WIP Wednesday: Frankenstorm Sweater (AKA Not Your Grandmother’s Lace Sweater)

Hurricane Sandy turned downtown Manhattan into a really surreal place. No power, no cell signal…I was lugging my electronics around and plugging into charge up every time I saw an outlet. I walked dogs in the evening with my headlamp on. It was strange to be able to see stars in the sky. I got off relatively lightly, particularly because I am a wimp and retreated after a day and a half of this to the comforts of my sister’s fully powered up apartment.

Two positive results from Hurricane Sandy. The first was that I was forced to clear out my freezer and refrigerator. Amazing waste of food, but a completely empty freezer for me to fill up (more on this on another post). The second was what I did while I waited for The Frankenstorm to show up.

Waiting for the storm, with two dogs that are super-sensitive to pressure changes was….interesting. I put my (nervous) energy into moving my hands, and cranked on my Pomme de pin Cardigan.

Post storm, it took me a while to truly finish the cardigan — and I had very good intentions. It took me longer for me to knit the button band than it did to knit most of the body of the sweater!

It is, however, the end of the month, which means that I do have to finish things up. And I have finished (and have already worn to work!) the sweater.

Pomme de pin is a cardigan designed by Amy Christoffers. I am attracted to her designs because there seems to be an element of something really cool about her sweaters. With this cardi, I think she’s managed to make a lace sweater really sleek and not grandmotherly at all. I love the way the collar comes up in the back and creates a really long line coming down the front. Do I dare say it? I think it’s SLIMMING!!!!

I knit my sweater out of Blue Sky Alpacas Metalico. The yarn is totally yummy — It’s 50% baby alpaca and 50% mulberry silk. It’s undyed, so all the colors are natural shades of baby alpaca. It’s sport weight, and it’s a single. The very first time I heard about this yarn was on the podcast Ready Set Knit, which is hosted by Kathy and Steve Elkins who owns WEBS. When I heard Steve describe this yarn, I ran to the computer. It just sounded amazing. My sweater is knit in Silver, which is a light grey. The yarn also comes in Platinum, which is an amazing deeper grey (and yes, I have that in my stash). I was a bit worried about how this yarn would knit up as a fabric, and whether it would be appropriate for a garment. I really wasn’t sure whether it had good memory — I knew it wasn’t going to be like wool (which is a super fiber, I’m coming to appreciate!) —  I swatched, and decided that it was a go.

I find that swatching is really useful when it comes to one thing. And it’s not determining gauge. Of course it is somewhat useful for this too, but I find that gauge swatches lie and my gauge changes depending on many different factors so it is just an approximation. What I find it more useful for is in determining (at least a little) how the yarn would act as a fabric.

After swatching, I decided to make a modification (LOL, I know, I know) and I changed all the ribbing to a twisted 1×1 rib. I thought that this would help the sweater keep more structure. Other than this adjustment for the yarn, I made only a few changes, and they were for sizing — I wanted the sleeves shorter, I wanted the sleeves a bit more slim fitting.

I have already worn this sweater to work. I was a bit worried about the sweater shedding a bit because I felt like the yarn was shedding a little as I was knitting, but I wore this sweater over a black dress and black tights and I was fuzz free (trust me, with two dogs I roll myself with one of those sticky rolly things when I get to work!). The lace didn’t completely stretch out, and I didn’t feel like the sweater was dangling at my knees at the end of the day. And this sweater is SUPER warm, while being light.

I have a feeling that this sweater will become a staple in my wardrobe….and that I will be on the look out for more lacy cardis to knit out of the yarn!

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