Monday, February 2, 2015

1/12: Arabella

First FO of 2015!
May I introduce my first FO of 2015, Arabella! It's also the first of 12 sweaters I plan to hopefully knit this year for Tincanknits' 12 sweaters in 2015 contest. I've got another one on the go right now, about halfway finished (it's a secret for now), and if I count those two unfinishable sweaters (if you remember my sheep sweater-turned-vest-but-still-not-finished-one and the green sweater for my brother. Who am I kidding? I should know better than to count those in!), then I technically have 1 finished and 3 more already cast on: 4/12-ish! I'm on a roll! There's also that linen cardigan I have on the needles, so that's already 5. Add all the sweaters and dresses I have planned/queued-with-stash and I probably have about 10 in the works either in reality or in my mind. Psshhhh piece of cake! I highly doubt I'm going to complete 12 sweaters in 2015. 

These photos may look a bit different from my usual self-portraits, and if they do (of course they do! They're a bazillion times more beautiful! More well-lit! I just don't have enough words to say how much I respect people who can work with lighting!), it's because my incredibly talented photographer friend, Haley, generously agreed to take these for me! She's also a hooker now (crochet), and I'm teaching her how to knit. I'm so proud to be her friend! Go check out her tumblr at autienne and her ravelry as well!

Now. About Arabella.

Look Ma: seams!
It knit up surprisingly quickly over the break (when I was no longer living in the print studio and had time to knit), and is such a beautiful design - I love it! I do have a couple of things I would do differently next time though - and this is one of those sweaters that I would seriously think about knitting again - including using a different yarn, which I think would solve the other issue of the back neck dipping a little too low for my liking. Not enough to make me not wear it or rip it out and fix it, but enough for me to adjust it every so often. Like I said, I suspect it has to do with my yarn choice (Cascade Heritage, pictured below), which I'll discuss after I heap a mountain of praise upon the pattern.

Arabella was written very clearly and I had no issues at all following the pattern. The fit was also perfect; I had worked one size larger to achieve my size, and was really just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, since this yarn grew quite a bit after blocking (thank goodness I blocked before seaming this time!!), but it all came out according to expectations. Hurrah! I would definitely consider knitting this again. Now the yarn.

Silky smooth and soft...
Of course, seeing as it's incredibly silky smooth and soft, I should have expected that it would be more prone to fluffing and pilling than other possibilities in my stash, but I was quite in love with the sample Arabella in the Brooklyn Tweed pictures, so I bulldozed ahead. With larger than recommended needles (3.5mm - the largest recommended size is 3.25mm), I blindly put my faith into the durability that nylon would lend this yarn. It turned out pretty well, to be honest. I mean, it's not nearly as bad as I'm making it sound. The fluffing does stand out a lot to me whenever I look down at the front when I wear it, but it probably doesn't look quite as ratty to anyone else. This yarn also produces a very drapey fabric, which drags down the entire sweater a bit. As I commented above, the back neck slides down quite a bit when I'm wearing it because of this. Oh well. I like the resulting sweater and I'm pretty happy with it.

I found knitting with this yarn to be a slippery experience, although it was not too splitty for me as others have commented on Ravelry. On the whole, I would purchase this yarn again at the price that I got it. Probably not much higher than that. Which means that I'm most likely never going to purchase this yarn again, seeing as I got each skein for the price of $7.47/skein during one of Craftsy's sales. I'm pretty sure this usually retails for about $14/skein or so maybe? I wouldn't know: I never considered purchasing it when it wasn't on sale. I would, however, consider knitting this pattern again.

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