Tensho for the win!

I finished my first knitted garment of the year; the Tensho Pullover (Artist), designed by Beatrice Perron Dahlen:

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I knit this for my daughter, Leah, but as she is back in Vancouver now, I have modelled the pullover myself in these photos.  Tomorrow it goes in the post!

The pattern has a good range of sizes covered, from 32.5″ to 51.5″.  I made it in the size 44.5″.  I am wearing it with about 3″ of ease;  Leah is one size bigger than I am, so it will have a tad less ease on her.

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I knit this EXACTLY as written.  This is very rare.  I didn’t need to swatch because I had used the yarn previously and knew my gauge.  I was able to cast on immediately and I didn’t need to change a thing.  I commented on a previous post about how much I love the way that this pattern is written.  It gives me exactly the information I need and doesn’t pfaff around with the information I don’t need. Of course, we will all differ on what we need/wish in a pattern, but I know that I would pick up another pattern by Beatric Perron Dahlen without a moment’s thought.  I like the way she writes and thinks.

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When Leah came home for the holidays, I sat her down and showed her a bunch of knitting designs which I thought she would like.  Her answer to each was the same: “Hmm, that’s nice.”  Imagine this said with no inflection, while trying to hide a yawn.  Finally, I showed her a photo of Tensho, which I had planned to make for myself, and she said “Wow!”.  And, boom, it went from the knit-for-me queue to the knit-for-Leah queue.  I ordered the yarn that day and cast on as soon as it arrived.

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I am wearing it here with the Cascade cap which I knit for Doug, but frequently steal borrow (blogged here).  Tensho is knit bottom up.  The sleeves and the body just flew off my needles, but then I got bogged down with work, Leah flew back home, and I had a gluten-accident (25 years gluten-free and then I made a BIG mistake) – this means I slowed down quite a bit.  Even so, it took me 6 weeks from start to finish, which is a pretty good pace for me.

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I used Gilliat, a worsted weight wool yarn by De Rerum Natura.  I purchased it from Wild and Wooly in Hackney, London. I used this yarn last year to knit another sweater for Leah, SnowFlower, which I blogged about here.  I love this yarn.  It is incredibly durable, it takes to colourwork really well, and best of all – it is economical.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but it is important to me to watch my pennies.  When I go to a yarn event (not too often these days), it is hard not to come to the conclusion that knitters have no limits on their disposable incomes.  I have been spending less on knitting year on year for the past 5 years, and still manage to knit nice things with nice yarn.

Gilliat comes in 100g balls, with 250 metres per ball.  I bought 5 skeins of the grey (Fusian) and 1 of the white (Sel).  I used 45 grams of the white, and I only needed to break the 5th ball of grey for the last few rows of ribbing around the neck.  If I left off a quarter inch from the length of the sweater I could have made this with just 4 balls of the main colour.  This means that the entire pullover comes in at £55.   (As a comparison, if I  knit it with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, I would have needed 8 skeins of the main and 1 skein of the contrasting colour – and that would be pushing my luck a bit with the CC – which would have come to £112.50.  Note that BT is an American yarn and the Gilliat is a European yarn and I live in the UK; it could be that BT is cheaper in the US and Gilliat more expensive. Nevertheless, my point remains – this yarn is economical.)

Since I know that knitters like this kind of thing, here is a photo of the reverse side:

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I am not a natural in front of the camera.  One of the problems with acting as my own model is trying to relax and not look stiff in the photos.  Emma’s approach is to make me laugh:

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Tomorrow this goes in the post.  Hopefully, Leah will enjoy wearing it.  Apparently it is already warming up in Vancouver.  Am I evil to hope they still have a few cold weeks left in the season so that the pullover gets some use?

Bulky knitting isn’t travel friendly

I have been making progress on the Tensho Pullover I am knitting for Leah. Here is the latest progress photo:

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However, I am in Copenhagen today, sitting in my hotel room after a busy day teaching, and the Tensho pullover is back at home on the couch.  You may recall that I took it with me to Berlin a few weeks ago, but that was before I joined the sleeves to the body and started the yoke.  Bulky knitting isn’t travel friendly.

This sweater seemingly flew off my needles for the first two weeks but has since slowed down a bit.  Although worsted weight yarns knit up quickly they also hurt my hands and I have to be careful not to overdo it.  Also, as soon as I realised that I had zero chance of finishing it before Leah flew back to Canada, I purposely slowed down the pace.

Tensho, written by Beatrice Perron Dahlen, is a great pattern.  Not only is it gorgeous but the pattern is written in just the style I like.  It is incredibly easy to navigate.  I have found myself getting aggravated sometimes with the lengthiness of some patterns today, but find this one works really well for me.  (It is the pattern equivalent of Goldilock’s third bowl of porridge:  This porridge is too hot.  This porridge is too cold.  But THIS porridge is just right.)  Note that the pattern has a fair few pages, but most are photos.  The pattern itself is short and sweet without compromising in any way.

I decided to reverse the colours on this project.  The original is shown with dark yarn on a light background.  It is designed, in fact, to look like ink on paper.  The pattern notes state: “This pullover is named for Tenshō Shūbun, a Sumi Ink artist dating from the 14th century.”  I love this style of painting and I am always drawn to black and white designs.  However, I really didn’t want to make a white or cream-coloured pullover and had my sights set on grey.  I wondered whether reversing the colours would be un-true to the intentions of the design.  Is it? I don’t know.  But it works, and I like it.  Here is a closeup of the beginnings of the yoke patterning around the shoulder:

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I did bring another project with me to Copenhagen (one which is easier to carry) but my heart is with Tensho at the moment.