Inspiration is a fickle beast.
Just when you think you have her tamely walking by your side; you think, you know where you are going, then… >>puff<< … and she is nowhere to be found. You stop, feel puzzled for a bit and suddenly, you are being pulled into another direction. I am lucky, I craft for my own joy, I don’t need to be disciplined, can perform a 180º turn, and just follow the tug. I was contently arranging my fabrics – when out of the blue, I realized that I needed to cast on right away for a new sweater. I know I have not knit a sweater in ages, I felt it was about time to remedy this.
I bought Åsa Söderman’s book Ziggurats, 16 elegantlyseamless knits as an ibook some time ago, have read bits from it every now and then. I did few experiments with the method in summer, thus I had a good idea about it. I had also new yarn on my shelf waiting to be cast on. I wanted my new sweater to be something from the book. I decided on the simplest one, Simple Summer Ziggurat, to be able to really understand what I was doing.
But first, let me show you the yarn. It is Einrum Icelandic wool 80% + Thai silk 20% in fingering weight, 208m/50g. I ordered my yarn from Titityy, one of the best yarns shops in Finland. The wool is, like Icelandic wool is, quite scrunchy, not soft and squishy, but very, very woolly. Wool is plied with a silk thread that gives a beautiful, shiny contrast to the rough wool. I knew I would like the yarn, when I saw it on the screen. My yarn color is deep red, color number 1016 and the silk is brighter red, making a lovely combination.
When I first started knitting with it, I had to concentrate a little bit on getting both plies on the needles, as it is easy to leave the soft silk behind. Since the wool is on the rough side, it loves to crab its neighbor, that needs to be dealt with occasionally, but once my hands began to remember how they needed to handle the yarn, the process has been enjoyable. I am using 3mm needles and it produces light and airy fabric. Blocking evens out all the misshapen stitches but the yarn does not bloom like some woolen spuns do.
I am sure this yarn would work exceptionally well with felting. I hope I will have some extra left so that I can try it out. The silk will probably look even more beautiful once the wool around it felts. I am not sure what I like best about this yarn… of course the color, the airiness, but I think the yarn has character, in a way, it can almost tell you what it wants to be.
I decided to knit a very simple sweater, but the silk in the yarn has been talking to me. It has given me ideas, I have wondered how I could emphasize the silk portion of the yarn.
I have this huge drawer half full of different hand wear I have done over the years. I looked through them to see, if I would get any ideas from them and I did. It is little early to tell just what I am drawn to, because I want to ponder that in my head for a bit, I want to hear and see, if anything comes from this thinking.
Do you know “spedetröjor” - embellished knitted shirts, mostly (I think) from southern Sweden. I have not managed to get a book that focuses on them, I don’t know if such a book even exists, I know very little of them. I just know that they are extremely beautiful, adorned with silk and ribbon, oh… and think about this, they are knitted with 1,5mm needles (I am not sure but is the size US000?)
As my hands have been busy knitting with silk and wool, my mind has been roaming somewhere around the drawer of mittens and Pinterest pictures of Spedetröjor, and there amongst all of them, awaits my sweater. The skeleton of it, is knitted almost exactly as written in Ziggurat book, but the finishing is still veiled.
The Ziggurat method … how do I like it? I do, I really do. I love it. It is fiddly in the beginning, as you keep turning and picking up stitches and knitting short rows, but after a few hours of concentrated knitting time, you can try on your sweater, make certain, that the sleeve heads are where they should be, the collar is just right, and keep on knitting confidently that your new sweater is going to fit. I know it is still early times, but I am almost ready to declare, that I will, from now on, knit all my sweaters top down using this method. At some point, I will try to adjust a normal pattern into this way. I love finishing, adding details, love picking up stitches for the neck bands and knitting them, but I don’t love installing sleeves. I much rather knit them than sew them on.
This is all. It is dark, and late; sleeping time.
Wool with you,