For the Love of Grettir

Grettir

That spring-like weather we experienced towards the end of February passed, which means I’ve had ample opportunity to wear my new Grettir sweater since finishing it last week.

Perhaps because it’s simply my New Sweater or maybe because it’s a Good Sweater or possibly because it’s the one laying in the most convenient location (draped over the back of the chair that I hang my winter coat on), I’ve worn Grettir almost every day since last Friday. I wore it on a snowy bike ride, which it was actually a little too warm for and consequently I didn’t button my coat and it became covered in snow as I rode the eight miles to work. It kept me warm and dried quickly. I wore it on two consecutive low-to-mid-20°Fs days. And I wore it while I biked home those two windy evenings. And I wore it today while I shoveled the ice that fell overnight in lieu of snow.

Grettir

I like this sweater very much. It turns out that the sleeve length is just right. I keep it cuffed all the time, and it never feels too short in the arm. The body length is perfect.¹ And I think there’s something to this color thing! Knitting is what brought me around to wearing color, and there’s something about this mix of greens and gold that I can’t quite articulate. But I like it.

Pattern: Grettir
Yarn: Ístex Léttlopi (1407, 9421, 9426, 0867)
View My Ravelry Project


1: Both of my Strokkur sweaters are on the long side (by design), and occasionally the back gets caught on the nose of my saddle.

FO: Grettir

Grettir
Pattern: Grettir
Yarn: Ístex Léttlopi (1407, 9421, 9426, 0867)
View My Ravelry Project

I finally bound off Grettir on Monday night. The moment was perhaps robbed of its usual excitement, because I had gotten home at 22:30 and I was tired (and hungry), but I’m very satisfied with the completed project. Although I think that I’ll take a break from knitting Icelandic-style sweaters for awhile…

When I picked the colors for this project, I had woods and lichen and the hiking we do in the Catskills on my mind, and I think the color scheme works well with this pattern. There were moments when I wasn’t sure whether the dark green and brown or two greens would be contrasty enough, but once I started knitting the yoke, I realized that all of the colors work together. As with the Riddari yoke, now that I’ve knit this, I see even more color combination possibilities, and I think it would be fun to work in additional shades of greens and golds. Why stop at four colors?

Grettir

I made very few changes to this pattern, and the ones I did make were minor. I skipped the tubular cast ons and sewn bind off, because #lazyknitter. Instead I went with my usual stretchy cast on and bind off. I knitted extra long cuffs, because I like the look of folded cuffs. I skipped the waist shaping, because I don’t really care about having a “feminine shape” on the sweaters I wear with lots of layers in the winter. I went with a plain, ribbed collar, because that’s what I like.

As far as Things I Would Do Differently (And Other Small Quibbles), I think the sleeves could be longer. When I measured the length of the sleeves, I measured them with a folded cuff, so I added almost 2″ to the length spec’ed in the pattern (assuming I wear the cuffs unfolded), but I could have knit at least another inch of stockinette. When they’re cuffed, the sleeves stop just above my wrist, which is a little bit too short for my tastes.

Grettir

Additionally, I have a smallish frame, and the yoke is definitely too deep for me. As I move around in it, the fabric stops lying flat across my chest. I was aware of this situation before I started knitting, because the Grettir chart has more rounds than my final Riddari chart, which, even after I reduced the number of rows in the yoke, is also a little bit too deep. By contrast, both of my Strokkur sweaters have a yoke depth that’s more appropriate for my body and, as a result, they don’t bunch or gather. (The only solution I’ve found is to periodically pull down the front of my sweater, but if you have better advice, please do share.)

This fit issue is not, however, a show-stopper for me, so I proceeded with the Grettir pattern. I still wear my Riddari regularly, and I’ll likely end up wearing this sweater frequently too. (My black Strokkur gets the most wear, as it’s the closest thing I have to a black lopapeysa and, in the final analysis, I will still always prefer to wear all black.) My wardrobe preferences gravitate much more towards the practical, with warmth and layer-ability taking the lead. If I can comfortably bicycle 20-miles in it in the winter, it’s a keeper and funny fit be damed.

And on that note, it’s 40°F outside and dropping: time to take this sweater on its inaugural bike ride to work!

WIP Summary: February 2017

Grettir
Pattern: Grettir
Yarn: Ístex Léttlopi (1407, 9421, 9426, 0867)

When we last left off, I was knitting the sleeves of my Grettir sweater, and, in the last month, I’ve also completed the body and the short rows that precede the yoke. All that’s left is the fun part: the yoke. (And the finishing.) Unfortunately, unless I do some serious time mismanagement, I won’t be able to finish Grettir this month, and I suppose there’s no real rush, because the weather has gone all springy on us, I doubt that I’ll get to wear this before next winter.

Carina (WIP)
Pattern: Carina
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock (Onyx)

I frogged a project that had been languishing in my long-ignored WIPs pile and cast on Carina. Of course, my first hank of Onyx is noticeably more grey than the second, and any normal knitter would probably do something to fix this. But I’ve decided to leave it alone, because #lazyrecklessknitter — and because I realized this winter that maybe I don’t actually care about mismatched dye lots. If my Rosemont Cardigan has taught me anything (apparently it has not taught me not to use mismatched dye lots), it has been that dye lot differences pale in comparison to getting real satisfaction and frequent wear out of me-made garment.

Ginkgo (WIP)
Pattern: Ginkgo
Yarn: Cascade 220 (Tangerine Heather)

I’m not a scarf knitter. I get very little enjoyment out of knitting them, but I’m doing this as a favor for my boyfriend’s step-mother. (There’s a second scarf in a different to follow.) Truthfully, it’s not so bad, but I probably won’t be knitting more scarves anytime soon.


I also cast on a second Seasmoke shawl in 100% alpaca. It’s soft and black, but I don’t love knitting with alpaca. As a result, this project isn’t seeing much action.

I’m still chipping away at my Meadow Road pullover, which has taken up residence at my boyfriend’s apartment, where I basically only get to work on it one day a week — at most. The pattern is very intuitive, and I used up my first hank of yarn this past weekend. (Of course, I didn’t have a second on hand.) I’m considering moving Seasmoke over to his apartment, so that I can put more time into Meadow Road, which would be the perfect sweater for this high-40°Fs / low-50°Fs weather we’ve been having.

And finally, yesterday morning I decided to frog my Brio-Garter Hat. Frogged but not forgotten, this pattern is going back in my queue, so that, later this year, it can get the attention it requires and I can get the brioche practice that I want.

WIP Summary: January 2017

New Beginnings (WIP)
Pattern: New Beginnings
Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Rios (Playa, Paris Night)

I’m so close to finishing this. I have six rows left in the MC, but I’m about to run out of yarn. I can’t find this colorway at a local store, and I’m not quite ready to pay for shipping on a single hank of yarn. (And I’m not supposed to buy yarn right now.) The alternative is to finish those last few rows of the lace section using my CC, then knit the garter stitch border and bind off in the CC, as planned. What would you do? Splurge on the hank of Playa? Switch to Paris Night?

Freesia Shawl (WIP)
Pattern: Freesia Shawl
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette (Larch Heather)

Yesterday, I passed the halfway point on the attached lace edging. I’ve completed 14 of the 21 edging reps. I can’t wait to get this off my needles, because I don’t actually have a fingering weight shawl of my own. I’m also excited to see how this looks when it’s blocked, because right now — well, you know how it is — it looks like a pile of… unblocked lace.

Grettir (WIP)
Pattern: Grettir
Yarn: Ístex Léttlopi (1407)

Although it’s all stockinette, knitting sleeves somehow seems much slower-going to me than knitting the body of a sweater. I spend a few hours each week on these, and it seems like they’ll never reach their proper length. For my next stranded sweater, I might consider knitting the body and yoke first, so that I can knit the sleeves top-down.


I’m also chipping away at a Meadow Road pullover. I finally decided to leave it at my boyfriend’s apartment, so that I have a dedicated Home Away From Home project. I’d like to finish it in time to wear this spring, but I’ve had considerably less free time this year than I thought I would.

And I’m on the verge of completing my fourth Langoz pullover, which needs to be ready to gift by Sunday.

WIP: Grettir

Grettir

I know that I’ve just barely completed Riddari, but I already have my another sweater on my needles: a Grettir sweater.

I have a sweater quantity of dark green Léttlopi, along with plenty of partial balls and smaller quantites, so the plan is to knit the body in dark green and work the yoke in dark brown, a lighter green, and that gold, which already appears in two of my sweaters.

I’m a little uncertain about the brown next to the dark green. There might not be enough contrast, or there might not be enough contrast in certain light, and that might be okay. But, since I belong to the #noswatchclub, I’m just going to embrace the uncertainty and keep knitting.

FO: Riddari

Riddari
Riddari
Riddari
Riddari (Cuffs)
Pattern: Riddari
Yarn: Ístex Léttlopi (0056, 0058, 9264, 9426)
View My Ravelry Project

After knitting Strokkur, I didn’t think I would use Léttlopi again. I don’t enjoy knitting with it, and I initially found the completed sweater incredibly prickly. But after wearing it several times, something changed. Either the yarn started to soften up or I got a little tougher, but suddenly I was wearing it all the time. So I decided to knit another sweater with Léttlopi.

I still don’t like knitting with Léttlopi. The yarn is kind of splitty. Sometimes it’s plied very loosely. It’s kind of rough on my hands, which already have eczema to contend with. But I love this sweater. It’s soft and squishy and warm. The fit is perfect.

Modifications:
These are the major changes I made to the pattern. I made choices based on how my two Strokkur sweaters turned out, particularly the one knit in Léttlopi, which I used to determine the body and sleeve lengths.

  • CO 40 sts for the sleeves and worked increases to 58 sts, which eliminated one rep of the yoke chart.
  • Short rows before and after the yoke.
  • Reduced the yoke to only 35 rows, because the original depth would have been too big for my smallish frame.
  • Changed the last few rows of the yoke, in order to reintroduce the cuff and hem pattern into the collar.

It’s also worth noting that I knit the body and sleeves (two-at-a-time) bottom up, however I started knitting the yoke before I finished the sleeves, because I wanted to get to the fun part. So I cast on stitches with scrap yarn, worked the yoke and collar, then returned to my sleeves. When I completed them, I used Kitchener stitch to graft them onto the body. I don’t recommend this. It looks fine, but it was annoying.