I am so pleased to be able to show off finished photos of the beautiful Caravay sweater which I knit for my daughter, Emma.
As regular readers will know, we flew to Vancouver to spend a month with our daughters over the Christmas break, and I took the half-finished sweater with me, which absolutely, positively had to be finished before we hopped on the plane to fly back to England. It was very, very close! Family members might even say that I became a bit obsessed and, shall we say, cranky, as I rushed to finish it.
The Caravay sweater is designed by the talented Linda Marveng, whose work I have long admired. The impetus for knitting this particular sweater came about last fall when I won the pattern and yarn in a prize draw! Many hours were spent debating which of the four available patterns to choose, who to knit the sweater for (me? Leah? Emma?), and which colour of yarn to choose. You can read more about that in this earlier post, but I will mention again here that at that time there were 1628 projects on Ravelry that used this yarn, and that Emma and I looked at each and every one of them (more than once) in order to narrow down which colour we wanted.
The yarn is Tinde pelsullgarn from Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk. It is described as a DK-weight, but feels lighter to me, comparable in feel to a fingering weight wool. It blooms beautifully in the wash, however, which probably accounts for its rating. I had never tried this yarn before, and I was slightly suspicious that it would be rough and itchy. It has surpassed all of my expectations, and behaves beautifully. Emma wears it with a tank underneath and says its comfortable next to the skin. This definitely won’t be the last time that I knit with Tinde pelsullgarn. I would like to thank Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk for providing the yarn for this prize.
I have since found a local – London, England – provider: Knit with Attitude. Here is part of the description of this yarn from Knit with Attitude’s website: “Hillesvåg Ullvarefabrikk AS is a traditional Norwegian family owned wool spinning mill founded in 1898. It has been in the same family for four generations, and some of the machines that are being used are over 100 years old. The exclusive Hillesvåg yarns are made out of Norwegian wool, and are handcrafted with love to bring further joy to knitters and wool enthusiasts all over the world. Tinde is a DK weight yarn spun from fibre from the Norwegian pelssau breed which has a lustrous, curly fleece with a quite soft, fine hand.”
The absolute best thing about the yarn might very well be its colour. This is Burgundy #2104, and is probably the best red I have ever knitted with. I covet this red. Next project in this yarn is for me!!!!!!
The design is beautiful. The textural stitch, the Domed Check pattern, is intricate and eye-catching. I did think I was crazy knitting a tunic-length cowl-neck sweater with tons of ease in an all-over cabled pattern; if I hadn’t won this in a draw I don’t think I would have ever considered it. It is a LOT of knitting. It is an AWFUL LOT of knitting. Now that it is done, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It is absolutely gorgeous and worth every stitch.
The pattern calls for lots of ease. In the photos accompanying the pattern, the model wears it with + 53 cm/20.75” ease. (This means that the sweater is 53cm/20.75″ wider at the bust than the model’s bust measurement.) Emma and I determined at the beginning that we didn’t want that much ease, but getting just the right amount of ease without Emma being nearby was challenging. And of course, in a drop shoulder sweater like this, changing the ease will have consequences for the sleeves, both in length and width, so there was a bit of guesswork on my part to make sure it all fit Emma perfectly.
I ended up following the pattern for the Extra Small (except for length instructions, for which I followed measurements for the size Small). Because my gauge was a bit narrower than the pattern gauge, the sweater ended up with a bust measurement of 46″ (instead of the 50.75″ called for in the pattern for the XS). This means that on Emma the finished garment has an ease of 14″ which I think is just perfect.
One thing I didn’t do, which I should have, was to cast on more stitches for the sleeve, as my gauge was narrower, but I forgot to do this. It meant that I had to do some serious blocking of the sleeves at the end, and we were worried until literally the last minute that the sleeves would be too tight. I also added length to each sleeve, because the sweater was narrower than called for (so the drop shoulder would sit higher on the arm), and it turned out that I added too much, which led to much last-minute drama.
I spent Friday painstakingly and super carefully sewing the sleeves into place, picking up the neck stitches, and starting the cowl. I then spent Saturday cursing and groaning while painstakingly ripping out the seams, which had clearly been sewn far too carefully, after which I ripped 10 rows from each sleeve, and then sewed everything back in place (much less carefully than before). Saturday evening we had a last dinner with Doug’s sister and family, and I dragged the sweater with me (it is quite a lot of knitting to carry around) and worked furiously on the cowl (it is doubled and then folded over and hemmed, so I needed a good 20cm/8″ of broken rib.). Sunday, I took up the whole table, finishing the cowl, hemming, and then weaving in ends, desperate to get it finished
so that I could take some photos while there was still light before rushing out to meet up for some final family good-byes. Can we all say: “No, Kelly wasn’t cranky at all, was she?”
But I have to admit: it is worth every bit of effort. This sweater is fantastic! It has panache. I would like to thank Linda for designing such a beautiful garment and for hosting the prize draw on her blog. The pattern is well-written and easy to follow. I am now busily planning which Linda Marveng pattern to knit next.
Given that the knitting went right down to the line, I had only about 30 minutes to grab some photos of this garment before the sun set. I adore the below photo of Emma and her dad. Doug is wearing a sweater which I knitted for him ten years ago. I promise to write a Wearability Wednesday post about it soon, and give lots of details about how it has held up.
We are back in England, missing the girls, but so grateful that we had the chance to see them. I woke up this morning and found this photo in my inbox:
It’s lovely to see that Emma is wearing and enjoying her sweater. It does a knitter’s heart proud. Best wishes, everyone!