Storytime

A Brand New Sweater: My Experience Using a Yarn Kit

They say that good things come in small packages. Well, when it comes to knitting, a multi-color yarn kit makes a world’s difference. At least, that’s what I learned when making my newest sweater!

It’s colorful, comfy, and I absolutely love it! This sweater was put together using my Zweig Kit. In this post, I’ll be reviewing the process I went through to put it together. I hope you can take something from this and make an awesome project of your own!

Testing my skills to make a lovely pattern

Zweig6

I adore lace knitting, so it’s no surprise that the yoke was my jam! However, this isn’t something that I would recommend to a beginner. Even intermittent knitters might struggle if they’re nervous about lace. I highly recommend knitting some practice lace before jumping into this yoke. 

But if you’re up for the challenge, by all means, try this. It’s very rewarding.

By the way, this pattern was a design by Caitlin Hunter, one of my favorite designers. Check it out!

X Marks the Spot 

If you look at the details of the body and sleeves, you’ll notice X-shaped patterns. At first, I wasn’t totally sure about including them. But sometimes, you have to take risks (or actually follow the pattern). This time, it paid off! Plus, it made knitting the body go by a little faster compared to plain stockinette stitch.

Overall, the Zweig sweater’s pattern showed up great. Need some inspiration? Do check out @boylandknitworks. Trust me, she’s a genius.

OK, yeah, but how does it fit? 

ZweigSweater4

These particular cuffs came out a little long. That’s because I had yarn left over. Plus, I like being able to cover my hands with the extra fabric. What can I say? It was in style when I was growing up.

In general, this sweater looks really cute with jeans or a skirt. However, I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing the Zweig sweater with leggings, because it’s just a tad short for my taste. If I were to do it over with leggings in mind, I would drop the back hemline – similar to the Sunset Highway Sweater (also by Caitlin Hunter).

Difficulty scale: somewhere in the middle 

ZweigSweater2

If I had to pin it down, I would put the knitting difficulty in the moderate category. The fact that this is a top-down sweater limits how hard it can be. Having said that, the X pattern and the lace yoke are not recommended for beginners. Be sure that you’re confident in cabling and lace skills.

For the X pattern, I would also say that it’s essential to cable without the cable needle. Why do I say this? The body and sleeves were very easy to transport. If I had to bring my cable needle on-the-go, this project would have taken me an extra five months, at least. Admittedly, that’s partially because I take on so many projects at one time…

Some parts were convenient, though! 

Don’t be too intimidated. Lux is really easy to wind. It’s not like those fussy yarns that tangle up while winding them. We’re all too familiar with that.

Not so with this sweater.

But you do have to be patient. If you go too fast, any yarn can slip and end up like a bad hair day at the base of the ball winder.

Balanced colors, as all things should be 

IMG_1108

I held my breath, hoping the color would turn out. Cement is a pretty subtle shade, and I was worried it wouldn’t show up. After I put the needle down for the final time, I breathed a sigh of relief. The colors turned out marvelously.

The X pattern really did the trick. Because of them, the Cement speckles showed up in a tasteful way. I wouldn’t call this sweater gaudy or overdone by any means. It’s something I could totally wear at work, on a date, or during a family visit.

For the lace yoke, Pistachio ended up being the right choice. It isn’t a true solid, yet it doesn’t take away from the pattern’s lace and cables. 

When I was younger, I knit lace in heavily variegated colors. Naturally, the pattern would always get lost. So I definitely understand that feeling of disappointment. But if you plan ahead, things can work out in your favor. 

To fade or not to fade 

unicornyarnco_knitting2

In short, yes and no. Longer answer: I did not fade for the body, but when it came time for the sleeves, I split a new ball in half so the sleeves would match as much as possible.

A kitchen scale came in handy for creating equally split skeins. Just wind the ball as usual, place a ceramic bowl on a scale set to 0, and plop in the yarn. If you don’t use the bowl, the yarn will roll right off.

Take note of the weight and divide that number by 2. That’s what the weight should be when it’s time to cut the skein in half. It’s very important that you start winding from the outside. When the scale gets to that number, make the cut. Pretty soon, you’ll have two equal balls of yarn.

Dealing with those pesky pills

As with all single ply yarns, Lux does pill after a while. That’s just the way that single ply ages. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll run into problems with the Lux wearing thin or getting holes. That certainly hasn’t happened to me. (Obviously, don’t knit socks with a single ply.)

If you do see pills, you can either accept it or use a sharp knife to shave them away. I don’t take this risk, because if you slip, you create a hole. How counter intuitive… 

Plus, if you just shave away, you won’t have any threads left eventually. Think it through carefully.

Scrub-a-Dub-Dub

IMG_1106

Straight up, I recommend that you wash this by hand. I used to be opposed to it, but then I discovered EucalanIt’s very easy to use. And now, I hand wash more than ever!

My yarns and knits go in the “hand wash bucket.” Each project simply goes in said bucket and I add a squirt (maybe a teaspoon) of Eucalan. Then, let it soak for 25 minutes (or accidentally leave it in for longer, don’t judge me).

After that, squeeze out the water and lay it flat (like you’re ready for blocking). Wait for it to dry.

For me, the Zweig sweater took about a day to dry. Now, it’s very dry here, but I also did not have a fan pointed at it (I usually do) nor did I have a window open. Take that for what you will. Clearly I was not in a rush to weave in ends. HA!

Any wool wash will do for this project. It may seem spendy up front, but my gallon bottle has lasted a year and a half. I use it for washing every skein I dye, pretty much all my yarn projects, plus laundry. For reference, I’ve used about a third of the bottle so far.

A repeat of this project?

Zweig4

Hmm, would I knit this project again? Hell. Yes. In fact, I think the High Desert colors would look splendid. But alas, I’m not letting myself cast any new projects until 2019. Not too far now!

In the meantime, let me know what you think of the Zweig sweater. Do you plan on knitting your own? What colors will you use? I look forward to hearing your thoughts. 🙂

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.