelbourne yarn, Scout, in graphite heather and natural. A short time later a bag full of squishy Scout was all mine!

The original Humulus is gorgeous, but I needed to modify it for my body type and comfort level. So, I carefully swatched, blocked my swatch, made modifications for a swancho-type fit with deep armholes, a roomy body with ample ease, and a cowl neck. What I didn’t expect was my gauge drastically changing over the four months spent picking up and putting down this project. Clearly, my new Kelbourne lifestyle has suited me well because my gauge got wicked loose.

When I tried on my Humulus after blocking the hemline nearly touched my knees, the armholes were deeper than I intended, but the overall look was surprisingly perfect! The whole sweater-dress-bag look is one I can get on-board with this winter and many winters to follow.

The best element of all is Scout—this sweater-dress is soft enough to wear against my skin (which is quite sensitive) without a wee poke to be felt. Many knitters have used Scout in their Humulus, and I have to say we all couldn’t have picked a better yarn for this design.

Find all the Scout colors and stockists list here. Let me know if you’re making or planning to make a Humulus in Scout, too!

A Love Affair With Lice

For the last two weeks, I have exclusively been working on the Barnelopper (Baby Fleas) cardigan by Ann Myhre (Pinneguri) in Navia Duo as part of the Fringe and Friends Steekalong. I originally picked the design with the intent to use Navia Uno, but the range doesn’t come in the bright pink and mustard I was determined to work with, so my version is knit at a looser gauge than recommended. I also thought it would be a sweater for Lucy (a hefty 2 year old), but due to the looser gauge, I tweaked the math to fit Charlotte (a very petite almost 7 year old) without much extra knitting or effort, and imagine once Charlotte has grown out of it, it will fit Lucy in no time!

I tried to stick close to the pattern as written, but did tweak the numbers slightly to center the motifs on the front, and worked a deeper band of colorwork at the hem to bring more of the pink and yellow in. I also put waste yarn in for pockets in the front, and plan on working those up once the rest is complete. I’m not typically a monogamous knitter, but this yarn and pattern combination has completely wooed me and I can think of working on nothing else!

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As you can see, it took me a while to get into a grove with the steek stitches. Even though I know they won’t be seen at all once the sweater is finished, I’m still bothered by the difference between the disorganization in pattern in the yoke, and the clean repeat I was able to work when doing the lice stitch body. Otherwise, it has worked up quickly, even on size 2 needles, and I cannot wait to steek it and finish the sleeves and bands!

While prepping the sweater to block it before steeking (I’ll work the ribbing at the hem and collar after, just to be sure everything is as it should be), I was waxing poetic to Meghan and Courtney in the office about how much I loved the lice stitch and Setesdal sweaters in general, so I thought it would be fun to take a short trip down memory lane and revisit a few of my favorite Setesdal-inspired designs.

Top: Edmonton Mittens / Scandinavian Hat
Bottom: Setesdal Love Hat / Gretel

Hats and mittens make for really easy placement of Setesdal motifs, and I went through a phase a number of years ago where it was all I wanted to knit! The Setesdal Love Hat was one of the designs I first published in Knitscene over 8 years ago, and it remains a favorite to this day.

One of my most-worn sweaters is the Rawah Pullover I originally designed for Interweave Knits 20th Anniversary. (As you can see in the image of me holding my Baby Fleas above, I’m even wearing it today!)

I designed Rawah as an homage to the iconic "L.L. Bean Sweater" popular  in the 80s and 90s - with a few hand-knitting specific changes, such as working it in the round and shaping the yoke with seamless raglan decreases. The L.L. Bean sweater itself is an homage to much older Norwegian sweaters, and they were originally produced for L.L. Bean in Norway as an 80/20 wool/nylon blend and sold by the company to the United States market. (Later, in the 1990s, L.L.Bean changed production to China. They then changed the fiber to 100% wool and moved production back to Norway, but the cut and construction is different from the original classic design.)

Most recently, I designed Ballard and Rainier for the Scout Collection, and a pair of mittens for the Germantown Building Blocks collection.

If you’re looking for additional Setesdal inspiration, Setesdal Sweaters: The History of Norwegian Lice Pattern by Annemor Sundbo, and Nordic Knitting by Suzanne Pagoldh are both excellent resources and ones I recommend and reference often.


Navia Knitalong: Updates and Progress

whhhooooooossssh!

Did you hear that? That was the sound of the last three weeks flying by! We’re still excitedly plugging away at the knit along, though, and wanted to share our progress with you.

Kate:
Real talk, you guys. Between illnesses that never seemed to end, deadline knitting that I just shipped off, and a super secret gift I’ve been working on, I haven’t had a lot of time for my knitalong sweater! I did, though, manage to knit two swatches while sick in bed a week or so ago.

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One was useful in that it was to check gauge and to experiment with washing the swatch in my machine, and the other was useful in that it showed me a color option that very much did not work. I absolutely love the hand of the fabric once it was washed, but my stockinette gauge is too loose (14 stitches to 4” as opposed to the recommended 15”) on US 9 needles, so for my next swatch I’m going to see what happens on US 8 needles.

As I mentioned in the last post, despite black being one of my favorite colors, I wasn’t sold on my original choice. I then went with the below option, thinking the four colors looked great together - which they do! - but, as you can see in my swatch, the light brown and mid grey just do not work well together in the stranded colorwork pattern.

So now, I’m going to try a third option, going back to my original colors, but switching up the order a bit.

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I’m leaning towards the all natural (which will put the green as a contrast only used in the yoke), but I’ve been so determined to make it work in the body and hems that I want to try some alternate options with the green as well. Decisions, decisions! Crossing fingers once I get through these last few swatches, I’ll finally settle on a color combo and can actually start knitting soon!

Meghan:
I am loving knitting this sweater. I had been convinced all these years that I “just can’t do colorwork” and was super frustrated every time I tried and made something that ended up too tight to wear. However, with the encouragement of Kate and Courtney, I sat down and knit not one, but two stranded colorwork hats using Navia Duo (which I LOVE) and they came out great. So I decided to leap right into a traditional Faroese stranded yoke sweater which uses 3 colors in a row in some places!

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I am really pleased with my sweater so far and a few days ago I moved into the single color portion of the body. Using size 9 needles, this part of the sweater is practically knitting itself. I even went to see White Christmas in the theater last night and knit the whole time! At this rate, I’ll be at the yoke in no time.

Courtney:
This has been my sweater for when I just can’t knit on my deadline sweater anymore. I am a two-timing knitter, it is true. But, I am super happy with my Christmas-y color choices and am still absolutely convinced that I will be knitting the yoke during our family’s Christmas Eve festivities (the dreaded deadline sweater is due on December 19).

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I am using a size 9 needle for the body, and I machine washed my swatch, which is how I plan to treat my finished garment as well. You may notice on all of our sweaters that the knitting looks a bit loose and not at all how we are used to seeing a “good” knit fabric look. That is just the nature of this Faroese yarn! Tradition is meant to be knit a bit on the loose end, and once washed it blooms delightfully! According to Navia, most Faroese knitters machine wash their sweaters on the wool cycle, which allows for even more bloom. I think it works like a charm, and I’m not sad at all to let my front-loader do my work for me.


And that’s it! Hopefully next update Kate will actually be knitting her sweater and Meghan and Courtney will be done with their bodies and well into the sleeves.