Saturday, January 28, 2017
The Ultimate Labor of Love
What started as a silly idea based on a targeted Facebook ad is now reality. I'm so proud of this sweater. I sketched out a basic idea, ordered some yarn that I thought would be the right colors, and pretty much just knitted by the seat of my pants, charting the next section when necessary. I'm pretty sure that my success is due more to blind luck than anything, and I don't think I could pull off something like this again.
But- I did! And I love it! The Star Wars Sweater was my husband's Christmas present, and he loves it too. It's a bottom-up circular-yoked pullover. Not my usual method for constructing sweaters, but I thought it would be the best option given that I was flying blind and had charted nothing before casting on. I started with the sleeves. He said he wanted a section of plain sleeve in the middle, so I thought that the sleeve would be a true gauge swatch- some colorwork, some stockinette. At the bottoms of the sleeves I just did some simple patterning. Up around the biceps I did stormtroopers! I stranded the stormtroopers, then came in with duplicate stitch for the darker parts. Much easier than either stranding with three colors or doing intarsia in the round on a small circumference.
The body was a little more complex. He wanted two things: alternating rebel alliance and imperial symbols, and a tie-fighter/X-wing battle in front of the Deathstar. Ok, no big deal. (Internal panic.)
I learned how to do intarsia in the round for the symbols around the bottom. It's a handy technique to have in your back pocket, but I don't think I'll be making a habit out of doing it. That section took me longer than anything else to knit. So many tiny balls of yarn, constantly getting tangled. I reminded him several times of how lucky he is to have a wife who would tackle such a project.
For the fight scene, I taped together a bunch of graph paper and sketched out what I wanted it to look like, then converted that to stitches, colored everything with colored pencils, and knitted the crap out of that section. I love it. It has perspective, and depth, and it's just cool. Luckily he wanted the back of that section to be just plain, so I got a tiny break. I worked that portion in intarsia in the round, as well.
After all that intarsia the yoke was easy. Simple patterning, stranding with two colors, done. I played a bit of yarn chicken with the navy but I won. Good thing too, because I didn't finish this sweater until we were already at my parents' house for Christmas. Had to do the finishing and blocking two days before Christmas. He really wanted to wear the sweater to go to see the new movie, and of course he wanted to do that before Christmas day, so I had to employ a complex series of fans and drying racks to get it dry before the movie. Also, that navy yarn ran dye like you wouldn't believe. Luckily I had a stack of color-catching laundry sheets, and I think that prevented any bleed onto the white yarn. I would have cried so hard if the whole thing ended up vaguely blue, after all that work.
I'm thinking of writing this up as a pattern. I charted all of those designs myself, and dang it I worked hard on this, so I want other people to be able to knit one, too. Thoughts? I think it will be a LOT of charting, since all of mine are on graph paper still. But I'd really love to see more of these in the world.
Details: I used Cascade 220 for the navy and the lighter blue. It took 4 skeins of navy. The white, light gray, dark gray, red, and green are Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. WotA is slightly thinner than 220, but not enough to make a difference in the finished sweater.
Chest is about 38", so I think this would be a Men's S/M.